MUH 1007: Listening to Non

Report
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
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
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
Improvisation
Improvisation is frequently basic to the music
– Improvisation usually based on traditional melodic
phrases and rhythmic patterns
Ethnomusicology
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Texture
Often homophonic or polyphonic
– This is unlike most nonwestern musics
Same melody often sung at many pitch levels
Africa
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
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
Aerophones and Chordophones
Flutes and trumpets (of wood and horn) most
common
– Reed instruments less widespread
Chordophones plucked or struck, gourd resonators
Africa
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

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