What Makes a Gↄbaa? A Study of Musicianship and Aesthetics in Dagaaba Xylophone Music


This article examines musicianship and aesthetics in Dagaaba xylophone music. Tackling the broader question of what makes a gɔbaa (i.e. a master xylophonist), the study focuses on the training and status of Dagaaba gyil musicians. It also scrutinizes the aesthetics of Dagaaba xylophone music in different performance contexts, including aesthetic terminology and criteria of evaluating performances and performers. This article thus presents an ethnographic study of xylophone performance in Ghana under changing social conditions, employing mainly methods of participant observation and extended interviews. One of the major findings is that concepts of musicianship as well as aesthetic evaluative processes in Dagaaba xylophone music are context-dependent.

Keywords: Aesthetics, Dagaaba, Gyil, Gↄbaa, Musicianship

Unique Article ID: IJMS-102

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This work by European American Journals is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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