Sunday, 22 May 2011

Music of a culture- Zimbabwean music

Music of a Culture:
Zimbabwe African Music
Instruments used
-          Mbira: the national instrument of Zimbabwe. The mbira is in the lamellophone family of musical instruments, and is made of a small board or block (called a gwariva or soundboard) with attached metal strips

-          Hosho: Zimbabwean musical instruments consisting of a pair of Maranka gourds with seeds. They typically contain hota (Canna indica) seeds inside them
-          Drumming:
Drums are always associated with dance and can be used for various dances.
Mhande Drums
Shauro- used for the lead rhythm
Tsinhiro- used for the response rhythm
Dinhe Drums
Mhito- used for the lead rhythm
Mitumba miviri- used for the response rhythm
Chokoto Drums
(these are two headed)
-          Jit: This is a highly danceable form of music that Zimbabwe is best known for, it gained exposure during the 1980s. It is characterised by fast guitar riffs and rapid-fire drumming. It is also influenced by Tanzanian guitar
-          Shona music: This is the traditional music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. There are several types of instruments Shona music  includes such as The Mbira, singing,  the Hosho and drumming. The music is often accompanied by dancing. This form of music will often be heard in religious ceremonies.
-          Chimurenga music: This is a popular music genre within Zimbabwe. The word Chimurenga means “struggle” in a Shona Language. The music is based on the struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice.
-          Sungura: This is very popular genre in Zimbabwe that involves heavy guitars, and the songs generally have reggae feel. This genre had its peak in the mid-1990s and is still going strong today.
Social and Historical Context of Zimbabwe Music
-          The music of Zimbabwe is based on the rhythms and melodies of the Mbira, this instrument is associated with the ancestors. There is also pop music in Zimbabwe that incorporates their indigenous instruments. Although the mbira is traditionally played as ceremonial music to call spirits
-          Traditional music of the Mbira would promote the feeling of solidarity in the struggle for independance within Zimbabwe.
-          Music groups would be formed in Urban areas and the lyrics would contain political messages that promoted Africa
-          In all African cultures, dance, music, and song help define the role of the individual and the group within the community
-          Historically, the music of Zimbabwe was representative of every aspect of life in Zimbabwean culture, from birth, through the trials and events of living, to death. When colonization occurred in Zimbabwe, it brought with it Christian values, beliefs and music that changed the way traditional lyrics and music were written and performed. This also brought new genres.
Outside influences:
-          Other influences on popular music include church music, gospel, Zairean rhumba, and South African mbaqanga and mbube
- Western influence has forced the music and performance art of Zimbabwe from being used to celebrate the religious beliefs and communal practices of its people to having to make a statement about the social conditions and hardships brought upon them


Analysis ofMunondizvidza” by the Four Brothers- This song comes under the popular genre of Jit within Zimbabwe.

-          Very fast tempo
-          the time signature is 4/4
-          There is rhythmic repetition used by the electric guitar throughout the whole song
-          The rhythm is a variation of straight and syncopated notes; this is created by the multiple electric guitars that are playing completely different rhythms.
-          The different rhythmic layers includes the two electric guitars, the vocals ( more than one voice) and the drum
-          tonality is major
-          The melody of the vocals moves in a series of steps and leaps at different intervals
-          The accompaniment of the guitars to the vocals moves mainly in steps
-          The range of the melody is fairly small
-          there are three major layers of sound
-          the vocals are the main part, the electric guitars both provide an accompanying melody, although during an interval one of the guitars has the main part where it uses rhythmic repetition.
-          The texture is homophonic
-          The texture is quite dense
-          The texture becomes thinner when the vocals are not involved. When they drop out it is just the two electric guitars playing.

Tone color:
-          the instruments involved are vocals, electric guitars and a form of drum
-          Both the guitars are plucking the strings
-          The sound can be described as very lively and light

Dynamics and expressive techniques:
-          There is not much dynamic contrast, the dynamics are consistent the whole song- moderately loud
-          By plucking the strings, the guitars create a staccato
-          The vocals are very free, sometimes almost spoken

-          The structure is hard to determine in this song because there is no real tempo changes, dynamic changes or melodic changes
-          There are not distinct verse, chorus structures seen in this song
-          There are various sections where the vocals and the guitar has new melodies.

Analysis of Mudzima” by Ephat Mujuru and Dumisani Maraire


-          the tempo is fast
-          the time signature cant be defined as the Mbira is using a variety of rhythmic patterns that don’t necessarily fall on the same beats
-          There is two Mbira parts within this song where they are both using rhythmic repetition.
-          There are two rhythmic layers
-          There are two continuous rhythmic ostinatos which are played constantly throughout the entire song with only slight alterations

-          The tonality cant be defined
-          One of the melodic roles has a part which moves down in a scale, the other part uses leaps
-          The accompaniment is the Mbira part which is lower and has a less complicated melodic role
-          The whole song is made up of melodic repletion as the two Mbira parts both have a continuous ostinatos

-          There are two layers of sound
-          The song wouldn’t be classified as polyphonic, although it isn’t really homophonic either as there is a part that is slightly more important than the other, although the second part doesn’t necessarily play an accompanying melody.
-          The texture is fairly dense

Tone Colour:
-          the two instruments playing are both Mbira’s
-          While playing, the little finger of the right hand is placed through a hole in the bottom right corner of the soundboard, stabilizing the instrument and leaving thumb and index finger of the right hand open to stroke the keys in the right register from above and below.
-          The sound is light

Dynamics and expressive techniques
-          The song is mf throughout the whole song
-          The dynamics don’t change throughout the entire song
-          The sounds are short and detached which is staccato

-          There is a small introduction which then leads into the main part of the song which continues until it fades out at the end
-          There are no defined sections as each part is constantly repeated for the entire song.

Analysis of a typical Chimurenga song

-          the tempo is andante
-          The time signature is 4/4
-          The rhythm is straight
-          There is rhythmic repetition seen in the vocals, electric guitar, drums and the brass instruments
-          There are continues ostinatos used by the guitar and brass instruments

-          The tonality is major
-          The melody moves in a variation of steps and leaps
-          The accompaniment moves in steps
-          There is melodic repletion used by most of the instruments

-          There are 5 layers of sound
-          The female vocals are the main melodic role
-          The texture is homophonic
-          The texture is dense
-          The texture becomes lighter in the section when the male vocals has the main melodic role

Tone Colour:
-          female vocals, choral backing vocals, electric guitar, drums, brass instruments, male vocals
-          The sound is lively and when it changes to the middle section, rich.
-          The male vocals uses a form of scat singing, using his vocals as a percussion instrument which alters the tone colour to a richer sound

Dynamics and expressive techniques
-          the dynamics are quite loud
-          there is no variation in dynamics
-          the vocals used by the female are very loose and she uses a variations of melismas
-          the male vocals use a form of scat and could almost be distinguished as a form of rapping

-          there are 2 different sections: the main section is first which constantly repeats itself until the second section where the male vocals come in, then after this the female vocals come in and the main section repeats again.
-          The structure would be classified as ABA

Monday, 16 May 2011

Music of a Culture

Music of a Culture
Ladysmith  Black Mombazo

The South African Choral group has been together for over forty years, combining the sounds from their traditional culture and Christian Gospel Music.  They assembled in the 1960s in Durban South Africa by Joseph Shabalala.  Ladysmith is the name of Josephs hometown, Black refers to the Oxen which is the strongest farm animal and Mambazo is the Zulu word for axe which represents the vocal group’s ability to chop down any singing rival they may come across.
Their first record contract came about after a 1970 radio broadcast, and to this day they currently have made 50 records. Their Philosophy within the studio is preserving their musical heritage as well as entertaining.
They have been invited to perform in many special occasions including a performance for the Queen of England and the Royal Family at the Royal Albert Hall in London. They have also performed at two Nobel Prize ceremonies, for the Pope John Paul II in Rome and the 1996 Summer Olympics.
They have an album coming out in 2011 called “Songs from a Zulu Farm” which expresses the experiences of many of the older members who grew up in Ladysmith.

Analysis of I Disagreed - Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Tone Colour:
- Many layers of vocals
- Lead vocals and backing
- All male vocals
-  Call and response
- Call almost spoken
- Higher and lower male vocals harmonise
- Clicking sounds created
- Tenor, bass and baritone vocals
- Lead vocals are nasal, response is smooth more melodic and pitch is more defined
- Backing bend pitch up

- Homophonic
- Call and response
- Response is the accompaniment
- Used to provide contrast, call is thin, response is dense

Dynamics and Expressive Techniques:
- Vibrato, Rhythmic almost spoken
- Nasal in delivery of call
- Pitch bends
- Dynamic shaping - crescendos
- Response is smooth, legato