Ethnic Music Humanities A Origin and Development Essay

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Ethnic Music Humanities

a) Origin and Development of Traditional and Contemporary Ethnic Music

My personal experience in learning this subtopic reveals to me that music is a global cultural practice found in every known culture, both in the past and present, but with a wide variation with regards to time and place of practicing it. Since every ethnic group around the world, including some of the most secluded tribal groups, depicts their own forms of musical practices, I conclude that music might have been present among the ancestral populations prior to the dispersion of human populations around the world. This confirms that music must have been existing and evolving into different forms for over 50,000 years, and the first music might had been invented in Africa, which is regarded as the cradle of humankind. Then the music evolved through diverse parts of the world during human dispersion to become the current ultimate constituent of humans' daily lives. Ethnic music (commonly referred to as the folk music) is greatly prejudiced by the cultural aspects within a given culture, including both economic and social organization, as well as experience, climatic conditions and levels of access to the contemporary technology. The ideas and/or notions expressed by music during the circumstances when music is played and listened to, alongside the attitudes towards the musicians wildly and widely varies between periods and regions of practice.

Primitive or prehistoric music is the name given to all kinds of music performed or produced during the preliterate era of mankind or cultures, tracing its roots back in the late geological history. Several documented historical sources reveal that the origin of music occurred prior to the available recorded history, and it likely stemmed on the naturally occurring rhythms and sounds. Music could echo such phenomena via patterns, totality and repetition. Even to date, various music cultures hold particular occasions when music intends or tends to imitate natural rhythms and sounds. For instance, "early music" is a commonly known music of the European classical tradition, traced from the fall of Roman Empire (476 AD) until the culmination of the Baroque era of the mid-18th century. Music during this enormous era was exceptionally diverse, including multifaceted cultural tradition in a wide geographical area. Many of ethnic and cultural groups within which the medieval Europe developed had already established their musical traditions.

At dawn and mid of 20th century, there was a great revolution in music production and listening as technology gained developmental efforts. This is evident radio gained worldwide popularity, and as well, there was commencement and development of other new media technologies. The technologies were in use to capture, record, and produce, reproduce, and distribute music to remote localities. In my personal view, during the late 20th century and currently in this 21st century, performances and production of music have increasingly become visual through the contemporary technological advancements in production, recording and broadcasting of music videos, as well as music concerts. Moreover, ethnic music of all kinds has become portable through the modern storage and memory devices. Earphones and headphones allow people to listen to diverse ethnic music of different performances even when sitting next to people from different ethnic groups. Ethnic music has created a new ethnic freedom. The wide experimentations in new musical forms and styles lead to the establishment of several but new groups, forms or styles of music, which challenges the traditional rules of music. Evidently, the inventions of modern electronic instrumentation and amplification, especially during late 20th century transformed and accelerated the development of popular musical forms.

b) Styles of the Musical Tradition

Dating approximately 4000 years ago in Ugarit, the oldest known music (song) was written in cuneiform as decrypted by Professor Anne Kilmer Draffkorn of Calif University, and demonstrated to have been composed in third harmonic styles such as the "ancient gymel." As well, I find that the oldest surviving sample of comprehensive musical styles or compositions is the Seikilos epitaph, which includes musical notations. Drawing my illustration from the Christians' sacred text (the Bible), Jubal is portrayed as the inventor of music instruments, after which the Hebrews cultivated and used such instruments to compose their own musical styles. However, the first instance of mentioning music in the Christian bible arises from the famous book "Genesis" during Laban's interview with Jacob. Similarly, upon their triumphant passage across the Red Sea, Moses together with the children of Israel sang songs of their deliverance during the exodus. In the elaboration of music styles, Genesis identifies pipes and harp as the key instruments of music during the gold age. Some of the sacred styles or forms of music during the 13th century, which developed thereafter, included conductus, motet, clausulae, and discant. By early 14th century, the style of "Burgundian composers" was the first reaction against the mannered styles and encompassed clear musical melodies alongside poised polyphony in all possible voices.

The advent of technological inventions in printing had a colossal influence over the musical style dissemination. This resulted to the foundation of the first international styles within the European musical styles. By late 16th century, the international styles began breaking down. Several and diverse stylistic trends were evident; trends towards the simplification of ethnic songs. Consequently, I come to recognize the existence of classical music, which is characterized by homophonic textures, or obvious melodies with certain accompaniments. Such melodies almost appear to be sing-able and voice-like, allowing the composers or musicians to actually substitute singers as the only musical focus. Instrumental music replaces the opera, as well as other forms of singing such as the oratorio, which served as the favorite to the music audience. My close reflection to the American styles of country music reveals that the commercial country music is direct progeny of the ballad and folk tradition via the South America by British Isles immigrants during the 18 the century, mid and late 19th century. While not portraying the oral tradition of story-telling via songs, the late country music feature the usage of instrumentals with fiddle, commonly taking a melodic role through voices. The carter family of the country music is undoubtedly the ultimate representations of the southern folk traditions.

The advent the dusty dance halls of Oklahoma and Texas gave rise to depression-era, a western swing that introduced sophisticated rhythms of jazz to the sensibility of the country music. Using something adjacent to the "Big Band" lineup (usually including horns), there was a configuration in country music after which; Bob Wills became the unquestionable king of the genre. Wills was a true music innovator who earned pronounced pride in honing his band (the Texas Playboys) improvisational skills. Perhaps, he possessed the ability to make the best out of his players and on any given night, his band developed profound effects on the scope of country music. Currently, I can show evidence of such tradition by bands such as the "Sleep at the Wheel" that still carries on with this musical tradition created by Bob Wills. Furthermore, the modern outgrowth of the country-rock music, which is characterized by loud emphasis and electric guitars, gives the tradition an edgy and hard sound that makes the music appear to be closer to rock music than the actual country music.

c) Techniques and Instrumentation used in the Music

To my close understanding, instrumentation refers to certain combinations of musical instruments used in composition, performance, production and/or recording of music. Owing to my learning experience gained in this subtopic, I can affirm that the first known musical instrument was the "human voice," which is capable of making a vast range of sounds through singing, whistling, humming, clicking, yawning, or just by coughing. The other solid instruments included double pipes and flutes. For instance, archeologists in 2008 discovered a bone flute at HohleFels cave, near Ulm in Germany. This flute had five holes and a V-shaped mouthpiece, made from a vulture's wing bone. The most ancient known wooden musical pipes were discovered in 2004 at Grey-stone, Ireland. This instrument has a lined pit containing a group of six flutes, made out of yew wood, and of about 35 to 50 centimeters long, without any finger holes, but tapered at one end. I thereby find that the inventions and developments of musical amplification instruments revolutionized prevalent music and accelerated the emergence of new forms and/styles of music. Double pipes, including those used during the ancient Greek, ancient bagpipes, alongside the review of the ancient drawings on walls and vases, ancient writings (such as the Aristotle) describe music techniques in the early times to indicate polyphony. For the double flutes (aulos pairs), one pipe served as a keynote or drone while the other pipe served to play melodic passages. Musical instruments such as various sorts of stringed instruments and the seven-hole flute have been recuperated from the archaeological sites- the Indus valley civilization. Additionally, ravanahatha is bowed fiddle that is popular within the Western India. Various historical records believe it to originate during the Sri Lanka's Hela civilization in the…[continue]

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