Kirby Collection (SA Collection of Music)


Kirby Collection (SA Collection of Music) is an internationally recognized collection of South African music gathered by the late Scottish Professor Percival Kirby after his arrival in South Africa in the early 1900's. Aware that the music of many local communities was dying out under western influence, he undertook an extensive study of the music practices of South African people and developed a vast collection of music instruments.

Through these expeditions, his collection and research became the basis of his book The Musical Instruments of the Native Races of South Africa. This book still remains the standard reference on the subject.

The artifact has more than 600 music instruments, the majority of which were used in Southern Africa prior to 1934. It includes instruments made and played by all indigenous Southern African groups.

Music instruments such as the Venda mbila and the Tswana reed flutes which are now extinct make up the greatest part of his collection.

Each item in the collection has been digitally photographed and linked to the database which will be made available for research purposes in the future.

It is housed on the ground floor of the South African College of Music and is currently only available for research to University staff and students.

ZACape Town, South Africa


Kirby Collection
Profile added by Ano Shumba on 01 Sep 2015
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