2African music in society Rich, colourful and diverseCovers 50 different nations, each with their own musical traditions and languagePlays an important role, used to express emotions and feelingsPart of every social gathering i.e. celebrating the harvest, birthdays, weddings, funerals, imprtant meetings.Often combined with speech, dance and vibrant costumesFalls into 3 strands - Drumming, Choral music, instrumental music.
3Common features of African music Repetition:Improvisation:Polyphony:Call and response:
4African Drumming Considered the most important instrument A means of communication, with certain rhythmic patterns meaning different things .e. slow beat could signify a sad occasion such as a funeral.Hundreds of drums and names vary between each region.Most common is the Djembe – a single-headed drum, made in a range of sizes to produce different pitchesFrequently heard on their own but also in ensemblesEnsemble is made up of a master drummer playing a solo drum and a set of accompanying drumsFamous group = The Royal Burundi Drummers
5Playing techniquesHands on the skin – different sounds are made by opening/closing fingers, using different parts of the hand etcHands on the wooden edge of the drumUsing sticks to make short, staccato soundsStretching the drum membrane to produce a range of pitches
6A typical performanceMaster drummer in the centre of the ensemble, responsible for directing the performance and will be surrounded by other drummers and percussionistsThe master drummer will signal to the performers when he is ready to start, often with a vocal cry followed by a rhythmic solo to set mood/tempoResponse is an exact copy or a different rhythm entirely by the other performersCall and response = main feature of tribal music
7A typical performanceMaster drummer will signal to the other players to perform a solo.This will be a variation or development of the original patternA steady, continuous beat is played by the master drummer, called the timeline. There may be percussion instruments playing as well.The complex rhythms create polyrhythms, often with stresses that conflict with eachother, resulting in polyrhythmic texture.
8A typical performancePiece increases in tension as the piece progressesTempo and dynamics will vary from section to section to provide interest and variet.Master drummer is responsible for controlling the changes and making sure that the music does not become too monotonous.Some performances can take up to 5 hours or even longer!As well as solo drumming to show off the soloists skills of improvisation, there is often movement and dance
9African choral singing Sub-saharan musical traditions are often centred around singingBelieved that it serves as a link to the spiritual worldVital part of everyday life, like drummingUnites communities, everyone is involved in singing regardless of abilityMeans of communication - Use of tone like in language. Melodies and rhythms fit the pitch and rhythm of the speech to convey correct meaning.
10Common Features Call and response Short, simple, repeated melodies using scales of only 4-7 notesMelodies are changed by different singers giving a theme and variations effectPerformers improvise melodies over the main melody resulting in polyphonic texturesMusic often sung in rounds (i.e. Zulu choral music, overlapping ever-changing textures).Harmony varies from tribe to tribe, some only using octaves and unison, with occasional 5ths, other using lots of harmony i.e. 3rds and 6ths.
11African instrumental music Many instruments which vary between regions.Instruments are selected according to nature/mood of the music.Instrumental music has more complex tuning and is capable of playing more demanding rhythms and melodies.Lots of overlapping of melodies to create polyphonic textures.Families of instrumentsMembranophones - With a skin or membrane, like a drumAerophone – Using air, a woodwind instrumentChordophones – String instrumentsIdiophones – resonant/solid instruments, this includes the Balaphone or Xylophone, the most common African instrument.
12African instrumental music IdiophoneAerophoneChordophoneRattle/ShakerFlutes (Bamboo/Horn)ZithersBellsOcarinasLutes (Kora)MbiraPanpipesLyresXylophoneHorn (From animal tusks)Musical BowsClap sticksTrumpet (Wood and metal)Slit GongsPipes (Single and double reed)Stamping TubesWhistleBody percussion is also used i.e hand clapping and foot stomping, also vocal effects such as shouting and vocables (eh, ah, oh)
13Xylophones (Balaphones) Most common african instrumentMany sizes with a variety of pitchesWooden bars on a frame, allowing them to resonate, using a piece of rubber or dried fruit as a membrane to help this.
14Common features of African instrumental music Repetition (including ostinato)ImprovisationCyclic structuresPolyphonic structuresIntertwining melodies
15Background to Yiri - Musicians Madou Kone – Vocals, Balaphone, FluteSydou Traore – Vocals, BalaphoneJacouba Kone – DjembeFrancois Naba – Vocals, Tam-Tam, dundun, maracasKeresse Sanou – Talking DrumTidiane Hema – Vocals, Maracas
16Background to Yiri From Burkina Faso Landlocked nation in West Africa. Surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Cote D’IvoireRenamed by president Thomas Sankara in 1984Burkina = Men of Integrity, Faso = Father’s HouseInhabitants are called Burkinabe
17Background to YiriMain themes for music from Burkina Faso bring images of mankind’s greatest battlesFight for survivalNeed to look after the environmentCreationAlso community celebrations and friendships
18Background to Yiri There are 3 clear strands in this set work The Balaphone ostinati – Combinations produce complex polyphonyThe Drum ostinati – They play a relentless one-bar pattern (with only a tiny variation)The vocal line – this is a simple pentatonic, call-and-response structure.
190’00-0’18 Begins with free tempo High balaphone playing an improvised solo at a soft dynamicSets the scene with a monophonic textureSolo is a melody in Gb Major with fast high and low rolls on every note.A simple, repetitive idea.
200’18-0’34 Moderato established by the first balaphone. Second balaphone enters at Bar 9, playing mostly and octave below.Strong sense of Gb Major as the opening notes are Db and Gb (V-I).Strong rhythmic basis to the melody, built on 2-bar phrases.Second balaphone plays the same melody but with a few different pitches (see bars 11-12). Makes a heterophonic textureRhythm is mainly semiquavers and quavers with some tied notes
210’34-1’09Large and small talking drum and djembe enter playing an incessant half=bar ostinatiBalaphones continue melodyLower balaphone plays an ostinato figure in bars 17-20Occasional djembe fills in this melodyMelody has lots of syncopation and octave repetitions on Gb and Db (I-V)From bar 21, melodic phrases are repeated with slight variation in 2 bar phrases
221’09-2’01Chorus A1 = Voices in unison, short, simple, repetitive melody. No Harmony.Followed by a balaphone break (solo) with drum ostinati as beforeChorus A2 = same as before mostly
232’01-2’45Voices out, lower balaphone break . Some variation on the melody this time (continuous semiquaver Gb)Solo with choral responses. Long held or short punctuated notes on ‘Yiri’Drum ostinati continuesVocal melody incorporates triplet now (adding variation to original melodyLower balaphone plays same ostinati from bar17-20Voices in unison to call at bar 63.New melodic riff on balaphone, based on the original.
242’45-3’14 Solo voice call again, featuring long notes Drums continue as beforeBalaphone plays rhythmic 3-note semiquaver melodic figure, creating cross-rhythmsBar 71- another variant of the melody in the vocalsTriplet figure, syncopation and semiquaver-quaver rhythms have all been heard already in the piece
253’15-4’31 Vocal responses from the choir in unison Solo voice with varied balaphone rhythms in breakInstrumental solos continue.New melodies on the balaphone. Short 3-beat (one bar) rest before next chorus.Chorus B1 = Full choir in unison, singing ‘Yiri’ with short instrumental interjections to break up the vocal lines.
264’31- 5’20 Dialogue effects between voices and instruments Instrumental as a balaphone break. Riff with variationsThis is extended and based on the original melody with variationsMore virtuosic, rapid figures with octave leaps and demisemiquaver and semiquaver patterns
275’20-6’24Chorus A3 = Full, unison choir with instrumental interjectionsInstrumental ending played as a balaphone breakVery syncopated. Drums re-enter at bar 153, one bar before the coda
286’24-End = Coda 5, 2-bar phrases Mostly in octaves, with dramatic rests by all instrumentsStrong sense of riffSome differences in notes occasionally, creating a heterophonic texture.Drum provides ostinato from Bar 153Piece finishes with a final ‘ting’ on a bell