Publications

Download a list of my publications [pdf],

look me up on ORCID or Google Scholar,
or see the list below.

Book

 

Polak, Rainer (2004) Festmusik als Arbeit, Trommeln als Beruf. Jenbe-Spieler in einer westafrikanischen Großstadt. Berlin: Reimer Verlag. ISBN 978-3-496-02840-6

 

Download an extract (chapts. 1-3) of the book [pdf].

Download the audio samples [zip].

 

Young Scholars Award 2004

African Studies Association in Germany

Rainer Polak's book cover page

 

Articles, Chapters/Entries, and refereed Proceedings

 

in press

 

Polak, Rainer (in press): Evidence for an 80–100 ms lower limit for metric subdivision in West African percussion ensemble music. Empirical Musicology Review.

 

Polak, Rainer (in press) Non-isochronous meter is not irregular. A review of theory and evidence. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 2015, Berlin, edited by Aydintan, Marcus, Florian Edler, Laura Krämer, and Roger Graybill. Hildesheim: Olms.

 

Polak, Rainer (in press) Jembe Music. Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World (EPMOW), Part III (Genres), Volume 12. London: Bloomsbury.

 

2017

 

Neuhoff, Hans, Rainer Polak, and Timo Fischinger (2017) Perception and Evaluation of Timing Patterns in Drum Ensemble Music from Mali. Music Perception 34 (4), 438–451.
DOI: 10.1525/mp.2017.34.4.438 [pdf]

 

London, Justin, Rainer Polak, and Nori Jacoby (2017) Rhythm histograms and musical meter: A corpus study of Malian percussion music. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , 24(2), 474–480. 

doi: 10.3758/s13423-016-1093-7      [pdf]

 

2016

 

Polak, Rainer, Justin London, and Nori Jacoby (2016) Both isochronous and non-isochronous metrical subdivision afford precise and stable ensemble entrainment: A corpus study of Malian jembe drumming. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, 285. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00285    [full text]

 

2015

 

Polak, Rainer (2015) Pattern and Variation in the Timing of Aksak Meter: Commentary on Goldberg. Empirical Musicology Review 10(4).  doi: 10.18061/emr.v10i4.4883     [full text]

 

2014

 

Polak, Rainer, and Justin London (2014) Timing and Meter in Mande drumming from Mali. Music Theory Online 20(1).  [full text]

 

Polak, Rainer (2014) Bala; Bara; Bàtá; Bendre; Bonkolo; Dùndún; Dunun; Jembe; Sabar; Tama. New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Polak, Rainer (2014) Die Djembe. Eine Trommel aus Westafrika im Kontext der Globalisierung. In: Gyula Racz und Hermann Schwandner (Hg.), Das große Buch der Schlagzeugpraxis. Regensburg: ConBrio, 219–39.  [pdf]

 

2013

 

London, Justin, and Rainer Polak (2013) Microtiming in Ngòn: Categorical production and perception of a non-isochronous meter. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, edited by Aaron Williamon and Werner Goebl. European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), Brussels, Belgium: 645–650. [full text]

 

Polak, Rainer, and Justin London (2013) Mande ensemble drumming: An introduction to Ngòn. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, edited by Aaron Williamon and Werner Goebl. European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), Brussels, Belgium: 639–644. [full text]

 

2012 and earlier

 

Polak, Rainer (2012) Urban Drumming: Traditional Celebration Music in a West African City (Bamako). In: Eric Charry (ed.) Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World. Indiana University Press (African Expressive Cultures), 261–281.  [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2010) Rhythmic Feel as Meter: Non-Isochronous Beat Subdivision in Jembe Music from Mali. Music Theory Online 16(4).   [full text]

 

Polak, Rainer (2007) Performing Audience: On the Social Constitution of Focused Interaction at Celebrations in Mali. Anthropos 102(1), 3–18.   [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2005) Drumming for Money and Respect. The Commercialization of Traditional Celebration Music in Bamako. In: Jansen, Jan and Stephen Wooten (eds.), Wari Matters: Ethnographic Explorations of Money in the Mande World. Münster: LIT, 135–161.   [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2004) Die Kommerzialisierung der Hochzeitsfestmusik in Bamako. In: Beck, Kurt, Till Förster und Hans Peter Hahn (Hrsg.), Blick nach vorn. Festgabe für Gerd Spittler zum 65. Geburtstag. Köln: Köppe, 235–249.  [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2001) Festmusik: Zur Ethnographie musikalischer Gattungen in Westafrika. In: Marianne Bröcker (Hrsg.), Berichte aus dem ICTM-Nationalkomitee Deutschland IX/X. Bamberg: Universitätsbibliothek, 19–50.  [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2001) Ein Musikinstrument geht um die Welt. Zur Verflechtung lokaler, nationaler und internationaler Kontexte im Bamakoer Jenbe-Spiel. In: Bauer, Ulrich, Henrik Egbert und Frauke Jäger (Hrsg.), Interkulturelle Beziehungen und Kulturwandel in Afrika. Beiträge zur Globalisierungsdebatte. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang Verlag, 291–312.   [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2000) A Musical Instrument Travels Around the World: Jenbe Playing in Bamako, in West Africa, and Beyond. The World of Music 42(3), 7–46. * Reprinted (2006) in: Post, Jennifer (ed.), Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader. NY: Routledge Press, 161–185. * Reprinted again (2012) in: Baumann, Max Peter (ed.), Readings in Ethnomusicology. Berlin: VWB Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 134–170.  [pdf] [audio samples zip]

 

Polak, Rainer (1998) Jenbe Music in Bamako: Microtiming as Formal Model and Performance Practice. Iwalewa-Forum 2, 24–46.

 

Books of Music (Transcriptions of Field Recordings)

 

Polak, Rainer (2008) The Jenbe Realbook, Vol 2. Nürnberg: Bibiafrica.

 [pdf, English] * [pdf, Deutsch]

 

Polak, Rainer (2006) The Jenbe Realbook, Vol 1. Nürnberg: Bibiafrica.

[pdf, English] * [pdf, Deutsch]

 

CD-Liner Notes (Selection)

 

Polak, Rainer (2008) The Mali Tradition: The Art of Djembe Drumming, Vol 2. Nürnberg: Bibiafrica  [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (2006) The Mali Tradition: The Art of Djembe Drumming, Vol 1. Nürnberg: Bibiafrica  [pdf]

 

Polak, Rainer (1997) Dònkili – Call to Dance. Festival Music from Mali. PAN CD 2060  [pdf]

 

Reviews of Books and CD

 

Polak, Rainer (1999) Andreas Meyer: Afrikanische Trommeln. The World of Music 41/1.

 

Polak, Rainer (1999) Gilbert Rouget: Guinée. Musique Malinké. The World of Music 41/2.

 

Polak, Rainer (1999) Thomas Hale: Griots and Griottes. The World of Music 41/3.

 

Radio Features, Bayern 4 Klassik (Bavarian State Broadcasting)

 

Polak, Rainer (2008) Musik der Griots. Part 1: Was ist ein Griot? Preisgesänge, Heldensagen und Popmusik aus Westafrika

 

Polak, Rainer (2008) Musik der Griots. Part 2: Griots in der Diaspora

 

Braun, Herbert, and Rainer Polak (2006) Ali Farka Touré und die Legende vom Mali-Blues

 

Polak, Rainer (2005) Sanza, Mbira, Kalimba: Lamellophon-Musik aus Zentral- und Ost-Afrika

 

Polak, Rainer (2005) Balafon-Musik aus Westafrika. Part 1: Ursprünge

 

Polak, Rainer (2005) Balafon-Musik aus Westafrika. Part 2: Auf der Höhe der Zeit

 

Polak, Rainer (2004) Tam-tam global? Die Djembe-Trommel aus Westafrika. Part 1: Festmusik

 

Polak, Rainer (2004) Tam-tam global? Die Djembe-Trommel aus Westafrika. Part 2: Feed-Back

 

Polak, Rainer (2002) Tala Tarangini – Wellen des Rhythmus. Das Karnataka College of Percussion und die Trommelkunst in der klassischen Musik Südindiens

 

Polak, Rainer (2001) Afrikanische Harfenisten zwischen Hofmusik und Weltmusik: Kora-Musik aus Mali