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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Talking drum as an instrument for music making and communication in West Africa: a case study of 'dundun'
Author:Faseun, OluwafemiISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Liberian Studies Journal (ISSN 0024-1989)
Volume:33
Issue:2
Pages:59-76
Language:English
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:drum language
musical instruments
Yoruba
Abstract:The 'dundun', the all encompassing name given to the hourglass-shaped double-headed drum - the body made of wood and the head made of hide - used by the Yoruba (Nigeria), is an essentially West African instrument. This paper examines the 'dundun' as a key cultural instrument that serves multiple purposes, such as sending coded messages in different West African communities, functioning as a cultural symbol at cultural places and events, as well as entertaining the populace at ritual and social events. Besides examining the varieties, spread and usage of these 'talking drums' in West Africa, the paper looks at meaning in 'dundun' language. Meaning in drum language is determined by both the context and the tonal inflexion of the message it is meant to convey. The pitch of the drum can be regulated to the extent that the drum 'talks', speaking the language of the handler. In conclusion, the paper discusses the role of the 'dundun' drum in present-day music. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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