africa final

africa final - Question 9 There are a wide range of...

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Question 9 There are a wide range of functions of music in African societies and cultures. In African societies music is connected to many experiences of life. People use them in everyday activities, entertainment, worship, or rituals. Other societies use music to send messages and warn people of a possible attack. Musical instruments in Africa can be idiophones, membranophones, chordophones, and aerophones. Music in Africa is not particularly for listening; it is a participative activity. No matter what the use, music within African cultures defines the people, the location, their traditions, and their beliefs. The first function of music in Africa is to have an aesthetic value. Yet this aesthetic value in not the same kind of beauty that Western culture finds in its music. Aesthetics are qualities of the art that make the music appealing. Yet appealing, defers from people to people and is affected by a society’s culture. In African civilizations, music carries with it very old traditions, that become part of one’s identity.(Source 1*) Thus, a positive response to music happens when musicians link the existence of everyday life to people’s traditions, identity, and values. People’s music parallels what they value in life and socially. For example, the Akan people’s music tends to be very understandable because they value the smoothness of their language. Thus, when using music in a funeral ritual, the Akan are able to respond at a particular moment with their own words to the traditional drumming songs. In this way, many civilizations use music as a way of reinforcing their own values. Music has had many functions within Africa dating back to the 10 th century. Hired musicians were very important, playing a role as historians in certain civilizations that developed in the second millennium. Therefore, music often played a vital role in oral tradition; the important idea of society’s telling of one’s history, knowledge and values without using a writing system. For example, in the Mande civilization located in the West part of Africa, griots would retell the history of the dynasties and would give help to the present leaders. Music not only became a way for the griots to remember the history; but it became part of the tradition itself. For example, some civilizations had “talking drums” that if were played would tell the leader that he was disliked by the public and would soon be taken from office. Drums were very important part of civilizations of that time;
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some kingdoms even believed they were the life of their kingdom. Furthermore, the drums were a valuable symbol of certain civilizations and an invading kingdom destroying a certain people’s drums also meant destroying the people as a whole. Yet, while some could argue that music has lost some of its function within
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This note was uploaded on 10/19/2008 for the course AS&RC 205 taught by Professor Bekerie, a during the Spring '07 term at Cornell.

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africa final - Question 9 There are a wide range of...

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