chapter
32 Pages

Introduction

ByTYLER FLEMING, TOYIN FALOLA

Music, song, dance and performance can possess multiple meanings and purposes throughout the continent of Africa. They express political affi liation, the character of a nation or ethnicity, local history and knowledge, resistance against foreign ruler or oppressive regime, livelihood and tradition, identity beyond national or even continental boundaries (such as blackness or Pan-Africanism), motivations toward development, or simply to entertain and pass the time away. Due to this pervasive and expansive nature of music, the topic has attracted interest from scholars from various backgrounds over the past century. This introduction, as a result, serves various objectives, such as to review how the study of African music progressed over time and position this volume’s own contribution to this large (and growing) body of work.