By Gerhard Kubik
In 1969 Gerhard Kubik chanced to come across a Mozambican hard work migrant, a miner in Transvaal, South Africa, tapping a cipendani, a mouth-resonated musical bow. A similar tool was once visible within the palms of a white Appalachian musician who claimed it as a part of his personal cultural background. via connections like those Kubik discovered that the hyperlink among those far-flung musicians is African-American track, the sound that turned the blues.
Such discoveries exhibit a story of track evolution for Kubik, a cultural anthropologist and ethnomusicologist. touring in Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, and the U.S., he spent 40 years within the box collecting the fabric for Africa and the Blues. during this booklet, Kubik relentlessly strains the distant genealogies of African cultural tune via eighteen African international locations, specifically within the Western and valuable Sudanic Belt.
Included is a finished map of this cradle of the blues, in addition to 31 photos amassed in his fieldwork. the writer additionally provides transparent musical notations and outlines of either African and African American traditions and practices and calls into query the numerous assumptions approximately which parts of the blues have been "European" in beginning and approximately which got here from Africa. distinct to this publication is Kubik's perception into the methods present-day African musicians have followed and enlivened the blues with their very own traditions.
With scholarly care yet with an ease for the final reader, Kubik proposes a wholly new idea on blue notes and their origins. Tracing what musical characteristics got here from Africa and what mutations and mergers happened within the Americas, he indicates that the African American culture we name the blues is actually a musical phenomenon belonging to the African cultural world.
Gerhard Kubik is a professor within the division of ethnology and African experiences on the college of Mainz, Germany. because 1983 he has been affiliated with the guts for Social learn of Malawi, Zomba. he's an enduring member of the guts for Black song learn in Chicago and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of significant Britain and eire, London.
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But in the extraordinary musical scheme created by Bechet and his contemporaries, a whole universe of significations could be contained in that single note, and the masters of the idiom were expected to find a seemingly infinite number of ways of expressing them. They did this better than anyone had before—at least within the confines of Western commercial music. The jazz art form was constructed in large part upon this subversive attitude. What about more modern or even avant-garde jazz players?
They have produced stacks of research supporting the view that our responses to music and the other arts are embedded in biological universals, inescapable and ever-present in human society. Do these folks ever talk to each other? They seem to work at the same universities, so maybe someone can arrange a sit-down. For my part, I’ve learned from both camps, but refuse to give the last word to either. A major focus of my research, especially during the last two decades, has been crosscultural convergences in the ways people sing and play musical instruments, and my work in this area has convinced me that performance standards are hardly local and arbitrary.
Phrasing As noted in the previous chapter, the band’s collective pulse—or perhaps I should call it the group’s metabolism—is the first thing I listen for in a jazz performance, but the second, and just as important, is the way musicians shape their phrases. At this point, I start focusing more on the individual members of the group. Their skill at phrasing is especially evident in their improvised solos, but the superior jazz artist can stand out even when simply stating a melody or responding to the phrases of bandmates.
Africa and the Blues by Gerhard Kubik