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  • Christopher Ballantine


A pan-ethnic city music, developed in South Africa’s urban slums (principally those of Johannesburg) during the second and third decades of the 20th century. A rhythmically propulsive dance music, marabi was forged principally by unschooled keyboard players who were a notorious part of the culture and economy of illegal slumyard liquor dens. Harmonically, it rested upon a cyclical pattern stretched over four measures, with one measure per chord: I–IV–I6-4–V. The cyclical nature of this style clearly derived from indigenous sources, repetitive harmonic patterns being typical of traditional African musics....

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