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World Music

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The Kora and originated in Africa and is most commonly classified as an harp-lute. As the Kora is discussed, there will be an exploration of the structure and typology, specifically in regards to its musical classification. As the discussion and exploration continues the cultural context in which the Kora is played will be investigated as well has also identifying and analyzing a context in which the Kora is played in a non-traditional setting.

Firstly, before we can understand the culture surrounding the Kora and the differing cultural aspects of when it is played, there must be an exploration into the understanding of the structure, typology and history. The Kora is reported to have originated in the Guinea-Bissau area, however many people recognise the Kora from the many famous players of the Kora (from the Malo region) and therefore associate its origin to the Malo area. The Kora has been modified since its first creation, the most common Kora known is known for its 21 strings. Other modifications include the 18 stringed versions. However the original Kora was probably an adaptation of another existing harp (Oxford University Press 2007-2014).
The kora was probably created by adding strings to an existing Mande harp, of which there are several with three to eight strings. Known as spike harps, these are a type unique to West Africa . The curved neck (a feature shared with other arched harps of the world) spikes the body as on the kora, and a string carrier stands upright on the soundtable to hold the strings. Straightening the neck and passing the strings over the holder (making it a bridge) enabled the instrument to accommodate the tension of more strings. (Oxford University Press 2007 — 2014.)

Not only are there variations to the structure of the actual instrument, there are also different forms of playing the Kora that are found in the Guniea-Bissau and Malo area. The western and eastern styles, and they have their own distinct sound;

The western style is ‘hotter’ and more percussive, with more cross-rhythm, lots of strumming and pinching of the strings, and rhythmic tapping of the handles, players talk about ‘beating’ the Kora. Some are known to use up to 25 strings to increase base range….The eastern style is more vocally oriented with a slower, more linear and staccato ‘classical’ sound, borrowed from the ngoni and balafon. The players talk about seeing the instrument as one of accompaniment. Women do most of the solo singing. (Broughton, 1995:534-536)

Furthermore, it is essential that the correct terminology and respect be given to those that play the Kora. The playing of the Kora is a profession taken by only a few families. Many of the Kora players have travelled widely and influenced the surrounding areas. The profession is hereditary and a member of the profession is known in Mandinka as jali or jeli. The Kora player or jail is refered to as a griot in literature (which is a French term) and refers to somebody that communicates messages usually through oral renditions (mostly recitals of genialities, lineages and praise of clan leaders). The jail does not have a high social status, however, due to the entertainment they bring they are often consulted about important public and private matters and are afforded a great deal of respect from the populace (Towards a notion).
To understand the structure and typology specifically in regards to classification of the Kora, first the creation and the playing styles of the Kora must be examined. The construction of a Kora takes: a skilled craftsman, more than one person and many materials. The materials used are mainly; the calabash, the hide and the wooden neck. The craftsman often uses a previous Kora that works as a reference for the construction of a new Kora. As the Kora is built and materials are brought together, the steps in construction must be followed very precisely. One of the more intricate steps is the unstiffening of the hide that has been gathered for use. Depending on the size of the Kora, an appropriate animal hide will be selected. Bigger Koras will use a bulls hide and smaller Koras will use a female gazelle hide. The process of making the hide more flexible involves digging a small pit, burying the hide with dirt, pouring water over the pit and packing the dirt down. If this fails to stretch the hide enough, the process is usually repeated and often more than one Kora is made at a time. Another important part of the process is the adding of nylon chord to the Kora (The construction of the Kora).
Fai cut slits in the round piece of hide about 1.3 centimeters from its edge. Through theses slits, which were about one centimeter long and about 2.5 centimeters apart, they inserted a drawstring of some nylon chord borrowed from us (The construction of the Kora).
The reason the addition of the nylon chords is so important, is because it is one of the distinguishing characteristics that helps to classify the Kora.

As previously stated, the Kora is classified as a harp-lute and there are different types of Koras made, but as the 21 stringed Kora is the most common and it will be the focus for us. The strings are split up 11 on the left and 10 on the right. The bridge raises the strings into two planes at right angles to that of a sound table. Due to the way the Kora is constructed, the tuning system also becomes important in understanding the unique characteristics that help to classify the Kora. The Kora is usually based around the tomora ba tuning (Musical Tradition in Modern Africa). Within the area of the Mandika territory, there are many different report types of tuning (ethnomusicology). It is reported that some Kora players have learned other tuning systems; the ‘proper’ tuning system allows Kora players to be able to expand their abilities. Most Koras are tuned to a ‘fixed’ tuning system where the song must be written for the instrument and not the other way around (multicultural perspectives). These two tuning systems do not cover the range of many other tuning systems of the Kora, however other instruments are known to also share this ‘fixed’ tuning system and this helps us to classify the Kora as a chordophone. According to the multi-way hierarchic classification a stringed instrument is classified under the grouping of chordophones. However, the Kora isn’t just a chordophone, and it can be classified further. In the chordophone sub-categories, it is possible to see the Kora filling the requirements of more than one subcategory. A lute is plucked, like a guitar and a harp, the neck is bent like a bow over the resonator both describe the aspects of the Kora, thus it has been classified as a harp-lute in the chordophone category.

The culture behind the Kora is also very important to identify and understand before analysing the performance of the Kora. The Kora when it is made, is made with some reverence to a spiritual being. This is apparent when an animal is slaughtered to feast in celebration of the Kora being made, the blood of the animal is sprinkled through the Kora and the instrument is blessed (African arts). This appeal to a higher being is very important in the context of the Kora. This is established further when examining the great Kora players. Many masters of the Kora were said to be possessed by djinns (demons) or spirits (World music, broughton). Whilst most of the Kora players played and sung for rituals and ceremonies in their villages, each performance has meaning outside of the immediate context in which they arise. This is because they are based on established styles that help to identify the tradition and give it meaning and identity (musical tradition in modern Africa).

Now that the traditional uses of the Kora have been established as well as the culture behind the Kora players, we may now compare traditional Kora players with modern Kora players. For this analysis I will use a video titled ‘Malian Kora Musician Mamadou Diabate's Ensemble’. This video has the main instrument the Kora played by Mamadou Diabate and features a double bass along side him. This performance differs from a traditional performance of the Kora due to the setting of the performance. The video shows the players on a stage and with other non-african instruments behind them. The performance also includes the use of a double bass, which would have never been used in an African recital. The performance shows the seamless integration of the classical genre of musical instruments with the African style of instrument. From the artist’s own website we can see his intention of keeping the traditional African music alive.
‘Malian kora musician, Mamadou Diabate is a member of the Mandinka West African jeli (musician caste) family. His musical lineage goes back seven centuries to the time of Sunjata Keita, the conqueror of the Malian empire.
Now based in the United States, Mamadou performs around North America and Europe. Interested in bringing the kora to new audiences, he has played with jazz and other contemporary artists, however he remains rooted in the traditions of the Manding kora and his griot heritage. He is one of a handful remaining kora players that are keeping alive the kora tradition.’
The artists’ intention of bringing the Kora into the world and moving it to new audiences whilst still being true to his own traditional roots is one that helps to bring the Kora into a new modern light. While it is clear that he is passionate about the traditions of his people he is still trying to assimilate the Kora with new instruments. A review of his album show’s just how well he’s doing that.
"Recent CD's like From Mali to Memphis and Kulanjan have emphasized the continuity between Manding traditional music and American Blues. But none have made the connection as sublimely as Mamadou Diabate's Tunga."... "The players weave their magic so tightly, it took me a couple of listens to separate the rapid kora and ngoni exchanges. Even when the round and woody tones of the balafon join in, the group plays with the telepathy of a single large instrument... virtuosity is taken for granted from a kora player named Diabate, but even more than his famous cousin Toumani, Mamadou gently pushes the edge with his beautiful, soulful precision." Bob Tarte,-The Beat’

This review shows Mamadou Diabate as an ambassador for the Kora and a man who wishes to continue the tradition of the Kora and keep it going into the future whilst still bringing honour to his people.

Through this discussion we have observed the structure, typology, history and tradition of the Kora. We have explored the construction of the Kora and the significance behind many of the traditions that occur. It has been noted that whilst western music continues to shape, evolve and change that the music of the Kora has become stable and continues to be as strong as ever in the face of change and the invasion of western music. Most importantly, we have discovered the impact the Kora is having on the western world and explored a musician who is bringing both cultures together through music.

TYPOLOGY BOOK

http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=gyiTOcnb2yYC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=%C2%B7%09Broughton,+E.+et+al.+%281999%29+World+music:+the+rough+guide.+Africa,+Europe+and+the+Middle+East,+Volume+1,%E2%80%98Rough+Guides+music+reference%E2%80%99,+Rough+Guides.&ots=APB_VDrfTL&sig=WCedKKYVuniSJKMWjsM5NkYP4Sg#v=onepage&q=KORA&f=false

Kora discription http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/subscriber/article/grove/music/15371?q=KORA&article_section=all&search=article&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit More info on the Kora http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/30249953 Culture, before the Kora is made it is consecrated with blood, and it is the responsibility of the petitioner to bring the animal to be the consecration http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/3335348?seq=4 Culture of the Kora – the tradition is handed down through lineage and the jali is the professional name of a player of the Kora.
Songs occur with the playing of the Kora and these songs usually involve either great deeds done by individuals, wise proverbs or perhaps songs to the gods http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/30249953?seq=3 LIST OF ALL REFERENCES JUST IN CASE http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/subscriber/article/grove/music/15371?q=KORA&article_section=all&search=article&pos=1&_start=1#F011263 http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/30249953?seq=6

http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/3335348?seq=4

http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/41372076?seq=2&Search=yes&searchText=kora&list=show&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dkora%26amp%3Bacc%3Doff%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff&prevSearch=&resultsServiceName=null

http://www.jstor.org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/850090?seq=1&Search=yes&searchText=of&searchText=the&searchText=tuning&searchText=construction&searchText=kora&searchText=and&list=hide&resultsServiceName=null&searchUri=/action/doBasicSearch%3fQuery%3dthe%2bconstruction%2band%2btuning%2bof%2bthe%2bkora%26amp;prq%3dkora%26amp;hp%3d25%26amp;acc%3doff%26amp;wc%3don%26amp;fc%3doff%26amp;so%3drel%26amp;racc%3doff&resultItemClick=true&Search=yes&searchText=the&searchText=construction&searchText=and&searchText=tuning&searchText=of&searchText=the&searchText=kora&uid=3737536&uid=2129&uid=2134&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103806101517

http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=iUm_AAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=kora+chordophone&ots=Ry0e_TYqEB&sig=6DfSNIMIcKXsBsTj4Bw6AOSsCcg#v=onepage&q=kora%20chordophone&f=false

http://rorylewis.com/PDFs/01Research/01_papers/07_Multi-way%20Hierarchic%20Classification%20of%20Musical%20Instrument%20Sounds.pdf

http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=gyiTOcnb2yYC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=%C2%B7%09Broughton,+E.+et+al.+%281999%29+World+music:+the+rough+guide.+Africa,+Europe+and+the+Middle+East,+Volume+1,%E2%80%98Rough+Guides+music+reference%E2%80%99,+Rough+Guides.&ots=APB_WAuaVC&sig=G8hGzU0mmFAmuxMwAFplVIEV87U#v=onepage&q=kora&f=false

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...ethnomusicologists mean when they say, “Music is universal, but it is not a universal language”? They say this because of many reasons. One reason being that many people have attempted to analyze music in terms of linguistics but it tends to be in a completely different realm. A second reason is that music is not usually known to cross cultural languages therefore it could not a universal language if one culture is not able to experience the emotions like another culture would. It is viewed in a semiotic view which means that is seen as a symbols that can be interpreted. 2. What are the potential problems in classifying music as “classical,” “folk,” or “popular” When using these terms together you are disrupting a value system that is based on different levels. Classical being the highest, then folk, and then popular being the lowest. They can not all be used together because some are greater or lesser than another. 3. How might an ethnomusicologist approach the study of Western classical music differently from a musicologist? An enthnomusicologist will get involved in more aspects of the culture while also doing what a musicologist would do such as record and study their music. 4. What is “fieldwork”? What is its importance to the study of world music? Fieldwork is when an ethnomusicologist goes to another country and experiences that cultures music first hand. This is important because it provides a greater understanding of all aspects of the music such as......

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World Music

...Introduction (World Music) MUNM 3113 World Music Dr. Christina Giacona cgiacona@ou.edu To complete this worksheet, provide your answers on this worksheet then submit the completed assignment in the “Intro World Music” dropbox on www.learn.ou.edu. NOTE: If a word count is given you can always go over the word count, just don’t go under! ------------------------------------------------- Materials ------------------------------------------------- To complete this assignment make sure you have fully read and watched the listed materials below Read: Introduction Material: * Music-culture: under the Content section in D2L * Before the Trip Begins: Fundamental Issues (textbook) pg 1 – 15 * Aural Analysis: Listening to the World’s Musics (textbook) pg 16 – 34 * Cultural Considerations: Beyond the Sounds Themselves (textbook) pg 35 – 60 PowerPoint: * The PowerPoint can be located at www.learn.ou.edu under the “content” tab Watch: * Sound, Music, and the Environment * http://www.learner.org/resources/series105.html?pop=yes&pid=1237 ------------------------------------------------- Assignment Questions ------------------------------------------------- Answer and complete all questions and projects below and highlight your answer in any color other than black. SECTION 1: OVERVIEW Part One: Before the Trip Begins: Fundamental Issues (textbook) pg 1 – 15 Answer these questions below 1. What do ethnomusicologists mean when they say, “Music is......

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