A representation of musical dialects (PHD thesis) by Levitt D A

By Levitt D A

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D) Litany pattern preceded by a short through-composed passage. (e) Any litany involving more complexity than the simple repetition of one or two phrases should be coded complex litany. (Lomax 1968: 58) In contrast to strict repetition, there is variation. Whereas the response is clothed in a form that is nearly always invariable, the antecedent, given by the soloist, would seem to be, for its part, extremely variable. From one utterance to the next, the soloist will change, by improvising, either the notes or the words.

As with many other concepts pertaining to African culture in general and music in particular, it is not expressed or verbalised. The basic and fundamental characteristic of this country's musics concerns their mode of temporal organisation. I shall therefore propose the following definition, which I have arrived at after a series of enquiries, lasting several years, among a range of different tribal groups. In this context music is a succession of sounds capable of giving rise to a segmentation of time during which it flows in isochronous units.

The second category comprises myths, stories, legends or epic narratives which are entirely sung and always accompanied by a melodic instrument (a harp or a mvet, a harp-zither) played by the singer-narrator. 7 T H E MUSICIAN The peoples of the Central African Republic do not have castes of musicians, nor are there any professional musicians. Alan Merriam observes in this respect that 'Distinctions between the artist and his audience [. ] are not so sharply drawn as in our own culture. In some parts of Africa the cultural expectation involves almost everyone as potentially equal in musical ability, although this is not the case everywhere' (Merriam 1962: 129).

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