© boardworks ltd 20081 of 13 5f african music – unit 5: world music icons key: for more detailed...

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© Boardworks Ltd 2008 1 of 13 5F African Music – Unit 5: World Music Icons key: For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presenta Flash activity. These activities are not editable. Teacher’s notes included in the Notes Page Accompanying worksheet Listeni ng activit y Sound Composing activity Performin g activity Weblink 5F African Music Unit 5: World Music © Boardworks Ltd 2008 1 of 13

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Unit 1A Bridging UnitIcons key:
Flash activity. These activities are not editable.
Teacher’s notes included in the Notes Page
Accompanying worksheet
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To consider the traditional social context of African music, including the use of dance, drums, vocals and costume.
To understand the main instruments and playing techniques employed in African drumming music.
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
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African music
Africa is made up of 53 different countries. Their landscapes, climates, languages and societies are hugely varied.
The music across Africa is also diverse, yet there are some common features that can be studied.
These features include repetition, call and response, polyrhythm and improvisation.
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
Music and dance
Using music and dance to celebrate different occasions is a significant part of traditional African life. Music and dance are used together to express the emotion of various events.
Music is used alongside dance to mark certain occasions. Music and dance are so closely linked that often, the same word is used to describe both.
Photo: ‘Blur dance’ © Maverickapollo www.flickr.com/photos/maverickapollo/1609306989/
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
Coming of age
Listen to these examples of African music which is used for certain occasions.
Teacher’s note: The traditional names for each dance are as follows:
‘Adzohu’ – war
Drums are a prominent feature of African music. The drum has always been seen as the most important instrument in Africa, and there are many different types of drum.
Drums are traditionally made from natural resources, such as trees, goat skins and twine.
Worksheet 5.4 accompanies this worksheet. Students can discuss what instruments can be made from natural resources.
Photos: © 2008 Jupiterimages corporation
Teacher’s note: If a djembe is available, students could try playing as directed in the activity. It is vital that the djembe is held correctly in order to play properly. The player should sit down and hold the djembe between the legs, and tilt the drum so that the sound can resonate. If the djembe is put flat on the floor, students will not be able to create the correct sounds.
Photo: Djembe © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation
The djembe is the most commonly played drum. However, djembes are sometimes accompanied by the kenkeni, sangban and doundounba.
Collectively, these drums are known as doundouns.
Photo: doundouns © www.djembemoves.de
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
Talking drum player: Biran Saine © Emily Baker
Audio: talking drum sound effect © Sound Effects Library www.sound-effects-library.com
Learning to play
African music is part of an oral tradition, meaning that music is learnt through listening and imitating, rather than by
reading a transcription.
The feeling a rhythm creates is very important, so written music can only show the basic idea. To fully understand the rhythm, a drummer must listen in order to learn.
Drumming pieces are made up of sections of different rhythms. These sections can be played over and over help new drummers learn. This also gives people the chance to improvise over a set rhythm to vary the piece.
Photo: Drummer © Hasan Shaheed www.shutterstock.com
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
African drumming rhythms are very rarely notated, and when they are, different methods of notation are used in different areas. Here is one method of notation:
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
This is how the rhythm could look in Western notation:
Teacher’s note: The African notation shows a bar in 4/4 time. The full stops show the half-beats in the bar. Explain to students that the rhythm is worked out by looking at where the letters sit underneath the numbers. If a lot of quavers, semi-quavers etc., are to be played, then the number of full stops would increase between each number to show the division of the beat. E.g., ‘1…2…3…4…’ allows spacing for 16 quavers.
Ask students if they think the African method or the Western method is easier to read. The Western method does not specify which tones to make, although it would be simple enough to assign a tone to each line. If there are any drummers in the class, you could ask them to talk about how they read drum music and how easy or difficult it is to read sheet music whilst playing.
© Boardworks Ltd 2008
Call and response
Call and response is a typical feature of African drumming. The master drummer plays a call, usually on the djembe, to which the rest of the group responds. The response may be:
An exact copy of the call
A refrain which is completely different from the call
A response that sounds quite similar to the call
Teacher’s note: This piece is made up of Cassa rhythms, which come from West Africa. The call is used to start the piece, to signal the change of rhythm, and to stop the piece.
Ask students to think about what they learnt on the previous slide and ask them to identify which type of call and response structure this piece follows. They should identify that it follows the pattern of the second example on slide 12 – that each response is completely different to the call.
Discuss with students how the piece builds up. Rhythms 1 – 3 are heard in their entirety before rhythms are played at the same time. Tell pupils that rhythms often loop around for a while as this helps drummers learn new rhythms. Remind students that African music is part of the oral tradition and that people learn by listening and imitating.
The cross rhythm can be defined as a musical phrase which is played over the basic rhythms. The cross may be short or extended and it is played to give contrast and variety over the basic rhythms. It is possible for drummers to play the cross in unison, without any of the basic rhythms. This is called a break.
Audio: Cassa rhythms played on the djembe by David Maskell.
Audio © Boardworks Ltd.