Venda Music Essay

1717 WordsOct 14, 20147 Pages
Discuss the relationship between music and music making in the Venda Music of Africa. The study of Venda music began in the 1950s when John Blacking, an ethnomusicologist formerly trained as an anthropologist, undertook extensive fieldwork on the role of music in Venda culture. Blacking’s research led him to the conclusion that musical processes are imbricated in social processes and vice versa, forming the recurrent theme that pervades his texts. In his seminal book How Musical is Man, Blacking (1973) discussed these notions of human musicality, using the music of the Venda as his case for the possibilities that exist in terms of integrated forms of human musicality. In this essay, Venda’s music culture is contemplated as a whole, taking into account the group’s total involvement with music, ideas, actions, institutions, and material objects (Titon and Slobin 2002:4). Blacking (1973:37) posits that in Venda society, every person is believed to have musical ability. While Western models often limit musicality through standards that inhibit participation and encourage music as an individual pursuit, the contrary is the case for the Venda; Venda music culture deemphasizes the individual and values music making as a means for group solidarity and communal bonding (Hargreaves, Miell and MacDonald, 2012:100). In other words, it is through collective music making that the Venda construct shared experiences. Perhaps, the importance of such shared musical experiences to the Venda lies in the fact that the musical voice in Venda culture is inherently entwined with Venda identity at its core. Music, to the Venda, is not a mere skill for those who choose to perform it, but rather, an intrinsic and integrated aspect of tradition, culture and humanity – it does not function or exist as a separate unit from culture itself. Musical arts, most commonly song, dance, and

More about Venda Music Essay

Open Document