Poetry in the music of Amu

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The work of the comparatist is most interesting and very rewarding. Interrelations of literature as a category of Comparative Literature is an approach researcher of Comparative Literature utilise to compare and contrast the Literature inherent in various disciplines of learning, for instance Literature and law, Literature and religion, Literature and politics and many others. In this dissertation, I have attempted to examine the literature in relation to music, specifically, the musical compositions of Amu: an effort to unearth literature from music. Amu wrote so many songs numbering exactly two hundred pieces, but for the purpose of this research, I sampled thirteen songs which include his sacred and secular works. The dissertation traces aspects of Amu’s life history that are relevant to his musical career and then discusses his works within the three broad categories of the Early Songs, Middle Songs and Later Songs. My research reveals that within these categories there are always literary and linguistic values in Amu’s works. When these works examined against the socio-cultural background of the poet, there is literary value; and when scrutinized as purely literary and linguistic materials, there is even more to discover. That is, always in Amu’s song-texts there is a treasure of literary and linguistic peculiarities of poetry. It has been observed over the years that some works such those of Shakespearean, Chaucerian, Homeric and Aristotelian never die out but are read and re-read over the centuries. This condition gives these works significance and lends them vatic qualities. Without seeming to be presumptuous, I think Amu and his works may be reckoned within the category. His earliest works, written in the nineteen twenties, are still sung today. In decades and generations to come, these songs will still be sung both in Ghana and elsewhere and the world will continue to gain from the counsel, warning and awakening which they give. This dissertation, based on the thirteen samples selected, puts forward a thesis, which acclaims Amu as a seer and a prophet. His works are discovered to possess abiding themes and an enduring aesthetic beauty. It is for all these reasons outlined above that I have chosen to title this thesis:
A Dissertation presented to the Department of Languages, Faculty of Social Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the M.A. Degree in Comparative Literature, 1999.