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Ludwig van Beethoven African Drummers African Musical Culture vs. European Musical Culture Music culture also implies how music is used within a culture. Here in the West we use music primarily for entertainment purposes.

Professionals create it and non -professionals “consume” it. We “use” music for weddings and church. We dance to music for social interaction and searching for potential mates. Most of us rarely participate in the creation of music. For many of us singing “Happy Birthday” to loved o nes is about as much musical creation as we have ever participated in. The French, British and Spanish all bring a generally “European” musical culture to the party. The Africans brought their own musical culture which had developed o ver thousands of years. The cross – fertilization of these European and African cultures is precisely what lead to development to the style of music that has become “Jazz”. The European music cultures and the African music cultures have some distinct differe nces. These differences came together in the American South in the late 19th century (1800s) . Remember, when we talk about music cultures in this section we are talking about the cultures of the time.

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European music culture refers to local folk song traditions, church and the “classical” music of Bach, Mozart, etc. African music culture would be referring to the tribal sounds of several hundred years ago. The African Musical Culture Africa’s musical traditions are rich and varied. Th e African continent is about four times the size of the United States, with at least 2000 different communal groups and just as many languages, dialects and individual customs. Also, Africa should not be thought of as an isolated continent. Ancient Greek a nd Chinese artifacts, including musical instruments, have been discovered in Africa dating to long before the slave trade. Even with this massive size and diverse elements working within the culture, certain universal elements can be observed. Music and everyday life are intertwined. Some African cultures d idn’t even have a specific name for music because it is simply just a part of daily survival. The African cultures had songs for just about every aspect of life:  To celebrate a loss of the first tooth  To shame bed wetters and thieves  To celebrate the passage into adulthood  To simply tell and record history  And Work Songs for every possible job Listen to this group of postal workers from Ghana. This was recorded in 1975 by a grad student mus icologist.

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