A Touch Of Jazz


When I hear people talking cheerfully of "Negro music" or the Africa roots of jazz; he often wonders what in the world they can be talking about. What Negro music? What part of Africa? What kind of jazz? Africa is groups than any comparable land mass. Not all Africans are Negroes, and not all Negroes are Africans. African music isn't necessarily Negroes music, and all Negro music isn't necessarily African.
Surely, it must be obvious to even the most cursory listener that all four factors which we consider essential to musical construction: melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre, are to be found as consistently in west African music as in European folk music. Why then have so many musicologists ...

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of words; only languages dependent on pitch, vibrato and timing lend themselves to such treatment. The time element was the easiest to reproduce on a drum had, changes of vibrato were effected by vibrating the knees while holding the drum tightly clasped to the armpit, changes of pitch were effected by changes of pressure on the drum skin.
Thus language and music were not strictly divided, and the average standard of musical talent was correspondingly high. Children learned to discern subtleties of rhythm, melody and tone color as parts of their language. It is this that divides the West African musical tradition from the European one. When we want to stress a word we raise our voice, that is to say we go up in pitch. But in those African languages where a change of pitch would alter the whole meaning an entire word, you are left with only one device to emphasize your point: timbre. You can alter the tone color , the voice production, the vibrato of the syllable you wish to ...

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The other one is the 'blues scale', a diatonic major with added or alternative minor thirds and diminished sevenths. All the variable intervals reveal themselves not as regular half-tone modulations but as slurs and vibrato effects of precisely the same kind that you can still create experimentally in any part of West Africa, by asking a good native singer to tackle a diatonic scale. The juxtaposition of two musical worlds so wildly ill-assorted could have led to almost anything; and in fact, did lead to so many varieties of music that no one so far has been able to list more than a tiny fragment. What has survived was not necessarily the best. What has vanished is irretrievable.

Musical ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 9/19/2007 11:41:15 AM
Category: Music & Musicians
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1920
Pages: 7

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