PERFORMANCE PRACTICES IN AFRICAN MUSIC

nb: to be expanded and adapted to suit Semester sytsem

COURSE OBJECTIVE

.This course will examine a limited corpus of musical traditions from sub-Saharan Africa in order to understand how and what types of compositional choices are made, as well as the local ideas or concepts that support these choices. The goal of the course is to explore the specific ways in which these choices and conventions represent for the participants an ideal way of presenting music. Conventions such as tuning patterns, ensemble formation and selection of instruments, vocal timbre, different manifestations of the notion of "heterogeneous sound ideal," and the importance of social and musical cues or markers in building form and general musical coherence will be studied in detail. An additional goal is to highlight those conventions that inform much of the performance practices (e.g., techniques of improvisation, pitch-bending, use of speech surrogates, etc.) associated with African-American genres. The course will also provide students with a general theoretical background that is necessary for an effective and meaningful participation in an African performing ensemble in the future. Musical examples will be limited to the following: the kora performance tradition of the Mande Sunjata epic, the Adzida ensemble of the Anlo-Ewe of Ghana, and the Amadinda/Akadinda (xylophone) traditions of Uganda, East Africa. The course will be supplemented by intensive listening and live demonstrations.

Texts:
Kubik, Gerhard, A Theory of African Music, Vol. 1. Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Florian Noetzel Verlag, 1994
Nketia, Kwabena J. H. The Music of Africa. New York: W.W. Norton, 1974
Nketia, Kwabena & Djedje, Jacqueline Cogdell, ed. Studies in African Music [Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology, V], Department of Music, UCLA, 1984

Evaluation:
Grades will be assigned according to the following criteria:
60%--a term paper that is analytical in nature and addresses a specific issue or problem discussed in class
30%-- brief oral reports based on listening and reading assignments
10%--participation in practical demonstration and exercises pertaining to music examples discussed

Reserve Materials:
A set of listening tapes and video selections will supplement class discussions/examples.

 

Evaluation:
Grades will be assigned according to the following criteria:
60%--a term paper that is analytical in nature and addresses a specific issue or problem discussed in class
30%-- brief oral reports based on listening and reading assignments
10%--participation in practical demonstration and exercises pertaining to music examples discussed


 

*The instructors reserves the right to change, substitute, and add to the weekly schedule

SCHEDULE
Week 1

·  overview of "performance practice" in ethnomusicological perspectives

·  unity in diversity--overview of concepts and processes in music making in sub-Saharan Africa

Reading Assignment:
* Behague, Performance Practice: Ethnomusicological Perspectives, "Introduction"
* Kubik, A Theory of African Music, "Introduction," pp. 9-46.
* Lo-Bamijoko, Joy Nwosu. "Performance Practice in Nigerian Music"
* Nketia, The Music of Africa, chapter 2--"Music in Community Life," pp.21-34
* Nketia, “The Intensity Factor in African Music.”

Week 2
·  the temporal, structural, and general stylistic aspects of Time-Line (TL) in African music
·  detailed analysis, regional distribution, and performance of selective TLs, with emphasis on their musical attributes
Reading Assignment:
* Kubik, A Theory of African Music, pp. 44-46.
* Kubik, "Oral Notation of Some West and Central African Time-Line Patterns"
* Kauffman, "African Rhythm: A Reassessment," Ethnomusicology 24/3 (1980):393-415
* Nketia, The Music of Africa, chapter 12--"The Rhythmic Basis of Instrumental Music," pp. 125-138.
* Stone, "In Search of Time in African Music," Music Theory Spectrum 7(1985):139-148.
* Berliner, The soul of Mbira, pp. 70-111; 111-126.

Week 3

·  tuning systems--musical and cultural considerations

·  tuning preferences/discriminations in string instruments--the kora tomora, sataro, kelefaba, and   hardino modes

·  tuning preferences/discrimination in percussion instruments--drums

- Mandinka and Anlo-Ewe drums--non-pitched
- etenga tuned drums of Uganda
- musical and linguistic constraints
Reading Assignment:
* Knight, "The Style of Mandinka Music: A Study in Extracting Theory from Practice," in Studies in African Music, pp. 3-66.
* Kubik, A theory of African Music, chapter 5, section 3--"Likembe tunings and Musical concepts...," pp. 328-404.
* Anderson, "Multipart Relationships in Xylophone and Tuned Drum Traditions in Buganda," in Studies in African Music, pp. 121-144.

Week 4

·  three primary performance modes in Mande Sunjata epic with emphasis on units of composition--literary, musical, and thematic features:- praise-proverb mode
- song-lyrical mode
- narrative mode
Reading Assignment:
* Johnson, "Yes, Virginia, There is Epic in Africa"
* Johnson, The Epic of son-Jara: A West African Tradition, pp. 97-181 (transcribed text only)

Week 5

·  adzida ensemble of the Anlo-Ewe
- pre-performance activities and their musical implications
- rehearsal and oral-aural modes of musical transmission
Reading Assignment:
* Ladzekpo, Alfred K.; Ladezkpo, Kobla. "Anlo-Ewe Music in Anyako, Volta Region, Ghana," in Elizabeth May, ed. Musics of Many Cultures: An Introduction, pp. 216-231.
* Fiagbedzi, Nissio. The Music of the Anlo (pages tba)

Week 6

·  musicians, music roles, and arrangements supporting a meaning performance form, structure, and influential factors in adzidza

Reading Assignment:
* Avorgbedor, "Analysis of Xatsevu"
* Locke, Drum Gahu (pages tba)
* Fiagbedzi, The Music of Anlo (pages tba)

Week 7

·  Ensemble procedures in Mande kora, balafon, song and dance

·  demonstration by visiting artist

Reading Assignment:
* Knight, Roderic. "Music in Africa: The Manding Contexts"
* Knight, Roderic. "The Style of Mandinka Music: A Study in Extracting Theory from Practice"

Week 8

·  influence of language on musical style and performance procedures

·  tone-tune relationships in Anlo-Ewe song culture
Reading Assignment:
* Agawu, Kofi. "Tone and Tune: The Evidence for Northern Ewe Music"
* Nketia, African Music, chapter 16--"Speech and Melody," pp. 177-188.
* Nketia, Kwabena J.H. "The Lingusitic Aspect of Style in African Musisc"
* Mbabi-Katana, "The Use of Measured Rhythm to Communicate Messages among Banyoro and Baganda in Uganda"

Week 9

·  drum language and speech surrogates

- the influence of linguistic considerations on the selection and play of instruments
- the linguistic basis of drumming; musical and signal modes of instrumental performance
- examples from atumpan talking drum, akadinda/amadinda xylophone techniques; horns, flutes

Week 10

·  techniques of composition and performance in the balafon and akadinda/amadinda

·  overview of performance practices in African-American genres and their interface with African traditions
Reading Assignment:
* Kubik, A theory of African Music, chapter 1--"Xylophone Playing in Southern Uganda," pp. 47-85
* Anderson, Lois. "Multipart Relationships in Xylophone and Tuned Drum Traditions in Buganda," in Studies in African Music, pp. 121-144
* Wilson, "The Heterogeneous Sound Ideal in African-American Music," " in New Perspectives on Music, chapter 16, pp. 326-337.

Bibliography
Agawu, Kofi. African Rhythm: A Northern Ewe Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1995.

Agawu, Kofi. "Tone and Tune: The Evidence for Northern Ewe Music," Africa 58/2(1988):127-146.

Anderson, Lois. "Multipart Relationships in Xylophone and Tuned Drum Traditions in Buganda," Studies in African Music, pp. 121-144.

Avorgbedor, Daniel. "Un voyage vers l'inconnu: Conventions esth‚tiques dans la musique des Anlo-Ewe du Ghana," Cahiers de musiques traditionnelles 7/1:105-119 [English manuscript].

Avorgbedor, Daniel. "Analysis of Xatsevu" [manuscript].

BChague, Gerard. "Introduction," in Performance Practice: Ethnomusicological Perspectives. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1984. Pp. 3-12.

Berliner, Paul. The Soul of Mbira. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1978.

Fiagbedzi, Nissio. The Music of the Anlo: Its Historical Background, Cultural Matrix, and Style. Doctoral diss., Los Angeles, UCLA, 1977.

Johnson, John William. "Yes, Virginia, There is Epic in Africa," Research in African Literature 11/3(1980:308-326.

Johnson, John, William. The Epic of son-Jara: A West African Tradition. Bloomington: Indiana University, 1986.

Kauffman, Robert. "African Rhythm: A Reassessment," Ethnomusicology 24/3(1980):393-415.

Knight, Roderic. "Music in Africa: The Manding Contexts," in Gerard B‚hague, ed., Performance Practice, 1984. Pp. 53-90.

Knight, Roderic. "The Style of Mandinka Music: A Study in Extracting Theory from Practice," Studies in African Music, pp. 3-66.

Kubik, Gehard. A theory of African Music, chapter 4--"Composition Techniques in Kiganda Xylophone Music," pp. 249-328.

Kubik, A theory of African Music, chapter 3--"A Structural Examination of Multi-Part Singing in Bantu Musical Cultures of East and Cenetral Africa," pp. 171-209.

Kubik, A theory of African Music, chapter 1--"Xylophone Playing in Southern Uganda," pp. 47-85.

Kubik, A theory of African Music, chapter 5, section 3--"Likembe tunings and Musical concepts...," pp. 328-404.

Kwakwa, Patience. "The Dynamics of Music and Dance Integrations in Traditional Societies," in Working Documents: International Conference on African Music and Dance--Problems and Prospects. Legon, Ghana: International Centre for African Music and Dance, 1992.

Ladzekpo, Alfred K.; Ladezkpo, Kobla. "Anlo-Ewe Music in Anyako, Volta Region, Ghana," in Elizabeth May, ed., Musics of Many Cultures: An Introduction. Berkeley: UCLA, 1980. Pp. 216-231.

Lcoke, David. Drum Gahu! A Systematic Method for an African Percussion Piece. Crown Point, Indiana: White Cliffs Media, 1987.

Lo-Bamijoko, Joy Nwosu. "Performance Practice in Nigerian Music," Black Perspective in Music 12/1(1984):3-20.

Lo-Bamijoko, Joy Nwosu. "Tuning Methods of African Musical Instruments: Some Examples from Nigeria and Ghana," Nigeria Magazine no. 142(1982):15-24.

Mbabi-Katana, Solomon. "The Use of Measured Rhythm to Communicate Messages among Banyoro and Baganda in Uganda," Studies in African Music, pp. 39-356.

Nketia, Kwabena J.H. "The Lingusitic Aspect of Style in African Musisc," in Working Documents: International Conference on African Music and Dance--Problems and Prospects. Legon, Ghana: International Centre for African Music and Dance, 1992. Pp. 214-249.

Nketia, African Music, chapter 16--"Speech and Melody," pp. 177-188.

Nketia, African Music, chapter 18--"Interrelations of Music and Dance," pp. 206-217.

Nketia, African Music, chapter 20--"The Conventions of Musical Practice," pp. 231-240.

Nketia, African Music, chapter 14--"Melody and Polyphony in vocal Music," pp. 147-167.
Nketia, Kwabena J.H. “The Intensity Factor in African Music.” In Performance in Contemporary African Arts, pp. 53-86. Ed. Ruth M. Stone. Bloomington, IN: African Studies Program, 1988. Published also as Journal of Folklore Research 25/1-2(1988).

Nzewi, Meki. "Traditional Strategies for Mass Communication: The Centrality of Igbo Music," Studies in African Music, pp. 319-338.

Okpewho, Isidore, ed. The Oral Performance in Africa. Ibadan, Spectrum Books, 1990.

Omibiy, Mosunmola. "A Model for the Study of African Music," African Music 5/3(1973-74):6-11.

Omondi, Washington. "Tuning of the Thum, the Luo Lyre: A Systematic Analysis," Studies in African Music, pp. 263-284.

Schmidt, Cynthia. "Interlocking Techniques in Kpelle Music," Studies in African Music, pp. 195-216.

Stone, Ruth M. "In Search of Time in African Music," Music Theory Spectrum 7(1985):139-148.

Wilson, Olly. "The Heterogeneous Sound Ideal in African-American Music," in New Perspectives on Music, ed. Josephine Wright. Harmonie Park, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 1992, chapter 16, pp. 326-337.

 

 


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