The purpose of this study was to explore the use of the snail shell in making music in Ghana and to interrogate the problem of what scholars of African music in Ghana are doing about the threat to extinction of some of their traditional music. The theoretical framework of the study which was based on the problem of meaning in African music (Nketia, 1976, 1973, 1962) favoured the integrated approach to the problem of meaning. Using the qualitative research paradigm, the study obtained specific data on the values, opinions, behaviours and social contexts within which the musical performances took place. It was discovered that the Axim Nwaba instrumental group was formed in 1972 but disintegrated in 1993 as a result of competition from the local brass band. During a live performance by the group, all the children and many of the adults heard snail shell music for the first time in their lives. The findings on snail shell music at Axim have shown that the research efforts of scholars on traditional African music in Ghana are not being matched by the potentially vast world of available traditional Ghanaian music. A solution to this problem must be found within the expansion of traditional music archival resources in the country and the need to step up research work on traditional African music in Ghana.

Keywords: Dying, Instrumental Music, Musical Heritage, Nwaba Group, Shell, Snail, Traditional

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 32-39 (Download PDF)

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