African Musical Symbolism In Contemporary Perspective: by John Collins

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

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Therefore, in the above circular diagram they are written H/L. B. Some musicians conceive the bell pattern as starting as on offbeat on interval fifteen. Five Features of the Cyclical African Beat Five points clearly emerge from the above Figures. These are the interlocking of the staggered phrases; the importance of phrase endings; the occurrence of critical junctures or reference points within the polyrhythm; the four-time pulse within the cycle of the Beat; and the curved space that is enclosed within it.

The Juxtaposition of Beginning and End A second feature made obvious from the circular Figures is the juxtaposition of the beginnings and closings of rhythmic patterns into a seamless Beat. In the case of the agbadza the most important ending of all is at its very beginning on interval one. This is not only where the handclap and atsimevu patterns end, but also immediately afterwards there is a clear break on interval two of the cycle that is almost devoid of percussion. It would seem therefore that after such a clear demarcation it would be more obvious and natural to make interval one the end of the cycle, and the bell pattern that starts on interval three its beginning; which moreover also launches the atsimevu resting rhythm.

Jones (1959) called the 30 “African Signature Tune”. He studied East and West African music in the 1940’s and 50’s and in one form or another discovered it is found all over the continent. The Akan Children’s Akoko Funu Rhythmic Game In this Akan game children pinch the backs of each other’s hands until one of them gives up. They do this whilst singing a song that uses the metal bell or gong pattern of the polyrhythmic kete and adowa music of the court of the Asante (or Ashanti) king of Kumasi, in Southern Ghana.

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