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    Music In World Culture Essay

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    I will examine the relationship between music and culture and discuss the role music plays in people’s daily lives. I will discuss unique handcrafted instruments used by different cultures to express traditions through music and how rhythm, melody & harmony affect how music sounds. My research will show how music plays an important part of cultural preservation and revitalization of people around the world, and although every culture has their own traditions and beliefs they all use music in their celebrations and spiritual ceremonies.

    Anthropology Music in World Culture Music is a very important characteristic of all cultures. Evidence of humans making music reaches far back in time. Although the Modern American culture commonly views music as a form of entertainment, there are still many cultures who believe music is much more than that. Music is a form of verbal art, poetry and stories combined with melody and rhythm that all cultures use to display inspiration, religion, political views or emotions. Most cultures have sacred music, for religious functions, and worldly music, for nonreligious activities.

    I will say that before taking this class I had never heard the work “Ethnomusicology’, now I know that Ethnomusicology is the study of the music of the world. I now realize there are so many different cultures of the world and they all have their own unique traditions. What stood out for me the most is that Music plays a major part in every culture around the world. (Wisped) Many cultures usually handcrafted their instruments using what was available to them in their distinct cultural setting, using such things like pebbles, animal hide, teeth, and bones; these materials produced a specific sound.

    I have chosen 3 different cultures to compare and research the functions of music within their specific society. The Native American Culture, The African Culture and The Chinese Culture. I chose these specific cultures because they are very Music in the Native American Indian culture Traditionally Native Americans use music for ceremonial purposes, recreation, expression, and healing. Many different instruments are used to make Native American music, including drums, flutes and other striking instruments. But perhaps the most important part of their music is their voice.

    Vocals are the backbone of the USIA made in Native American cultures. The Native American culture is very passionate, and use music to summon spirits, ask for rain, and healing the sick. The men and women of the tribe sing separate songs, and have their own dances. Men usually dance around in a circle, while the women dance in place. Native American people are very religious and their music is some of the most complex, the tensing and releasing of the vocals combined with varying drum beats makes it a very involved form of art. Traditional Native American Instruments Various drums are used based on tribe and religion.

    Skin drums also known as powwow drums are built using a wooden frame or a hallow log of wood with animal skin stretched over the opening and fastened using tendon strings, these are two- sided drums played in central areas and northern plains. The frame drum is a small single-sided or two-sided drum made of thin frames or shells with animal hides of deer and cow stretched across a single or double side. The water drum was made of different materials, iron kettles being hung on them; a moist tanned animal skin is stretched across a small wooden vessel containing water. The square drum played by

    Native Americans of the pacific coast made from wooden boxes or frames. The Native American flutes are the only flutes in the world that have Just two chambers with a wall dividing the top chamber and the bottom chamber. The length of the flute is equal to the distance between the armpit and the wrist. The length of the top air chamber is equal to the width of the player’s fist. These flutes are usually made of hardwoods like walnut and cherry rather than the softwoods of cedar, redwood and juniper. Rattles and shakers are also very important to the Native American culture.

    The gourd rattles is the more popular rattle used, made of a turtle shell, this simple rawhide rattle is common to all tribes in the Native community life, ceremonies and rituals and has become a Native American symbol for music, dance and medicine as well as spirituality. These rattles may be made and decorated with unique materials including leather, rawhide, bodywork and feathers as well as fur, fringe, seeds, rocks, antlers, horns bones and shells. The materials placed inside the rattle have special importance and are often chosen with great care.

    Sometimes clay beads are used as ell as blue corn or Amazonian seeds, small smooth pebbles found near the opening of an ant hill are placed inside the rattles. This society believes the sound of the rattle helps to clear one’s mind. (Native American Music and Culture) Music in the African Culture Music in African society consists of music and dance and play an important part in rituals of birth and puberty, at marriage and death, in secret society ceremonies, and singing and dancing their way from one village to another or a dance may be held to strengthen good relations with a nearby village.

    Costumes, masks, and musical instruments are usually used in ceremonies and rituals The Watt’s royal drums, for example, are thought to represent a soul (symbolized by a pebble inside) that can chase away evil spirits. African music is so lively and full of soul, it makes you want to get up and dance. (African People) Traditional African Instruments African music is a mix of string, percussion, and woodland instruments. Musical styles vary widely across the continent of Africa, as do the instruments used to create them.

    Sounds differ according to the types of woods, animal skins and gourds used to make them. The December Drums are the most popular African percussive instrument there is and is an early version of the goblet drum. Bare hands rap animal skins stretched across a wooden frame. This is a common instrument whose name means “coming together” in the Bandanna language. In Africa they’re usually used in evening celebrations like weddings or baptisms, and typically during full moons. The Okra is a difficult, 21-stringed flute that sounds airy like a harp but is held and looks a lot like a modern guitar.

    Played with the thumb and index finger, this West African instrument is made from cowhide pulled tight over a calabash gourd. The gourd is cut in half, covered in cow skin, a sound hole is cut into the side and hand posts are attached, and then a hardwood neck is stuck into the gourd to resemble the neck of a guitar. Twenty-one strings of fishing line are strung onto the okra that are anchored by an iron ring in the front of the gourd. The shakers are a vital part of the African music culture.

    Shakers are sometimes called “noise makers” because they make a rattle sound from beads placed inside a gourd. The most common is the Shakers made is Ghana, this West African instrument made from beads woven into netting and wrapped around a small gourd. It is shaken or banged against the hand. Wind instruments in Africa aren’t as popular as drums, the ivory horn or trumpet is still used to this day in ceremonial performances. Originally, a sign of prestige and used as a hunting signal as in many other cultures.

    An elephant tusk is used as the main body of the horn with a mouthpiece hole placed at the end of the tusk and usually a tone hole at the other end. African cultures use a lip vibration technique to play this instrument that helps control the horn’s pitch. Traditionally these horns are decorated by rubbing red palm oil over the surface that gives most African horns a ark red color. Music in the Chinese Culture China has a long and powerful musical tradition and is an important part of the Chinese way of life in both educated and the ordinary citizens in Chinese society.

    The activities that go along with Chinese music always include dance, drama, opera, ceremonial prayer or chant. Music has been a popular form of cultural expression there is no emphasis on rhythm or beat. Traditional Chinese music isn’t meant to be danced or moved to. Confucius, Chinese philosopher of music, taught that beautiful and appropriate music is meant to encourage social harmony. The function of music n Chinese society is to help people forget the impatience, sorrow, stress and other extreme moods. The pursuits of clearness in mind, tranquility in heart, reason in passion and so on.

    All the different feelings, the obsessive emotion and others suddenly became the harmony between the human nature. If music is used during an official Chinese ceremony, the music is intended to control the behavior of the people so that they perform the ceremony appropriately and obey authority. Seems to me the Chinese culture is very controlling and Judgmental of the way their society acts in public. (Thinkers) Traditional Chinese Instruments Chinese instruments include stringed instruments, wood clappers, gongs, cymbals, bells, wooden bells, slaves, temple blocks, and wind instruments.

    The Erie has a small body and a long neck. There are two strings, with the bow inserted between them. It sounds like a violin, but with a thinner tone due to the smaller resonating chamber. The main function of the string instruments is to accompany the singing, but they are used to make special effects sounds such as animal sounds too. The Did is the traditional Chinese flute. It only has three keys and can have a membrane over an extra tone hole to give the feature of a rattle effect. The Paisa is a set of seven, small, tuned drums.

    The Young are tuned gongs, the Chinese gong soon became part of their religious ceremonies, healing meditations, and entertainment. Conclusion Music is the one thing that All cultures have in common, the music may sound different in every culture but music serves the same function in every society. Music has been around for thousands of years, it’s a form of art, expression, and most importantly tradition. When explorers tried to invade a strange land and overpower a away their traditions and beliefs. Music has always been and always will be a very important role in everyday life.

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