zhao

there are no accidents
here are two interesting blog posts about the mardi gras indians and the history of native americans in new orleans funk n soul

http://cleanlivingindifficultcircumstances.blogspot.com/
thanks! real interesting. the existence of these kinds of continuities between traditional and modern should be just common sense, but they still need to be pointed out as people want to pretend like what they do is completely new and original.

I don't think you can draw as much distinction between rhythm and melody. Melody is rythmic by nature (the only exception being ambient melody/ drones etc). Its also worth noting that African drums are tuned to each other and are not atonal, each drum sits in a different register in tune with the others. Neither of the above points are relevant to this thread.
agree absolutely. and this kind of undifferentiated sense of rhythmelody (my coinage btw :cool:) found in African music, of which the Shangaan stuff is the latest expression, other examples being obviously the various Mbira thumb piano traditions, and even Soukous guitar... but in Western classical the distinction seems to be made most pointedly, one being of celestial bodies, and the other, of the lower animal kingdom.

The status of European classical music remained a bit odd. It steadfastedly refused to accept African music (still regarded as some form of inferior animal expression) and all its mulatto offspring. Thus the gap between classical and folk music increased dramatically during the 19th century until the Sixties.
Sorry, misinterpreted what you were saying. No need to swear at me though, you foul mouthed cunt.
it's all good bro. but last time i checked, saying "i don't give a fuck" is hardly a personal insult? straight up calling someone a cunt on the other hand though...

also, there is an anti-Afrocentricity book by the name of something like "No Home to Go To", which i was browsing online the other day... your post reminded me a little of that... apologize if my demeanor was a bit aggressive.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Yeah, after I wrote that post I wandered off and thought about the fact that while there's more to rhythm in european music than first movement mid pace in four, second movement slow in four, third movement fast in three fourth movement fast in four, it's hard to think of a european tradition that really does percussive rhythms as hooks. I mean, viewing melody and harmony as being entirely disjoint from rhythm doesn't really work - even something as classical Beethoven 5 wouldn't be identifiable by the notes alone - but always in european music you're talking about the rhythm of the melodic line rather than the rhythm of, er, the rhythm.

If you want to you can go back to Debussy's comment to the effect that percussion in Europe is "the art of barbarians."

i think of the development in the "west" during the last century or so as a steady and progressive return to rhythm (to our long lost african roots), after being largely divided from it for so long. so yes, things have been getting more percussive and poly rhythmic, (thank god).
I'm vaguely annoyed that you edited out the UK funky reference - because it seems interesting that some of the influence on funky is specifically about second gen west african kids a lot of whom presumably have a much more direct contact with traditional percussion and music directly derived from it than most of the people involved in the increasing focus on rhythm and groove through soul to funk to hip hop to jungle... in the latter case it feels more like a combination of tradition, functionalism and technology all moving things in the same direction.
 

massrock

Well-known member
Maybe it's a slightly facile point but however apparently different they are in terms of affect it's also true that pitch is frequency and frequency is rhythm. Therefore harmony is a kind of poly-rhythm. I mean that's actually what it is, even if that's not what is generally directly perceived. In terms of physics it's more than an analogy. Interesting to think about how that works on a neurological level, and what the relationship between the different time scales is. Is it a continuum of frequency all the way through?
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Maybe it's a slightly facile point but however apparently different they are in terms of affect it's also true that pitch is frequency and frequency is rhythm. Therefore harmony is a kind of poly-rhythm.
Not in any particularly meaningful or useful sense, though.

I mean, more concretely even a series of unaccented quarter notes can derive a sort of rhythm from the way that the melodic / harmonic roles of the notes relate to their positions in the series. And a lot of great melodies are made great partly by their rhythmic shape and the way that that interacts with the pitches. But I don't think anyone's arguing that rhythm has no role in older european music, just that it isn't foregrounded as the 'content' of the music in the same way as it is in some african music.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
In fact, I guess what I'm saying is that from a point of view of talking about the evolution of latin/afro/american/anglo/caribbean dance music, the statement "african music in general has traditionally foregrounded percussion" is less interesting and informative than saying that rhythm is foregrounded in burro drumming, which was directly incorporated into reggae and was also something that other caribbean musicians would have been aware of but less directly influenced by, whereas the percussive traditions in Latin america were more directly influenced by, er, whatever they were directly infuenced by.
 

massrock

Well-known member
Not in any particularly meaningful or useful sense, though.
I just put it out there.

But harmony, that is to say, overlaid pitches, is, in terms of frequency content, poly-rhythmic, that's what's happening. And it's something about the relationships of those various simultaneous frequencies that has it's effect. Like I say, this might be obvious but I think it's interesting. The neurons be getting down.

I wasn't making any claims for this, other than that it might be worth mentioning with regards to relationships between rhythm and melody. Whether you find it a 'meaningful' or 'useful' observation is up to you and depends on what you want to take from it I suppose. Sorry if it doesn't fit into your preferred parameters for this discussion.

But I don't think anyone's arguing that rhythm has no role in older european music, just that it isn't foregrounded as the 'content' of the music in the same way as it is in some african music.
I see, so you think I was specifically addressing some argument that as you say no-one has made? Huh?
 
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DigitalDjigit

Honky Tonk Woman
I am not sure that melody has to have a rhythm and i don't think ambient is the only exception. Rhythm has to have a steady tempo. But playing a melodic instrument solo need not require the player to keep to an even time grid. The notes can be longer or shorter, the player can speed up or slow down for emotional effect.

I notice that a lot of traditional western melody seems to be a succession of quarter/eigth notes with few pauses.

If you did it in Fruity Loops it would look like this (X is a note, o is a blank):

XoXoXoXo

So you can easily make the notes differ in length without really losing much information. It's just a succession of notes.

But a lot of music created in sequencers (rave, techno etc.) is more like:

XooXooXo

So a lot of the information is in the different lengths of the spaces between notes - rhythm. I don't want to say that sequencers are to blame because most italo has melodies of the first kind. It's more to do with melody as rhythm in techno and a more traditional western approach to melody in italo.
 

michael

Bring out the vacuum
One of the things that would've been interesting about talking about funky in this context is that it's *not* polyrhythmic. At least I can't think of any examples.

But a lot of music created in sequencers (rave, techno etc.) is more like:

XooXooXo

So a lot of the information is in the different lengths of the spaces between notes - rhythm. I don't want to say that sequencers are to blame because most italo has melodies of the first kind. It's more to do with melody as rhythm in techno and a more traditional western approach to melody in italo.
Sorry if you already know all this, but that kind of rhythm is the first half of what's normally called the clave and it's been creeping around the edges of Western pop for ages. It's all over the Carribean, you can hear it in rock'n'roll (the Bo Diddley beat), it's been big in Brazil (samba, bossanova) and in funk, fusion, etc.

This mix is a fantastic tour through some of the ways it's shown up:

Wayne & Wax - ¡Blogaritmos! 11: “Another Crunk Genealogy”

He even lays out the FL screenshots of the clave pattern... :)

Also, at least in Western classical these kinds of rhythmic patterns can occur, although they may well not be played on percussion instruments (except piano, harpsichord, etc.) You might hear them called "dotted rhythms", cos you put a dot after a note length if you want it go half as long again, e.g. an 8th beat plus a dot is 3 16th beats.
 
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wayneandwax

boston jerk
thanks for the link to that mix of mine, michael!

i also feel like this conversation produces intense deja vu. but the fact that such an article as that which got this going can still be published with a straight face is evidence enough that perceptions of "world music" / "ethnomusicology" remain really (out of) whack.

as a card-carrying ethnomusicologist (and someone who spent the better part of a decade to get that card), i find the article's suggestion that these "diggers" (oh and what a misleading photo at the top!) are a "new breed of digital-savvy amateur ethnomusicologist" to be quite insulting and misleading. "the new ethnomusicology" is about as far from this kind of practice as can be imagined. what's it look like? well, a less modest man would say, look at my blog, but one could also, say, consult the latest edition of the journal of ethnomusicology (not that the field is really so cutting edge, but we're mostly beyond the exotic adventurism implied in the article).

truth is, tho, i'm not such a modest man, so, look at my blog. for instance, this post -- inspired by some talk here at dissensus -- in which i argue that people saying that UK funky is not funky is pretty much bollocks:
http://wayneandwax.com/?p=1904

anyway, cheerz, guys--
 
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