Understanding African Music introduces important African musical concepts to musicians and the general public alike. Although it is designed for music students aged 14 - 18, this beautifully produced book serves well as a broad introduction to African music for general readers as well. With chapters based on African elements of music, the text explains key principles of music making in sub-Saharan Africa. Included in each chapter is a straight forward explanation of a musical concept under discussion, a case study of one particular musical practice that illustrates that concept, and several classroom activities which allow students to get hands-on experience with music making the employs the concept.
The book is richly illustrated with photographs, 96 audio tracks and 3 video tracks, all drawn from the archives of its publisher, the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in South Africa. The book's unique value lies in the way in makes teaching music from another culture, time and worldview accessible in contemporary classrooms. An understanding of the starting points of the philosophy behind African music making is essential in order to acquire a deeper appreciation for the music. This book provides the means to explore and perform African music in classroom settings, guided by the music’s values, and thereby offers a unique way to develop and enhance students’ musicianship.