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The Musical Instruments of the Indigenous People of South Africa
  • Publisher: Wits University Press
  • Online publication date: April 2018
  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online ISBN: 9781868146062
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Book description

Percival Kirby was a musician and ethnomusicologist and for many years head of the music department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Between 1923 and 1933 he undertook more than nine expeditions as well as many shorter excursions around South Africa. He was hosted by local chiefs and taught to play the instruments he encountered. He managed to purchase many of them, and this collection, now known as the Kirby Collection, is housed at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town. First published as Musical Instruments of the Native Races of South Africa in 1934, the book was the culmination of research trips undertaken by Percival Kirby. It became the standard reference on indigenous South African musical instruments. The bulk of the material is concerned with detailed information on the making and playing of each instrument, and is accompanied by a large number of musical examples. This third edition contains an introduction by Mike Nixon, Head of the Ethnomusicology and African Music at the South African College of Music, and new reproductions of the valuable historic photographs, but leaves Kirby’s original text unchanged.

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