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Reaction Paper to Knight and Bilby: African Music - Essay Example

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These roles are classified into three main categories which include personal music, group music and listener’s music. Personal music…
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Reaction Paper to Knight and Bilby: African Music
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Reaction Paper to Knight and Bilby: African Music Synopsis According to the article, by Knight and Bilby, it is evident that the traditional music in Africa plays a crucial role in the African culture. These roles are classified into three main categories which include personal music, group music and listener’s music. Personal music is usually performed by individuals for their personal enjoyment. Group music is performed by a group of individuals for the enjoyment of the same group. Listener’s music, on the other hand, is performed by professional musicians for the enjoyment of an audience and monetary gain. According to the discipline of music, music can either be vocal or instrumental. However, these two aspects are usually combined to improve the quality of songs. There are several music instruments that are used to enhance music in Africa. Some of these instruments include drums, rattles, iron bells and other wooden music instruments (Bilby and Knight 256). In addition, there are several songs that are performed by the African community. This paper will discuss several topics that are closely related to African music and performance.
Question #1: In what ways might a participant in a performance of group music take part? When might such a performance be considered listener’s music instead?
As stated above, group music is performed by a group for that group. The performance of group music involves a wide range of participation ranging from virtuoso drumming and singing to repeating a vocal refrain or even handclapping. Therefore, if a listener is involved in any of these activities, then, he or she is considered as part of the performance of the group. A performance can be considered as listener’s music if the music has been performed for a perceptible audience who is listening to the music (Bilby and Knight 254).
Question #2: What connections can be seen between the various environments in which Africans live and the types of instruments they play?
Africans play several musical instruments. These musical instruments provide a comprehensive variety in the music performed in Africa. According to various researchers, the drum is the most common musical instrument. The drum is extremely crucial in most African cultures. The xylophone is also a common musical instrument in Mali where it is known as Bala. The Bala uses gourd resonators under the keys. The gourds are locally available in Mali. Stringed instruments are also common in West Africa and South Africa. Further analysis also reveals that there are reed instruments which are used in Africa. These instruments form an integral part in the rhythm of Africa and their relation to the environment (Bilby and Knight 256).
Question #3: Comment on the interaction of speech and music, and the interaction between vocal and instrumental music in Africa.
According to the context, there are few instrumental genres in Africa. Among these genres, speech and music are closely interrelated. The most exemplary illustration is the verbal expression portrayed by the drummers. In most cases, African drummers “talk with their drums”. On the other hand, vocals and instrumental music is also interrelated in Africa (Bilby and Knight 257). This is because vocal music can also be portrayed by the instruments. For example, praise names and other phrases can be replicated by the use of several instruments.

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Bilby, Kenneth and Knight, Roderic. Africana Studies. Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2005. Print. Read More
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