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Form

The form of a typical mbira song is cyclical ; that is, it is based on a continuous repetition of the tune. The basic tune of a piece usually has four phrases of equal length. This type of form is very common for lamellophone music throughout Africa, although the traditions for some instruments feature two-phrase rather than four-phrase melodies.

The music at a bira may need to continue for many hours; it is not uncommon for the ceremony to last all night, with only short breaks in the music. It is not unusual to play a single tune for a very long time, repeating the four-phrase melody many, many times. The music is kept interesting by a constant subtle variation on the basic tune. Most traditional pieces have more than one standard version of the melody. The player can switch between the versions, and can also improvise by changing some of the notes.

Most interestingly, the rhythm and texture of the basic melody are so complex that the player can provide "variations" on the tune simply by shifting the accents or emphasis on certain notes, or by singing along with certain notes, in order to bring out different aspects or relationships within the melody. An accomplished mbira player is so skilled at creating and elucidating interesting variations that he can keep a crowd happy while playing the same tune for hours.

Timbre and texture

The mbira dzavadzimu is constructed in a way that makes it very easy to jump between high-, low-, and medium-pitched tones. The typical mbira melody takes advantage of this, jumping quickly between the different octaves of the three manuals . Rather than hearing this as a single multi-octave melody, the listener naturally groups the high notes together into a high "melody" and the low notes into a contrasting low "melody". The notes in the middle range often seem to belong to their own, third, independent melody. This gives the music a rich contrapuntal texture , even though normally only one note is played at a time. (Bach's sonatas for unaccompanied violin or cello famously use this same "auditory illusion", producing counterpoint from a single line that bounces back and forth between high and low "melodies".)

It is this auditory illusion that allows the most subtle, and interesting, variations on the tune. It can be unclear which melody (high, medium, or low) a particular note belongs to; one note might be either a low note in the high melody, for example, or a high note in the middle melody. Thus, by making subtle shifts in accent and emphasis, or by shifting a pitch in a variation, the player can make a note "jump" from one melody to another, or can make melodies seem to appear and disappear while still playing the same sequence of notes. By bringing out a variety of inner lines in this way, the skilled player can make the same sequence of notes sound like a completely different piece of music.

In addition to creating this interlocking conterpoint, the intervals between successive pitches in the pattern tend to be octaves , fifths , and thirds (the same intervals found in Western major and minor chords ). This creates a strong impression of harmony (in the same way as a piano playing arpeggios ), often including an impression of harmonic motion or progression within each phrase, and of changes in harmony as the variations are played.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Musical travels for children. OpenStax CNX. Jan 06, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10221/1.11
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