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Chapter Four: Transmission; Learning Music

The term transmission is used to describe the idea of passing on traditions. Throughout the world, all cultures have specific traditions. From the holidays they celebrate to the rituals they perform, most groups have certain defining characteristics that are past down from generation to generation. Along with many other traditions, music is also passed along from one generation to the next. As the world grows and changes, the technology that harbors music is also growing by leaps and bounds. An important day for music was in the twentieth century when records were born. When this happened, it created a way to let people freeze music and repeat the same song over and over again. Records also helped bring cultures together and gave people a chance to hear new material that they would have never experienced otherwise. Enculturation is the act of learning a culture. This has to do with learning all aspects of the culture; including language, music and other customs. Although many people do not consider themselves to be musicians, everyone learns music in an informal way. As a child, one often hears their parents or siblings singing popular songs such as holiday songs around Christmas time. Musicians also learn how to sing or play an instrument by taking formal lessons. Learning music usually requires oral, written and electronic work. In some cultures, the informal learning processes take place mostly in a family environment. In Irish traditional music, people created music with their family and it was often passed down from one generation to the next. As the world is modernizing, the music has gone from private to more public. People are now taking their music to pubs and outside areas. When the musical genre Jazz emerged into the spotlight, many people were drawn to its free sound. In its early years, people learned the common melodies from one another and then added

their own elements into the mix. This created a great, improvised piece of music. Over time, jazz music created its very own language consisting of motifs, harmonies and rhythms. A great example of a jazz piece is called All the things you are, by Charlie Parker. This piece contains the improvisation that so many jazz musicians strived to create. In this piece, you can note the bass rhythm and the spontaneous melody line. The ways of learning music tend to vary from culture to culture. In western countries, the teacher often starts by teaching the student proper terminology and note placement. In other countries, such as India, a guru teaches his student the placement and emotion at the same time. In Western countries, the depth of the song usually is taught after the pupil can technically execute the piece correctly.

Chapter Five: Rhythm


Rhythm, as defined in Exploring the World of Music, can be explained as the patterning of sounds in time. Rhythm can be spontaneous or exact. In some music, the rhythm is free of a structured beat. With most music, however, the rhythm defines the entire piece and remains on a fixed beat. Western music consists of pulse, meters and rhythms. The music is generally contained to measures with common time; which means four beats to a measure. The pulse is the beats that regularly occur throughout the piece. An example of western classical music is Beethovens Fifth Symphony. This piece uses rhythm to define the entire song. It encompasses everything that western classical music stands for. The rhythm in other countries varies from that of the western cultures. In Northern India, their form of rhythm consists of talas and alaps. Talas are their basis for rhythm and could be as short as three beats or as long as one hundred and eight beats. When a performance is first starting, the opening music is called an alap. An alap consists of free rhythm and is divided into three portions; alap, jor, and jhala. In Brazil, a type of music developed called the samba. The samba can sometimes only consist of a single singer and a couple of instruments. Other times, the samba consists of large groups of people and many instruments. The rhythm that is used in the samba is called the surdo rhythm. The samba music became so popular that samba schools arose in the twentieth century. Rap also became a prominent genre after the 60s. It consists of improvising words and sounds that lie on a certain beat. James Brown is known to be one of the creators that eventually led up to rap. Brown, a young gospel singer, created the genre of funk and disco. One of his many popular songs was called Get up offa that thing. It is a very upbeat song with a strong

rhythm. This genre was more popular in African-American neighborhoods. As funk gained popularity in those areas, genres were stemmed from it. Thus forming the musical style of rap.

Chapter Six: Melody


Melody consists of the singable part of music. It is the line that is most widely recognized and is the music that follows the singers lines. Melody works along side of pitch to create a story. Melody lines within music have been around for centuries. The earliest forms in European music are found in sacred chants. The sacred chants are formed around a system called the mode system, which has scales of differing pitches. Eventually, the mode system was replaced by a system called the tonal system. The tonal system involved two scales a major and a minor. As music began to modernize, musicians in the western culture started to question the melody concept and began looking to other forms of music for ideas. Some focused their attention on folk music while other looked to other cultures musical structures. In the Arabian world, they have a melody system called maqam. The maqam and the European system share virtually the same scales and modes. The maqam, European, and Indian systems all share seven notes within an octave. In the Arabian system, the notes are divided into twenty-four quarter tones. The maqam is not a song itself, but rather the stepping stones for music. It lays groundwork for other musicians to create upon. A great example of the Arabian maqam is Maqam Rast by Munir and Omar. Melody is not only found in music, but in common day speech as well. When one talks, one usually does not speak in monotone. Particular words and expressions change the pitch of our speaking voice, thus giving everyday conversation a melody. Words in music often create the melodies as well. Words that have strong emotion are often emphasized and the pitch is often changed. Raga Sangrit is the formal name for Indian classical music. It differs from Arabian and

Western classical music in multiple ways. While Western and Arabic music often changes keys throughout the pieces, Indian music rarely changes keys from start to finish. Every piece of Indian classical music has a set of notes, an ascending pattern, a descending pattern, a note hierarchy, and other qualities. An example of Indian classical music is called Sitar By Morshed Khan. In this piece, you can hear the rhythm and melody. One could also hear the patterns intertwined throughout the raga.