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New Music Concepts 2018

The Intensity Factor in the Traditional Idiom of Music Making in Dagbon

Part of the New Music Concepts book series (NMC volume 5)
ISBN: 978-88-6551-278-4

Author(s): Dominik Phyfferoen

Abstract: In this article we present the results on rhythmic analysis we conducted on Tindana ritual music and dance in Dagbon, a music-dance culture located in the Northern Region of Ghana. The paper elaborates on the "Intensity Factor" in the traditional idiom of music making and explains how this expressive key component contributes to the dynamics of the ritual The depth of our analysis shows that the intensity factor has a direct impact on the interaction between the produced sound of the lunsi-ensemble, (the tom-tom beaters), the bodily movements of the dancers and the input and expectations of the local community. Our results shows that the Tindana ritual Tolon Jaagbo consist of intra-musical structural components and extra-musical cultural components and has homeostasis states, and transitional states inside the architectural structure of the music-dance. Our focus is on how expressive components have a direct impact on the dynamics of music making in Dagbon society. Several important concepts that characterize aspects of timing, such as "movable one" and "intensity factor", have been introduced by different authors. However, the focus was often on single aspects of timing and an overall framework was lacking. Here we attempt at integrating different concepts of expressive timing in an overall framework of embodied music interaction. An overall framework based on embodied music interaction has not yet been applied to expressive timing in African music. Instead, what we have are different concepts that define aspects of expressive timing.

Keywords: African hemiola style, Intensity Factor, Superposition of rhythmical layers, The Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Ghana, Embodied music interaction