Africa: Triangle Land No-1
The experience of physical universe plane existence is a ‘dynamic and ever changing’ phenomenon in every direction that we can all be thankful for. In acknowledging the ‘realness of manifestation’ we are really commenting on the fact of consciousness and human experie-nce as part of the ‘wonder’ of actual beingness and per-ceptual continuity (change). In seeking to understand and appreciate ‘the realness of earth life and experience’, we are sometimes forced to confront the spectra of ‘human curiosity’ in all it’s splendor and diversity as one area of focus that can be used to examined or seek understanding into the universal fact of demonstrated human existence.- that is: the phenomenon of existence as a ‘context of experiences’ that can be had on a planet within a definition construct that includes time/space and vibrational impressions- as part of the backdrop components that defines how a given individual can then proceed to ‘navigate through a life’. Realization of the fact of ‘human consciousness on a planet’- as opposed to ‘the concept of non-existance’ can provide the kind of perceptual constructs that can help our species appreciate the wonder of existence and the ‘vibrational weight of actual encounters’. All of these matters give insight into the greater ‘realness’ of earth experience and ‘vibrational dynamics- and this is especially true if one seeks to study the role creative music has played in human development. In seeking to understand this subject we are really exploring the role ‘sonic impressions and memory’ has played in the unfolding drama of human experience and knowledge. It is for this reason that the examination of world creativity is important because composite historical documentation seems to imply that the aesthetic secrets that underlie cultural experience lie at the very essence of a given people and/or geo-graphical planet region. In seeking to understand this subject we are in fact looking into the ‘vibrational nature’ of humanity. The subject of African music for this essay is connected to the greater subject of human evolution and ‘wonder’ during the last three thousand years of documented human history, as well as the ‘complexities’ that opened up in the transition time cycle that brought on Greco/Roman civilization and the establishment of present day geo-political planet partitioning (leading to the present time period ‘balance’ of political and lineage identities, currently expressed in terms of European, Asian, and African ethnicities). With this statement I am saying that the time period that saw the breakup of the Eypytian high culture time period and the later defeat of Carthage ( and the subsequent experiences that would map the geo-graphical spread of humanity to inhabit the composite continental land mass we now call Africa) is among the many factors that have played a role in the destiny path African creative music has traveled. The challenge of establishing a composite New World Order for the next time cycle will involve the need to better understand the unique experiences that have come about through the various experiences our species have documented in every region of the planet , as well as what those experiences reveal about 1) the cosmic identity of continental musics ( ‘affinity-expressions’) on its own terms 2) the extended reality of trans-continental processes and finally 3) what that information means in the context of a reconstructed fundamental composite earth ‘thought/unit construct’ (and the challenge of the coming new millennium). The story of African music can help us to better understand the drama of a continent and the ways of ‘an expression’. In this subject it is possi-ble to look into the genesis bases of a given ‘affinity-affinity/-gest-ure’- in a way that transcends the confines of two deminsional thought constructs and/or ‘moment existential postulations’ (recogni-tion) that focus on isolated ideas and/or ‘perceived sound events in time’ as a way to ‘measure experience’. In seeking to understand this subject we are instead confronted with the fact of similarities/ diffe-rences and the ‘radiance of beingness’. The study of African music for this paper will be approached from a tri-centric perspective that seeks to examine both the 1) geo- centric identities of a given postulation on its own plane 2) the correspond-ence logic alignments of a given postulation and/or extension-affinity ‘thrust’ ( ray of ‘arch’) and 3) the ritual/symbolic ‘channel-associat-ions’ that ‘fuse’ identity and ‘cultural aesthetic’. It is my belief that a tri-centric mapping of African music in this manner- as a kind of ‘first snapshot’ (encounter) into the subject -can provide the kind of associations that might yield ‘fresh information’ – that will hopefully have relevance. Yet in proposing a study of this kind I have not meant to imply that somehow my viewpoint has more significance than the classical definitions that come from the musicians themselv-es about their music- no, this is not my point at all ( my hope is to establish and represent every aspect of positive scholarship in the pursuit of real understanding- or at least ‘some understanding’ ( smile) of the subject for this paper ). Rather, I am looking for an viewpoint of African music that recognizes both the specific and tri-centric implications of a given ‘event-experience’ as one building block towards a better understanding of composite earth creative music. The thrust of this paper will seek to build a context of definitions that will give an opportunity for speculative and ‘vibrational’ analyses as well as universal geo-sonic recognition). An approach of this nature will seek to recognize the ‘name’ of a given function and/or music event, based on its classical and extended parameters. Once the specific components of a given identity/-cultural focus is thus defined, I will then seek to map the extended ‘balances’ of its influence as a way to look for an understanding of African music that goes beyond the mundane (or surface). In seeking to view the inner component realities of this subject we are better able to understand both the discipline of composite earth music and our self. In the end I am looking for me. It is commonly understood on the surface that creativity in Africa is so deeply intertwined into African life that event-isolationist techniques from the western analytic sciences are not necessarily positioned to properly describe and/or interpret the ‘real inner reality’ secrets of African music. And it is also true that Westerners (including African Americans) generally tend to think of isolated- rhythm and/or polyrhythmic energies when the subject of African music comes up. Yet, somehow these concepts have always come up short when seeking to impart real information about the ‘inner dimensions’ of African music. This is so because there is no one such African music perceptual model that unifies the composite continen-tal experience, but rather the inner dimensions of the continental musics of Africa reflects a) a different attitude concerning construct-ion dynamics b) a different attitude of process integration inside of a given so-called sonic event and c) a unique sensibility that integrates symbolic and vibrational correspondences on many different partials of experience and affinity. In seeking to understand the composite musics from the African continent we are forced to reexamine the concept and purpose of fundamental perceptual constructs and what this subject means with respect to expanding world music methodology. From a tri-centric perspective that establishes 1) the concept of long sounds and sound-states 2) the concept of sequential sounds 3) the concept of ‘embellished sounds 4) the concept of ‘fast’ sounds 5) the concept of high or low sounds 6) the concept of ‘combined sounds’ 7) the concept of shorter sounds 8) the concept of angular or illregular sounds 9) the concept of phrasing and/or ‘smooth sound changes’ from sound to sound 10) the concept of inner or secondary logic usage 11) the concept of gradient and/or gradual sound recognition and 12) the phenomenon of sub plane co-existing logic identities. It is my belief that a tri-centric mapping of three African ritual drama/states (myth structures) in this manner can yield a more accurate perceptual construct of African music than isolated analysis of one or two music examples, and also serve as a vehicle to map a beginning ‘scheme/model-/entrance’ for a study that will probably take twenty to forty years and some to complete. From the backdrop of these investigation tools, the study of African music for this paper will involve how a composite creative event demonstrates a) the phenomenon of form in African music b) stable/ mutable and ‘connecting’ energies in the creative operating ‘event’ space of the creative moment and how that phenomenon affects and establishes ‘individual participation’ and c) the spectra of individual internal correspondences in a given ‘event-experience ( and what this menu of operatives says about the aest-hetic reality of ‘experience’ from an African perspective- and finally, from my own perspective). My interest in African music is connected with my interest in understanding the evolution of creative music and the phenomenon of belief. TRANSLATION For the purposes of this paper and the needs for limits, the concept of tri-centric curiosity will involve how each category of the model is translated to map the broadest possible scheme of African music and event reduction. A study of this type is needed because obviously each culture group is a world unto itself that requires a lifetime of separate study and it would not be possible to attempt more than what is possible. I will approach my subject material for this paper based on the requested parameters established by Professor Straker and as such my comments in this study will be directed at 1) the Mythic Historical Drama of the Yoruba People that led to the Ife festival 2) the ritual mythology platform of the Dogon people and 3) the ritual mythology of the Ogun people. I will seek to use this subject material to establish the ‘opening’ constructs for a study that when complete will result in a composite mapping of African music. The thus of my effort will seek to identify the extended ‘tendencies’ of a given category with the hope that a given speculation from this perspective might yield a fresh awareness of composite world information and ‘vibrational dynamics’. In seeking to gain entry into the creativity of a given people we are in fact experiencing the vibrational imprint of experience/physical tendencies and belief. CATEGORY ONE – THE LONG SOUND The concept of long sounds in African music for this paper will be examined by examining the 1) use of trance music strategies 2) the concept of performance duration. The concept of a total experience in African music involves many different simultaneous factors that are operating in the event space that go outside of any one perceptual construct. There is the fact of the music, the fact of the moving body ( Dance) there is the extended time/space dimension that affects duration and changing sonic environment (ie. some ceremonial occasions take weeks and/or months to complete), there is the mythology of the occasion ( and in this consideration, the ritual use of intention gives a vibrational depth ( to experience) that is unique. The concept of a long sound in this context can be discussed from 1) the meta-reality ‘under-components’ of the African aesthetic 2) the formal character of the creative event and 3) the use of repetition as an extended technique. In the first context, the phenomenon of long sound durations can be discussed as a) the representation of meditative and trance music strategies b) the emergence of shaman-ism and possession. In the first context, the phenomenon of ‘long sound experience’ cast light on the nature of performance and ‘acting’ event space of a given creative occasion. Mr. Gilber Rouget’s book Music and Trance writes that: ‘The individual in a trance state is thus recognizable by the fact that 1) he is not in his usual state; 2) his relationship to the world around him is disturbed; 3) he can fall prey to certain neurophysiological disturbances; 4) his abilities are increased ( either in reality or otherwise); 5) this increased ability is manifested by actions or behavior observable by others.’ The phenomenon of a trance induced state also establishes a particular relationship to time and duration that transcends periodic time recognition inclosure parameters. In seeking to understand this phenomenon we are confronted with the concept of involvement as ‘a state of experience’ that supersedes target event assumptions. It is through the establishment of a trance aesthetic (continuum) where one can begin to view the concept of experience as it relates to the phenomenon of possession and magic. In the second category, the duration of a given event-occasion establishes a unique perceptual environment that places the activity of the music in a continual domain that transcends predesignated time structures. A given performance experience in this context is not framed from a local time reference scheme but rather participation in African music becomes involvement in a state of ‘suspended time’. The phenomenon of repetition in African music is used to establish extended time-space involvement. With this consideration a given music experience can exist with unlimited duration and balance. The thrust of this device moves to create a state of ‘cyclic-balance’ that defines the terms of embellishment (or elaboration through improvisation). CATEGORY TWO – SEQUENTIAL LOGICS The concept of sequential sounds in African music can be observed by examining 1) composite form strategies 2) target identity form-states ( ie. specific music types/examples) 3) the role of sequential patterns as the nucleus identity parameter that defines how the experience is to be approached and 4) the sequence form-spread of primary target meeting event associations and 5) the role of secondary transitory event-spaces. In the first context, the phenomenon of sequential sounds is directly connected to the form-spread particulars of the performing occasion. That is, the totality of the ritual occasion in this context becomes the form of the event. Sequential logics in this context involve the sequence of ritual events in a given ceremony.In the ‘action-space’ center of African music there are many different energies taking place in the event-space at the same time. The phenomenon of sequential sounds in this context is directed at the flow of tangent-event occurrences that make up the summation ‘actualization of the creativity. Sequential sounds in this event-space can involve a) the continuum of a given music-type (“composition”) in ‘real time’ response actions b) the over-form scheme that establishes major points of change in identity and c) the consideration of time and ‘immediacy’. A functioning musician in the ritual space musics is asked to ‘react’ to the composite energies taking place in the event-space of the creativity and also stay aware of the flow of the music that is being created. The concept of musical patterns in African music can be viewed as another point of entry into the music as opposed to the sole purpose of creative involvement . CATEGORY THREE- EMBELLISHED SOUNDS The concept of embellished sounds in African music can be observed in 1) the use of improvisation 2) the use of ‘music interjections’ that serve as ‘reactors’ to a given formal identity state and 3) the concept of instrumental identity and timbre. In the first context, improvisa-tion can be viewed as ‘liquid feeler’ that moves both inside and outside of the stable logic ‘idea’. An approach of this nature reveals improvisation as an extension ( and/or elaboration) of the principle ‘identity material/occasion’ ( or specific musical idea). The concept of embellishment cannot be understood without also considering what this quality means in the ‘balance of operatives’ that shape event-formation in African music. This is an event-state phenomenon that allows for the ‘shifting on roles’ as part of the normal flow of a given ‘involvement’. What this means is that in a given time space a participant in a given musical offering might suddenly move out of fixed specific functions and ‘have an separate individual experience’ ( and/or postulation). This change of roles (directions) is possible because the aesthetic lining of African music is not directed at maintaining any one function at the expense of the composite music (ie, energies). This is not to write that there are no specific functions in African music, because clearly there are many levels of specificity that underlies the composite flow of a given event-scheme, but rather the concept of embellishment in African music allows for 1) individual experience and/or reaction-’spark’ in ‘real-time occurrences 2) group experience and ‘field of identity-processes’ (ie. specific music ideas and/or rhythms). It is in the cross-interactions of all three components where the summation identity of African music can be experienced (not ‘understood’). The use of musical interjections can also be viewed as ‘against the grain’ of the set form architecture (and/or principle identity focus). Interjections in this context can be of any time length and character-depending of the actual occasion/moment. CATEGORY FOUR – FAST SOUNDS The concept of fast sounds in African music can be observed in the set scheme particulars of a given event-scheme. That being; 1) the realness of different tempos taking place in the music and 2) the realness that African music demonstrates a velocity spectra that is consistent with world culture. CATEGORY FIVE – HIGH/MEDIUM/LOW SOUNDS ( intervalic or ‘sound- spread range and/or spectra) The category of intervalic sound recognition as it relate to African music can be re-translated into sound-spectra recognition for purposes of tri-centric mapping. A change of this type is necessary because I am not interested in applying a concept of intervalic recognition on a music whose internal qualities sometimes goes outside of one strata. The concept of sound-spectra recognition can be applied to 1) examine ‘stable- quality’ processes 2) ‘translated-quality’ processes and 3) various different levels of rhythmic pattern recognition and 4) an increased sonic spectrum that allows for an increased sound-range from the performer of the music (or Dance). In the case of the first example, the concept of sound-spectra recognition can be understood by examining the aesthetic of instrument building and design. African musical instruments come in every size and shape. There are instruments designed with fixed sound-pitches in mind and there are also instruments that are designed for approximate pitch-states. In the case of the first example, fixed systems of pitch-reference tend to stress either linear ‘particular pitch-tones’ ( of various target pitch-tones as opposed to the twelve tone pitch spectra of western musics). In the first example a given African instrument could also stabilized pentatonic pitch-tone relationships-depending on the specifications of the occasion ( or the desired agenda of the person who made the instrument). In the second example, a given African instrument will target a group of pitch-tones and include a secondary class of ‘tone-areas’ that will support the principle target pitch-tones. In seeking to understand African music there is the realization of pattern syntax postulations that also serve as sound-spectra recognition (identity). This material becomes part of the stable-recognition material in African music and creative elaboration in this context is approached as a conceptual (thematic) target that provides the context for defining improvisatio-nal strategies. ( pp 86) In sound spectra of African music seeks to utilize all of the possibilities of the individual. In this aesthetic world, the use of falsetto sound strategies increase the timbre and vibratio-nal nature of the music. The dynamics of sound-spectra recognition also extend to include spatial definition. What this means is that the event-scheme of a given ritual ceremony will experience many different strategies of participation, including the use of moving musicians and actors/dancers whose activity in its normal strata might produce sounds executed while 1) jumping up and down, 2) sounds produced while running- which is a gradient logic 3) sounds produced on the ground or from a higher position on the land. The ‘action-field’ of African music is not separate from the composite dimensions of the total space it takes place in ( including the very shape of a villagers community terrain/environment). CATEGORY SIX- COMBINATION LOGICS (summation logics) The category of combination logics in African music can be experienced by examining 1) the concept of sound in African music and 2) the phenomenon of incidental sounds 3) the use of multiple rhythmic strategies 4) the use of multiple tuning strategies for timbre contrast and 5) the concept of the percussion ensemble. The phenomenon of sound in African music is not a one dimensional proposition that can be isolated in a test tube and examined but rather a sensibility that allows for sonic recognition of the total energies taking place in a given event space. In the context of vocal music for example, the concept of sound (and beauty) allows for the intermixture of sound and human expression. African music does not try to remove itself from the environment to attain a kind of super human beauty that is more that life, but rather the concept of sound in African music is consistent with the composite sounds of the environment it takes place in. The thrust of this approach to sound looks for the ‘personality of the sound’- as opposed to the idea that everyone should have the same kind of sound. In the second example, the use of incidental sounds serves the broaden the canvas of the event-space. To understand this use of combination strategy is to experience an event that has many different things taking place at once- where individuals flow in and out of the space of the experience. Add to this environment mixture the use of sometimes many different musics happening simultaneously, and the concept of combination logic takes on a very different quality from western musics. The reality of this approach serves to create a context will extends the use of vocable-syntax sound choices (ie. nonsense sounds that have no literal meaning) that transcend the concept of pitch-information and instead moves more towards the use of pure sound. John Miller Chernoff in his book ‘African Rhythm and African Sensibility writes that there is never only one rhythm happening in African music (pp 42). To experience African music is to enter into a state of multiplicities that allows for a sense of spatial dimension that is very different from western musics. Mr. Chernoff uses the phrase ‘responsive relationship’ to comment on the interaction nature of African percussion. This concept serves to delineate ‘zones of possible elaborative improvisation’ within a given concept space function. The concept of a ‘talking drum’ also demonstrates the fact of vocalization and increased sound-spectra. In the forth example of this category African percussion ensembles have traditionally utilized a broader system of tonal references and/or relationships in their music. It is not uncommon to experience different tuning systems used simultaneously in one percussion section. Tuning flexibility in this context is used for timbre recognition and expansion. African music has undoubtedly been the leading continent in defining the nature and conceptual dynamics of percussion music. The concept of the percussion ensemble in African music involves the use of many different components (categories) of percussion as well as the hiearchy of pulse elimination ( the master percussionist who sets the terms of the music). Once the thrust of the music is established a context of interwoven operatives comes into play that establishes the role of a) percussion skins b) the use of bells or rattles. The phenomenon of incidental music is also present in African creativity; including the fact of animal sounds in the creative event-space. There are no clear demarcation signs in African music that separate the participants of a given ‘creative occasion’ and the observers of the event. In seeking to understand this subject we are forced to look at the ‘soup’ of the event as one experience ( ‘that is “watched” and “watching” at the same time’). CATEGORY SEVEN- SHORT SOUNDS The category of short sounds in African music can be observed by 1) the use of sonic-interjections and 2) the use of rhythmic units as a structural design that stresses the propulsive effect of the music. The heart of African music is the drum and the nature of the instrument establishes the field of resonation that emphasizes the continuity of rapid short sound sequences that form the atom-nucleus of African music. CATEGORY EIGHT- IRREGULAR SOUNDS The category of irregular sounds can be used to examine 1) the functional arena of ‘the other’ 2) the concept of gesture and 3) the phenomenon of ‘signals’. In the first example the use of illregular sounds in African music can be viewed as separate from the backdrop of set procedures ( ie. specific executions that are aligned with the occasion of the event). The character of sounds in African music can be recognized against the composite backdrop of the its actualization. What this means is that the existential character of a given sound sound derives its significance based on the intention of the person creating the sound. A sound becomes illregular when viewed against the set characteristics of the principle identity state (and backdrop) of the music. In seeking to understand this function we are really looking into the significance of gesture ( or internal gesture). This is so because it is difficult if not impossible to write of illregular sounds as a definition state in itself. The concept of gesture sounds points to the different levels of communication that takes place in the music. In looking at this subject we are really taking of the internal signals that takes place in the music. CATEGORY NINE- SMOOTH SOUNDS The category of smooth sounds in African music refers to the 1) timbre characteristics of a given event space and 2) the solidification of song form ‘story music’ 3) the nature of transition from event to event and 4) the concept of musical phrasing. In seeking to understand this category we are made aware of the poetic nature of African music. The composite offerings of the African continental musics have demonstrated the complete range of human emotions- from the use of tender like ballad musics that demonstrate ‘zones of various sensitivities’ to the use of intense event-states that also demonstrate the use of smooth/linear song music in the same sense as in Western popular music. In seeking to understand this function we are really looking into the wonder of style and sensitivity. Within this category is the ‘scent’ of intention and motivation act as dramatic factors that shape the character of a given postulation. The concept of smooth sound construction is not separate from the syntax structures of African music. In this context the concept of phrase structures involve the incorporation of African language into musical form material. The concept of a given musical idea in this context moves to align itself with the sound of the human voice- the instruments ‘speaks’ its music in the same way the vocalist sings her music. The reality of a given phraseology is not separate from the actual spoken syntax of the composite culture. This phenomenon is made even interesting when one considers that the instrument itself is viewed as a ‘cosmic spirit’. The concept of smooth sounds then can refer to the use of verse in a given song structure or can apply to the nature of the composite language syntax (as a factor in the composite thought process that allows for ‘projection’) – that is, this quality can become part of the language syntax platform that reflects how phrase based constructed postulations are perceived. CATEGORY TEN- INTER IDENTITY SOUNDS The category of inter-identity sounds refers to 1) the menu of available choices that corresponds to a given ‘set system’ and 2) the use of polyrhythmic idea devices that expands the ‘effective domain’ of the participating person. The concept of inter-identity in this context refers to the multiple levels of dialogue that takes place in the music. It is in this category where given individuals are able to come together to establish separate zones of communication inside of the composite event. The reality of this phenomenon can be clearly experienced when percussion ensemble music is examined. CATEGORY ELEVEN- GRADIENT SOUNDS sounds in the distance get louderuse of relative tempo strategies The concept of gradient sounds in African music can be examined by 1) the use of spatial location as a built in parameter of time and space 2) the use of tempo structures that retard and accelerate ( the ‘breath’ of the music). In the first category, the phenomenon of gradient sound recognition comes into play immediately when one seeks to understand African ceremonial music. The concept of spatial location in African music involves the terrain and specifications of the environment that houses the ceremonial event. What this means is that the participating person must deal with spatial depth and sonic perception as a component factor that takes into account the direction and approximate area-space of a given sonic event. Sounds in the distance are farther away, sound moving towards the ‘listening person’ get louder or softer if moving away from the ‘listening person’. The phenomenon of gradient sounds can also be viewed as part of the ‘solidification and/or ‘ending’ of a given event-experience. A given event-occasion comes together in a flowing way and later disperses and disintegrates into nothingness. Gradient logic in African music also involves the vibrational momentum that precedes or follows the preparation for involvement. The concept of gradient logics also applies to the dramatic/poetic spectra of African music- a given event-action might take place but not affect every single person in the ceremony at the same time but rather gradually. CATEGORY TWELVE- SUB-IDENTITY SOUNDS The category of sub-identity sounds in African music involves 1) the specifics of a given musical identity 2) the form of a given event-scheme 3) the translation of a composite environment into creativity and 4) the inclusion of the composite village.. In the first example, the category of sub-indentity sounds serves as the most basic point to examine particular musical compositions and/or songs. The concept of sub-indentity in this context involves the melodic identity characteristics of given musical materials, of the use of rhythmic pattern structures that serve as the primary thematic identity of a given music idea. African music, like composite world music, has demonstrated a spectrum of styles and music forms. The thrust of this continuum has evolved in many different directions – from the use of story identity verses that demonstrate the use of identity through verse, to the use of complex phrase structures that create summation identity properties. The phenomenon of sub-identity recognition also extends to African poetics- in the sense of possession as a means to portray/become something outside of ones self. In this category given individuals might take on the characteristics of a Iion or bird. The phenomenon of sub-identity sounds in African music can be use to create a myth re-creation of some important tribal ritual. Something that can be ‘acted out’ ( that can ward off negative energies from the spirit world). The forth example of this category also helps to establish the identity scheme of African music. Because the inclusion of the composite community gives the possibility for both young and old people to come together and create together. The concept of sub-indentity in this context explores the input characteristics of all members of its culture- including the children. MYTH STRUCTURES Yoruba Mythic-Historical Drama The use of myth structures in the Yoruba tradition tells the story of the founding of Ife and the conquering of the Igbo people. This myth structure enacts the experiences of Obatala, who was sent by Olorum (the sky God) to fulfill the mission of establishing earth but was instead diverted by alcohol (wine). Obatala’s mission was then taken up by Odudua who is the father of the Yoruba people. In the end there is a reunion and acknowledgement of both the original mission of Obatala as well as his replacement by Odudua. The form of this experience becomes the form of the ceremony. Translation in this context then involves understanding the internal lineage relationships in the mythology as a means to establish a schematic overview of the drama. As an image-structure that contains the seeds of its own essence the Yoruba Mythic-Historical story details the experience of ‘a Supreme creator’ that ‘fashions’ a son (transference) to create a ‘world of humans’ who later is forced to share his destiny with a brother ( point of polarity) who later relinquishes the fathership of the Yoruba people yet still keep the magic (spiritual) powers related to what ‘fashioning existence’ involves. The establishment of that cosmic completion would be the source of the ‘emergence of opposition’ from the Igbo people themselves and this ‘feeling of discontent’ was resolved with the re-establishment of the original cosmic intention (with even an occasional sharing of the kingship in a given time period). ( point of balance). The thrust of the Yoruba Historical drama speaks of the profound dynamics of human relationships, especially as it pertains to 1) family relationships and cosmic lineage 2) recognition of different different classes of spiritual ‘royalty’ 3) recognition of the importance of ‘blending into harmony’ as a primary objectives in its cosmology ( ie. cultural aesthetic). As a form-state experience the Yoruba Historical Myth Drama establishes at least three primary translated event experiences that serve as primary structural event-spaces (sign post) in the ritual construction of its reenactment; that being, 1) the untouched part of ‘enactment’ ( there is no attempt to portray the Supreme God Olurun, which for me at this point in time cannot be dealt with at all 2) the fashioning of time and space as a context for ‘experience’ and the creation of Obatala 3) the experiences of Odudua and 4) the final positive resolution of the brothers and the use of three different stories as a way to accent some aspect of the same set of ‘balances’ (ie. representations and/or symbolic characters). Secondary themes in this drama-state involves the 1) imprisonment of Obatala 2) the freeing of Obatala and 3) the unification of the brothers now represented as Alaiyemoore and Oranmiyan (or as Moremi, the Yoruba heroine and her son Ela) . Ritual form scheme (Yoruba culture)
|event no-1(divine conscious – transformation into matter)||event no-2brother takes mission||event no-3revolt of Igbo people||event no-4(target goal achieved)|
Dogon mythology The concept of myth structures in African music is used to establish the internal relationships in the composite community as a bases to reenact (and re-enforce) the reality of the culture. In Dogon culture, myth structures are used to clarify the system of kinships and alliances as a context that reorganizes the original disrupted relationships between Amma, Nommo and the pale fox. According to Dogon a) the material grandfather symbolizes Amma, b) the mother and her brother are symbolized by Nommo, and c) the offspring of the next generation is symbolized by the pale fox. The Dogon myth is presented as a model for structuring the territorial space, the village space and homestead organization into a unified coherent system. This is an ‘inductive image-logic’ form state that seeks to establish a context of vibrational balance that ‘feels feminine’(!)-(?). Feminine in the sense that the energies of the event-space are seeking to harmonize within the ‘circle of relationships that make up culture’. This is an example of a holistic and harmonizing energy. As a schematic form state ‘story’, the event scheme of the Dogon Myth Story establishes 1) the supreme spirit Amma existed alone past the concept of ‘is’ or beingingness 2) the creation of people 3) the revolt of Ogo 4) the creation of the earth 5) the use of Nommo 6) the return to earth of Nommo 7) the transfer of Ogo into the Pale Fox and 8) the sending of rain to earth. The ritual enactment of this Myth story establishes seven zones of transformation that touches on every aspect of perceived existence. There is the idea of the divine God that translates ‘nothing’ into ‘something’, there is the complexity of attempting to understand Ogo ( why was he so nervous about his situation?) the story of the creation of earth through copulation with the undertones of incest establishes a backdrop context that has universal ‘connections’ ( but then again, there are universal spiritual connections in practically every aspect of this subject). The sacrifice of Nommo establishes a mystical bases for ‘translation’ and the idea of personal sacrifice- and the reward of doing ‘God’s work. The return to earth of Nommo establishes the point of ‘spiritual order’ and cultural order as perceived from the ‘original intention’ of Amma. And the final transformation of Ogo into the Pale fox establishes the concept of ‘the other’ . The Myth story structure then grounds the context of relationships between the principle characters and establishes the dramatic and aesthetic backdrop context to experience the ‘activeness of present day existence’. This is a concept that establishes primary character archetypes that forms the bases for poetic interaction dynamics. Ritual form scheme (Dogon Culture)
|the existence of Nommotranser of Pale Fox||human beings are createdthe sending of rain||creation of Earth||use of Nommo||return of Nommo|
The festival of Ogun John Pemberton 111 article ‘The Dreadful God and the divine King’ tells the story of the Ogun ritual. In this article he writes, ‘Odun Ogun is a community-wide celebration. The principal participants are associated with three distinct aspects of Ila society: kingship, chiefship, (king, also called Orangun), the “olori (king’s wives) , the “omoba (members of the royal family), the “omodegbele” and “emese” (palace servants and messengers), the Baale Onilu (chief drummer), and the palace drummers. The chiefly participants are town, warrior, and lineage chiefs, who ordinarily inherit their titles through their kin groups. These chiefly groups are the afobaje (seven senior chiefs, who are known as the kingmakers), and unspecified number of junior chiefs, the Balogun and Ologun (warrior chieftaincy groups), the Ikegbe Iritual chiefs who are associated with instakking and burying the king, and the Ojuwa ( heads of lineages who are affiliated with Chief Elemona, an “Afobaje” chief, who is the messenger between the senior chiefs and the King). The representat-ives of occupational groups include the Oloode (chief of hunters), the Oloriawo Onifa (leader of the divination priests), and the Oloriawo Onisegun leader of the herbalist priests). Blacksmiths conduct essentially private rituals at their stalls during the festival. they do not participate in the public spectacles’. Pemberton 111 goes on to describe a six day ritual structure that reenacts this story ( in the form of a kind of passion play structure). Day one reenacts the founding of the town of Ila-Orangun. Day two, the blacksmiths of the town hang “mariwo” at the entrance to their stalls and start the sacrifices to Ogun ( ie. dogs). Day number three, there are three more sacrifices made ( “Isagon”) in the day ( and more importantly, the King himself starts to meet with other senior warrior chiefs), Day number four the hunters of the village become active in the festival ( and introduces the use of masquerades costumes that conceals their faces). Day five and six gives a respite from the bloody sacrifices to Ogun before the festival is concluded. And the final day, Day number seven, the rite of accepting the King . Ritual form scheme ( Ogun culture)
||three more sacrifices (1st meeting of King)||hunter’s become active (introduce masquraide strategies)|
The concept of tri-centric perceptual alignment (and/or) application for this paper involves an attempt to recognize the summation energies that dictate 1) conceptual-identity 2) interactive relationships and 3) symbolic correspondences. It is through this perspective (ie. identities, sub-identities, summation/-translated identities) where the mythological bases of African ceremony can be viewed as a total expression of the African aesthetic (sensibility). Ritual drama in this context gives insight into the vibrational realm of African creativity (ie. tendencies, target event-recognition particulars, spirit of approach). The extension of this context of perception extends to inform the curious experiencer about the 1) particulars of formal state occurrences 2) primary zones of poetic logics and 3) the context of character action . In the first example, the conceptual identity of African ritual music can be examined through a concept of form that a) seeks to isolate and understand composite strategies (ie. individual/group/ritual= mind/-body/purpose= mutable/stable/synthesis)= ‘surprise’, – music structure tendencies (ie, use of improvisation and flex-time interjections in the ‘magic-space’ of ritual ceremony) history of the ritual play- reductive (imprint) logic strategies ( ie. language or ‘vocabulary’ music extending to the use of ‘speaking in tongues’ as a metaphor that gives insight into principle zones of language/transference/-vibrational affinity). The three Myth stories I have sited for this paper all detail a context of experience that provides the backdrop for poetic interaction dynamics . This information is the genesis image archetype mode that shapes the profound weight of African spiritual and aesthetic transfer (ie. sensibility) in the same sense that the work of Shakespeare demonstrates the aesthetic reality of Elizabethan England in the middle ages. In experiencing this area of African mythology we can begin to map the internal specifics of each story as a means to map event-progression form for extraction ( and research). The concept of identity states in this context sheds light on the a) the particulars of myth role identities b) the political balance associations between the principle characters of the story and c) the particulars of spatial location and the basis of ritual form. In the first context the Mythic historical stories provide the lineage material that constitutes the basis of its cultural origin and right to exist. Just as we can write of the House of Tudor, Winsor as the backdrop that provided a stable logic historical context, the African use of Myth- Creation brings us into the world of Kings and royalty as well as the experience of non-success that is later translated into actual success. The importance of this information cannot be over estimated because Mythology as practiced in Africa establishes the context of relationships between characters and in doing so, establishes the point of character rivalries, betrayals, family lineage connections, historic enemies, unfulfilled desires or plans, the nature of relationships that exist in a given community space. The symbol of the triangle in my music system involves 1) the nature of connections related to an identity 2) the point of translation or resolution and 3) the context of correspondences. It is my belief at this point in my study of African music and culture that the affinity dynamic tendencies of the African aesthetic demonstrate a unique sensibility that connects different partials of moment thoughts into one unified whole- but what does this mean and what am I writing?. My point (or curiosity) is that the African sensibility is does not seem to be contained in any one linear system of thought but rather a juxtaposition of all three perceptual planes of thought in one unity- at once. That is; the emotional, intellectual and symbolic components of the African aesthetic seems to cast the kind of thought unit that transverses all three zones of recognition in a way that is unique . There are aspects of this subject that can be described ( as opposed to known) that seems to be particular to the trans-African affinity-postulation nature. No where can the ‘scent’ of this viewpoint be better experience that by noting the dynamics of African dance and the use of ‘triple-time’ as a zone of ‘multiple “one’s”‘ that totally transcends the concept of both time and rhythm. In seeking to understanding this phenomenon we are forced to acknowledge the use of ‘disruptive conjunctive’ thought associations that not grounds in any one context of logic but rather a summation phenomenon that ‘moves in opposite directions at the same time’. The phenomenon of ritual reenactment establishes a unique experience world that harkens back all of the old masters and God’s as a way to keep that information in the present. This is so because mythology lies at the essence of a culture’ health ( and context of value systems). Character exploration in this context gives the African person an opportunity to ‘become’ the ‘it’ ( in the same way that the native American culture will ‘take on’ the ways of the buffalo or bear). Mythology then becomes the ‘field of reenactment’ ( the ‘field of play’). In looking at this subject we are looking at the forming of African poetic associations . The concept of African music as a tri-centric phenomenon can be examined by viewing the operational spectra of African music as 1) individual postulation experiences 2) community/group postulation experiences 3) event-form postulation experiences. In the first category African musicians demonstrate the total range of music types- from the use of isolated solo music that emphasize traditional songs passed from one generation to the next, to the use of more experimental approaches to music making that takes into account present-time fresh influences. The traditional song material serves as the common repertory information that is passed from generation to generation. In this area of African traditional music the musicians are encourage to not allow their improvisations to evolve pass the use of ‘sutle’ variations that serve as embellishment to the stable logic identity of the song material. For the restructural African musicians, extended improvisation as well as the integration of world music materials from other lands ( and later, through the radio and television) would provide the ‘point of contact’ that allowed for fresh material. It is for this reason that the African Griots are viewed as existing on the ‘edge of African culture’ . The challenge of creative music in the second category explores the nature of inter-action and poet dynamics as related to the event-scheme of the composite ritual form-space. The challenge for the musicians in this context is to define the a) vibrational backdrop to the event-scheme particulars in the ritual ceremony and/or encounters b) ‘encourage and aid’ the flow of the ceremony and c) function as a balance between the royal (divine) matters and the balance of powers in the community. Musicians in this context are functioning and contributing to every domain of the ritual experience. It is the nature of this connection that sheds light on the concept of the triangle. When I think of the African ritual Myth festivals I think of a context of experiences that are totally connected thru: a) the use of sign and symbols that transform individual identity and removes recognition into symbolic relationships b) the use of characterizations ( and possessions) that have spiritual and dramatic meaning and c) the use of music and sound as a totally integrated discipline that reenforces the weight of symbolic meaning ( and ‘vibrational exchange’). The phenomenon of rhythm as the primary sonic unit of identity as well as a source of inter-signial transfer for both the musicians/dancers as well as the principle actors/characters in the drama. In seeking to understand this phenomenon we are given the added complexity of having all of these components in the same ‘action-space’- and it is at this point where the symbolic nature of the African sensibility can be ‘sensed’. To experience an African ritual ceremony is to encounter both the past/present and the future as one entity, where symbolic associations and real time encounters all come together as one experience- that can still be ‘shaped’ ( and/or ‘effected’). The completion of a given ritual serves as a cosmic balance factor that serves as a hope for stability and cultural continuity. The ritual itself is necessary because in every case the mythology seems to imply that everything in manifestation changes, and this is the universal law that must be taken into account. To experience then a ritual reenactment is to gain fresh insight into the 1) the concept of balance 2) the concept of cosmic time-cycles 3) the concept of everything coming from one cosmic source. It is in exploring the symbolic inter-connection of African ritual drama where one can begin to sense the cosmic nature of ‘active relationships’ (ie. energies in motion). The subject of African culture and African music is a vast and complex subject that can be studied for a life time. In this subject, we are looking at the continent that contains the earliest documentation of the existence of human beings . Certainly it is also clear that the spectrum of this subject cannot be contained into any one focus or form prototype. In attempting to understand this subject we are in fact inquiring into one of the great continental land masses of the planet. My interest in African Mythology and music is directed more to the aesthetic frame work components that define ritual form and target event identity time-spaces. I believe that this area of information has much to tell us (me) about the profound ‘floor’ of Africian symbolic ingrediences- as a primary point of entrance into understanding African culture and the African aesthetic. I have taken this viewpoint because in African music, as in African culture, music is not perceived as simply music, nor is the dance seen as dance as such: – the concept of time is not seen as the concept of time, the concept of form is not seen as an absolute unto itself but rather as a point of identity; African music is perceived as rhythmic but actually, rhythm is just the beginning of the music ( not to mention that everything has rhythm- are we really talking about propulsion as opposed to rhythm?). In seeking to experience African music one can hear tonality and atonality at the same time. In attempting to target the central identity logics of African music it always becomes necessary to remember that an example of African musical material is really more like an imprint structural model that unifies the composite ‘field of devices’ as opposed to a fixed set on one dimensional ideas. The truth then of a given postulation is that Africa cannot be known but only ‘experienced’.