This exploratory study measured the generic music style preferences of urban South African adolescents using a cross-section of grade nine adolescent learners living in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is the third largest city in Africa and the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Quantitatively, through a survey, the research determined which music styles were preferred and qualitatively, through interviews, established the extent to which multifarious variables affected preference. LeBlanc’s Model of the Sources of Variation in Music Preference was used as the theoretical framework upon which the study was built. A similar study, completed ten years ago on South African urban adolescents, conducted by Jennifer James, inspired this study and was used as a point of departure for this project. James’s 2000 study was entitled, Generic Style Music Preferences of Urban South African Students. Examples of fifteen generic styles of music, selected from popular, classical and indigenous traditions, were used as music excerpts in the listening test (Music Preference Questionnaire). Through purposive sampling, a total of five-hundred and sixty-eight learners in grade nine participated in the study. The learner sample used was demographically true in its representation of the country’s population. Three broad categories of variables pertaining to preference were delineated and discussed within the study. These encompassed listener, music and environmental variables. Learner variables included: music training, gender (sex), ethnic group (race and language), socio-economic status, and age. Music variables pertaining to preference included: physiological properties of the stimulus [music], complexity of the stimulus [music], and referential meaning of the stimulus [music]. Environmental variables pertaining to preference included media, peer influence, family influence, and the influence of teachers and authority figures. The study revealed that the current generic music style preferences of South African urban adolescents in order of most to least preferred were: Rhythm and Blues, Western Pop, Kwaito, Reggae, House, Hip-Hop, South African Pop, Western Choral, Metal, Rock, Gospel Jazz, Traditional African, Western Classical and Indian Classical.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2011.