Cover image for Representing African music : postcolonial notes, queries, positions
Representing African music : postcolonial notes, queries, positions
Agawu, V. Kofi (Victor Kofi)
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxii, 266 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Colonialism's impact -- The archive -- The invention of "African rhythm" -- Polymeter, additive rhythm, and other enduring myths -- African music as text -- Popular music defended against its devotees -- Contesting difference -- How not to analyze African music -- The ethics of representation.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML350 .A355 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The aim of this book is to stimulate debate by offering a critique of discourse about African music. Who writes about African music, how, and why? What assumptions and prejudices influence the presentation of ethnographic data? Even the term "African music" suggests there is an agreed-upon meaning, but African music signifies differently to different people. This book also poses the question then, "What is African music?" Agawu offers a new and provocative look at the history of African music scholarship that will resonate with students of ethnomusicology and post-colonial studies. He offers an alternative "Afro-centric" means of understanding African music, and in doing so, illuminates a different mode of creativity beyond the usual provenance of Western criticism. This book will undoubtedly inspire heated debate--and new thinking--among musicologists, cultural theorists, and post-colonial thinkers. Also includes 15 musical examples.

Author Notes

Kofi Agawu is Professor of Music at Princeton University. Agawu is also a recipient of the Dent Medal from the International Musicological Society

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 Colonialism's Impactp. 1
2 The Archivep. 23
3 The Invention of "African Rhythm"p. 55
4 Polymeter, Additive Rhythm, and Other Enduring Mythsp. 71
5 African Music as Textp. 97
6 Popular Music Defended against Its Devoteesp. 117
7 Contesting Differencep. 151
8 How Not to Analyze African Musicp. 173
9 The Ethics of Representationp. 199
Epiloguep. 221
Notesp. 225
Referencesp. 241
Indexp. 261