African Music Powerpoint

Exploring Music 7
• Families provide focus for community activities- singing, dancing,
and music are important parts of family life
• Rural Lifestyle- Up at dawn, and return home for an evening
meal when it gets dark
• After their evening meal, they sit and talk, and sometimes play
instruments and sing
• A lot of music and dancing at religious festivals, funerals, or
harvest times where EVERYONE joins in
• Good way for community members to meet, enjoy themselves,
and celebrate
• Villages are proud of their own versions of music- it is offensive
to suggest it sounds like another village’s music!
• Music reminds the community of where they came from (culture)
• Main element of African music is RHYTHM!
• Drums have to be tuned to particular pitches within ensemblesthis helps drummers imitate phrases that people might say
(Tonal Music)
• Drums are used as a form of communication between people
some distance apart
• Connection between words and music is used to remember and
describe rhythm patterns played on drums
• A djembe (pron.: JEM-be) is a
rope-tuned skin-covered drum
played with bare hands,
originally from West Africa.
• The djembe has a body (or shell)
carved of hardwood and a
drumhead made of rawhide,
most commonly made from goatskin.
• It is said that the name of the djembe
comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to
"everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose.
•Native instrument
from Senegal, Africa
• 21 Strings
•Made from a large
squash (gourd) covered
in cow skin
• A strong and powerful style of singing
• Originated from the Zulu people who are the largest ethnic group in
South Africa
• “A capella” singing literally means “without accompaniment”
• Usually all male singers
• Stomps and tip-toe moves keep singers “in time” with each other
• Strong harmony and blend (no voice sticks out)
• Examples of this style of singing can be heard in the Disney movie
“The Lion King”
• Made popular in America in the 1980’s by Singer/songwriter: Paul
• Popular group: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Listen to the recording of
“Ditax Kora”
Describe the vocal style
Is the voice high or low?
Does it use a wide range of pitches?
Does it have a tight, nasal quality, or is it smooth and relaxed?
Does it use vibrato?
Does it slide from note to note (Portamento)?
Describe the melodic style
• It is a simple melody or does it have complicated decorations?
• How do the words fit the tune?
• What about the melodic contour? Do all the tunes ascend, descend, or do both?
When you have finished, draw some general conclusions about
the style of music
• A traditional piece of community music
from Ghana, Africa.
• It is played by four bells of different
shapes and sizes.
• The music for the Hatsiatsia is played
as part of a ceremony which involves
dancing and singing.
• The Hatsiatsia ceremony is often part of meetings that take
place in the capitol city of Ghana called Accra on the first
Sunday of each month.
• Groups from different villages come to these meetings to
dance, sing, swap gossip and news, celebrate their
traditional culture and collect money which may be used
for something their home village needs, like a new well.
• It is performed by the people of the Ewe (Eh-vay) tribe.
The Ewe are the main people from the south east of
• Everyone takes part in the ceremony.
• It is a forgiveness ceremony.
• Perhaps 100 people or more from a large circle, often around
a tree that provides shade from the hot sun.
• A bucket of water is blessed and placed just inside the circle.
• A slow, shuffling dance step gradually takes everyone past the
bucket and people dip their hands or a handkerchief into it,
wiping their faces with water.
• Sometimes someone will rush up to the bucket, cup their hands,
scoop the water and throw it over as many people as possible.
• This ceremony is a chance to forgive and forget all the
arguments you have had with friends and family during the last
month-they are washed away!
• They are quite heavy and made of iron.
• The GANKOGUI ( gang-cog-i) is a
double bell.
• The ATOKE (a-toe-kay) is a single bell.
Where is the Hatsiatsia from?
Where would we hear the music for Hatsiatsia?
The Hatsiatsia ceremony is held where?
Why is the bucket of water important at a Hatsiatsia
5. What is a gankogui?
6. What is and atoke?
7. Draw a picture of the two bells.
Performing the Hatsiatsia
• The rhythms of Hatsiatsia music can be shown by using
graphic scores. The following graph shows a steady pulse of 12.
The first pattern repeats over and over again.
Task 1:
This Hatsiatsia has three parts. Perform each part individually and
then put them together to produce a group/class performance.
• After creating your own, practice and perform.
• Here is what your project will be scored on:
Musical Accuracy
Use of Time
Use of Instruments
Refer to your handout Rubric for specifics

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