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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the question of musical temporality in broad historical perspective. Through a series of reflections on the philosophy of time, theories of musical time, and the material history of time in the past 250 years, the chapter outlines the basic temporal antinomies of the West. This modern conception of temporality, broadly construed as a precisely-segmented linear time set against narratives of alternative, cyclical time, is shown to be bound up with the project of colonial expansion. The chapter furthermore argues that the value brought to analyses of global time by new phenomenologies of listening, on the one hand, and by disjunctures and differences of polychronic scale, on the other, are grounded in ab initio exclusions of certain modes of practice and thought. By scrutinizing the double conceptions of rhythm and meter in relation to African musical practice, the chapter suggests an opening for thinking outside of hegemonic time.

Keywords: temporality, African music, philosophy of time, meter, rhythm, colonialism, linear time, cyclic time, absolute time, swing

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