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HMU111H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Mbira, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Asian Underground


Department
Ethnomusicology
Course Code
HMU111H1
Professor
James Kippen
Study Guide
Midterm

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LISTENING SAMPLES FOR FIRST TERM
Western Music
“Happiness is a Warm Gun”: The Beatles, 1968. He found this from a gun magazine
-Sexual connotations like bang, shoot, discharge a load
-Static opening, melody and harmony
-More like 3 songs put into one, because even the time signature changes
Part 1: Static opening, melody & harmony, Two IV I shifts
Metric changes: 4/4 to 6/4 to 4/4 to 5/4
Part 2: Radical shift in style (acid rock-blues?) A/Am mix C
Changes of meter: 9/8, 12/8, 9/8, 10/8 …
Part 3: Stability after daring harmonies and adventurous metric shifts C Am F G
Common time with shift to 12/8 for an almost waltz like feel
Range of creative sources and musical styles, levels of complexity
Autobiographical
Song pieces together fragments dealing with Lennon‟s obsessions, experiences, and lyrics from a variety of sources
„I‟m a Loser‟: The Beatles, 1964
Lennon was extremely depressed, his father left when he was two, mother died when he was 17, raised my a strict aunt,
best friend died of brain hemorrhage, got girlfriend pregnant and married, but very unhappy relationship. This song is
about himself and his own mental state in a song that is essentially about a relationship.
NB word-painting effects
Harmonica & acoustic sound influenced by Bob Dylan
“Julia”: The Beatles (White), 1968
Lennon still working out insecurities
Song to his mother; beautiful, touching words inspired by poem Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran
1) Static melody, and 2) daring, unpredictable harmonic shifts
Ocean child? This is Yoko‟s name, so is this song really about his mother or his girlfriend Yoko? He found emotional
security with her, and they became utterly obsessed with each other.
North Indian Music
* Tabla Solo: Chatur Lal.
Chatur Lal accompanied the Indian music icon Ravi Shankar on his tours of the West in the late 1950s and early 1960s,
and was a marvelous player of the Delhi tabla style. Here, he plays in a cycle (tal) of ten counts (jhaptal), and displays
great virtuosity and rhythmic control. The onomatopoeic syllables associated with the performance of the tabla are called
bols’, which are used both in learning and performing the tabla. Although his song was included in an album, Chatur
Lal‟s name did not appear once on it, which shows that tabla players in North India have very low social status.
* “See Breeze”: Talvin Singh.
It is not uncommon to hear types of fusion in tabla recordings like this one. The tabla is actually a common sound heard in
television commercials and movie soundtracks. Talvin Singh is English, of Indian origin, and is known as a producer,
composer, and tabla player. He has pushed many rhythmic boundaries with his Asian Underground sound: a highly
creative, eclectic (diverse/assorted) music that blends the East and West.
African Music
“Nhehamusasa”: Paul Berliner
This is a Shona field recording made in Zimbabwe for his study Soul of Mbira. The mbira is a "thumb piano": they are
often played in pairs, each with a different part that interlocks with the other. This sample shows how their patterns
interact to produce a third, quite different musical product. This music is played at all-night séances to attract ancestral
spirits.
Lit. “cutting branches for a shelter”
Kushaura & kutsinhira parts (1st and 2nd accompaniment parts)
Drums, rattles, improvised vocal melodies
Interlock, ostinato, varied repetition
Mbuti Pygmies
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