ORAL TO WRITTEN: AN ELECTRONIC APPROACH TO DOCUMENTATION OF THE NIGERIAN FOLK AND POPULAR MUSIC GENRES. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON MUSIC
The development of the Musical Instrument Digital Interference (MIDI) system has been a major catalyst in the recent unpredicted explosion of music technology. The MIDI provides new and time saving tools for music documentation. This work explores the MIDI and its prospects to the Nigerian setting as it concerns the use of modern technology to achieve proper documentation of Nigerian folk and popular music genres. Data for this study came from primary and secondary sources. Oral interviews and practical demonstrations served as the instruments of the primary source. Books, magazines, journals, and the Internet constituted the secondary sources. It was discovered that the Musical Instrument Digital Interference (MIDI) is a remarkable system that enables composers to manage quantities of complex information and allow synthesizers, computers, sound modules, drum machines and other electronic devices from many manufacturers to communicate with each other. The MIDI further enhances music notation, printing and publishing of folk and popular music styles and expressions hitherto limited oral traditions of transmission. The study concludes by offering useful recommendations as panacea for musicians, music lovers and indeed the art community.
Music as a human phenomenon, though ethnic bound, has a universal appeal. This appeal is better understood and appreciated when it is documented in an easily understandable and readily retrievable form. A common belief is that African folk and popular music genres could only be paraphrased and not possibly put in their real pictures. On the contrary, however, Nketia (1993) opines:
What Africa needs at this period in her history are not only collectors but researchers who will combine collecting with scholarly studies, researchers who can see the implications of what they collect for culture and development, education and creativity or for scholarly investigation into traditional and contemporary problems in their particular field of African studies, Africans in full command of materials they collect (p. 5).
There is no future where there is no present; hence, the present affects the future. Man has always and will perhaps never relent in searching for facts yet unknown to him, for answers to questions yet unanswered.