MUSIC OF SUB-SAHARAN
AFRICA
“Senzenina”
In This Unit, We Will…
 Explore the geography of areas with African music
 Explore the instruments used in African music
 Listen to music from different African cultures, populations,
and religious groups
 Sing a traditional song from the Zulu people, “Senzenina”
 Create a polyrhythmic song as a class and in small groups
“What Will I Be Doing?”
You will be doing three different things…
#1: Creating connections between content areas –
Geography, History, Art, Technology, and Music
#2: Listening to new music that you may never have heard
before
#3: Learning melodies, harmonies, and rhythms from different
cultures
GEOGRAPHY
 Sub-Sahara Africa is a geographical term that refers to the
area of Africa that lies beneath the Sahara desert
 Sub-Sahara Africa includes...
 Kenya
 Rwanda
 Uganda
 Sudan
 Ethiopia
 Zimbabwe
 Madagascar
Over 49 countries!
LANGUAGES SPOKEN
 Sub-Saharan Africa displays the most linguistic diversity of
any region in the world.
 The region contains over
1,000 languages, which is 1/6
of the world's total!
RELIGIONS
 Sub-Saharan Africa is largely
Christian
 North African (not part of Sub-
Sahara Africa) is Islamic and
considered part of the Arab
world
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUB-SAHARAN
AFRICAN MUSIC
 Polyrhythm: Rhythms that occur at the same time in two different meters
 Responsorial Forms: An exchange between a performer’s vocal or
instrumental call and a group response
 Ostinato: A short pattern that repeats over and over again
 Use of Percussion: Reflects the emphasis of music making with drums,
rattles, bells, xylophones, and the mbira (we’ll discuss this more later)
POLYRHYTHM
 Rhythms that occur at the same time in two different meters
 Grand Master Djembe Player – Polyrhythm
 The Jamani Drummers
 Djemba Drummers in Cape Town
RESPONSORIAL FORMS
 An exchange between a performer’s vocal or instrumental call and a group
response
 Thula Sizwe Singers (6:00 minute clip)
 ABC News Clip on Ensigo
OSTINATO
 A short pattern that repeats over and over again
 AUCB Acting Course – Senzenina
 Blackburn Choir – Senzenina
USE OF PERCUSSION
 Reflects the emphasis of music making with drums, rattles, bells, xylophones,
and the mbira
 Ogene (solo instrument)
 Ogene Igbo (group performance)
MBIRA
 An instrument made up of metal rows
that are plucked by the player’s thumbs
 Metallic, ringing sound
 Song on the Mbira
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN INSTRUMENTS
There are three classifications;
 Membranophones
 Idiophones
 Aerophones
Traditional African Instruments cont…
 Membranophones: A big, fancy word for… DRUMS! 
 Drums are by far the most famous of the African instruments and come in
many different forms
 Drummers use either their hands or sticks (sometimes one of each) to hit
the drum head. They may also use something called an “elbow stick”
 Drummers from Rwanda
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN INSTRUMENTS CONT…
 Idiophones: Anything from large xylophones
to tiny bells, shakers, wooden sticks, or rattles
 Xylophones made of wood, metal, gourds, pottery
 Sometimes a solo instruments, but usually
an ensemble instrument
 African Marimba Group
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN INSTRUMENTS CONT…
 Aerophones: The human voice or any instrument that amplifies the
human voice
 Opening-throat singing is used in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is a husky or
nasally sound
 Other distinct kinds of African singing include whisper singing, which is a
soft, breathy, almost growling tone
 Yodeling may also be used
(Pygmies of Central Africa)
WELCOME CHLOE RENEA CROWE
MAY 9TH, 2012 @ 2:33 PM
MUSIC AS A LIVELIHOOD
 Burundi Drummers
 Kenyan Boy Choir
 “There is No Movement Without Rhythm”
Documentary on Rhythm and Daily Life in South Africa (10:51 minutes)
APARTHEID IN AFRICA
 “Senzenina” came out of the Apartheid in Africa. The
Apartheid was a national law that segregated white citizens
and black citizens in Africa and denied blacks citizenship
 It was officially established in 1948 and ran until… 1994
 The origin of the song is unclear, but it has been used in
many different movies and documents highlighting the
Apartheid and is now a popular choral piece in the United
States and Great Brittan
THE RAIN STICK, THE WOODEN FROGS,
AND THE MARACAS
 Music and rhythm can be created just by hitting two sticks together,
the idea for the simple percussive instrument
RHYTHM STICKS
 Additional percussion instruments include shakers, like the maracas,
or something more elaborate, like the African rain stick
 Carved wooden frogs with ridges cut into their backs produce a
sound similar to the “ribbit” of a frog. A wooden dowel is drug
across their spines to produce the sound
#1
#2
#3
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Music of Sub-saharan africa