African Music and Dance

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African music and dance

* In texture, African music consists of a single line of melody without harmony. * As with most African dialects, where pitch is important in conveying meaning, variations of musical effect derive from tonal inflection and timbre. * The essential communal spirit of African culture is reflected in the use of Call-and-response chants similar to those of African poetry. * The most distinctive characteristic of African music is its polyrhythmic structure. * A single piece of music may simultaneously engage five to ten different rhythms, many of which are repeated over and over. * African dance is also communally preformed and shares the distinctively dense polyrhythmic qualities of African music. * A wide variety of percussion instruments, including various types of drums and rattles are used in the performance of African rituals. * Also popular are the balafo (Xylophone), the bolon or kora (harp), and the sansa. * The bolon and the sansa were believed to contain supernatural powers and to be dangerous, and were outlawed by many African tribes. * Africa was the origin of the banjo, which may have been the only musical instrument permitted on slave ships and traveled across the Atlantic in the 16th century. All other instruments were forbidden. * The dynamic convergence of poetry, dance and music generates a singularly dramatic experience in African culture. *

The African Mask

* African masks and headdresses play a vital role in poetry, music and dance that served a ceremonial or ritual event. * The mask functioned as a channel for the spirit of an animal, god, or ancestor. * The masker embodied the spirit of the being he represented. By the transformative power of the mask, he became the agent of the supernatural. * Masked dancers took part in rituals of exorcism,…...

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