Get African Musical Symbolism In Contemporary Perspective: PDF

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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Conversely, when a crest and trough overlap they cancel each other out, resulting in a point on the interference wave halfway between a super-crest and super-trough. So positive and negative interference create new patterns that when smoothed out give a third wave pattern: equivalent to a standing wave in water, the pulse of the German war plane and the “beatings” of two slightly mistuned musical strings. Even though African rhythms are patterned sequences of sound, when two or more different rhythms are played together their combined pulses or tones interfere with one another and 55 produce a third resultant wave-like pattern: a rhythmical pulse that no one actually plays and yet seems to have a rhythmic life of its own.

An equivalent expression used by Western musicians is “rubato”, which means when one note robs some time from the succeeding one: a time so tiny that, like swing, it cannot be notated divisively and is left to the feel of the virtuoso performer. In spite of what has been said, the bracketing of rhythmic sequences into tiny time-intervals or “density referents” is useful for analytical illustration. In subsequent TUBS Figures, therefore, I shall continue to use these interval lines, but they will be dotted to show their imaginary quality: as in the case of the agbadza kidi drum rhythm depicted below.

What Farris Thompson called “Aufheben”. 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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