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    West African Music Assessment Essay

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    Music has always been an important part of life in West Africa. Music serves many functions in West African society. It communicates ideas, values, and feelings. It celebrates historic events and important occasions in people’s lives. For instance, there are songs for weddings, funerals, and ceremonies honoring ancestors. Among the Your tribe of present-day Nigeria, mothers of twins have their own special songs. In Ghana, there are songs for celebrating the loss of a child’s first tooth. The musical traditions of West Africa continue to influence both African and world lute.

    West African Drumming: Drums play an important role in West African culture. Drummers perform at parties, religious meetings, and ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals. West African drums are made of hollowed-out logs or pieces of wood. These are covered with animal skins. For example; the December drum, the dumbfound set, the don, the ‘Ewe’ drums ensemble, etc. Drummers in West Africa play in ensembles, or groups. The ensembles include different types and sizes of drums, along with bells and rattles. Drumming, singing, and dancing take place together in a circle.

    Traditionally December rhythms and their corresponding dances would have been associated with specific occasions, with each rhythm having a time and place. These days’ rhythms and dances may be performed at a wider range of events. There are hundreds of drums throughout West Africa but the December is one of few that are played with both bare hands. Sometimes, drum ensembles use a call-and-response style. West African slaves brought their drumming traditions to the Americas. Over time, West African drum music evolved into new styles, particularly in Cuba.

    West African drum music and Afro- Cuban drumming are now popular elements of world music. The players use polymaths and repetitive patterns in the drumming. The beats of the drum often help the dancers keep track of their timing. Grits: Early historical accounts of music and dance among Africans can be found in oral literature that take different forms such as folk tales, myths, epics, praise poems and historical accounts on rituals. Music and dance in Africa have served both utilitarian and aesthetic functions.

    The utilitarian function involves the use of music n everyday activities, including music at the child’s naming ceremonies, child rearing practices, initiation rites, agricultural activities, national ceremonies, war times, religious ceremonies and those meant for the dead. In most ceremonies, even death ceremonies, music and dance go together. A grist is a verbal artist of the Manned people. Grits are poet-musicians who tell stories, sing songs of praise, and recite poems, often while playing a drum or stringed instrument. They perform music, dance, and drama. But grits are much more than skilled entertainers.

    They also educate their audiences with historical accounts and genealogies, or histories of people’s ancestry. In many ways, they are the record keepers and historians of their West African Music Assessment By cassia everybody there is the form or clapping, singing and dancing. By participating you honor the people being celebrated. Singing: A common style of music in West Africa is known as call and response. In call-and-response singing, a leader plays or sings a short phrase, known as a call. Then a group of people, the chorus, answer by playing or singing a short phrase, the response.

    The leader and chorus repeat this pattern over and over as they perform the song. Enslaved Africans brought call-and- response songs to the Americas. Slaves used the songs to ease the burden of hard work, celebrate social occasions, and express outrage at their situation. This African tradition has influenced many American musical styles, including gospel, Jazz, blues, rock and roll, and rap. Dance: In West Africa, dance is as much a part of life as singing and drumming are. Traditional West African dances are still performed in Africa and around the world.

    West Africans perform dances for all kinds of occasions. They dance during rituals and during ceremonies that mark important events in people’s lives. Dances can celebrate a success at work or help educate children. West Africans also perform dances to seek the help of spirits and to connect with dead ancestors. Dance movements often reflect the conditions people live in. Among forest-dwelling people, for example, dancers move as if they are finding their way through forest undergrowth. Some dancers wear elaborate masks that represent the spirits of traditional West African religion.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    West African Music Assessment Essay. (2017, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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