Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Fela Sowande (1905-1987) has a huge compositional output including orchestral and vocal works. However, his organ music outnumbered the totality of his compositions. His organ pieces represent a truly intercultural music in which distinct tripartite cultural idioms are evident—Nigerian, African American and European. Works of this nature serve as creative source materials for aspiring composers, performers, scholars, music educators, and students in Africa and the world. This composer, folklorist, and music educator was born into a well-known music family in Nigeria. He was active in radio broadcasting, Yoruba folklore and mythology, indigenous music research, Nigerian art music, performance, orchestral conducting, and teaching at various institutions of higher learning in Nigeria and the United States of America. The research works were funded by the federal government of Nigeria and a Ford Foundation Grant. This led to the production of a series of manuscripts and cassette recordings including secular, traditional, and contemporary Nigerian music, poetry, proverbs, and language, for distribution by the Broadcasting Foundation of America as educational materials. This study focuses primarily on those organ works by Sowande in which indigenous Nigerian source materials are copiously employed. Chapter one presents a brief historical background of art music in Nigeria; chapter two is a short biography of the composer; chapter three deals with the classification of the organ works according to their function in the church: (1) liturgical pieces; (2) preludes and postludes; and (3) concert or recital pieces. Chapter four presents a cultural and/or ethnomusicological analysis of the selected organ works. This entails a discussion of the pieces under three salient characteristics of Nigerian traditional music: (1) the elements of musical communication; (2) the elements of dance; and (3) the elements of musical conception.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Herndon Spillman



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Music Commons