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The music of other cultures

Module by: Siyavula Uploaders. E-mail the author

ARTS AND CULTURE

Grade 7

EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION

Module 5

THE MUSIC OF OTHER CULTURES

Music

Introductory

Are you able to name a few examples of what musical instruments are used for?

From these examples we are able to deduce that musical instruments are primarily made to produce sound and make music!

One of the music cultures that previously were investigated. was the traditional folk music from the Cape of the Cape Minstrels.

Can you recall what was told about the ghoema drum?

What was the purpose, function and role of the ghoema drum?*

Now we'll find out how the drum is used in other music cultures?

The function and role of instruments vary from one period of time to another, from one area to another and from one culture to another. In this module we are going to be looking at the purpose, function and role of instruments (especially the drum) in:

  1. Western music (classical music)
  2. Traditional music (Indian music)
  3. Indigenous music (African music)

Activity 1:

To investigate the use of instruments in Western music

[LO 4.3]

Step 1

The Educator will play a short section of the SYMPHONY FANTASTIQUE (1829) PART IV by Hector Berlioz.

Circle the words that you identify as possibly correct:

Table 1
What type of orchestra is playing the music?
Rock Jazz Symphony Pop
Which instruments are you able to distinguish?
Strings Woodwinds Brass instruments Strings

Step 2

The educator will provide background information dealing with both the composition and the composer. Listen carefully and then answer the following questions:

  • What is a symphony?
  • What is a programme symphony?
  • For what is Berlioz particularly well known?
  • Name one typical characteristic of the period that we call Romanticism.
  • What is the theme of this symphony?

Step 3

Listen (more than once) to short section from different parts of the symphony and then answer the questions. You may work in small groups.

Part ii

  • What is the occasion that is described by the music?
  • How do you know this?
  • Which group of instruments forms the basis of the orchestra?
  • Which instrument evokes a fairy-tale quality?

Part iiI

  • What is the scene that is portrayed here?
  • From which group of instruments would you make a selection to portray the shepherds' flutes?
  • Which instruments does the composer use?
  • What is the most important function of the woodwinds?
  • Which role/s is/are taken by the strings?

Part iV

  • Which instrument / group of instruments is prominent in this part?
  • How do you experience this music? Use adjectives to describe your impression of it.
  • How were brass instruments used originally (before their use in the symphony orchestra)?
  • Why?
  • Describe the function of the brass instruments.
  • Describe the function of the percussion.

Activity 2:

To be able to appreciate INDIAN MUSIC and compare it with the music of other cultures

[LO 4.3]

Step 1

Listen to the music and answer the following questions:

  • Are you familiar with the music?
  • What does the music remind you of, or what do you think of when you hear this type of music?
  • How many instruments do you hear?
  • Describe in your own words what you think the function of each instrument is.

Can you hear any patterns relating to melody, rhythm and form (structure)?

  • Do you think the melody is composed (i.e. written down note by note) or is it merely improvisation?

Step 2

Homework/research

Collect pictures and articles related to Indian traditions (Clothing, food, musical instruments, materials, art including masks, etc.) and paste these in your learner’s journal. If you are able to make video copies of TV programmes dealing with any of these things, you can play it to the rest of the class.

Step 3

Background

  • In India the term SANGITA is used for music as well as dance and drama.
  • Indian music is one of the oldest forms of music and dates from about 3 000 years ago.
  • People from India have travelled to and have settled in other parts of the world – including South Africa.
  • They brought Indian music culture with them.
  • Their music culture comprises classical music, religious music (Hindu), folk music, traditional music and popular music.
  • The voice is the most important instrument in Indian music.
  • The music is primarily transferred orally from generation to generation (as is music in Africa), i.e. by imitation.
  • Spreading one syllable over several notes is a typical aspect of the vocal style.
    Figure 1
    Figure 1 (Picture 31.png)
  • Much use is made of embellishment and improvisation. Improvisations are usually executed by the soloist and the drummer.

Step 4

Instruments

Here are descriptions of three Indian musical instruments:

  • The Tabla is the most popular of percussion instruments. In consists of a set of two drums and is played with the hands and fingers.
  • The most common instrument is the sitar, which is a stringed instrument. It has seven strings and a long neck. The strings are plucked and the instrument is often used for solo improvisations. There are also 11-13 additional strings (“sympathetic”) strings, which vibrate (instead of being plucked) to give the characteristic sound of the sitar.
  • The tambura is similar in shape to the sitar, but has only four strings and no frets. The instrument’s long neck is held upright when it is played.

All these instruments are placed flat on the ground whilst being played.

Identify the instruments according to the above descriptions:

Figure 2
Figure 2 (Picture 35.png)

Figure 3
Figure 3 (Picture 36.png)

Figure 4
Figure 4 (Picture 37.png)

Step 5

The structure of indian music

Indian music basically is composed of three patterns, each of which is represented by a different instrument.

More traditional music – The Cape Minstrels (Module 1)

Like Indian music, the music of the Cape Minstrels is an example of traditional music in South Africa.

  • Describe the ghoema drum
  • What are the purpose, function and role of the ghoema drum?

In African music culture, the use of musical instruments is much more comprehensive than in Western music culture.

  • The primary function of musical instruments is to make/create sound.
  • African instruments are often used to express specific characteristics of culture – e.g. ritual symbolism as embellishment on the instruments themselves.
  • Musical instruments are used for oral communication, e.g. for passing on of messages to other areas or as war cries.
  • Body percussion and singing are as important as music made on instruments.

In the previous two activities you have made become acquainted with the drum as used in Western classical music and in Indian traditional music.

But the drum actually is much more synonymous with Africa!

Step 1

Work in groups and do some research on the purpose, function and role of the drum (or another instrument such as the mbira) in general, or in specific cultures or certain regions. The educator will provide guidance.

Each group will have an opportunity to share their information with the class.

Step 3

By now you ought to have sufficient information to compare Western, traditional Indian and indigenous African music with regard to the following aspects:

Table 2
  Western music………………… Indian music……………….. African music………………..
The term “music”      
Notation      
Table 3
Vocal music …………………….. …………………….. ……………………..
Function of the drum      
Improvisation      
Diatonic scale      

What conclusions can you make?

Assessment

Table 4
Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 4
EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATIONThe learner will be able to analyse and use multiple forms of communication and expression in Arts and Culture.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
MUSIC (4.3)
  • explores and explains the purpose, function and role of different instruments used in indigenous, traditional or Western forms of music in South Africa.

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