In African societies generally, social commentaries as well as issues regarding etiquettes and
societal values are clearly articulated in satirical musical performances. This is one notable way
to ensure some measure of social control and foster cohesion among the people. Previous
studies on Yàgbà people are scanty. The few available ones have not undertaken
ethnomusicological analyses of Ìrègún music, even when the continuity of the genre is greatly
threatened. This study, therefore, focused on Ìrègún, a trado-satirical musical genre of the
Yàgbà in Kogi State, Nigeria. Both the traditional and contemporary performance structure and
function of Ìrègún music were documented.
The theories of socio-cultural and structural-functionalism were adopted for the study. Primary
data were collected through 6 In-depth and 6 Key Informant interviews of leaders and members
of Ìrègún musical groups from Yàgbà-West, Yàgbà-East and Mopamuro Local Government
Areas of Kogi State. Focus Group Discussion were also conducted with chiefs and elders in
each of the LGAs in addition to three Participant Observation and 6 Non-Participant
Observation methods. Music recordings, photographs of Ìrègún performances, and 53 songs
and chants were purposefully sampled. Secondary data were collected through library, archival
and Internet sources. Data analyses were carried out through transcription of the songs and
chants with Sibelius and Finale music software, textual and content analysis.
The structural analysis of Ìrègún music revealed that Ìrègún songs are in call and response,
antiphonal, through-composed, strophic and strophic responsorial forms. The predominant song
scales employed were tritonic, tetratonic, pentatonic, hexatonic, heptatonic and while the
rhythmic types were essentially trochaic, iambic, dactylic, anapestic, spondaic and tribrachic.
The melodic form were classified into ternary, quartenary, quintenary and sextenary, while the
harmonic forms in Ìrègún music were monophony, polyphony, polarity, and heterophony. The chants were characterised by musical intonation, narrow melodic range, tonal sequences and
tonal contrasts. Although closely interwoven, Ìrègún performance practice was structured into
preparation, actual and post-performance, while chanting, singing, playing of instruments and
dancing formed the performance dimensions. Instruments used in accompanying Ìrègún music
include ìyá-ìlù, omele ako, omele abo and gúdúgúdú which were all drums, as well as sèkèrè
(rattle) and igan (flute). Observable changes in Ìrègún musical groups were: the admission of
willing youths as members and the preference of praise songs above insult songs. Among the
Yàgbàs, performing contexts shape Ìrègún musical functions, which include education, caution,
counselling, criticism, chronological reference, entertainment, drive and praise of individuals
and group of persons in Yàgbà communities.
The ìrègún music, with a predominant trochaic and monophonic structure, performs largely
satirical and praise functions. Thus, despite its threat of extinction, it serves as a veritable
mirror and cultural preserver in Yàgbà communities. Given these social roles, ìrègún should be
promoted by the government of Kogi State and Non-Governmental Organizations through
regular sponsor of their performances in order to sustain and globally popularise the tradition.
Future studies on ìrègún music should concentrate on technological innovations in the
construction of its instruments.
The Public Access, L (2021). STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ÌRÈGÚN MUSIC IN YÀGBÀLAND, KOGI STATE. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 08, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/structure-and-function-of-iregun-music-in-yagbaland-kogi-state
Library, The Public Access. "STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ÌRÈGÚN MUSIC IN YÀGBÀLAND, KOGI STATE" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 23 Mar. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/structure-and-function-of-iregun-music-in-yagbaland-kogi-state . Accessed 08 May. 2021.
Library, The Public Access. "STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ÌRÈGÚN MUSIC IN YÀGBÀLAND, KOGI STATE". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 23 Mar. 2021. Web. 08 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/structure-and-function-of-iregun-music-in-yagbaland-kogi-state >.
Library, The Public Access. "STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ÌRÈGÚN MUSIC IN YÀGBÀLAND, KOGI STATE" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 08, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/structure-and-function-of-iregun-music-in-yagbaland-kogi-state