Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


Beeko, Eric Odame (2005) CREATIVE PROCESSES IN AKAN MUSICAL CULTURES: INNOVATION WITHIN TRADITION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (5MB) | Preview


CREATIVE PROCESSES IN AKAN MUSIC: INNOVATIONS WITHIN TRADITIONEric Odame Beeko, Ph.D.University of Pittsburgh, 2005The aim of this dissertation is to explain the creative processes in composition and performance of traditional music, and the subsequent innovations that emerge out of these processes in the musical traditions of the Akan people of Ghana. The study is premised on the fact that traditional musicians in the Akan culture, like most people on the surface of the earth, also have the natural capacity to consciously or unconsciously effect changes in their environments, play significant roles in most human-initiated change processes, and make contributions to both the material and institutional aspects of their culture, as their creative sensibilities or tendencies continue to bring about various forms of innovations from time to time. Based on this fact, the present study is oriented more toward the creative activities of individual composer-performers in the Akan society who are believed to be making profound contributions through their creative activities, consciously or unconsciously and directly or indirectly, to sustain the entire music traditions of Akan. Akan traditional music is transmitted orally and musicians literally compose the music either before or during performance; the music that they produce is either entirely new or a partial re-composition of pre-existing music. Accordingly, the study investigates the processes by which new ideas are generated and added to existing ones. It examines how Akan traditional musicians, working within the constraints imposed by the artistic parameters of the culture, consciously and subconsciously generate new ideas as they reproduce, reconstruct, reorder, and reinterpret the existing musical elements through their creative processes, and as a result bring about innovation in the tradition. These innovations are a necessary factor for sustaining the tradition, and for making it relevant to every period. Although the primary focus of this study is the Akan culture, it, however, highlights several issues—relating to creativity, change and innovation—that may also concern many cultures of Africa. Therefore, by using the Akan culture as a premise, what the study also seeks to establish is that an approach to the study of social change in relation to African art in general cannot focus on institutions without taking into account the human creative activities. The human creative tendencies that reveal both the innate capacity (the personality) and the culturally acquired knowledge are of primary relevance in understanding both change and continuity, particularly in Africa, and generally in any oral tradition.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Beeko, Eric
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEuba, Akin Oaeuba@pitt.eduAEUBA
Committee MemberAdjaye, Josephjadjaye@pitt.eduJADJAYE
Committee MemberLewis, Marylsm@pitt.eduLSM
Committee MemberDavis, Nathan Tndavis@pitt.eduNDAVIS
Committee MemberAgawu,
Date: 3 October 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 April 2005
Approval Date: 3 October 2005
Submission Date: 18 August 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ghanaian Music; Akan Music; Music Performance
Other ID:, etd-08182005-132513
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item