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Thread: African dance for piano

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Default African dance for piano

    Based on the rhythms of this piece for mbira http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNxRAYeUJjE, I have composed this piece for piano:

    http://soundcloud.com/aleazk/african-dance-for-piano

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    Senior Member chee_zee's Avatar
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    reminds me of stewart copelands piano style for the spyro video games (this is a good thing). you should check out a couple books if you wanna go deeper with this, 'mande music of mandinka and manlinka' from eric charrry, and 'composing the music of africa' from malcom floyd, some interesting take aways in them.

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chee_zee View Post
    reminds me of stewart copelands piano style for the spyro video games (this is a good thing). you should check out a couple books if you wanna go deeper with this, 'mande music of mandinka and manlinka' from eric charrry, and 'composing the music of africa' from malcom floyd, some interesting take aways in them.
    The next step is to improve the harmony, here I only use the Mixolydian mode in G. Also more counterpoint and more superposition of rhythms. Thanks for the book recommendations, I will check, since I like this a lot, and it's very fun to play!

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    This is the basic polyrhythm that I have used in this piece.

    3_over_2.png

    It's the basic polyrhythm of african traditional music. You can hear it throughout the piece in many ways and with different ornamentations. The basic idea that I have used from the piece for mbira is the way in which the different voices start to entry, making the piece more and more complex.
    Last edited by aleazk; Mar-20-2012 at 18:57.

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    Senior Member chee_zee's Avatar
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    think of all african music not as polyrhythmic necessarily, but in 12/8 time. divide each beat preferably into 3 (du da di in gordon system). 12 notes per bar. this is where jazz got it's swing, du tied to da, then di, du-u-di-du-u-di with di being the shorter eight note. there are countless patterns played by countless peoples (just wiki up 'african standard pattern', the only common theme is a bell playing one pattern of hits and another thing playing hits that sometimes line up with the bell).

    might have one voice play 1-du di 2-da 3-da di- 4-du di

    the numbers are the beat, the du da di are the divisions of each beat into 3. Have another voice hit in different places, with at least one lining up with the first one, perhaps they both will hit on the du of 4 and 1 or the di of 1 and 3? you can in this manner create any african cross-rhythm imaginable, and that's just 12/8 style. A piece I've yet to release has piano playing two voices in canon, and clarinet and bass trading solos in cross-rhythm (a few of the phrases are rips of authentic african rhythms). makes for 3-4 voice counterpoint. the main motive of that tune is originally a thing I wrote with mbira and just put it on piano, so you can already see the applications of just this one cross rhythm concept. you can make synthetic indian talas easily as well once you know how those work.

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