2014 africa


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2014 africa

  1. 1. Africa – Sub-Sarahan
  2. 2. Africa today – regional traditions - Instrument types
  3. 3. Overview n  Ancestors, Communality, Function and Religion n  Characteristics – tonality, scales, polyrhythms, dance n  Regional aspects – urban v.rural, old v. new n  Vocal characteristics n  Instrumental traditions
  4. 4. Week 11 - Africa (Sub Saharan) n  Birthplace of mankind n  Separation of North and South due to divide of Sahara n  Until 100 years ago Sub Saharan had no literacy tradition n  Oral-aural culture n  Music tied to social context and religious custom
  5. 5. Ancestors n  Central to mores of Sub-saharan society is belief that the moral life of community is watched over by the ancestors. n  Ancestors communicate through music – in particular the drum. n  Music strengthens moral values that inform community life.
  6. 6. Functions of Music n  Deters individual or community misfortunes. n  Intrinsic to age-set ceremonies n  Important for obtaining happiness n  Without music to organise community events society is dead. Example of Greeting in Uganda n  Example of Work Song.
  7. 7. Aesthetics n  Africans judge musical performance not so much for entertainment as social relevance. n  Songs for all activities. How well does the music aid and affect the activity? n  Music both practical and aesthetic. n  Praise-singing and aural history is bound up in music. n  ‘Jahli’ or ‘griots’ in Mali, Gambia, Senegal
  8. 8. Hereditary Musicians n  In many traditions professionals are born into a caste or class and learn from their family. n  In some areas professionals are also witch doctors or healers in some way. Chosen by the spirit world. n  Now there are conservatories in some cities – and some teach traditional musics.
  9. 9. Kora
  10. 10. Kora
  11. 11. Regional Difference n  Big differences between city and rural areas. Cities have evolved hybrid musics based on blend of traditional and western. Traditional areas have retained more of their traditions. n  Religious divides in most areas. Islam and Christianity vie with traditional gods and spirits.
  12. 12. Islam South of Sahara n  Islam is strong in both in East and West Africa and especially in desert and coastal areas. n  Big effect of slavery across Africa – Islamic culture used and accepted slaves long before the Europeans. Example of Zanzibar. n  Mixed cultures that are both Islamic and African are particularly rich culturally – the islamisation was often only a matter of convenience to avoid slavery. n  Example of Sudan and southern Egypt and Ethiopia.
  13. 13. European Intervention n  Originally Portuguese, then Dutch, then British, French and Germans in a big carve up in the 19th century. n  Colonisation set Africans against Africans. European armies included lots of Africans. Example of Boers. n  Partitioning of Africa by European powers in the 19th century is still in place despite independence in post war era.
  14. 14. Colonisation
  15. 15. Vocal Styles in Sub saharan Africa n  3,000 different societies and over 1,000 distinct languages. All have considerable variation in style and usage. n  Also correspondences and similarities. n  Vocal music is predominant – central to religious practice – song words express belief. n  Language and music is particularly intimate in Africa. n  Musical lines follows contour of speech, instrumental melodies act as surrogates for vocal melodies. n  Antiphonal singing – call and response structure. Reflects social function of music. n  Initiation Song
  16. 16. Notes Sets n  Particular societies have note-sets. 5,6 or 7 – diatonic, anhemitonic (no semi-tones or equidistant. n  As with speech shape of melody tends to fall – downdrift. A high tone at the end is lower that tone at beginning. n  Call and response may be structured by rhythmic cycles. n  Variation of patterns in words and melodies by professionals is highly prized.
  17. 17. Rhythm Aspects n  Organising force of all African expressions n  Derived from Speech and drummers often represent a specific speech-text. n  Drums speak. Melody of drums is important. This works with layers of drums within ensembles. n  Interplay of cross-rhythms. Polyrhythmic cycles – or rather polymetric. The ability to hear two metres concurrently and their resultant patterns.
  18. 18. Drumming Session - Mali
  19. 19. Polyrhythms Combinations of simple patterns are combined to create complexity. n  Master drummer can then invent in the context of the ongoing patterns and lead into new ideas. n  Example of East African polyrhythms. Xylophones, drums, rattles, shakers, voices. Call and response.
  20. 20. Musical Instruments n  Drums – made in many shapes and forms. Some societies however do not use drums but stamping sticks, or body percussion, and foot-stamping. n  Idiophones ubiquitous – rattles and shakers. n  Flutes made from natural local materials – cane, grass, gourd, horn, millet. n  Single and double reed instruments and natural trumpets. n  Plucked strings – lutes, harps, arched harps and lyres. Example of Ugandan lyre. n  Bowed lutes in Eastern Africa and spiked fiddles in West Africa. Example of Tanzanian one-string fiddle.
  21. 21. Marimbas - Botswana
  22. 22. Xylophones - Ghana
  23. 23. Spiked fiddle
  24. 24. Ensemble Playing n  Some instruments typically solo – others are ensemble – xylophones and interlocking patterns. n  Llamellaphone also use interlocking patterns – Example of Zimbabwean Mbiras n  Ensemble panpipes.
  25. 25. Mbira
  26. 26. Zimbabwe Mbira
  27. 27. New Forms n  African musicians have been enthusiastic in taking up Western instruments and adapting techniques to them – also amplification. n  Lots is local forms based on blends – Kwela, High-Life, etc. n  Great Success of World Music as a sector of popular music – has made some African musicians superstars.
  28. 28. Kwela Video
  29. 29. Youssou Ndour (1955-) n  Senegalese singer. n  From Dakar n  Singing in French. Huge following in France and French speaking countries. n  Mix of native styles, Western pop technology and festival culture. n  Wolof language and traditions given new life
  30. 30. Promo Video
  31. 31. Readings n  World Music, The Rough Guide, vol 1 n  Gregory Barz, Music in East Africa, Oxford OUP 2004 n  Elizabeth May, Music of Many Cultures n  Jeff Todd Titon, Worlds of Music, New York, 1992