Karin RauFollow




Worship and Music - Ethnomusicology


Master of Arts (MA)


Katherine Morehouse


Africa, Dagara, Ghana, Gyil, Mass, Music


Ethnomusicology | Music | Music Education | Musicology | Music Performance | Music Practice | Music Theory | Other Music


This paper explores the music of Dagara Masses in Ghana. The Dagara people are defined and described according to the geography of their land and linguistic dialects spoken in the region. A discussion of cultural indicators highlights traditional occupations, family structure, and social practices. Dagara musical practices are outlined by function and include descriptions of instruments and how they are played. Examination of indigenous religious beliefs describe the behaviors, values, and symbols that permeate Dagara life. A summary of the Dagara's encounter with Christianity sets the scene for present-day celebrations of the Mass. Through observation and interview, research was conducted to uncover the correlations between Dagara church music and worship, discipleship, and evangelism. Musical rituals of the Mass and Christian belief systems are compared to rituals and beliefs of traditional life. A case study narrating the liturgy of the Mass exemplifies the musical practices of an ordinary Dagara Mass. Descriptions of musical phenomena include photos, audio, transcriptions of music, and translations of text. An examination of musical elements, functions, composition, transmission, and meanings of Dagara church music highlight its prominent role in the Africanization of Christianity in Dagara communities. Finally, a song collection of Dagara church music provides musical data for music preservation and analysis.

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