Thursday, November 15, 2007

105. Music of the Great Tradition -- 7: The List Completed

16. Polyrhythmically related vocal parts.

17. Polyrhythmic percussive accompaniment, usually but not always, limited to handclapping.

18. The encoding of multipart performances in monophonic melodies and vice-versa, i.e., the encoding of monophonic melodies in multipart performances.

That's all I can think of for now, though I might have more items to add later.

It's important to understand that ALL the many aspects listed pertain to both Pygmy AND Bushmen traditions, making an especially compelling case, as I see it, for common origin. I have recently completed an extensive comparative study based on the research of Susanne F├╝rniss, Emmanuelle Olivier, Michelle Kisliuk and especially Nicholas England, whose painstaking book-length study of Ju'hoansi Bushmen music is remarkably detailed, thorough and convincing, and am more convinced than ever that the two musical styles are intimately connected and must therefore, in the words of Gilbert Rouget, "stem from a common root."

What most interests me at this point is the way in which so many of the individual characteristics I've listed here would seem to pertain to the music of other traditions, both in and out of Africa. And the question most on my mind is whether or not Pygmy/Bushmen style was 1. the musical tradition carried out of Africa by the original migrant group; and 2. whether certain aspects of this tradition are at the root of so many other musical traditions that developed in the wake of the great "Out of Africa" migration. In other words, was there really a "great tradition" and if so, where are the signs of its influence in the world of today?

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