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African Polyphony and Polyrhythm
Musical Structure and Methodology

$69.99 (C)

Gyorgy Ligeti
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  • Date Published: December 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521616010

$69.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In this detailed study Simha Arom takes a new and original approach to the understanding of the complex and sophisticated patterns of polyphony and polyrhythm that characterise African music. Considering in particular the harp, sanza, xylophone and percussion music of Central Africa, Simha Arom develops a rigorous method for the analysis of the music and for the recording and deciphering of the many strands of polyphony and polyrhythm. Through a systematic breakdown of the many layers of apparently improvised rhythm he reveals the essential structure which underlies this rich and complex music. Inspired also by linguistic techniques, Professor Arom regards the music very much as a grammatical system.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521616010
    • length: 700 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 36 mm
    • weight: 1.23kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Foreword Gyorgy Ligeti
    Book I. The Music of the Central African Republic:
    1. General introduction
    2. The general features of traditional music
    3. Typology
    Book II. African Polyphonic Music: Introduction
    1. A classification of African polyphonies
    2. Previous studies: the present state of the subject
    Book III. Technical Tools: Methods of Recording Polyphonic Music For Transcription:
    1. The need for transcription
    2. The difficulties of transcription
    3. Earlier methods
    4. Towards a new method
    5. Theoretical assumptions
    6. Technical equipment: description and use
    7. From recording to transcription
    8. Checking the results
    9. Potentialities
    10. Anthropological acceptability
    Book IV. Theoretical Tools:
    1. The notion of relevance
    2. Description and analysis
    3. The question of transcription
    Book V. The Organisation of Time In African Music:
    1. A brief survey of Western rhythmics
    2. Towards precise terminology
    3. African rhythmics
    Book VI. Structural Principles And Their Applications:
    1. Typology
    2. Analytical notions
    3. Strict polyrhythmics
    4. Polyrhythmics as a way to polyphony: Hocket
    5. Polyphony produced by melodic instruments
    6. The association of polyphony and polyrhythmics

  • Author

    Simha Arom, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris


    Martin Thom

    Barbara Tuckett

    Raymond Boyd


    Gyorgy Ligeti


    Gyorgy Ligeti

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