Understanding form and technique : Andrew Tracey's contribution to knowledge of lamellophone (mbira) music of Southern Africa

Gumboreshumba, Laina (2009) Understanding form and technique : Andrew Tracey's contribution to knowledge of lamellophone (mbira) music of Southern Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis interrogates Andrew Tracey’s career as an ethnomusicologist and the significance of his research and publications on lamellophone (mbira) music of the Shona/Sena in Zimbabwe and Mozambique to subsequent scholarship of lamellophones throughout southern Africa. Through a survey of authors who have cited Tracey’s publications, this study assess how his use of the pulse notation transcription method and his theory of form and harmonic structure in mbira music, which he terms ‘the system of the mbira’ (A. Tracey, 1989) have influenced and contributed to the work of ethnomusicologists, musicologists and composers. Further this research evaluates the impact on subsequent publications by other scholars of Tracey's technical analysis of mbira music. Organizing and indexing Andrew Tracey's field collection in the ILAM archive gave direct knowledge of the scope of his work. The thesis consists of six chapters. The first chapter contains a general introduction to the thesis and outlines the goals of the research. Chapter Two presents a biographical sketch of Andrew Tracey. A general introduction to the lamellophone (mbira) family of musical instruments in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa is presented in Chapter Three, which also addresses the social function of lamellophone music. Chapter Four gives a summary of Andrew Tracey’s research on the Shona mbira (his publications, recordings, films etc), and it analyzes his theory - “The system of the mbira” - in which he defines the form and structure of mbira music. Chapter Five examines the impact of Andrew Tracey’s research and publications on mbira music to subsequent scholarship and makes an analysis and evaluation of the significance of his contribution to the body of knowledge of the instrument and its music. In addition I relate my personal experiences with mbira music as a Shona person and mbira player and give my opinions on Tracey’s and subsequent scholars’ theories on mbira music. Chapter Six concludes with a summary of outcomes of this research. Basing on the analyses of presented data, it is deduced that, despite a few shortcomings, Andrew Tracey’s research on mbira music is crucial for it laid the groundwork for subsequent mbira scholarship.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:mbira; karimba; njari; lamellophones; Andrew Tracey; matepe; Ethnomusicology; Southern Africa
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Music and Musicology
ID Code:1755
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:24 Aug 2010 06:47
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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