African

Exploring Pathways of Appreciation

To foster an awareness and appreciation of music by listening and coming to appreciate how the diverse application of shared elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, texture and form gives rise to such diverse expressive pathways showcasing an inner beauty of the human spirit.

Here are links to music performances showing diverse styles and performance as voiced around the world; each expressing a component part of a global diverse counterpoint of cultural contrast. Enjoy yourself and do check on the links.

Without support from authoritive references this site would not be possible.

In Counterpoint of Cultural Contrast

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fourshed2008 July 29, 2008 HIDO IYO DHAQAN
Africa, home to 350 million people belonging to some 3000 tribes and speaking some 800 to 1000 distinct languages, is one of the most musically diversified regions of the world. The geographical variety of the continent - from the mountains and the vast desert of the north to the wide Savannah belt, the central rain forests and the fertile southern coast - is reflected in a multiplicity of musical styles.

In spite of this diversity, unifying features may be identified. African music is primarily percussive. Drums, rattles, bells and gongs predominate, and even important melodic instruments such as xylophones and plucked strings are played with percussive techniques.

African melodies are based on short units, on which performers improvise. Though melodies are often simple, rhythms are complex by European standards, with much syncopation (accents on beats other than the main one), hemiola (juxtaposition of twos and threes) and polyrhythm (simultaneous performance of several rhythms). While Western rhythms are classified as 'additive' (time span divided into equal sections, e.g. 12 beats divided 4+ 4 + 4), African rhythms are usually 'divisive' (unequal sections, e.g. 12 beats divided 5 + 7 or 3 + 4 + 5).

An unusual aspect of African rhythm is what has been called the 'metronome sense', the ability of many musicians to perform for long periods without deviating from the exact tempo. Group performances are most typical, and the 'call-and-response' style with a solo leader and responsorial group is used throughout the continent. Most African music is based on forms of diatonic scales, closely related to European scales; so the Western listener may find it more familiar, more accessible than the music of Asia.

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-51b9KTj680

african  drumming  Kpanlogo  Ghana 

Kwashie + Kofi african drumming performance (Fume fume)

The Polyphonic Singing of the
Aka Pygmies of Central Africa

URL: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/...
Description: The Aka Pygmies living in the south-west region of the Central African Republic have developed a distinctive vocal musical tradition, which involves a complex type of contrapuntal polyphony based on four voices, mastered by all members of the Aka community.
Music and dance form an integral part of Aka rituals including ceremonies related to the inauguration of new encampments, hunting and funerals. Unlike polyphonic systems that are written down in notation, the vocal tradition of the Aka Pygmies allows for spontaneous expression and improvisation. During performances, each singer can change his or her voice to produce a multitude of variations, creating the impression that the music is continuously evolving. The songs are generally accompanied by various percussion and string instruments, each one played for a specific occasion.Among the most common instruments are a local type of drum (enzeko), a harp-like instrument known as the geedale-bagongo, and the single-string bow (mbela). The songs perpetuate essential knowledge for the cohesion of the group and the preservation of community values. The dances are performed to the accompaniment of vibrant hand-clapping. Depending on the ritual, some dances feature men only, while others may be executed by couples or by male and female solo dancers. Relying entirely on oral transmission, the Aka Pygmies have succeeded in preserving their musical knowledge within the community by including children in rituals from an early age.
The lifestyle of the Aka Pygmies has been drastically disrupted due to the changes currently taking place in the Central African Republic. The scarcity of game resulting from deforestation, the rural exodus and the folklorization of their heritage for the tourist industry are the principal factors contributing to the gradual disappearance of many of their traditional customs, rituals and skills.
Country(ies): Central African Republic

 

   

 

 

 

Note: This site on "Global Music Appreciation" is a work in progress. Thie main purpose of being online at this point of development is to allow collaborators and friends to view the progress, make suggestions and provide comments.

You may find "scratch notes" concerning future implementaion of goals. Pages will still be partially complete or even blank.

Yet, there is still an ever-evolving growing selection of music from around the world linked too in this site. You are welcome to look, play and experience music as performed from around the world.

Sincerely

David