Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
AFRICAN MUSIC SOUTH OF THE SAHARA I45
Africa, but has simpler forms and instruments. It contains a good deal of music performed with the hocket technique, as does the Pygmy sub-area of Central Africa, which is also characterized by the presence of a vocal technique similar to yodeling.
We have been describing those aspects of African Negro music which seem to have developed without influence from other cul­tures, or of which Africans have made a specialty. But outside influ­ence is not just a recent phenomenon in African music. Thus, it shares some traits with European folk music, indicating perhaps a period of contact many centuries ago. The contact with Indonesian music seems likely, and the influence of the Near East and possibly of India is ancient and has increased greatly in the last few centuries. Western culture has also played a part for centuries and has grown especially in the last hundred years. Thus we find African music now —and it has probably always been this way to a degree—in a state of change, and it is both difficult and perhaps useless to try to single out unchanged elements. On the contrary, it behooves us to observe the changes as they take place, for this is the way to study music as a living phenomenon. We find that some tribes have almost completely changed to music in a Near Eastern style. We find that others have retained, in part, a repertory of uninfluenced African music but have added to it songs in an Arabic style; this is true of the Watusi, who have solo drumming of a kind unknown in the Near East, but who also have songs strongly reminiscent of Arabic music. We find North and Latin American popular songs known in tribes that otherwise perform aboriginal songs. And we find that because of the improve­ment of communication and transportation as well as through the growth of unified African nations on a supratribal level, African tribal groups are learning more from each other, musically and otherwise, than they did before. Finally, we find African composers of popular song fashioning music in the Western styles, but subtly retaining certain African elements. Surely Negro Africa will remain, as it has been in the past, musically one of the most fascinating re­gions of the world.
Bibliography and discography
Several publications by Alan P. Merriam discuss sub-Saharan Af­rican music as a unit: "African Music" in Continuity and Change in African Cultures edited by William J. Bascom and Melville J. Herskovits







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III