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Free Example of Miriam Makeba Essay

What are the possible explanations for why Miriam Makeba "sometimes eliminated the jazz swing she had given [her songs] back in South Africa" (225)?

Ansell says that Miriam Makeba was an astute professional who needed to find an audience niche. Another reason was that there was an Amerocentrism in the mainstream U.S jazz market that was reluctant to accept or engage with the jazz traditions of other countries. It was noted that African jazz players like Miriam Makeba eliminated jazz swing because she encountered folk identity while trying to break into the scene. Ansell continues to say that the scene of jazz music was so big that any new musical flavor received scant attention (225).

Another reason why Miriam Makeba eliminated the jazz swing she had given her song back in South Africa was because the albums mixed originals and jazz standards including the South African standard ‘Ntyilo Ntyilo’ with covers of contemporary pop and sometimes with spoken introductions informing audiences about some facets in South Africa. Ansell says that they were politically aware that American jazz players listening to African music and becoming involved in solidarity struggles a situation which could be practically applicable to Miriam Makeba’s songs and therefore she eliminated jazz swing in her songs back in South Africa (225).

Describe two or three very concrete ways in which the ideas and/or practices of Arabic music theory have changed in the past century.

Jankowsky says that microrhythmic measurements were made using sonograms that were generated by pro 5.2 software. This implies that the use of software’s greatly influenced Arabic Music in Africa because of the practicalities and ethics from Western music notation (212). Jankowsky further says that the logic underlying the system of Western notation namely the assumption that rhythmically regular music could be fitted into a framework  of regular underlying pulses was fundamental to the changes in Arabic music theory.

The second theory is on the basis of metrical ambiguity which in Arabic music is a representative of musico-cultural alterity in the context of Africa where it can be found that in a diversity of musical practices such as the Berber and urban Arab daqqa. Jankowsky says that although the changes are common feature over the past centuries it is rare to encounter normative changes in the relative spacing between Arabic music articulations (213).    

What are some of the reasons that some Muslims consider music to be haram?

Gazzah says that Muslims consider music as an emotion that is identification with another fantasy world (164). This to Muslims implies that if that world is bad then that is not good for them hence some of them say that music is haram. In Muslim, the objection to music here focuses on the danger of losing control over someone’s feelings, emotions, behavior of changing their mood by means of music (Gazzah 164). According to Gazzah losing control over an individual’s emotions and bodily movements and changing his or her mood is a situation that should only be caused by Allah and not music. At the same time when this is brought about by music they refer to it as haram.

Muslim’s consider music haram because it can lead to moving on the rhythm and that can lead to dancing of women, dancing women, and men (Gazzah 164). He also says that Muslims say that music can lead to sensual and sexual feelings, women dancing in front of men. It is also forbidden because it brings shame to their faith and keeps someone from doing serious things one can do for his or her religion. Campo on the other hand says that some Muslims regard listening to music and dancing as forbidden activities including basically all entertainment ranging from cinema and music as haram (291). Studies also show that the compatibility of music and Islam are rooted in religious imagery and socio-cultural norms on what is acceptable in Muslim.  

Define takht and firqa and explain the differences between them.

Takht according to Zuhur is a word that indicates both an instrumental ensemble and the platform upon which the musicians performed (142). Zuhur further says that this means that singers were accompanied by takht as an ensemble that featured instruments of complementary timbres: the ud a pear shaped, round bellied, plucked lute; the qanun, a trapezoidal zither and the kamanja. In most cases takht rhythmic role of the riqq was often played for both practical and aesthetic reasons by the darbakka which is an hourglass shaped ceramic one headed drum (Zuhur 142).

Firqa is a music ensemble in Arabic music which is an ensemble consisting of ten or more performers which developed out of the smaller takht ensemble and became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Davis on the other hand says that firqa performed at weddings and other communal celebrations but they dissociated themselves from the youth ensemble and festival (76). The major difference between takht and firqa was that takht was a small ensemble interms of the performers while firqa was a big ensemble consisting of upto ten performers. Firqa was large orchestral band made up of traditional Arabic instruments from the Middle East while takht was a form of instrumental group that originated in Arabic music traditions.


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