Rita Adaobi Sunday-Kanu, Eyiuche Rita Modeme


Every culture in Nigeria is endowed with rich musical heritage which when harnessed, results in production of various genres of music. Nigerian contact with the outside world resulted to interborrowing and influence on Nigerian musical culture which resulted to numerous genres of music in Nigeria such as Highlife music, Juju music; Afrobeat pop music and art music. Common thing with these musical genres is the blend of Nigerian and western musical elements. Art music composition which is music composed by schooled musicians or musicians who received formal Western music training is a good description of fusion of Nigerian folk music idioms and Western musical structure. Art music in Nigeria has continued to evolve since after the establishment of mission schools in Nigeria where art music composers received the initial formal training on the art and techniques of music composition. Hence, the objective of this study is to bring to fore, the giant strides in the development of art music in Nigeria, with emphasis on the contribution of women music scholar and art music composer. Onwuekwe's compositions and arranged works demonstrate the contributions of devoted and hardworking women scholars and composers in the development of art music in Nigeria. This study therefore, concentrates on Agatha Onwuekwe's works as sample materials in the discourse of women's contributions in the development of art music in Nigeria. Her contributions to music education and the development of art music in Nigeria were considered. To achieve these set objectives relevant archival materials were reviewed, Onwuekwe's works were collected, interviews and observational method were also employed for data collection. Following critical evaluation of Onwuekwe's output in terms of compositions and arranged music works for different purpose, findings suggest that she made immense contribution as woman in the development of art music composition and music education in Nigeria. It is therefore recommended that her composed and arranged works be used in tertiary institution as instructional material for ensemble studies and for reference purposes.

Keywords: Music, Art music, Composition, Composer, Music education.

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