Download African Musical Symbolism In Contemporary Perspective: by John Collins PDF

By John Collins

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Extra resources for African Musical Symbolism In Contemporary Perspective: Roots, Rhythms and Relativity

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Y. Egblewogbe (1967) has noted that the most common rhythm used by Ewe children of Southeastern Ghana is based on the following polyrhythmic clap rhythm that contains in it both duple and triple time. The reader may ask how can it be polyrhythmic if only one rhythmic “timeline” is involved. The answer is that there is a simultaneous but unexpressed hidden rhythm made up of four evenly spaced subjective pulses that are sometimes danced out by the children. Although not notated, these four subjective pulses also occur in the other three cases of Ghanaian children’s time-lines discussed below.

Therefore, in the above circular diagram they are written H/L. B. Some musicians conceive the bell pattern as starting as on offbeat on interval fifteen. Five Features of the Cyclical African Beat Five points clearly emerge from the above Figures. These are the interlocking of the staggered phrases; the importance of phrase endings; the occurrence of critical junctures or reference points within the polyrhythm; the four-time pulse within the cycle of the Beat; and the curved space that is enclosed within it.

E. the bar or basic unit is made up of twelve eighth notes or quavers. To illustrate these two polyrhythms for the benefit of nonmusicians, I will not use the standard form of musical notation, as in the above Figures, but will space out the beats or pulses of the various instruments in a graphical way known as the Time Unit Box System (TUBS). 12 In fact these interval lines can be seen as a form of density referent. As in so much African music, it is the bell (or gong) that supplies the main reference-point or time-line of both the adowa and agbadza.

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