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Chapter 3: African Music

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Many ethnic groups, languages and style areas throughout continent ... 'Ashanti' area; cocoa, minerals, timber. North: low bush, savannah; 64-102 degrees ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 3: African Music


1
Chapter 3 African Music
2
  • Population over 800 million (2000 estimate)
  • Extremely diversified languages cultures
  • Continuously changing for thousands
  • of years

3
Cultural Groups
  • Many ethnic groups, languages and style areas
    throughout continent
  • Ideally the songs, language, oral literature,
    instrumental music, theater arts and dance should
    all be explored together.
  • Sharing occurs between groups with cultural
    similarities (language, region, etc.)
  • Outside influence started long ago, mostly in
    Northern and Eastern Africa

4
Early Instruments
  • Early history the musical bow
  • Also plucked lutes harps.
  • Rock engraving of an eight-string harp found 18th
    century bce (south of the Sahara). Many types of
    African harps, but no harps south of equator.
  • 8th to 14th centuries, bells and gongs found.
    Written accounts in 1586, gourd-resonated
    xylophones

5
Cultural Elements
  • Music and dance are inseparable
  • Ancestor reverence (worship?) specialists
    recounting stories of powerful families and
    important rulers.
  • The social roles of the so-called talking drums
    of West and Central Africa (the pitch can be
    changed by pushing on or squeezing drum)

6
Dance/Music Usage
  • Dances often serve ritual purposes, marking
    stages of life involving music (initiation rites,
    weddings, funerals, ancestral ceremonies, etc.)
    or trance states
  • Often, dances are social with only veiled ritual
    purpose, if any.

7
Dances Typically in Groups and in Circles or Lines
8
Musical Traditions
  • Generally learned through oral tradition to
    students deemed worthy of training by virtue of
    ancestry.
  • In socially stratified societies, musical
    professionalism by jalolu (Griot) or by
    specialized court musicians.

9
Musical Characteristics Found in Much African
Music
  • Repetition
  • Pentatonics
  • Non-Western sense of pitch
  • Choral singing
  • Solo singing
  • Call-and-response
  • Polyrhythm
  • Syncopation
  • Buzzing, rattling sound
  • Songs integrated into storytelling
  • Accompanied by body movement such as
    hand-clapping, dance and work.

10
African Rhythm Characteristics
  • Always at least two rhythms going on
  • 32 relationship is central
  • Cross-rhythms conflicting rhythmic patterns
    accents (Clave for example)
  • Integrally tied to dance, and so in some variety
    of duple or triple time (4/4 or 12/8)
  • Rhythm is to the African as Harmony is to the
    European

Chernoff, John Miller, African Rhythm and African
Sensibility, University of Chicago Press,
Chicago, 1979.
11
Two African Polyrhythms
12
Musical Instruments
  • Idiophones clap-sticks, bells, rattles,
    struck/shaken gourds, stamping tubes, xylophones,
    mbiras (thumb pianos).
  • Membranophone drums of all sorts.
  • Chordophones musical bow, lute, lyre, harp, and
    zither.
  • Aerophones flute, whistle, oboe, and trumpet.

13
Ghana
14
Ghana Geography and Economy
  • Near equator, coastline, in rain forest, heavily
    wooded hills, many rivers.
  • Ashanti area cocoa, minerals, timber. North
    low bush, savannah 64-102 degrees
  • Agriculture, fishing, forestry. Major cash crop
    is cocoa, also crops are rice, coffee, cassava,
    peanuts, and corn. Export cocoa, gold, timber,
    and various minerals.

15
Agbekor Music and Dance of the Ewe People
(I15-16)
  • Originally performed for war (control)
  • Linked to legend of monkey dance a monkey
    beating stick inspired the dance
  • Agbekor signifies enjoying life, and sacred oath
    to ancestors to fight bravely clear life

16
Learning and Performing Agbekor
  • Requires special training due to complexity
  • Rarely performed in villages now, but often
    performed in societies (mutual aid organizations,
    school and civic youth groups, theatrical
    performing companies)
  • The writer visited Anya Agbekor Society of Accra,
    dedicated to remembering old family members.

17
Agbekor basic drumming patterns
The first pattern is played by the double
bell It is ubiquitous to nearly all of
Africa.
18
Agbekor drumming patterns (cont.)
The next pattern to feel is the rattle handclap
pattern. What division of the meter are
we stressing? Is it what you thought we would
be playing?
19
Agbekorfullbackgroundpattern
20
Mande People of Mali
  • Lambango (CD 117) Mariatu Kuyateh, Kekuta Suso
    (kora), and Seni Jobateh
  • Griots (Jalolu) professional musicians who
    transmit oral history (of Mande people) through
    song.
  • Kora indigenous African spiked-bridge harp

21
Kora
22
Dagbamba of Ghana
  • Lunsi hereditary clan of drummers serve as
    verbal artist, counselor, cultural expert, etc.
  • Gung-gong lunga drums (specific names for
    double-headed drums)
  • Nag Biegu (CD 118)

23
Shona of Zimbabwe
  • Mbira thumb piano
  • Often placed inside a gourd resonator (deze)
  • Typically includes buzzing effect created by
    bottle caps or snail shells
  • Nhemamusasa (CD I19)
  • Nyarai (CD I20) Is there an Mbira influence
    here?

24
BaAka People of central Africa (Congo Basin)
  • Forest People, pygmies, a unique culture
  • Makala a Mabo (net hunting) song (CD 121)
  • Improvised, open-ended polyphonic vocal musical
    style with all people participating. How does
    this express the culture?

25
Djembe
  • The Djembe is the drum of the Mandinka people
    (Guinea), and its origins dates back to the great
    Mali Empire of the 12th century.
  • VERY popular drum world-wide
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