Journal of
Music and Dance

  • Abbreviation: J. Music Dance
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2360-8579
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMD
  • Start Year: 2011
  • Published Articles: 23

Full Length Research Paper

A synchronic study of semantics in selected Akan choral compositions in Ghana

Emmanuel Obed Acquah
  • Emmanuel Obed Acquah
  • Department of Music Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Joshua Alfred Amuah*
  • Joshua Alfred Amuah*
  • Department of Music, School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
John Francis Annan
  • John Francis Annan
  • Department of Music Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
James Tsemafo-Arthur
  • James Tsemafo-Arthur
  • Department of Music, Methodist University College, Dansoman-Accra, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 April 2015
  •  Accepted: 02 June 2015
  •  Published: 30 June 2015


In the performance traditions of choral music in Ghanaian community, understanding the text of the music is but one facet of extremely important aspects in performance. Unfortunately, some of the texts of some recent choral music compositions lack linguistic semantic representations. Performers are only mindful of the rhythm, melody and its associated harmony without even if the meaning of the song is not clear to them. Some of these songs lack meaning at the levels of sentential cohesion as well as the larger units of the text juxtaposed with the music. Through linguistic pragmatic theory, the authors attempt to unearth exegetically semantic illusions of five purposively sampled Akan choral music compositions by some Ghanaian composers and analyzed for their sensitivity to linguistic semantics. The paper concludes that linguistic semantics in choral music compositions is very important and deserves conscious and systematic considerations. It could be oblivious on the part of the composers but it is envisaged that the nature of this style of setting text to music is reduced significantly.

Key words: Choral music, linguistic pragmatics, Akan, texts, composition, semantics.