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Boris Schwarz

revised by F.C. Ricci

(b Alexandria, Egypt, Jan 28, 1898; d New York, Feb 19, 1994. American composer of Italian descent. He studied music with Frugatta in Milan (1912–17) as well as economics at the University of Milan, where he obtained a doctorate in 1917. After brief war service in the Italian army, he settled in Rome with his family and took up his composition studies again with Casella; he also received some tuition in orchestration from Respighi. In 1921 he met Berg, Alma Mahler and Franz Werfel in Vienna where he signed an exclusive, eight-year contract with Universal Edition. Schoenberg also showed great interest in his works, wishing to perform them in the concerts of the Society for Private Musical Performances. In the early 1920s he was associated with Massarani and Labroca in a group that called itself I Tre, in imitation of Les Six. His first international success came at the ISCM Festival in Prague in ...



Christian Poché


Small, circular frame drum with jingles, of the Arab countries (see Drum). It is used in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan and Syria; in Libya, where it is rare, it is called mriqq. It is between 20 and 25 cm in diameter and is now effectively a man’s instrument. Descended from the duff (see Daff), like the Ṭār, the riqq acquired its name in the 19th century so that it could be differentiated.

Essentially an instrument of music for the connoisseur, the riqq, which is also called daff al-zinjāri in Iraq, is played in takht ensembles (Egypt, Syria) or shālghī ensembles (Iraq) where it has a particularly clearcut role, going beyond the simple rhythmic requirements of the duff, ṭār or mazhar, and exploding in a burst of imaginative freedom to colour the orchestra with gleaming sounds: this is quite unlike the role of the duff. In Sudan, where it seems to have been introduced recently, the ...


Gregory F. Barz

[Pascal, Tabu; Rochereau le Seigneur]

(b Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov 13, 1940). Congolese composer, arranger and singer . Along with Joseph Kabasele (‘le Grand Kalle’) and ‘Franco’ Luambo Makiadi, Rochereau is considered to be one of the early innovators of Central African dance band music. His compositions are in the soukous style, a tradition originally drawing on elements of Cuban rumba recordings of the 1940s. At the age of 14 he composed ‘Besama Muchacha’, which was recorded by Kabasele’s L’African Jazz. Later when Rochereau joined Kabasele’s band he recorded ‘Kelia’, a song written for him by Kabasele. ‘Kelia’ was a success and propelled Rochereau into the public consciousness. Rochereau left Kabasele’s band in 1965, forming a new, experimental group with Nicholas Kasanda (‘Docteur Nico’), African Fiesta.

Rochereau has recorded over 2000 songs on over 100 albums. His performances characteristically combine South and North American popular dance elements to traditional Central African rhythms, instruments and harmonies. Artists who have trained and performed in his bands include Mbilia Bel and Sam Mangwana. Rochereau now makes his home in Los Angeles where he continues to lead L’Orchestre Afrisa International....


Gary Stewart

[Rogers, Sooliman Ernest]

(b Fornikoh, Sierra Leone, c1928; d London, July 4, 1994). Sierra Leonean songwriter and performer. A self-taught guitarist influenced by the music of country and western singer Jimmie Rodgers, Rogie performed in the palm wine style, steeped in the tradition of sailors' work songs and African traditional music. Rogie usually sang in Mende or Krio (languages of Sierra Leone), his smooth baritone voice accompanied by guitar and percussion.

As S.E. Rogers (Rogie was his nickname), Rogie began recording in the mid-1950s in Freetown. Rogie gained popularity with My Lovely Elizabeth, picked up by EMI in 1962. In 1965 he electrified his acoustic sound and formed a band called the Morningstars with whom he recorded some of his best material, including Baby Lef Marah and Man Stupid Being.

Rogie's fortunes declined in the 1970s. He moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1973 where he replaced Rogers with Rogie because it sounded more African. His career was reborn in ...


Harvey Sachs

(b Susah, Tunisia, March 8, 1933). Italian director . He spent his early years in Tunisia, Italy and Switzerland, and graduated in 1953 from the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica in Rome. For ten years he acted in plays by de Musset, Shaw, Wesker and several contemporary Italian authors, under such noted directors as Giorgio Strehler, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luigi Squarzina, Giorgio De Lullo and Virginio Puecher. He directed for the first time in 1963 (Goldoni’s La buona moglie at the Teatro Valle in Rome) but his first major success was a 1966 production of Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling at the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino. Since then he has directed an international repertory, classical and modern, in many Italian cities and in Paris, Vienna, Zürich and Belgrade. He was the founding director of a theatre laboratory at the Teatro Metastasio, Prato, in 1977 and has been director of the Teatro Stabile, Turin, since ...



Mahi Ismail

revised by Jamie Linwood

Xylophone of central Africa. The rongo of the Ndogo people of southern Sudan has ten ebony bars mounted on a wooden frame with ten matched gourd resonators attached below. A small hole in the bottom of each resonator is covered with a mirliton made from a spider’s egg sac. A leather strap attached to the ends of the frame enables the standing player to hang the instrument from his shoulders or neck. The frame extends in a semicircle that holds the instrument away from the player’s body (see illustration). The ten bars are pentatonically tuned and paired in octaves with the lowest pair at the player’s left, and the other pairs ascending in pitch from right to left. The musician uses a pair of rubber-headed beaters in each hand so that he can strike a bar and its lower octave simultaneously.

A form of this instrument, known as rango, is now played in Egypt, where it arrived with the Ndogo in successive waves of immigration, first when they came as conscripts into the Egyptian army in the 1820s and later as workers on cotton plantations. The ...


Nicol Viljoen

(b The Hague, Dec 17, 1952). South African composer of Dutch origin. He has been resident in South Africa since 1953. He studied at the Conservatory of Music, Pretoria (1969–71, 1974–5), the RAM, London (1977–8), the University of Stellenbosch (1987–9) and the University of Cape Town (1990–91), receiving the Master of Music and Dmus degrees in composition from the latter two institutions respectively. He was employed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation as a music assistant (1976–7), producer (1979–80) and music manager (1980–95). Since 1988 he has been on the board of directors of the Southern African Music Rights Organization. In 1996 he was appointed a senior lecturer in music theory and composition at the University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein; and since 1998 has been the director and head of the conservatory at the University of Stellenbosch....


Peter Cooke

revised by J. Gansemans

Two neighbouring republics in Central Africa.

Despite their differing contemporary political situations, the same three ethnic groups – the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa – are located in Rwanda and Burundi. From the 16th century the Tutsi kingdom of Rwanda has shared the history of Burundi. In both republics, the majority is Hutu, Bantu-speaking farmers culturally related to peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been dominated by Tutsi dynasties since the 16th century when these cattle-breeders arrived in Rwanda from the north. The Tutsi conquered the area and founded a feudal kingdom, wielding absolute power over the other population groups although they represented only about 15% of the total population. In the late 19th century, both Rwanda and Burundi were under German control and from 1920–62 were moved to Belgian colonial rule. In 1959, a Hutu uprising destroyed the Tutsi feudal hierarchy and overthrew the monarchy. Violent inter-ethnic rivalry between the Hutus and Tutsis culminated in the near-genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis in ...


David Coplan

(b Durban, Dec 7, 1924; d London, Aug 8, 1997). South African ethnomusicologist . He studied Bantu languages and phonetics at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg (1942–6), after which he became cultural recreation officer in the former Johannesburg Non-European Affairs Department. He promoted black cultural activities, including adult education in music and joined Hugh Tracey’s African Music Society and the Bantu Music Festival Committee. In 1952 he emigrated to England, where he became a lecturer in Bantu languages and African music at the School of Oriental and African studies, London. His research focussed on the music, language and literature of the Swazi and Zulu peoples. He was one of the first scholars to become interested in urban music in Africa, about which he wrote some ground-breaking analyses that have become essential reading for all students of African music. As a composer, his most prominent work was the national anthem of Swaziland, which was adopted in ...



Rainer Polak

[sabaro, serouba, saoruba, tantan(go)]

Family of drums and a drum/dance genre of Senegal and the Gambia. Specialist woodworkers carve the instruments from single pieces of hardwood. The drummers themselves attach the goatskin heads with wooden pegs. Most sabar drums are played with one bare hand and one light stick.

(1) In Senegal, sabar denotes a set of instruments associated with the griots of the Wolof people. The standard ensemble consists of two types of drums. The first type is slightly hourglass-shaped, open at the bottom; the single head (20–25 cm in diameter) is affixed to the pegs with extra lacings. Instruments of this type are often identified as sabar proper by outsiders, for instance on the international market for ‘ethnic’ percussion instruments. The nder, 80 to more than 100 cm tall, is the tallest and narrowest variety. Shorter and slightly more compact variants are called mbeng-mbeng (55–60 cm) and tungune (40–45 cm). The second type is slightly egg-shaped, has two heads 20–25 cm in diameter, and has no extra lacing around the pegs, making it easy to tune. The ...


Richard Wigmore

(b Rochovot, Israel, Jan 14, 1960). South African bass-baritone of Israeli birth. The son of an Israeli father and an English mother, he emigrated to South Africa with his family in 1966. After studying singing at the RNCM in Manchester and at the University of Toronto, Saks made his professional début in 1982, in the title role in The Mikado at Stratford, Ontario. He learnt his operatic craft in Germany, singing with the Gelsenkirchen Opera from 1985 to 1988 and the Bielefeld Opera from 1988 to 1991. From 1992 to 1994 he was principal bass-baritone with Scottish Opera. Although he was admired in roles such as Leporello, this period was marred by clashes with the management over the company’s style of productions. He made his Covent Garden début, as Mr Flint in Billy Budd, in 1995 and the following year sang his first major Wagner role, Daland (...


Christian Poché

(b Cairo, Jan 7, 1917; d Cairo, July 8, 1965). Egyptian music theorist and composer . He began his career as an inspector of music and later taught in Cairo. He was deeply impressed by the Western theory of musical temperaments, and tried to find a similar application within the Arab theory of music. He was a supporter of equal temperament and the division of the octave into 24 quarter equal tones. At first in his writings, he emphasized the problems raised by taṣwīr (transposition), and in 1947 he invented the al-būṣulah al-mūsīqiyyah (musical compass), which demonstrated that the transposition of any Arabic maqām was possible according to the circle of 5ths. As a composer he devoted himself to the composition of anāshīd (anthems), and pieces for children, chiefly printed in the Cairo journal al-Mūsīqá wa-al-Masraḥ.

‘Adhān al-Ṣalāt’ [The call to prayer], al-Majallah al-Mūsīqiyyah, no.94 (1940) al-Anāshīd al-Islāmiyyah [Islamic hymns] (Cairo, ...


Awatef Abdel Kerim

(b Alexandria, Oct 5, 1945). Egyptian composer. He took his first music lessons at the experimental music school in Helwan. At the age of 16 he continued his piano studies at the Cairo Conservatory, where he also studied composition with Gamal Abdel-Rahim and the Russian composer Guovany Michaelov. At that time he was already writing music for films and playing Egyptian light music in ensembles. After graduating in 1972 he pursued his musical studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Khachaturian (diploma, 1976). He then joined the Department of Composition and Conducting at the Cairo Conservatory, becoming an assistant professor there in 1997 teaching composition.

Salama’s output consists largely of popular music, especially orchestrated popular solo songs. His work in this field enjoys a wide popularity in Egypt and in Arab countries. He also composes for film, stage and television. Among his more serious art works is the opera-ballet ...


Richard Taruskin

[Liviyets (‘The Libyan’)]

Projected grand opera in four acts by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky to his own libretto after Gustave Flaubert’s novel; concert performance of fragments, Milan (RAI), 10 November 1980.

Three major scenes and three additional numbers were composed between autumn 1863 and spring 1866. The plot, set in Carthage during the Punic Wars, in many ways parallels that of Serov’s opera Yudif’ (‘Judith’, 1863), which may have excited Musorgsky’s interest in it. The title character (dramatic soprano), a Carthaginian priestess, seduces Mathô (baritone), a Libyan warrior (the alternative title character), so as to regain the sacred veil of the Goddess Tanit which Mathô has stolen from the temple. He is captured and tortured to death, while she, defiled by her exploit, dies in horror immediately thereafter.

Musorgsky never wrote the central dramatic scenes; opulent choral pageantry seems to have been his first interest. Two of the extant scenes represent magnificent temple rites: Act 2 scene ii (temple of Tanit, for women’s voices, including the theft of the veil) and Act 3 scene i (sacrifice to Moloch, for men’s voices, in hopes of regaining it). The short score of the somewhat sugary Tanit scene promises lavish obbligatos for harp, piano and glockenspiel. The remaining large number, a declamatory ...



Gerard Béhague

An Afro-Brazilian couple-dance and popular musical form. Originally ‘samba’ was a generic term designating, along with batuque, the choreography of certain circle-dances imported to America from Angola and the Congo. A characteristic element of the folk samba is the umbigada, an ‘invitation to the dance’ manifested by the touching of the couple’s navels. Singing always accompanies the dancing. Melodic contours are generally descending and melodies isometric. In the caipira (i.e. rural São Paulo) folk samba, singing is almost always in parallel 3rds. Mostly in binary metre, samba melodies and accompaniments are highly syncopated: a semiquaver–quaver–semiquaver figure is particularly characteristic. The dance gradually became urbanized by the late 19th century and urban versions differ substantially from rural folk sambas, but both feature responsorial singing between a soloist and chorus who sing alternating stanzas and refrain.

De Andrade, who studied the rural São Paulo samba in the 1930s, held that the samba was defined by its choreography rather than its musical structure. Its short texts, simpler than those of the urban forms, usually dealt with daily activities and followed the traditional seven-syllable verse pattern of Portuguese poetry, although variations of metre might occur as a result of improvisation in most texts. This variety influenced the caesura of the melodic line of the early urban sambas, in which the texts follow a strophic structure. In the rural samba the typical accompanying ensemble includes the ...



Clappers of the Hausa people of northern Nigeria. They are metal double clappers of dumb-bell shape (two shallow, connected cups) with small iron rings in holes around the rims of the cups, which can be oval, round, or pear-shaped. One pair is held in each hand, the fingers supporting the upper clapper, the thumb the lower. Women use them without other instruments to accompany religious songs during Islamic festivals and at wedding and name ceremonies....




Charles Timbrell

(bMazamet, Oct 24, 1916, dParis, Oct 20, 2008). French pianist and composer. After early piano studies in Morocco and Toulouse, he moved to Paris and studied with Yves Nat at the Conservatoire, where he received a premier prix in 1937. Subsequently he won premiers prix in harmony, fugue, accompaniment, and composition, and studied conducting with Charles Münch and Roger Désormière. In 1943 he was awarded the Prix de Rome, and for a time was active equally as a composer and a performer. An international soloist and chamber musician, Sancan was also a professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire (1956–85), where he became one of the leading teachers; among his students were Michel Béroff, Jean-Philippe Collard, Jean-Bernard Pommier, and Jacques Rouvier. His recordings include brilliant accounts of Ravel’s two concertos, conducted by Dervaux, and Beethoven’s five sonatas for cello and piano, with André Navarra. Sancan’s compositions, many of them published, include an opera ...


Josephine Wright

(b nr Guinea, West Africa, 1729; d London, Dec 14, 1780). English writer and composer of African descent. He was born on a slave ship en route from Guinea to Cartagena, Columbia (South America). At the age of two he was brought from Cartagena to England, where he was later befriended by John, 2nd Duke of Montagu, Mary, Duchess of Montagu and George Brudenell, 1st Duke of Montagu. Sancho reportedly appeared briefly in London productions of Othello and Oroonoko. After 1773 he opened a grocery and oil supply business in Westminster. He also corresponded with Laurence Sterne over the slave trade. Sancho is the earliest documented composer of African origin to have published music in the West. He published a collection of 62 songs, two sets of minuets and country dances for assorted instruments (all ‘Composed by an African’, London, c1767, c1769, c1770) and a set of ...