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Generally, African societies do not use music notation.
Often associated with
there is a directrelationship between
music and dance
is an important (sometimes the most important, or most central) activityin African cultures
are numerous and diverse in Africa, but not distributed evenly across all cultures.
Africans in a community use __________ in their lives as an opportunity to share in music-making, making it a social event.
In what ways do the settings of performances in Africa differ from those of performances here? In what ways are they similar?
- • First, music most often takes place outdoors, in the open air. There may be certain places in a village or town set aside for performance, but performance can also simply take place anywhere.
- • Performances are often informal. (see Music in Community Life, p. 34: “the atmosphere…is usually informal, and spectators are free to move about or leave any time they wish.”)
- • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Audience members are attracted to the performance for different reasons, and also: the “rules” of observation are much looser than those of a typical performance in the West. The line between performers and spectatorsis blurred, first of all. The spectators of a musical performance in Africa may often become participants in some way.
- • Is the performance always “for” the audience? Not necessarily. The spectatorsmay just be there, but not the focus of the performance (i.e., if the music is for areligious purpose; for contacting ancestral sprits, etc.)
is a tuned idiophone.
There are many types of xylophones, and difference can occur in many areas:
- • no. of keys/size of the instrument
- • size of the actual keys
- • “loose-key” vs. “fixed-key” design
- • scales/tuning
- • beaters
- • playing style
In general, xylophones found in West Africa tend to be _______ instruments,where as in East Africa _______ instruments predominate.
1. range = almost three octaves; # of keys = 14. Pentatonic (5-tone) scale.
a. keys: wood
b. resonators = gourds. Buzzing timbre is created by cutting holes in gourds and placing thin tissue paper over the holes.
c. fixed-key design: frame to hold keys/resonators
• played by one player, seated, usually with two beaters, ‘soft’ ends. Some use of multiple beaters in one hand has been documented.
• bars struck in center
1. range = 2 octaves + 2 keys; no. of keys = 12. Pentatonic (5-tone) scale
a. keys: wood
b. no resonators!c. loose-key design: bars are not permanently affixed to a frame. Rather,when played, a frame is constructed ad hoc.
• played by three people with hard sticks. Interlocking technique employed.
• bars struck on edges
cultures are located in the forest regions of equatorial Africa. They are primarily organized as hunter-gatherer societies, and as such are nomadic. this group groups do, however, visit and stay in villages (permanent settlements) occasionally. these groups are highly cooperative, and have egalitarian social structures.
- Vocal music is the core of Pygmy musical culture:
- • Instruments are few and simple
- • This is due to the environment, and to the nomadic lifestyle; instruments are made of simple materials that occur in the forest, and sometimes can even be discarded after use.
Features of Pygmy vocal music
- • Ostinato and hocket technique
- • Call & response
- • Yodeling
- • Dense, layered sound of many people/musical lines at once; “leadership”constantly shifting
In Pygmy cultures, music is an ______. Music-making generally is not restricted; in other words, any member of society is welcome to participate.
There are cases in which restrictions or limitations exist in terms of music-making. The reading mentions for example the ______, used to“wake up the forest.” Here the primary singers are men.
is an artisan; specifically, a “shaper of sound (words and music).”
The jeli, jobs
as a musician, public speaker,oral historian, praiser, advisor, chronicler of events, is an important figure inMande culture
jeli can be either
male or female
The Mande broadly recognize two social classes:
specialized skill workers (craftspeople)
“ordinary” people – formers, merchants, those who work in cities, and alsothe aristocracy in past eras
designates those who rely on a specialized craft as a profession. In Mande culture this means metal smiths, wood and leather workers, andmusicians, known by the term jeli. The ‘material’ that the musician works with is not the musical instrument, but the word, whether spoken or sung.”
including the jeli, are low in the social hierarchy, but atthe same time regarded with awe and respect due to the power of their specializedknowledge
There are three areas of specialization for jeli
- speech, song, and instrumental playing.
- typical a jeli picks one
- All aspiring jelis learn the three areas at first, but as they mature they select their area of specialization
A jeli receives training from the
the parent first, but then is also expected to study with other masters.
certain musical instruments are reserved for the jeli. Only a jeli is permitted toplay the
balafon (xylophone), the kora (21-stringed harp-lute), and the koni (small chordophone, similar to a banjo)
a regarded as an authoritative source of knowledge for the culture.
a jeli who specializes in speech (kuma)
Who may become a jeli?
one must be born into a jeli family.
Jeli families control entrance intothe profession by strict rules of intermarriage (a practice known as
The vocalist in Ala L’a Ke alternates between two styles of vocal delivery:
melody. This style sounds like melodic singing
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