By Davou, SY; Egemba, OH; Kufre, I (2022). Greener Journal of Arts and Humanities, 9(1): 5-16.
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Vol. 9(1), pp. 5-16, 2022
Copyright ©2022, the copyright of this article is retained by the author(s)
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Davou, Samuel Yohana
E-mail: samwatu@ hotmail.com
Music has been proven to have the ability to unify people and educate them about important topics that affect their communities. Though music has been linked to acts of rebellion and violence rather than acts of peace, as Helen and Rafiki (2019: 279) lamented, “Music is not innocent.” In the aftermath of war, brutality, and mass crimes, it frequently reflects many people’s dreams for peace.” Though its lovely melody gives it an appearance of obedience, the image it displays behind the curtains, which are the lyrics, is not always innocent because most songs are about agitation, advocacy, protest, motivating, protest, and so on. However, music’s peaceful nature cannot be swamped by its violence supremacy, as the music in a TeT-fund Internally Based Research (IBR) sponsored musical, “Pathway to Peace,” is a neutralizer that speaks to the peacefulness of the worried faction project. The ambivalence surrounding musical linkages between violent and peaceful modes of social action and change, which is now widely recognized by practitioners and researchers, as well as individuals who wear both hats, is the unified theme of the violence theme as music in this context. The musical arts operetta “Pathway to Peace,” which is sponsored by Tetfund IBR, is based on a fragment from a musical drama titled “Pathway to Peace.” The play, which exclusively utilized African arts songs to encourage peaceful cohabitation amid warring groups, thus making it current, takes a look at how African songs, as well as other songs from around the world, have contributed to peacebuilding in our communities.
African songs, as well as other songs from throughout the world, have been produced on reconciliation and peace-building between warring tribes. Because of the vivid imagery that may be conjured up through reference, songs that reference uproars, risks, and terrible events are more popular. Such songs, which are frequently seen as entertainment, promote peace and tolerance by speaking to the thoughts of concerned factions and motivating listeners to proactively contemplate their vulnerability and reconcile. Music is a powerful weapon for controlling the mind and mood; the mind is accountable for every action human takes, and every action humanoid take determines what happens in his community, for better or worse. Nigeria has been designated as one of the continent’s crisis zones, and the situation of its people is similar to that found in other troubled areas such as the Middle East, Ukraine, Russia, and a number of other communities across the African continent where unrest, starvation, poverty, and other issues are causing economic stagnation. The high frequency of peace bridging and insecurity that is currently befouling the peace and unity of our nation is due to the social norms that serve as key principles in African traditional civilizations, combined with other economic and cultural elements. Without a question, the rising reality of security issues confronting our country today is the bloodiest and most catastrophic issue bisecting the northern region of the country and the African continent today. When a country faces a genuine threat, insecurity cripples it even more than plaques do now, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. Security is the responsibility of all. Security is not only a prime value that should be promoted by whatever methods available; it is also an ultimate objective that should be instilled in everyone, regardless of age. Security should be addressed as a top-secret matter. Nothing in society functions without it. The ultimate value and the value that determines a man’s value is security and peacebuilding (Olusegun, 2014). Being at peace, as the expression goes, is preferable to being a prince. Everything else will be pointless until one can be certain of their physical protection or safety, which can only be achieved through peaceful cooperation Zabadi (2001). Also, performative cultures like the Berom culture, which has experienced its own share of ethno-religious strife since 2001, have always used their structure as a medium of communication, no doubt, especially on the question of peacebuilding. Day by day, the situation is spiraling out of control. Ethnic cleansing, farmer-header battles, religious upheavals, and riots have been labeled as examples of the high frequency of instability that has resulted in great poverty, hunger, and malnutrition on the plateau due to a lack of basic facilities and development. The scope of this paper is to highlight the relevance of music in peace building and the economic benefits of living in peace and harmony among diverse groups such as Plateau State, Nigeria and the country at large. Contextual and structural analysis of the song will also be provided to give an inside look into how the song was composed. The goal of the project is to provide insight into how music can be used to promote peace in Plateau State, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole. More importantly, present facts on how music affects the human psyche and how to use it to calm nerves in times of stress.
The ability of music to bring a strong-willed universe back to her senses is simply articulated by Mereni in Olaleye (2014), who wrote:
Without the discipline music, no profession can be perfect, for there is nothing without it. For every universe, it is said, is help together by a certain harmony of sound… music moves the feelings and changes the emotions, in battles, moreover, the sound of the trumpet rouses the combatants, and the more furious the trumpeting, the more valorous their spirit… song likewise encourages the rower, music soothes the mind to endure toil and composes the distraught minds. The very beats also, even pulsation of our veins is related by musical rhythms of the power of harmony (p. 7).
The sentence above has been a long-held secret in African veins since the dawn of time. The music is excellent. ‘Oh Plateau’ is a musical style derived from the Berom musical style; the Berom people employ songs in all of their activities. They sing work songs while laboring on the land or undertaking hard labor. During combat, they perform a fight song known as the pee song. The song inspires them to be courageous to the point of death, when they sing a song to drive away the fear of the unseen. As a result, whenever Africans convene for peace talks, they sing music to soften hardened hearts before the talks begin, as evidenced by the use of music during crisis times in Jos plateau, where all radio stations go silent and employ invocative music. During the 2001 crisis in Jos, the Disc Joker (DJ) playing music on one of the popular radio station used Bob Marley’s single “Get Up Stand Up,” which many felt was more controversial and not appropriate in crisis settings, particularly when situations required relaxation or quiet. Oh plateau is a song of sadness and advocacy that urges the worried faction’s awareness to embrace peace for the sake of the future, for the sake of women and children, as well as the unborn, and so on.
The music is excellent. Oh Plateau, like other musicals with nonviolent themes across Africa, aspires to play a mediating function. Music in Africa has played an unequaled role in reconciliation, social norm correction, and instruction of the African arts than any other technique one can envision. The act has played a significant part in objectifying and uniting the African community’s worldview and religious beliefs. According to Nketia (1963), African music contains a richness of knowledge and stimulates learning experiences in the audience. Far from being merely entertaining, African music promotes humanism by using well-worded proverbs, idioms, and other literary devices to provide food for thought to its listeners. Parables are used by music composers to engage the audience’s imagination in deducing meaning from the performance communication. The audience has the audacity to interpret the music in reference to his or her situation because the music is frequently audience participative. As a result, when one gets enraged by another, he should take advantage of the situation to voice his grievances. It is permissible to call African music approachable.
Nzewi (1997) expresses his belief that understanding the African cultural value system equips one with the ability to comprehend African music and deduce the complete meaning from the communicated experience. When it comes to peacebuilding and reconciliation, responsibility is not apportioned as much as it is pleaded, and the necessity for togetherness is emphasized. The song “Oh Plateau” is a plea to the warring factions’ consciences to give peace a chance so that progress can flourish in the society. Music is the most visible and accessible way for people to listen to themselves. African music, in particular, is a powerful means of communication that may harden or soften the heart, allowing humans to communicate their actions and feelings. The act creates a venue for members to reflect society in order to better comprehend how others think and learn more about life. When used positively, the system heals wounds and prepares the minds of the concerned parties for a peaceful reconciliation; nonetheless, it frequently stirs the mind toward violence rather than peace, which is why war songs are useful during times of crisis.
On African music, whether it’s folk or art, according to Avorgbedor in Olaleye (2014), music is more of a stage art that inspires both active and participatory listening. If the musicians were in the audience, they would point fingers at the members of the public whose irresponsible behavior they criticize. This presentation method heightens the senses of sight and hearing, eliciting a loud response from the audience. The effect of this outweighs the stimulus-response effect of listening to recorded music. Music appeals to the conscience either directly or indirectly, and the sort of music one listens to in times of distress has a significant impact on the actions that follow, implying that tranquil music is appropriate in times of distress. In this sense, Avorgbedor in Olaleye mentions that the music Oh Plateau has the above attribute. Though there are some elements of acculturation affected by the western harmonic style and usage of the piano, which is a Western musical instrument, the music is totally Africanist, and the African dexterity is fully engaged in the creation.
Contextual Analytical Structure of Oh Plateau
‘Oh Plateau’ is a four-part choral piece with a solo soprano voice. It is a song that describes the mourning of an ethno-religious conflict in a community that was formerly tranquil, using both English and Pidgin English. From bars 1 to 16, the music is introduced by a chorus and piano, followed by accompaniment from the drum set, maracas, wood block, and joint in bars 17 to 85, with the soprano solo vocal taking the lead in bar 14. The music is light in order to convey the song’s sad humour. The music, which is totally a mix-structural composition with accompaniment, incorporates numerous melodic, rhythmic, and other techniques of African music. There are a variety of expression patterns, both long and short, as well as textual and melodic motifs that are repeated. It’s written in a straightforward triple time signature. The first section of the music may be referred to as the theme of the music, which is summarized in the introduction first section in chorus form (bar 1-14), while the section where the lead voice takes command from the crotchet note of bar 14 to make the solo voice dominant while the chorale hums quietly in harmony in the background may be referred to as the second section of the music.
From bar 1 until bar 25, this is the introduction. Three separate melodic phrases are included in this part, all of which are influenced by the texts. The melodic phrases, on the other hand, are repeated several times as a signal of stress and to lengthen the music. The first phrase, which finishes in bar 11, has four exact repetitions of the melodic phrase; the second, which runs from bar 11 to bar 19, has four melodic phrases as well; and the third, which runs from bars 19 to 25, has two melodic phrases. The middle portion runs from bars 28 to 81. Low-pitched tunes are prevalent in this section. The melody varies in pitch from middle to low. Every sorrowful text’s true effect is best portrayed through low-pitched songs. This is typical of African melody, in which the melody is determined by the content of the lyrics. This section contains the true lamentation of this woman, who bemoans her unfortunate situation while comparing her situation to that of her other fortunate mates, and also begs forgiveness from her parents for defying their advice in selecting a spouse. The last section, from bar 87 to bar 103, is a recapitulation of the first. A six-bar interlude with xylophones and other instruments sets the tone for this section.
‘Oh Plateau’, The text is a continuous nature story that is linked to the script. There is a logical structure of the various segments or phrases of the story using repetitions here and there. The music is a deliberate selection of complete and partial repetitions of numerous textual and rhythmic ideas fused together by the continuous harmony of the accompanying piano and certain African instruments prolonged the work to a definitive end of (85) bars.
The tempo of the music Oh Plateau is allegro ad-libitum Con spirito while the metronome mark is 120. The music’s pace has not been changed, and there are no any dynamics markers. However, the songs contain sad and melancholy passages, and the performer is free to express those sections as an advocate for true reconciliation, religious tolerance, and national togetherness.
Mood and Character
Oh Plateau tells the story of the sectarian strife that has consumed Jos, Plateau, since Jihadist Othman Dan Fodio’s unsuccessful invasion on the city in 1800. The song was written by heartbroken female soloists who formerly lived in Jos Plateau and observed and cherished peace. The chord progression and sound of the accompanying instruments created additional special chord embellishments that painted the storyline in order to truly bring out the sad feelings of the storyline, but the sad feelings in the music were primarily achieved through the singer’s vocal manipulations.
Range and Tessitura
Oh Plateau is written in Key E flat major in the diatonic scale for the vocal and instrumental parts. The larges spectrum of compasses covered by the vocal part is illustrated below.
Helen, H.& Rafiki, U. (2019) Music, Violence, and Peace-Building, Peace Review, 31:3, 279-288, DOI: 10.1080/10402659.2020.1735163
Olaleye, O. A. (2014). Analytical Probing of ordered music for the promotion of global peace, security and ordered world. Nigerian Music review, 14, 1- 18.
Olusegun, T. (2014). Textual analysis of selected songs that address issue of food security awareness in Nigeria. Nigerian Music Review, 13, 24-36.
Zabadi, I.S. (2001) Fundamentals of Strategy. Unpublished lecture note. Abuja National Defense College Nigeria.
Nzewi, M. (1997). African Music: Theoretical content and creative continuum, The culture-exponent’s definition. African Studies Review 46(3):157. DOI:10.2307/1515066
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