Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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AFRICAN MUSIC SOUTH OF THE SAHARA 123
language. Understanding must come from knowledge of the kinds of things likely to be signaled, and evidently the Jabo restrict them­selves to expressing thoughts such as "our neighbors are on the war­path," or, more appropriately in this period of acculturation, "Hide! The tax collector approaches!"
Just what happens when words in a tone language are set to music for the purpose of creating song? Does the melody slavishly follow the pitch movement of the words? Or is there free melodic movement which violates and to some extent obscures the meaning of the words by ignoring the linguistic tones? Not too much is known about this intricate relationship between music and speech, but it is obvious that no simple rule describes it. And it may well be that each tribal culture has evolved its own accommodation between language and music in song. It is evident, however, that melody does not slavishly follow speech, but that the tones of the words do have an influence on shaping the melody. In Nigeria, the Ibo, according to one kind of analysis, use two tones, high and low. If it were possi­ble to formulate a rule for Ibo according to a small sampling of songs, we would have to say that the musical pitch sometimes moves up and down in the same direction as the pitch in speech; that it sometimes remains the same while the speech tones change; but that pitch movement in the music is never contrary to that of the lan­guage.
On the other hand, an example from the Chewa in Central East Africa, where the language also has two tones (marked in Example 7-1 by acute and grave accents, respectively), indicates very close
J*. 168
I y J> J> J] M f 1F p p p J} k J j
ka - pa - nda vi - ra - sa            mu - go - ne - ku - ti - le - ro
example 7-1. Chewa song, from George Herzog, "Speech-melody and Primitive Music," Musical Quarterly XX (1934), 457.
correspondence. These examples are intended only to show some of the kinds of things that may be found; they should not be used to draw conclusions regarding the way tone languages are set to music throughout Africa.
Another example of the close relationship among music, Ian-







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