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African Music - MUSC 220.pdf

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School of Music
MUSC 220
Kendra Salois

African Music Wednesday, September 25, 2013 1:02 PM Wilson: Shared approaches in African Music • Likely to be on midterm: In Afro-diasporic musics as a whole: - Tend to have a call/response or question/answerstyle - Percussiveapproach - Rhythmic or metrical contrast - High density - Body motionand/or dance Sixth shared approach: the heterogeneoussound ideal - "a combination of diverse timbres" is "desirable" - Preferencefor contrast rather than blend Ex. Recording of hindewhu style (Ba-Benzele of Central Africa) - Two distinct timbres (human voice and flute) Trans-Atlantic Slave trade - Slaves who survived passage went to US south, Caribbean, South America - Few shared a language - Often music making and drumming not permmitted - Today, Afro-diasporic music-cultures in each place Blues: There are blues players in America and Mali. It originates from African music. Atsiagbekor Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:01 PM Atsiagbekor - a dance-drumming genre - a performanceuniting dance, drumming, and song Ewe people are from Ghana and Togo (West Africa) It originates from a dance used around war. It was used before and after battles. In contemporary context, it is used at funerals. The music and dance is used to honor deceased and ancestors. - Both occasions,this genre was used to reflect on death Performancecontext: - Men and womenboth dance, not usually simultaneously. - The drumming is by trained musicians, usually men - The song is by men and women, in solo and chorus Performancestructure: (usually in 5 sections) - Vulolo - opening procession,"slow agbekor" - Adzo - short songs in free rhythm - Vutsotsoe- fast drumming or fast agbekor - Adzokpi - displays of dancing in pairs or small groups - Formerly,hatsiatsia - solo and group songs - Vulolo - closing procession Songs feature frequent call and response - Including songs in free rhythm (in adzo) Same songs used in different sections Texts: themes of courage, sacrifice, battlefield prowess - Full of allusions and proverbs - Just one genre of song texts in Ewe musical life Atsiawo (plural of atsia): standardized dance and drumming patterns - Typical of multiple Ewe dance-drumming genres - Lead drummer cues dancers with patterns - In atsiagbekor, usually in the vutsotsoesection It is polyrhythmic - Each instrument has its own role - Each sounds in relationship to the bell to form a whole - "a polyphonic texture that seems to change depending on one's point of musical reference" Shona Monday, September 23, 2013 1:03 PM - ContemporaryZimbabwe has two major African ethnic groups, Ndebele (who immigrated north in the 19th c.) and Shona - Shona traditional spirituality and culture are considered "national" heritage of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe was once under British control, named Rhodesia. It had a diamond mining industry. In 1930, the Land ApportionmentAct made it so cities and fertile agricultural land was occupied by whites only, and Africans were compressedinto rural areas. In 1979,there was national independence negotiated by England, after a war. In the early 1990s,there was a structural adjustment program. Traditional Shona spirituality reveres ancestors - Mbira music reflects and reinforces this: ○ Played at mapira, rituals of ancestor spirit possession ○ Songs considered to evoke spirits or family ancestors Mbira - the instrument - ~22 metal keys (can be plucked with fingers) - Wooden platform - Metal pieces for buzzing sound - Resonatorhole (also deze, gourd resonator) One mbira ensemble: - Mbira dzavadzimu ("mbira of the ancestors") ○ One plays kushaura part, one plays kutsinhira part ○ Both may be inside deze-s (gourd resonators) - Hosho (gourd rattles) - Three types of singing, including kudeketera (sung poetry) Mbira music: -
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