African Polyphony and Polyrhythm: Musical Structure and by Simha Arom

By Simha Arom

During this certain examine Simha Arom takes a brand new and unique method of the certainty of the complicated and complex styles of polyphony and polyrhythm that characterise African song. contemplating particularly the harp, sanza, xylophone and percussion song of valuable Africa, Simha Arom develops a rigorous approach for the research of the track and for the recording and decoding of the various strands of polyphony and polyrhythm. via a scientific breakdown of the various layers of it appears improvised rhythm he finds the fundamental constitution which underlies this wealthy and intricate song. encouraged additionally by means of linguistic ideas, Professor Arom regards the song a great deal as a grammatical process.

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There are a number of communities, however, in which there are kinds of music which are not learnt purely by trial and error but are in fact taught in a specific framework. This is the case with the special repertoires linked to initiation rites, the most common of which are the rites of passage which allow children, when approaching puberty, to be admitted according to sex into the community of adult men or women. In many societies this occasion is marked by an initiatory retreat, in the course of which the neophytes are secluded for several weeks, far from the village, in a rudimentary camp.

Some of these migrants did not advance as far as did the Central Africans of today, the lands in which they settled today belong to the countries that border on the Central African Republic. That is why the neighbouring countries contain members of the same ethnic families as live in Central Africa, namely, the Banda and the Manja in Zaire, the Ngbaka in the Congo, the Gbaya and the Kaka in Cameroon, the Azande in Sudan. For that reason the features listed here as characteristic of the traditional musics now in use in Central Africa should not be taken to be exclusive to this one country, nor to the peoples who, by and large, live within it.

Finding itself thus thrust into the musical activities of its milieu, taking part in the dance, since it is 'being danced' by its mother, long before it can stand on its own feet, the infant absorbs and assimilates in the most organic and natural manner possible the rudiments of the music of its own community. The child may be said, in fact, to store up, in a subconscious fashion, the characteristics of this music. This is the 'passive' stage, the first step in its pragmatic apprenticeship, 'on-the-job'.

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