African music

African music,

the music of the indigenous peoples of Africa. Sub-Saharan African music has as its distinguishing feature a rhythmic complexity common to no other region. Polyrhythmic counterpoint, wherein two or more locally independent attack patterns are superimposed, is realized by handclaps, xylophones, rattles, and a variety of tuned and nontuned drums. The remarkable aspect of African polyrhythm is the discernible coherence of the resultant rhythmic pattern. Pitch polyphony exists in the form of parallel intervals (generally thirds, fourths, and fifths), overlapping choral antiphony and solo-choral response, and occasional simultaneous independent melodies. In addition to voice, many wind and string instruments perform melodic functions. Common are bamboo flutes, ivory trumpets, and the one-string ground bow, which uses a hole in the ground as a resonator. During colonial times, European instruments such as saxophones, trumpets, and guitars were adopted by many African musicians; their sounds were integrated into the traditional patterns. Scale systems vary between regions but are generally diatonic. Music is highly functional in ethnic life, accompanying birth, marriage, hunting, and even political activities. Much music exists solely for entertainment, ranging from narrative songs to highly stylized musical theater. Similarities with other cultures, particularly Indian and Middle Eastern, can be ascribed primarily to the Islamic invasion (7th–11th cent.). See gospel musicgospel music,
American religious musical form that owes much of its origin to the Christian conversion of West Africans enslaved in the American South. Gospel music partly evolved from the songs slaves sang on plantations, notably work songs, and from the Protestant hymns they
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; jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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; spiritualspiritual,
a religious folk song of American origin, particularly associated with African-American Protestants of the southern United States. The African-American spiritual, characterized by syncopation, polyrhythmic structure, and the pentatonic scale of five whole tones, is,
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.

Bibliography

See A. M. Jones, Studies in African Music (2 vol., 1959); R. Brandel, The Music of Central Africa (1961); F. Warren, The Music of Africa (1970); F. Bebey, African Music (1972); W. Bender, Sweet Mother: Modern African Music (1991).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Briton was in the kingdom last month for the Manama Singers performance of African Sanctus, a composition of ethnic African music he created.
This new compilation features twelve different artists or groups singing and playing many different styles of South African music.
The show features a vibrant mix of traditional and contemporary African music and dance.
Review of Modern African Music, by Akin Euba: and Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life, and Music of a Nigerian Composer, by Joshua Uzoigwe.
The workshops are run with groups of pupils who will learn about traditional African music, art, dance and culture, and at the end of the day the groups will come together to perform with the Lions.
Talat Mahmoud may not strike you as someone who is passionate about East African music.
This year, as African music once again threaded its way through folk and rock and dance, as baile funk gave way to kuduru, Graceland was the album to namecheck--as much for ironic throwbacks like "You Can Call Me Al" as for the unflinching, hollow-eyed beauty of "Homeless," You can riff for a million years on the appropriation of African culture for Western consumption but Simon did it with respect and a damn great ear.
Sappington, a former Joffrey principal and now choreographer, will share the program with Balanchine's landmark ballet Agon and Trey McIntyre's Second Before the Ground, a ballet about love set to African music.
West Africa Unwired is an excellent compilation of West African music often using traditional acoustic instruments to play both new compositions and ancient harmonies.
They will perform traditional African music at the Mormon Church on Halifax Road on Saturday.
Over the years, I've been more and more attracted to African music, and this trip solidified it for me.
Also, I've always been interested in African music.

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