The Songs of Madosini - Musical Differences In a Composite Design

Hans Huyssen

This short article serves as a programme note for The Songs of Madosini, contained on the CD appended to this issue of the journal. Apart from describing the composition structurally and dramaturgically, it suggests that beyond its musical effect the work's more important function is perhaps that of a 'social intervention' as its musical performances invariably facilitate deep intercultural exchanges, for which South Africa's society otherwise hardly provides comparable forums. The composition is based on an appreciation of musical differences as well as a conviction that these differences concern each other in ways that are concurrently constraining and enabling. It thereby evinces systemic qualities not contained in any single style in isolation, but qualities and properties that emerge only from the interactions of stylistic juxtapositions. Striving to arrive at a uniquely local and inclusive style of performance practice, the work implicitly suggests that what might be termed a 'specifically South African idiom' is principally attainable only on such a systemically complex level.

Journal Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa
Year 2014
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 89-97

Huyssen, Hans (2014) The Songs of Madosini - Musical Differences In a Composite Design. In: Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 89-97. Available at


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