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Aka Polyphony: Music, Theory, Back and Forth

Abstract : Aka music is characterized by an orally transmitted polyphony. Impregnation and imitation are the main principles, as the musical theory is completely immanent. The contrapuntal polyphony is based on four constitutive parts, each of which has its own melodic pattern. This pattern is the reference to a large number of variations that evolve within the regular periodic structure. In the first chapter, I will describe the system of Aka polyphony following the autochtone conception. Different versions of the same song will be analysed in order to line out the characteristics and the complementarity of the parts, as well as the variation processes. The analysis will be based on a paradigmatic transcription of the separate parts, taking in account melody and rhythm within a stable metric framework. As one of the parts is based on yodelling, I will analyse this special singing technique and its implications in the melodic structure. A second chapter will treat the lively musical practice: 1) the free movement of a singer within the whole stock of parts and variations in a collective singing context, and 2) the treatment of the material in a context of solo and duo performance. The analysis will illustrate the phenomenon that in Aka music, every melody - may it be integrated in a group song or in an individually performed solo - is generated by the concern of diversity that has its origine in a general vertical, contrapuntal conception of music.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 5, 2010 - 7:33:13 PM
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Susanne Fürniss. Aka Polyphony: Music, Theory, Back and Forth. Michael Tenzer. Analytical Studies in World Music, Oxford University Press, pp.163-204, 2006. ⟨halshs-00453689⟩

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