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Nonwestern Music Materials

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  1. Nonwestern Music Materials Reflects/expresses world’s diversity Each culture has its music practice • Some have all three—folk, pop, and classical These musics influence western music • Especially true in the twentieth century • French composer Claude Debussy • British rocker George Harrison • Jazz artist John Coltrane NONWESTERN MUSIC

  2. Music in Nonwestern Cultures Characteristics of Nonwestern Music It reflects its supporting culture • Frequently linked with religion, dance and drama • Often used to communicate messages and relate traditions Ethnomusicology

  3. Oral Tradition Frequently transmitted by oral tradition • Music notation far less important than in western culture • Many cultures do not have a music notation • When they do, it serves as a record, not for teaching or performance Ethnomusicology

  4. Improvisation Improvisation is frequently basic to the music • Improvisation usually based on traditional melodic phrases and rhythmic patterns Ethnomusicology

  5. Voices Singing usually main way of making music Vocal approach, timbre, and techniques vary throughout the world • Nasal sound • Strained tone • Throat singing • Many others Ethnomusicology

  6. Instruments Four types based upon sound production: • Membranophones—stretched skin • Primarily drums • Chordophones—stretched string • Harp-type • Aerophones—performer’s breath • Flutes, trumpets, etc. • Idiophones—instrument’s body is sound generator • Bells, gongs, scrapers, rattles, etc. Ethnomusicology

  7. Style and application within culture causes particular types of instruments to dominate • Strings allow great flexibility of pitch • Idiophones/membranophones: rhythmic emphasis • Aerophones aid in outdoor performance Geography and materials availability influences Religion also influences instrumentation Ethnomusicology

  8. Melody, Rhythm, and Texture Most nonwestern musics are monophonic • Sometimes accompanied by a drone • Some cultures use heterophony • All perform same melody with different ornamentation Ethnomusicology

  9. Scales in nonwestern music are frequently quite different than western musical scales • Intervals between tones can be larger or smaller Much nonwestern music has very complex rhythms Ethnomusicology

  10. Interaction between Nonwestern and Western Music Nonwestern music has been greatly impacted by western influences due to: • Increased urbanization • Spread of technology • Almost worldwide access to recorded music Some governments subsidize traditional music to preserve cultural heritage Ethnomusicology

  11. Music in Sub-Saharan Africa Africa is divided into two parts: above and below the Sahara Desert • Above: Muslim, Arabic-speaking, music closely related to that of the Middle East • Below: Extremely diverse, many religions, cultures, and languages (over 700) Africa

  12. Though Sub-Saharan music is diverse, there are some similarities: • Complex rhythms and polyrhythms • Percussive sounds • Wide variety of instrumental ensembles • Vocal music often a soloist and responding chorus Africa

  13. Music in Society Music permeates African life from religion, entertainment, and magic to rites of passage It is so interwoven into life that the abstract word “music” is not used by many peoples Africa

  14. Closely associated with dancing in ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations • Dancers frequently play and sing while dancing Music is a social activity—everyone joins in No musical notation—passed by oral tradition Africa

  15. Elements of African Music Rhythm and Percussion Complex rhythms and polyrhythms predominate Dancers choose to follow any of the various rhythms The body used as an instrument • Clapping, stamping, slapping thigh/chest Africa

  16. Vocal Music Wide variety of sounds, even within a single piece • Call and response extremely common Percussion ostinato frequently accompanies singers Short musical phrases repeated to different words Africa

  17. Texture Often homophonic or polyphonic • This is unlike most nonwestern musics Same melody often sung at many pitch levels Africa

  18. African Instruments Idiophones Most common African instrument Most are of indefinite pitch Xylophones, a favorite, come in many sizes “Talking drum” with slit in side can produce two to four tones Africa

  19. Membranophones Used in many ceremonial and work-pace applications • Drum manufacture often accompanied by special rites Drums usually played in groups—multiple players Variety of shapes, sizes, and forms Africa

  20. Aerophones and Chordophones Flutes and trumpets (of wood and horn) most common • Reed instruments less widespread Chordophones plucked or struck, gourd resonators Africa

  21. Listening Ompeh Song from central Ghana Music of the Akan-speaking peoples in Ghana. Listen for: Call and response Solo vocalist and chorus Percussion ensemble Africa