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Ndabe Zitha (String Quartet No: 1)

Show simple item record Mulungo, Bernett Nkwayi 2022-08-04T13:30:20Z 2022-08-04T13:30:20Z 2019-11-28
dc.description "Ndabe Zitha - String Quartet No: 1" is a string quartet work that is located within the African sound. Please use the URI link - under Identifiers - to access the recording of this work on YouTube platform. en
dc.description.abstract Ndabe Zitha String Quartet No: 1 by Bernett Nkwayi Mulungo The writing of this composition, similarly, to the Gazankulu Suite written in the same year, was inspired by compositional questions I had during my teaching of the module African Composition at the university. The questions ranged from what is at the essence of African music in the modern compositional space to how an African composer (should) engage with his/her African music traditions and to reconcile their training in western ideology and their African heritage. Particularly, in relation to the active and ongoing discourse on Africanization, Decoloniality and Transformation in higher institutions, etc. In addition, South African institutions of higher learning, at large, often encounter significant challenges in the process of acquiring African music scores to facilitate the teaching and learning key area. The challenges range from a limited number of notated African music to copyright matters around the existing music scores. These challenges often lead to restrictions and constrains on the level of creativity in engaging students with African works at large. Therefore, the acknowledgement and inclusion of such creative outputs can begin the process of bridging the gap that is left by challenges mentioned here. There’s no large collection of a string quartet repertoire that is African oriented in sound. If there is, it has largely been arrangements/orchestration of existing African compositions. As practice, arrangements are a welcome addition. However, there is an opportunity to explore the area of original African compositions using a typically western ensemble structure – a string quartet. The challenges arise in balancing the technicalities of the instruments, the deeply rooted western composition practices, and the musical rudiments of African music - this was largely my dilemma in the creative process. The Ndabe Zitha String Quartet No:1 attempts to capture (in sound) the characters of the individuals it is dedicated to, from my maternal side of the family. As a complete work, it is a four-part movement as follows: 1st Movement – Nkwinika, 2nd Movement – Joshua’s Requiem, 3rd Movement – Nwa Mthevuye, and the 4th Movement – Mandlati – The Lost Found Bewildered. Across all the movements, there are common patterns in terms of melodic development, African inspired rhythmic patterns, and the use of ostinato patterns. The 1st movement is solely based on the idea of space, and this is evident in the minimal use of pitch changes, intervals structures, and rhythmic interaction across all four instruments. The 2nd and 4th movements are based on the idea of ostinato patterns and constant changes in time signatures and the overall rhythmic feel between African (or Jazz) music. The 3rd movement is also based on an ostinato pattern that is hovering underneath a rhythmically intense melodic structure in the violins. The overall composition idea here was to grant the lower string instruments more prominence in the music. It is evident in the analysis that the main themes are always carried by the lower instruments (the viola and cello), be it an ostinato pattern or otherwise. This approach germinates from my composition approach where I mostly begin with the basic harmonic structure and the bassline to generate an overall “mood” or “feel” of the composition. This work, as a whole, attempts to merge elements from the different areas in music that I have formally studied. These being Jazz, Western Art Music and African music. en
dc.title Ndabe Zitha (String Quartet No: 1) en
dc.type Musical Composition en
dc.description.department Art and Music en

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