Music as Well-being
Chapter Six: Musical Construction
Chapter Six Musical Construction A Story An African leader was taken by his British host to a concert of Mozart at the Royal Festival Hall. After listening politely he said to his host: ‘Thank you for this but I thought your music was more complex than that.’ His host was surprised. Introduction This is an interesting story when viewed from the assumed exalted posi- tion of the Western classical tradition. It shows the dilemma concerning how musical ideas are debated in various cultures. Many of the African traditions have chosen to debate them primarily in the area of rhythm (as we shall see below). The African was skilled in understanding them in that area; however, the Western classical European cultures have chosen melody and harmony as the prime areas for musical debate. The Mozart concert asked for skill in understanding ideas debated in those areas and the African leader was not experienced in understanding debate using melody and harmony. As the rhythm of Mozart was relatively simple, he perceived the argument as simple. The complexity was not in an area he could grasp. In the same way, Western classical theorists have regarded the African traditions as simple because they could not read complexity in the area of rhythm. 182 Chapter Six This domain is about the ordering of time in a particular culture, as we shall see when we compare orate and literate traditions. Charles Taylor sees a new form of time emerging from the processes of secularisation. He links...
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