These recordings were gathered from a variety of sources and dates. They were compiled to be used as a sampler of Anuak Music for courses in Ethnomusicology. These selections were taken from over 850 songs that were gathered and are representative of the music heard among the Anuak.

The stylistic characteristics of Anuak music -

  • Melody. The shape of Anuak songs is predominantly downward from a high beginning. Anuak songs display a wide pitch level range with the soloist part higher than the chorus parts. Pentatonic modes predominate. What chromaticism there is may be attributed to acculturative influences. Some improvisation is present but most songs are composed and performed with little alteration. Melodies are sung with an open, full-bodied, carrying quality. Full-bodied performance is typical of the Anuak.

  • Harmony. Harmony in Anuak music is minimal and only occurs in vocal music where solos and chorus overlap or when the soloist rounds off his own phrase while the chorus continues. Some harmony is found in the performance of the Anuak thom and possibly the thumb piano. Monophonic singing without the addition of harmony seems to be the dominant mode of performance among the Anuak.

  • Rhythm. Rhythm is dependent on some instrument for pulse and accompaniment. When an accompaniment is present, the pulse is strongly duple with some triplet feeling overlying. Without some form of rhythmic accompaniment, songs tend to wander in a type of free nonmetrical chant. Cross rhythms occur in the performance of the master drummer against the consistent beat of the smaller drums. Each type of music tends to have its own type of rhythmic accompaniment which is a way of identifying the genre.

  • Form. The overall performance form is call and response. At times there is an overlapping of parts and the relative length of calls to responses varies considerably. But the concept of a soloist and a chorus is the pattern for the great bulk of Anuak music.