World Music Chapter 3
World Music Chapter 3 MUS 357000
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Taylor Bohlender on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MUS 357000 at Lindenwood University taught by Dr. Robert Baker in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 147 views. For similar materials see World Music in Music at Lindenwood University.
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Date Created: 02/24/16
World Music: Chapter 3 Africa: Ewe, Mande, Dagbamba, Shona, BaAka Characteristics of African Music and Culture Africa spills over its geographical boundaries: the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, Suez Canal, Red and Mediterranean Seas, and the Atlantic Ocean. Egypt, Ethiopia, the Moors, Swahili civilization; commerce in humans and precious metals—Africa is not separate from Europe, Asia, and America. What is African music? Music is never pure; musiccultures are always changing and being shaped by many outside influences. From Benin and Luanda to Bahia, Havana, London, and Harlem, musiccultures blend along a subtle continuum. The African continent has two broad zones 1) the Maghrib, north of the Sahara Desert and 2) subSaharan Africa. North Africa and the Horn of Africa have a lot in common with Mediterranean and western Asia; Africa records significant contacts up and down the Nile, across the Sahara, and along the African coasts. Civilizations from the north (Greece, Rome) and east (Arabia, Turkey) have made an indelible impact on northern Africa. Similarly, Africa south of the Sahara has never been isolated from the Old World civilizations of Europe and Asia. The history and cultural geography of subSaharan Africa varies tremendously. When is an African? Identity arises from local connections of gender, age, kinship, place, language, religion, and work. Ethnicity comes into play only in the presence of people from a different group. One “becomes” a Serer, so to speak, in the presence of a Wolof, an African when among the French, a White in the company of a Black, a Yellow, a Red. Africa is a found of ancient wisdom for those who practice religions such as Santeria or vondun. Famine relief and foreign aid, wilderness safari and Tarzan, savage or sage— Africa is a psychic space, not just a physical space. Generalizations about African MusicCulture o Work music is everywhere; it uplifts the workers’ spirits and enables them to coordinate their efforts. The music helped the workers maintain a positive attitude toward their job. Music helps them control the mood of the workplace. o African music often happens in social situations where people’s primary goals are not artistic; music is for ceremonies (life cycle rituals, festivals), work (subsistence, child care, domestic chores, wage labor), or play (games, parties, lovemaking). o Music contributes to an event’s success by focusing attention, communicating information, encouraging social solidarity, and transforming consciousness. Expression in Many Media o Just as many Africans set music in a social context, they associate it with other expressive media (drama, dance, poetry, costuming, sculpture). Musical Style o Typically has musical qualities such as duple meter, a major scale, and harmony. Percussion exhibits widespread African stylistic features such as polyrhythm, repetition, and improvisation. History o The musiccultures of Europe, Asia, and the Americas have strongly affected those in Africa. Foreigners—Christians and Muslims, sailors and soldiers, traders and travelers—have brought to Africa their instruments, musical repertories, and ideas. o Africans have imitated, rejected, transformed, and adapted external influences in a complex process of culture change. o Throughout Africa, Christian hymns and Muslim cantillation (chanting religious texts) have exerted a profound influence on musical style. West Asian civilization has influenced African musical instruments, such as plucked lutes, double reeds, and gobletshaped drums of the Sahel area. EuroAmerican influence shows up in the electric guitar and drum set. We hear American influence of the Cuban rumba on pop music from central Africa, and African American spirituals on southern African religious music. Participation o For example, the postal workers join simple musical parts together; this design welcomes social engagement. Others participate by adding a new phrase to the polyrhythm or cutting a few dance moves. Training o Musical education in Africa depends on a societywide process of enculturation —the process of learning one’s culture gradually during childhood; babies move on the backs of their dancing mothers, youngsters play children’s games and then join adults in worship and mourning, teenagers groove to pop tunes. o Raised in this manner, Africans learn a wayofbeing in response to music; intuitively they know how to participate effectively. Beliefs and Values o Africans conceive of music as a necessary and normal part of life; neither exalted or denigrated as “art,” music fuses with other life processes. o “He looked upon his instrument as a person, a colleague who spoke the same language and helped him create his music.” Intercultural Misunderstanding o What a nonAfrican listener assumes is an item of music may be the voice of an ancestor to an African. o “These men are working, not putting on a musical show; people pass by the workplace paying little attention to the ‘music’ (I used to go often to watch and listen to them, and they gave the impression that they thought I was somewhat odd for doing so).” Agbekor: Music and Dance of the Ewe People o Agbekor a type of singing and dancing, originating as a war dance. The music features a percussion ensemble and a chorus of singers. o The complex lead drumming part rides on rich polyrhythmic texture established by an ensemble of bells, rattles, and drums of different sizes. Songs are clear examples of calland responses. It is a creation of the Ewe people. The Ewe People and their History o Triumph over adversity is an important theme in Ewe oral history; they lived precariously as a minority within kingdoms of more populous and powerful peoples such as the Yoruba and the Fon. o In the 1600s, they intimidated Agokoli’s warriors with fierce drumming and the Ewes escaped the walledin city under the cover of darkness. o They found settlements along the Volta River and became known as the Anlo which means “cramped.” These settlements expanded into territorial divisions whose inhabitants could all trace male ancestors into original villages; family heads or distinguished war leaders became chiefs. Each division cherished their independence; the Ewe never supported a hierarchal concentration of power within a large state. o An important aspect of Ewe social life is the extended family; members of a lineage share rights and obligations. The everpresent spirits of lineage ancestors help their offspring, especially if the living perform customary rituals. o In the 18 and 19 centuries, the Ewe were in frequent military conflict with neighboring ethnic groups, European traders, and even themselves; they had a reputation as fearsome warriors. Ewe Religious Philosophy o The Ewe Supreme Being is Mawu who is remote from the affairs of humanity. Other divinities, such as Se interacts with things in this world; Se embodies God’s attributes of law, order, and harmony. Se is the maker and keeper of human souls; Se is destiny. o Ewes believe a spirit enters the fetus, tells Se how its life on earth will be and how its body will die. The Ewe musicians identify the source of their talent as an ancestor whose spirit they have inherited. They are so involved with music making because they claim it is their destiny. o The Ewe believe that part of a person’s soul lives on in the spirit world after his or her death and must be cared for by the living; the doctrine of reincarnation is given credence some ancestors are reborn into their kingroups. The dead are believed to live in the world of spirits—Tsiefe. There they watch their living descendants in the earthly world—Kodzogbe. They possess supernatural powers and are coupled with a kindly interest in their descendants as well as the ability to do harm if they neglect them. o Funerals are significant social institutions, without ritual action by the living, a soul cannot become an ancestral spirit. A funeral is an affirmation of life; a cause for celebration because another ancestor can now watch other the living. Since spirits of the ancestors love music and dance, funeral memorial services feature drumming, singing, and dancing. o Funerals have replaced war as an appropriate occasion for war drumming such as Agbekor. Agbekor: History and Contemporary Performance Legends of Origin o Many people said it was inspired by hunters’ observations of monkeys in the forest; the monkeys changed into human form, played drums, and danced. Others say that the monkeys kept their animal form as they beat with sticks and danced. o “Hunters were the repository of knowledge given to men by God. Hunters had special herbs…having used such herbs, the hunter could meet and talk with leopards and other animals that eat human beings….As for Agbekor, they saw it and brought it home. Hunters have certain customs during which they drum, beat the double bell, and perform activities that are connected with the worship of things we believe. During such a traditional hunting custom they exhibited the monkey’s dance; there were hunters among them because once they revealed the dance in the hunting customary performance they could later repeat it again publicly.” o Hunters were spiritually forceful leaders and the forest was the zone of the dangerously potent supernatural forces. Agbekor as War Drumming o Elders explained that their ancestors performed it before combat, as a means to attain the required frame of mind, or after battle, as a means of communicating what had happened. o “They would play the introductory part before they were about to go to war. They would be completely filled with bravery; their minds were filled only with thoughts of fighting. It is a dance that was played when they returned from an expedition. They would exhibit the things that happened during the war, especially the death of an elder or a chief. If they were fighting, brave acts were done.” The Meaning of the Name Agbekor o An elder once stated that Agbekor means, “enjoying life: we make ourselves happy in life.” o Another elder said when people play Agbekor during times of war, they called it atamuga which means, “The great oath.” o Before going to battle, warriors gather with their war leaders at shrines that housed spiritually powerful objects. They would swear on a sacred sword an oath to their ancestors to obey their leaders’ commands and fight bravely for their community. o Agbekor is translated as “clear life” the battle is over, the danger is part, and lives are now in the clear. o Sometimes people attach atsia to agbekor which has two meanings 1) stylish self display, looking good, or bluffing, and 2) a preset figure of music and dance. Learning o Though most music and dance is learned through enculturation, Agbekor requires special training. o Due to its complexity, Agbekor is hard to learn so members practice in a secluded area for up to a year before appearing in public. Instruction entails demonstration and emulation. Adept dancers are typically in the front. No one breaks it down or analyzes it; people learn sequences of movement and music not through exercises but through simulated performance context. o This style of learning depends on gifted students who can learn long rhythmic compositions merely by listening to them several times. Performing Organizations o Britain, Germany, and France administered Ewe territory during a brief colonial period and now the Ewe people live in the nationstates of Ghana and Togo. o Few villages today have preserved the tradition of Agbekor. But the tradition continues within drum and dance societies, school and civic youth groups, theatrical performing companies, and through voluntary mutual aid societies. o Many members are poor and cannot afford funeral expenses in these voluntary mutual aid societies but people solve this financial problem by pooling resources; when a member dies, individuals contribute a small amount so the group can give money to the family and the society’s performance of dance and music makes the funeral grand. o Since Ghana achieved statehood in 1957, the national government has held competitions for amateur cultural groups from the country’s many ethnic regions. Young people join these groups because rehearsals and performances provide social opportunities; Agbekor has become a staple of their repertory. A Performance o The evening before the death of a late chief patron of a group, the group held a wake during which they drummed Kpegisu, another prestigious war drumming of the Ewe. o The performance area is arranged like a rectangle within a circle. 10 drummers sat at one end, 15 dancers formed 3 columns facing the drummers, 10 singers stood in a semicircle behind the dancers, and about 300 onlookers encircled the entire performance area. All drummers and most dancers were male. Most singers are female; several younger women danced with the men. o Group elders bereaved family members, invited dignitaries to sit behind the drummers; the group’s secretary accepted the member’s contributions while the account book was laid out on a table. o The action begins with an introductory section called the adzo, or short section. Dancers sing songs in free rhythm. Then comes the vutsotsoe, or main section of fast drumming. The first sequence of figure honored the ancestors; following this ritually charged passage, the dancers performed 10 more atsiawo. The lead drummer spontaneously selected these “styles” from many drum and dance sequences known to the group; the song leader raises up each song and the chorus receives it and responds. One song is repeated 5 to 10 times before another begins. o After 20 minutes of adzokpi, or “solos,” section of the performance begins. Group members came forward in pairs or small groups to dance in front of the lead drummer; the dance movement differed for men and women and the friends invited each other to move into the center of the dance space. The lead drummer then returned to group styles after individualistic styles; he signals for break in action by playing a special ending figure. o During the break, the group leaders go to the center of the dance area to pour a libation, calling on the ancestors to drink, elders ceremonially pour water and liquor onto the earth. This asks the ancestors to bless them during their dancing. o They then resume with vulolo, or the slow drumming processional section of Agbekor. After 15 minutes they go straight to the vutsotsoe, uptempo section, and then adzokpi, the “solos” section. After a rest, they do another sequence of group figures and slow and fast paces and then individual displays. o At the peak of the final adzokpi, section elders, patrons, and invited guests come onto the dance area. While dancing, singers and dancers kneel on one knee as a mark of respect; after dancing back and forth in front of drummers, they return to their position on the benches in the back of the drummers. Music of Percussion Ensemble o Includes a double bell, a gourd rattle, and four singleheaded drums. The Bell o Every act of drumming, singing, and dancing is timed in accordance with the recurring musical phrase played on an iron bell or gong called gankogui. o It is a musical force of great potency; repetition is key. Tempo, Pulsation, and TimeFeels o The timefeel (meter) most significant to Ewe performers is the fourfeel (four beats keep a constant, implicit foundation for musical perception). Each is a ternary beat, meaning that each has three quicker units within it. o This type of groove is often marked by a 12/8 time signature which is widespread in African American music. o To Ewe musicians, the fourfeel beats imply a sixfeel (six quarter notes, or 6/4 meter). Four and six feels are inseparable; they construct musical reality in two ways at once. This is the power of 3:2 o The axatse is a dried gourd the size of a cantaloupe, covered with a net strung with seeds; in some groups its role is to sound the fourfeel beats and in other groups it’s downward strokes on the player’s thigh match the gankogui while upward strokes against the palm fill in between bell tones. It is the only instrument played by many people at once; provides loud, indefinitepitched sound vital to the ensemble’s energy. o The high pitch and dry timbre of the slender kaganu drum cuts through the more mellow, midrange sounds of the other drums; this part articulates offbeats or the moments between the fourfeel beats. o The kidi part has three bounces (stick bounces off the drum skin, producing an open ringing sound) and three presses (stick presses into the drum skin producing a closed muted sound) move at the twelveunit pulsation rate; the phrase occurs twice within the span of 1 bell phrase. o The kloboto phrase has the same duration as the bell phrase. This part’s main idea is a brief bouncepress, offbeatonbeat figure. Its insistent accentuation of off beat moments can reorient a listener into perceiving them as onbeats but Ewe musicians never lose orientation. They always know kloboto presses are right on the fourfeel time. o The totodzi part begins and ends with the kloboto. Its bounce strokes match bell tones 2 and 3; its press strokes match fourfeel beats 3, 4, and 1. The phrase is felt as two stronghand bounces followed by three weakhand presses. Drum language – Ewe drum phrases have vernacular texts (pg. 82 for visual). Songs o Agbekor songs engage the subject of war; they celebrate the invincibility of Ewe warriors; others urge courage and loyalty; some reflect on death and express grief. All songs come from the past. Structural Features o A song leader and singing group share the text and melody; the calland response idea supports a variety of subtly different musical forms. o Ewe singers’ intonation seems aimed at pitch areas rather than precise pitch points; melodic motion usually conforms to the rise and fall of speech tones; songs add another layer to the polyrhythm of Agbekor. SlowPaced Songs o Song 1 (0:002:52 in Agbekor listening) announces that people should prepare for the arrival of the Agbekor procession. In the A section, the group repeats the leader’s text but with a different tune. In the B section, the melodic phrases are shorter, the rhythm of callandresponse more percussive. The song ends with the leader and group joining to sing the group’s first response. o Song 2 is set at sunrise on the day of battle, urging Manyo and his warriors to “be cunning.” The leader and the group divides the text: the leader identifies the actors and the action, then the group evokes the scene. o Song 3 celebrates the singers’ power and denigrating the opponent. Makes use of rhetorical questions such as, “Who can trace the footprints of an ant?” or “Can a bird cry like the sea?” These playful selfassertions and witty putdowns are called signifying. FastPaced Songs o Song 5 (4:275:32 of Agbekor listening) celebrates heroic passion. Opens with a vivid confrontation of two war gods. o Music and dance help cement social feeling among members of an Agbekor society. Drummers of Dagbon o Dagbamba people are from the southern savanna of western Africa (Ghana). o Their performers are lunsi—members of a hereditary clan of drummers. o A lunga fulfulls many vital duties in the life of the dagbamba—verbal artist, genealogist, counselor to royalty, cultural expert, entertainer. o The lunsi tradition developed in Dagbon, the hierarchal, centralized kingdom of the Dagbamba. o Dakoli Nye Bii Ba—the first repertory learned by young lunsi; the beginning of drumming. The Drums o Lunsi play two kinds of drums that have shoulder straps holding the drum in position to receive strokes from a curved wooden stick, o The gunggong is a cylindrical, carved drum with a snare on each of its two heads. o The cedarwood of the lunga is carved into an hourglass shape. By squeezing leather cords strung between its two drumheads, a player can change the tension of the drum skins, which changes the pitch of the drum tones. o The lunsi people are chroniclers of the history of their people and nation. A Praise Name Dance o “Nag Biegu” is a Praise Name Dance (salima) of Dagbon. o Its title means “ferocious wild bull,” referring to an enemy leader the king of Dagbon (in the 1800s) defeated in a fight. o The music has a versechorus form. In the verse, the vocalist and leading lunga drummers praise their former king and allude to events of his chieftancy; the answering lunsi and two gunggong drummers punctuate the verses with booming, single strokes. o This song also has a temporal duality of 3:2. Shona Mbira Music and Cultural Context The Shona live in high plateau country; they are among 60 million Bantuspeaking people who predominate central and southern Africa. The kingdom of Shona participated in Indian Ocean commerce with the Arabs, Persians, and Indians until the Portuguese arrived in 1500. The Shona states faded under pressure from other African groups like the militaristic Ndebele in the 1800s; the Shona became a decentralized, agricultural people. At the turn of the 20 cent, English speaking settlers overtook the land and imposed their culture and economy on local Africans; this colonial period was called Rhodesia and it affected local institutions. Africans were left impoverished, racist settlers scorned African culture, local people doubted the ways of their ancestors. A war of liberation occurred from 19661979 and culminated in majority rule; the birth of the nationstate Zimbabwe occurred in 1980. Popular and traditional songs with hidden meanings helped galvanize mass opinion; spirit mediums were leaders in the war against white privilege. The mbira became a positive symbol of cultural identity. Shona Spirits o According to Shona ancestors, four classes of spirits (mweya, or breath) affect the world: spirits of chiefs (mhondoro), family members (mudzimu), nonrelatives or animals (mashave), and witches (muroyi). o These spirits have sensory experience, feel emotions, take action to help and advice their beloved descendants; mbira connects the living to their ancestors. o Humans and spirits communicate by means of possession trances; a spirit enters the body of a living person, temporarily supplanting his or her spirit. The ancestral spirit advises their living relatives; telling them things they have done wrong and how to protect themselves and ensure good fortune. o Mhondoro spirits can advise a gathering of several family groups to advise them on matters affecting the whole community (rain). o Possessions occur at mapira (singular bira) allnight, familybased, communal rituals. Mbira music and dancing are elements of these events. The Mbira Construction o Mbiras—are of many different styles and constructions throughout Africa and its diaspora; they have four features of construction. 1) a set of long, thin keys made of metal or plant 2) a soundboard with a bridge that holds the keys 3) a resonator to shape and amplify the sound of the plucked keys 4) jingles that buzz rhythmically when the keys are plucked. Leftside keys are for left thumb and index finger; rightside keys are for right thumb and index finger. o Longer bass keys lie toward the center, short treble keys are toward the edges. o On “Nhemamusasa” you hear the mbira dzavadzimu which is used frequently during spirit possession ceremonies. It is the mbira of the ancestors and is placed within a large gourd resonator during the ceremony that brings out the instrument’s full tone. Bottle cap rattles or snail shells are attached to the soundboard and resonator to provide buzzing to the music. o Performances include hand clapping, singing, and a driving rhythm played on a pair of gourd rattles called a hosho. The Player and the Instrument o The instrument faces toward the player during performance; the player repeatedly plucks the keys in prescribed patterns. o Each key on a mbira emits a fundamental pitch and a cluster of overtones; the resonator shapes, reinforces, prolongs, and amplifies this complex tone. o The buzzing bottle caps add to the music’s texture and the instrument’s array of tuned and untuned sounds; tones overlap. o Many pieces exploit 3:2 relationships, one hand is “in three or six” and the other is “in two or four.” Handclapping adds to the polymetric feeling. “Nhemamusasa” o Ancestral spirits love to hear their favorite mbira pieces; it draws them closer making possession more likely. o Pieces for mbira dzavadzimu have two interlocking parts: the kushaura, the main part, and the kutsinhira, the interwoven second part. Each part is polyphonic in its own right. o The vocal music has three distinct styles—mahonyera (vocables), kudeketera (poetry), and huro (yodeling)—which adds depth to the musical texture and richness to the meanings expressed in performance. o “Nhemamusasa” was played for Chaminuka, a powerful spirit who protects the entire Shona nation. The title means “Cutting Branches for Shelter” because when the Shona were marching to war to stop soldiers from killing them, they cut branches to make shelters called musasas. Thomas Mapfumo and Chimurenga Music o According to Thomas Mapfumo, the modern traditional music of the Shona is chimurenga music. It has pop band instrumentation and studio production but it can been linked to mbira music. o It is recreational music for dance parties that also comments on topical issues. o The word chimurenga (“struggle”) refers to the war against the white regime in Rhodesia and to a style of music that rallied popular support for the cause. o The music became popular in the 1970s among Africans despite white censorship of song lyrics and the ban on artists and recordings; African freedomfighting songwriters used allusion to make their points. o “Nyarai” was recorded after the government headed by Robert Mugabe came into power in Zimbabwe; the lyrics celebrate victory and chide people who are unreconciled to change. The BaAka People Singing “Makala” Also known as Forest People (their size is a benefit in the forest) from surrounding Africans, the BaAka people are one of several distinct ethnic groups who share certain physical, historical, cultural, and social features as well as adaptations to the natural world. The immense, ancient, thickly canopied rain forest exerts a powerful influence on life in central Africa. For millennia, the Forest People lived in sheltered domeshaped huts of saplings and leaves and lived with friends in small, looseknit groups. Since they needed only portable material possessions, they could move their encampments due to availability of food. They obtained their diet through cooperative hunting and gathering, and incorporated all night sings. Men and women had equal power and obligations, decisions were negotiated by argument, the forest was God and the people were children of the forest. They now live in nationstates forged in anticolonial wars; multinational timber and mining companies are at work in the forest. Three Images of the Forest People: Primal, Primitive, Unique Culture in Global Village o This musicculture evokes cherished values: peace, naturalness, humor, community. o Many people would consider the Forest People as “primitive” because they have no electricity, no industry, no nations, no armies, no books. o They are nonliterate and nonindustrial with a relatively unspecialized division of labor and a cashless barter/subsistence economy. o People suffer from disease, hunger, violence, and anxiety and they share the forest with the Bantu, Sudanic, and international forces. “Makala,” A Mabo Song o The setting of “Makala” was a performance event, or eboka, of Mabo, a type of music and dance associated with net hunting. At this performance, novices (Babemou) and their entourage from one group walked to a neighboring camp to receive hunting medicine and related dance instruction from experts (ginda). o For two days performers presented Mabo for this ritual purpose and to learn new songs and dance flourishes. Form and Texture o An eboka of Mabo consists of sections of singing, drumming, and dancing. Each song has a theme—a text and tune. By simultaneously improvising melodic variations, singers create a rich polyphony. o After 515 minutes of one song, they begin another; the eboka is “spiced up” with esime—a section of rhythmically intensified drumming, dancing, and percussive shouts. Timbre o Men and women of all ages sing using both chest and head voice—their voices range from tense/raspy to relaxed/breathy. They also include yodeling. Musical instruments are drums and hand claps; two different drum parts are played on drum skins that cover the ends of carved, coneshaped logs. Theme o The songs of the BaMbuti tend to mean “We are children of the Forest.” Polyphony o Heterophony o Drone/ostinato o Layering o Counterpoint o Accompaniment MusicCulture as an Adaptive Resource: Restoring Balance o The BaMbuti encode the practical, moral effect of song in their words for conflict and peace: akami, noise or disordered sound, and ekimi, silence or ordered sound. o Communal singing “wakes the forest” whose benevolent presence silences the akami forces. Enacting Values/Creating Self and Autonomy Within Community o Improvised, openended polyphony embodies egalitarian cultural values such as cooperation, negotiation, argument, and personal autonomy. o Most members of the BaAka community acquire musicmaking skills as they grow up (enculturation). o During times of crisis, the group needs musical participation of every member. o The community recognizes the composers of individual songs and originators of whole repertories such as Mabo. o Explicit teacherstudent transmission takes place between the old and young of one group and among members of groups from different regions.
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