Jamaican folk music, a synthesis of many cultures?

Rouse, Marilyn Ann (1992) Jamaican folk music, a synthesis of many cultures? (PhD thesis), Kingston University, uk.bl.ethos.316202.


The aim of this dissertation was that by detailed study and critical analysis an assessment of the elements that constitute the Jamaican ethnic style could be made, enabling the execution of a comparative study with the music of Western Europe and West Africa. From the results of these studies an appraisal of the acculturation process as it has affected the development of Jamaican folk music was possible. A collection of a large number of musical examples both in print and on field recordings was made. These were classified according to usage, into the categories of play, work and religion. A detailed musical analysis of the rhythm, melody and form of the collected music was undertaken. From this the main characteristics of the music contained within each category were formulated enabling the aforementioned comparative studies to be undertaken. Several previously accepted prognoses have been disagreed with as the result of the study of a large number of examples. Previous studies of Jamaican folk music have been limited to individual genres, with conclusions being based on small samples. No comparison of the music in the categories of play, work, and religion, or comparative study with the musics of the races which inhabited Jamaica, has previously been undertaken owing to there being no detailed analytical study covering the entire range of music.

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