There are different areas of the world whose music you have to identify and comment on, North India, North Africa, West Africa, Central and Southern America, including the Caribbean and folk music from the British Isles. Below is a quick summary of the features of the music from around the world.
- Almost always contains: melody - one or more instruments + singers, drone, and rhythm:
- Drums called TABLA provide a steady gentle rhythm throughout the piece - with a range of different sounds being
- Melodic lines played on SITAR which sounds 'zingy' and slides between notes.
- Lots of decoration and embellishments (sitar and singers)- never a straightforward tune.
- Often a continuous drone beneath the music played on sitar and TAMBURA.
- Use of different scales gives the music a different 'mood' from Western music.
- Lots of improvisation around the chosen RAGA.
- Other instruments include SARANGI (string instrument) and HARMONIUM (like an accordian).
- Often uses the TALKING DRUM which can change pitch by being squeezed.
- Vocal sounds, rather than words.
- Polyrhythm is used to create a texture which is built up in layers.
- Different parts have different pulses which come together at different times.
- Instruments include XYLOPHONE, KORA (large hollow gourd with strings stretched across), COW BELLS, RATTLES
- To recognise this music, listen for instruments which sound home-made (slightly 'out of tune') but don't put
that on the exam.
- Uses different scales from Western music.
- This area is near Egypt, so think of the Eastern influences around the area (Pyramids).
- Instruments like the 'ud.
- Long melodic lines.
- Simple but expressive melodic.
- Arabic folk music is rich in its lyrical structure and long, sinuous melody lines. This example features an
ancient short-necked, plucked lute called the 'ud, which is found in various genres of Arabic music. The
instrument is used in ensembles, as a solo instrument, or to accompany the voice. This example is distinctive of
folk music in that the melody is simple but highly expressive. Though the melody is clearly stated, the player
is allowed the freedom to ornament it freely and explore the tone-colour of the instrument itself.