Composers of African Art Music in Contemporary Ghana: Locating Identities

  • Author / Creator
    Smith, Patrick F.
  • African art music composers in Ghanaian universities negotiate a multiplicity of identities in a time characterized by frequent international communication and travel. This thesis explores these identities and asks, what does African art music, a combination of Western and indigenous African musical elements, mean today? In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, European Christian missionaries introduced Ghanaians to Western styles of composition. During the pre-independence era, Ephraim Amu (1899–1995) first began to explore what it means to be African in the realm of Western-inspired art music by incorporating traditional music that could be appreciated by Ghanaians. Composers in subsequent generations, such as J. H. Kwabena Nketia (b. 1921), studied and continue to study and teach composition in Ghanaian and foreign universities, placing African art music amidst global flows of Western-inspired art musical practices. Students and professors at three Ghanaian universities navigate Christian, Pan-African, national, ethnic, and cosmopolitan identities through their compositions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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  • Institution
    University of Alberta
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  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Thompson, Guy (History and Classics)
    • Gramit, David (Music)