Kuvunga: Timbre, interlocking, and composite melodies in Zambian Luvale ngoma
Creators:Winikoff, Jason Reid
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Libraries
Citation:Future Directions of Music Cognition (2021), pp. 262-266
This paper is an attempt to explicate the concept of "kuvunga," an important term to Zambian Luvale drummers. Drums kuvunga when they produce a composite melody. While these composites have long been understood as vital to African percussion, the processes that create them – both performed and perceived – have been relatively ignored. To help illustrate these processes, I introduce new analytic terminology that organizes rhythms along timbral lines. When these types of rhythms interact in specific ways, the drums kuvunga. In this study I will explain how Luvale musicians achieve this interlocking resultant by manipulating timbre through technical control. I combine research on auditory stream segregation, African musicology, and ethnographic methods to show that making drums kuvunga involves performed and perceived attention to timbre. Ultimately, my analysis draws attention to the vitality of timbre in African percussion, explicates the emergence of an important perceptual construct, and provides a new set of analytic tools.
Rights:Copyright © 2021 Jason Reid Winikoff
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