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

By John Collins

ISBN-10: 393826215X

ISBN-13: 9783938262153

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

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As will be discussed in Thematic Chapter Six Western musicians spent hundreds of years trying to solve this anomaly of the so-called “Pythagorean Comma”. If, in addition to acquiring his geometrical theorems from the Egyptian priesthood, Pythagoras also acquired some of his musical innovations from there, then the intriguing idea emerges that Africa has twice provided the same seven pulse on twelve interval musical structure: once in melodic and once in rhythmic form. 40 Theme Three: Hidden Space – Syncopation and Swing In addition to its relativistic array of staggered rhythms each with its own starting and endpoint, another aspect of African music is its utilisation of rhythmic silence.

The kidi rhythm takes its opening cue from the fifth stroke of the bell on time-interval eight. In the above Figure, the staggered beginnings of the agbadza polyrhythmic phrase are obvious. Like the adowa, the agbadza is also polymetric. For instance the kidi is played rather like a triple time waltz whilst the downbeat of the dancing feet are in quadruple time, as they divide the twelve time-intervals into four groups. Like the adowa, the agbadza bell pattern contains aspects of both duple and triple time signatures.

26 Personal communication. 50 Figure 16: The muting of the adowa bell This lack of accent on what Europeans would consider the first beat of the music is something that constantly crops up in African music and we will come across this phenomenon again later. Another aspect of this African awareness of musical space is in the honing down of specific rhythms in various ways to produce edited versions of them, much in the same way as a carver can whittle down a piece of wood into different shapes.

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African Musical Symbolism In Contemporary Perspective: Roots, Rhythms and Relativity by John Collins

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