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Section Five: African Music Population over 800 million (2000 estimate); extremely diversified languages & cultures; Continuously changing for thousands of years. Cultural Groups Many ethnic groups, languages and style areas throughout continent

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Cultural Groups

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Section Five: African MusicPopulation over 800 million (2000 estimate); extremely diversified languages & cultures;Continuously changing for thousands of years.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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North Africa & the Sahara DesertMuch Muslim and Arabic influence

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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The SavannahRegionMostly indigenous culture, with some Arabic influence; much sharing of culture between peoples

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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The Rain Forest RegionLess influenced by outsiders; Musically diverse

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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The Congo BasinStylistically simplified compared to other large regoins

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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East and South AfricaCattle area; simpler music; drums less important, much use of xylophones, harps, lyres

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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MadagascarSE Asian influence; also French and Indian influence

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Much Research Has Been New

  • Since the 1930s, an increase of studies, especially interlocking drumming patterns

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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)

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Dances Typically in Groups and in Circles or Lines

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Musical Qualities Found in Much African Music

  • Repetition

  • Chorus, some solo

  • Participation: call-and-response, overlapping, some parallel singing

  • Rhythm: well-blended, maintained, polyrhythm, polymetric, syncopation

  • Accompanied by body movement such as hand-clapping, dance and work.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Musical Qualities (cont.)

  • Forceful approach

  • Little ornamentation

  • Pentatonic scales, some hexatonic

  • Aesthetic often includes buzzing, rattling sounds

  • Subject matter includes animals stories, love, dance, relationships

  • Songs are often integrated into story-telling.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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African Rhythm Characteristics

  • Always at least two rhythms going on

  • 3:2 relationship is central

  • Cross-rhythms: conflicting rhythmic patterns & accents

  • 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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Example: Ake(Nigerian Work Song)

Instruments/Voices

Function/Importance within Culture

Musical Characteristics

(Form, melody, harmony, rhythm, etc.)

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Idiophones

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Xylophones

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Harps

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Ghana

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Agbekor: Music and Dance of the Ewe People

  • Originally performed for war

  • 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”

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Agbekor: basic drumming patterns

The first pattern is played by the double bell:

It is ubiquitous to nearly all of Africa.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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?

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Agbekorfullbackgroundpattern

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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A Performance at a Wake

  • Ten Drummers at one end

  • Columns of dancers face the drummers

  • Singers behind the dancers in a semicircle

  • 300 onlookers

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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The actual event

  • Adzo, dancers sing in free rhythm

  • Then Vutsotsoe, fast drumming

  • Various words like “Aa-oo” summon the spirits of the departed ancestors

  • Dancing shows readiness to act in the manner of the ancestors

  • Several more songs

  • The adzokpi section begins; pairs of dancers or groups dance in front of the lead drummer.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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The actual event (cont.)

  • Drummer plays special ending figure.

  • Groups leaders go to the center of dance and to pour water/libation to call for blessings from deceased member.

  • Vulolo, or slow drumming

  • Vutsotsoe, up-tempo section

  • Final adzokpi section, elders, patrons, etc. enter the dance floor for a while.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Agbekor Instruments

Axatse

Gankogui

Kaganu

Kidi

Sogo

Atsimevu

Source: www.dancedrummer.com

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Conclusions about African Music Traditions

  • African music-cultures strongly linked to community

  • Construction and playing of musical instruments

  • Spontaneous performances

  • Music serves functions

  • Fosters group participation

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Mande People of Mali

Lambango (CD 1:13) 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

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Kora

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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 1:14)

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Shona of Zimbabwe

  • Mbira = “thumb piano”

  • “Nhemamusasa” (CD 1:15)

Mbira is often placed inside a

Deze (gourd resonator)

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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BaAka People of central Africa (Congo Basin)

  • “Forest People,” “pygmies,” a unique culture

  • “Makala” a Mabo (net hunting) song (CD 1:16)

  • Improvised, open-ended polyphonic vocal musical style with all people participating. How does this express the culture?

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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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

  • Mamady Keita

    • http://www.radioceros.com/ondemandvideo/mamadykeita/mamadykeita.htmJuju Music

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Contemporary Musicians Seeking Identities and Names

  • Many musicians in Africa are fighting Disco and other Western styles, and hoping to keep African elements in the popular music.

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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Assignment

I. Explain how a cross rhythm works. Give a specific example from a piece we have studied.

II. What is a lunsi, and what instrument is he associated with?

III. What is a griot, and what instrument are they associated with?

IV. How does “call and response” function in an actual social situation?

V. What impressed you most about this section (African music)? How and Why?

Introduction to World Music, SMSU


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