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The significance of corporeal factors and choreographic rhythms in Jamaican popular music between 1957--1981 (Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae), with an historical and critical survey of all relevant literature dealing with Jamaican folk, religious and popular musics and dance

The significance of corporeal factors and choreographic rhythms in Jamaican popular music between 1957--1981 (Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae), with an historical and critical survey of all relevant literature dealing with Jamaican folk, religious and popular musics and dance

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Title: The significance of corporeal factors and choreographic rhythms in Jamaican popular music between 1957--1981 (Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae), with an historical and critical survey of all relevant literature dealing with Jamaican folk, religious and popular musics and dance
Author: McCarthy, Leonard Joseph
Abstract: Most studies of Jamaican Popular Music (JPM)--Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae--only discuss sonic structures as isolated phenomena, with little consideration of correlationships between JPM sonic patterns and those of indigenous Jamaican Folk and Religious Music (JFRM). Most also pay insufficient attention to the role of corporeality in the characteristics, development and performance practices of Jamaican music.


This study is in two parts. (1) An historical and critical survey of all relevant literature dealing with JPM and JFRM which examines the applicability of this work to this study's thesis, with new concepts and theories introduced where appropriate. A compendium structure organizes information by historical influences, genre, musicological characteristics, movement orientations and theoretical concerns, with comprehensive citations for each subsection. (2) Part Two consists of original musicological and movement analysis of 878 video performances by 299 JPM and JFRM artists. This research identifies particular couplings of sound and movement patterns, which Agawu (2003) calls choreographic rhythms (CRs). From these findings, this study's thesis emerges in four main points: (1) JPM and JFRM performers share similar, uniquely Jamaican CRs, which appear to account for the idiosyncratic rhythmic feel of most Jamaican music. (2) Jamaican CRs are rooted in neo-African musical traditions, which are themselves rooted in West and Central African musics.(3) Jamaican musical traditions are transmitted/acquired primarily via mimesis. (4) Enactivist research 1 about music perception/cognition and cultural environments explains how growing up in particular cultures develops CRs which shape the musical understanding and performance practices of people within cultural communities. This research explains why people have difficulty perceiving and executing foreign CRs because they intuitively utilize their own indigenous CRs instead. By integrating the material surveyed in Part One with the findings in Part Two, it is concluded that proper understanding Jamaican music requires consideration of corporeal, sonic and other cultural factors as gestalt unities. It follows that this approach could benefit the study of any music. The final chapter features a concordance of topics and themes examined in the entire study which functions as an index.


1 Enactivism is a branch of cognitive science which has emerged since the early 1990s.
Subject: Folk music
Religious music
Choreographic rhythms
Rocksteady
Jamaican popular music
Ska
Reggae
Dance
Type: Thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/1373
Published: York University
ISBN: 978-0-494-32078-5
Date: 2007

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