Simha Arom's African Polyphony and Polyrhythm: Musical Structure and PDF

By Simha Arom

ISBN-10: 0521616018

ISBN-13: 9780521616010

During this precise research Simha Arom takes a brand new and unique method of the knowledge of the advanced and complex styles of polyphony and polyrhythm that characterise African tune. contemplating specifically the harp, sanza, xylophone and percussion track of imperative Africa, Simha Arom develops a rigorous technique for the research of the song and for the recording and interpreting of the various strands of polyphony and polyrhythm. via a scientific breakdown of the various layers of it appears improvised rhythm he unearths the basic constitution which underlies this wealthy and intricate song. encouraged additionally through linguistic concepts, Professor Arom regards the tune greatly as a grammatical method.

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Additional resources for African Polyphony and Polyrhythm: Musical Structure and Methodology

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This is a small whistle made from a papaya twig, and again, it only produces one sound. In order to obtain real melodies from this rudimentary instrument, the musician regularly alternates the sound produced by the whistle with other sounds sung in a falsetto voice: so fused are the voice and instrument that the listener finds it extremely hard to distinguish between them. 3 FORMAL STRUCTURES All musical pieces are characterised by cyclic structure that generates numerous improvised variations: repetition and variation is one of the most fundamental principles of all Central African musics, as indeed of many other musics in Black Africa.

This also represents a sort of unconscious musical socialisation, the first stage in the future musician's apprenticeship thus beginning at the earliest possible age. These two examples clearly show how important music is in moderating excessive individual emotion, which it achieves by taking the person in hand socially, in the second case at the most intimate level, that of the mother-child relation, and in the first case on the largest scale, with the participation of the entire community. Whilst on the subject of spontaneous individual musics, it is worth mentioning the ritornelli that the solitary traveller will perform on a little instrument, a harp or a sansa, to pace his journey ('the sansa is my bike', people will often say), as also children's singing games and riddles, which are often didactic in character.

Kwabena Nketia (1975: 125) between two different types, namely 'syllabic rhythms', and 'abstract rhythm patterns'. The first, generally given to melodic instruments (xylophones or harps), correspond with the syllabic divisions in the words of the songs that they accompany, while the second are confined to unpitched percussive instruments (or purely rhythm instruments), especially drums. The rhythmic structure is essentially dependent upon very short patterns, based on a division of time into cyclical units of equal duration, which are themselves subject to an isochronous pulse.

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African Polyphony and Polyrhythm: Musical Structure and Methodology by Simha Arom


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