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Yiri from the album Burkina Faso
Style and Sub-Saharan /Traditional West African music
Call and response
Mood: upbeat- achieved by fast tempo and repetitive
patterns with major vocal parts.
Melody mostly hexatonic (leading note not used very
includes lots of syncopation
Balafon parts include tremolos and acciaccatura
regular 2 bar phrasing
Balafons have regular octave leaps and
semiquaver, demisemiquaver patterns-
Dynamics The dynamics are largely unvaried.
Tempo Moderate tempo is established by first Balafon
Seems to speed up near the end.
The tempo is unvaried
Rhythm Main rhythms:
Balafon ostinati- when combined they produce a
complex polyphonic texture
Drum ostinati-play a 1 bar pattern throughout with the
exception of their first bar)
Vocal line- simple pentatonic call and response
Syncopation is an important rhythmic feature
Drum plays the same ostinato rhythm throughout the
Polyrhythms are important- different rhythms playing
at the same time.
Vocal line uses triplets in its melodies
Metre There is a free, unmetred opening after which a
constant metre is established.
Series of chorus, verse and instrumental sections
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Coda- The end is signalled by a bell and There are 5 two
bar phrases with dramatic rests by all instruments
creating a sense of a strong riff.
Piece ends with a solo bell (Agogo)
Tonality Major but sounds modal as the piece is hexatonic (6
pitches from major scale are used) and the leading note
Harmony There is no harmony
Instrumentation There are dialogue effects between the vocals and the
Here's a taster:
Dampening- resting hand or stick on the drum skin
while playing with the other
Changing pitch can be done by tightening the skin
Striking the wood creates a contrasting sound
The master drummer leads the group; he controls the
tempo, dynamics, pitch, rhythms and the build up of
Call and response is used to structure the music.…read more