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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

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
NANO
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
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Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
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I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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many many of nanotubes
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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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