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With Guest Lecturer Performer: Derrick Spiva

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1 With Guest Lecturer Performer: Derrick Spiva
Music of Africa With Guest Lecturer Performer: Derrick Spiva

2 Music and Culture Sub-Saharan Africa maintains enormous linguistic, cultural, and musical diversity, where oral traditions are the means of passing culture rather than literary traditions. Today we will approach the music of Africa from an anthropological perspective, from which we explore the relationship between music and the kinds of culture that produce it. Sub-Saharan Africa maintains enormous linguistic, cultural, and musical diversity, where oral traditions are the means of passing culture rather than literary traditions. Africa is approached from an anthropological perspective, from which we explore the relationship between music and the kinds of culture that produce it.

3 Colonialism in Africa 85P3M

4 Results of Colonialism
Tribes divided into colonialist regions and not by tribal or ethnic boundaries. Suppression of religion and its music. Ongoing ethnic conflicts that have caused great harm both to human life and to culture.

5 Key Concepts Despite the diversity, a few underlying principles characterize the music of the whole region.

6 Interlocking is the practice of fitting pitches into spaces between other parts, alternating pitches or phrases of one part with those of another to create a whole part. An example is the whole melody created by a mbira player’’s two hands.

7 Call and response is the alternation or interlocking of leader and chorus, or of a vocal and instrumental part. Hocket is the interlocking pitches between two or more sound sources to create a single melody or part. An example is Pygmy vocal music.

8 Dense, overlapping textures and buzzy timbres manifested in a preference for overlapping drum and percussion rhythms. An example is Ewe drumming. Wind and string instruments incorporate percussive elements: strings are more often plucked than bowed and wind instruments are often played with a breathy sound quality. An example of a percussive string sound is the kora.

9 Cyclical and open-ended forms involving one or more repeated melodies/rhythmic patterns (ostinatos) as the basic foundation of a performance.

10 Ostinato is a repeated melodic or rhythmic pattern that forms the basic foundation of a piece or musical section

11 Community participation
Community participation. The participation of non-specialists is facilitated by long performances with much repetition and by the close association of music with dance.

12 Importance of rhythmic complexity
Importance of rhythmic complexity. This can occur at many levels: juxtaposition of duple and triple patterns (hemiola), multiple layering of different rhythmic patterns, and interaction between core foundation and varied/improvised elaboration parts.

13 -Agahu is a social dance
Anlo-Ewe Agahu -Ewe people of Eastern Ghana, Western/Southern Togo (Eweland) -Agahu is a social dance -Created in the beginning of the 20th century -Performed in Anyako, a fishing village in the Volta region -Agahu (meaning air ship) originated in Benin from a piece called Gumbe. Visiting Ewe fisherman from the Volta region of Ghana took Agahu back to their homeland where it spread to other towns and villages.

14 The name originated from an event in which the first performance of the piece was also the first time people in the area had seen an airplane. Due to the practice of music and dance often serving as a source of local oral history, the event became the name of the piece.

15 Agahu is a social dance in which all can participate
Agahu is a social dance in which all can participate. It’s often danced in a circle with special clothing (like church clothing). There may also be a form of identification kept with each dancer. The ID card, or paper, would be used during a certain portion of the dance meant to reenact a period under British rule in which officials repeatedly asked residents to “show their papers.”

16 A specific set of instruments
The ensemble includes: atsimevu and agboba, which are both lead drums. The sogo, kidi, and kaganu are supporting drums gankogui (bell) is the center and timekeeper of the ensemble. axatse (shaker) and clapping are used depending on the style of music being played.

17 The Shona Qbn6wZeQ
The Shona are a Bantu-speaking people of Zimbabwe in southeastern Africa. They have a variety of lamellaphones, each with their own distinct scale patterns and playing techniques. The mbira, a lamellaphone, is played at bira ceremonies for ancestral spirits. A bira is a family sponsored event wherein the ancestors interact with the living. The mbira music attracts a spirit, for spirits enjoyed this music during their lives. A spirit medium becomes possessed by the spirit, and the family consults the ancestor about personal problems. A musical performance involves one or more mbira in interlock, with singing involving a low syllabic bass style, a high melodic style using falsetto singing and yodeling, and ancient poetry recitation.

18 Mbira flnFgcQ

19 The Pygmies, BaMbuti Semiautonomous hunting and gathering existence.
There is little specialization of social and economic roles within age and gender. There is no formalized hierarchical system of leadership Pygmies are nomadic, semi-autonomous hunter-gatherers of equatorial rainforest areas. Communalism is a way of life because survival depends on cooperation. The key values of their society–– egalitarianism, consensus, and unity––are reflected in their musical culture. Performance is a non- specialist activity, centered on vocal music (everyone can sing) and involving the whole community. In musical terms, there is an emphasis on ostinato, interlocking parts (using hocket technique in which singers alternate short melodic fragments to create a melody), and call-and-response forms.

20 Instruments of the BaMbuti
Only what you can carry in a nomadic lifestyle. Whistles, end-blown flutes, rhythm sticks and rattles, molimo trumpets Voice is most important

21 Molimo and Elima Molimo - BaMbuti ceremony for the forest; a straight valveless trumpet often used in the ceremony. Vocal (Darkness is good) Elima - Ceremony to celebrate puberty for women. Men are primary singers for the molimo the ceremony maintains the benign relationship with the sacred and living forest. During times of bad hunting etc, this ceremony is used to re-awaken the forest. The ceremony may last for several months in which they will sing every night. Anyone can sing along Ostinato and Interlock Elima - puberty ceremony. Both- The cll and response phrases are simply repeated continually creating a cyclical ostinato pattern similar to the Shona imbira music. On top of the ostinato singers may add a second complementary ostinato creating density. The time span of the basic ostinato serves as the reference point for various clapped and percussion parts. One percussion part may be a 6 beat pattern while another may be 8.

22 The Mande West African Mande society is characterized by an elaborate social hierarchy in which occupational specialization is determined by heredity. The two main social categories are sula (“ordinary people”: farmers, merchants, etc.) and nyamalo (professional craft specialists). The Jali “Wordsmith, professional musician/verbal artist. One specialist is the jali, a “wordsmith”––a professional musician/verbal artist who is simultaneously an oral historian, musician, singer-bard, and praise singer. The social status of jalolu (plural) is ambiguous; while they are important and valued members of society because of their knowledge of history and power to manipulate words (either in praise or criticism), they are also looked down upon and treated as social outcasts. Access to a special life force the Nyamala. Clearly different than the conceptons of music by the Pygmy society. music by professionals and verbal artist not an egalaterain society music involves text

23 Instruments of the Mande
balo - a xylophone kora - a bridge harp

24 Ala L’a Ke
Kora, balo, voice. donkilo - basic vocal melody sataro - declamatory singing style kumbengo - the basic instrumental ostinato, foundation of the performance. birimintingo - instrumental interlude, when the kumbengo is changed.

25 Urban popular musical traditions
Urban popular music traditions have sprung up all over Africa. Local input mixed with Western elements (brass instruments, electric guitars, basic harmony, etc.) and Latin American rhythms give each style a unique sound.

26 West Africa Highlife A form of brass band music originating in Ghana that developed from the local Akan people performing local music on brass instruments with traditional percussion instruments. It further developed into dance band music with a Cuban rumba style. Key performer: E.T. Mensah.

27 Summary ♣ Sub-Saharan Africa is a huge area with many different societies, each with their own distinctive music; however, there are some common general musical characteristics and approaches that we can identify that pertain to many African societies

28 ♣ African music favors ostinatos (repeated rhythmic and melodic cycles), polyphony (multiple melodic parts performing at once), and interlocking parts.

29 ♣ Musical performance is often a communal participatory activity, and pieces often comprise a collection of melodic or rhythmic formulas that are subject to group variation and thus differ from one performance to another.

30 ♣ Many musical performances accompany religious or civic rituals.

31 ♣ Social structure and conditions influences music and performance; for example, the nomadic BaMbuti pygmies use fewer instruments and favor vocal performance. Those instruments that they do use tend to be smaller and lighter, fitting their traveling lifestyle. On the other hand, the Buganda kingdom, with a highly organized, centralized government, developed elaborate court music ensembles.

32 ♣ Key instruments include lamellaphones (for example, the mbira), strings (the kora), xylophones, trumpets, flutes, musical bows, and drums.

33 Discussion Does anything like African ostinato exist in Western musical performance, and how would it work?

34 Does American popular music use drumming in the same manner as African drumming, or how is it different?


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