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  • Writer's pictureNathan Coles

Integrating World Music Into The Percussion Ensemble


integrating world music into the percussion ensemble

In our increasingly interconnected world, music offers a powerful way to understand and connect with different cultures. Through the universal language of music, we gain insights into the values, interactions, and emotions that define societies across the globe.



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Ryan Lewis - Integrating World Music pt1+2
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Meet Your Instructor:

dr. ryan c lewis

Dr. Ryan C. Lewis (Black Swamp Educator), associate professor of percussion at Ouachita Baptist University, brings a wealth of academic and professional experience to his role. Previously on the faculties of Claflin University, the University of South Carolina, and Florida State University, Lewis specializes in Percussion and Music History, directing ensembles such as the Percussion Ensemble and Marching Band Drum Line. His extensive performance career includes engagements as timpanist-percussionist with major symphony orchestras and collaborations with renowned artists. A scholar on George Hamilton Green, Lewis has published in "Percussive Notes" and presented at international conventions. He is also an author and active member of the Percussive Arts Society and College Music Society.


Effective Strategies for Multicultural Music Education


The Situation:

As technology, communications, and globalization continue to dissolve borders and make the world a smaller place, it is more important than ever that we get to know our global neighbors. One of the most thorough and effective ways to become acquainted with people of another culture is through music, since music and percussion, in particular, are common elements found in many cultures throughout the world. Music can be a clear a window into a people, their priorities, how they interact with those within and outside of their culture, their ideal societal structure, religious tenets, what makes them laugh and cry and dance and sing.


The Dilemma:

Percussionists and music educators alike oftentimes feel pressure to integrate multiculturalism and world music in curricula, whether due to personal interest, student curiosity, audience edification, concert variety, or in an effort to satisfy educational goals and standards. Percussion performance and education already includes a seemingly infinite variety of instruments and techniques, thus it is quite fair to ask how world music can be effectively integrated into curricula and performances in the face of other musical and educational priorities.


The Solution:

In lieu of creating and instituting new ensembles, courses, or multi-cultural experiences for students, integrating world music into an existing percussion ensemble program can be truly effective for educators, students, and audiences alike.


The Obstacles:

Directors may be intimidated by the perceived obstacles involved in bringing world music into the percussion ensemble because (1) they are unfamiliar with literature available that includes world music influences, (2) are concerned about acquiring rare and expensive authentic instruments, (3) are hesitant to learn a body of new instrumental techniques, and (4) are apprehensive to teach the music of a people with only a cursory knowledge of that culture.


The Literature:

Fortunately, there exists a large body of published compositions for percussion ensemble that utilize already familiar and readily available Western instruments and techniques. These works allow educators and percussionists to become acquainted with another culture through its music and do not require experience as an ethnomusicologist (see lists of selected multicultural percussion ensemble works and reference sources below).


Examples of Multicultural Percussion Ensemble Works


Four compositions in particular serve as examples of the many works for percussion ensemble that meet the above criteria in that they incorporate authentic world music elements into works in Western notation, utilize common Western instruments, are accessible to beginning through advanced ensembles and percussionists, and provide the opportunity to experience the music of cultures from around the world.


1. Hoo-Daiko by Robert Damm (Japan):


Taiko drumming originated in Japan in the mid-twentieth century and combines contemporary rhythms and ancient instruments. Hoo-Daiko utilizes six players total: five performing one each on tonal marching bass drums angled in chairs, cradle stands, or stadium stands, and one playing a set congas or bongos, Chinese cymbal, and concert bass drum. The piece takes its name from the tree used to make wooden taiko drumsticks, which for this work can be made from broom handles, hardwood dowels, or marching snare drum sticks. The composer uses marching bass drums to emulate the drum and rim sounds played on larger taiko drums, while the congas or bongos emulate the sound of the higher-pitched drums associated with the style. There is a great deal of space for creativity, solo improvisation, choreography, and use of the athletic stances and movements associated with taiko drum performances.

2. Gending Bali by Rick Kvistad (Indonesia):


Gamelan ensembles are metal percussion orchestras most often associated with the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java. These groups often involve a large number of musicians performing on specially tuned metal bars and gongs in a wide variety of sizes. Gending Bali utilizes seven players and is notated in Western style, but utilizes specific note groupings found in gamelan music. Like Hoo-Daiko, this work is a terrific example of how Western instruments may be substituted for rare authentic instruments in that the role of Balinese genders, kendangs, and gongs are taken on by two vibraphones, marimba, two tom toms or timbales or congas, a small gong or temple block, and two timpani. Four players are stationed two each at two vibraphones and are called upon to strike bars with one hand and simultaneously dampen the previous note, which imitates not just the sound but also the actual technique used to perform on Balinese genders. The interlocking rhythms between the four players are common in gamelan ensembles, which often symbolize interlocking elements of Balinese culture: human and spiritual, traditional and modern, etc.


3. Sonhando em Salvador by Julie Hill (Brazil):


The title of this work is Portuguese for “Dreaming of Salvador,” which is appropriate as the composition contains reflections on the composer’s experience in Salvador da Bahia, a Brazilian town north of Rio de Janeiro. Instead of being based on the fast rhythms associated with traditional samba school groups, this piece is inspired by a style known as samba reggae, which features Brazilian, African, and Caribbean elements, a slower tempo, and a drums-only instrumentation. Though the six parts were composed with authentic Brazilian instruments in mind such as the timbau, repique, tarol, and three surdos, effective substitutions can be made using various combinations of djembes, congas, tom toms, snare drums, and floor toms. The traditional rhythms involved are grouped in repeated patterns and phrases that allow for dancing, choreography, doubling or tripling of parts, and singing in Portuguese.


4. Afro-Amero by Phil Faini (Multicultural Fusion):


While more similar to standard percussion ensemble concert works than the previous examples in terms of instrumentation, techniques, and notation, Afro-Amero blends various world music influences rather than focusing on a single cultural style. The work represents a fusion of cultural musical elements from Africa, South America, and North America in that it features the West African agbekor bell pattern, Latin clave rhythm, Brazilian surdo ostinato, and American rock back beat drum set groove. Eight players utilize standard techniques on standard instruments, such as xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, chimes, timpani, triangle, two cowbells, bell tree, six tom toms, maracas, snare drum, two suspended cymbals, hi-hat, tam tam, and bass drum. Afro-Amero is a wonderful example of musical syncretism in that it is representative of the combination of multiple musical influences occurring today in both concert and popular music genres.



Sample Lesson Plan: Multicultural Drum Circle


Purpose: 

Incorporate world music and cultures into a classroom setting through a multicultural drum circle.


Key Points:

• Students sit in a circle and play traditional percussion rhythms from various cultures.

• Benefits include musical involvement of all students, integration of world music and improvisation, and experiencing a fusion of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and Caribbean rhythms.

• The activity demonstrates cultural uniqueness and commonality, promoting harmony.


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Multicultural Drum Circle Lesson Plan (1)
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I. Purpose & Goals


1. Students will read, sing, and notate rhythms representative of various world cultures.

2. Students will perform rhythms on percussion instruments associated with those rhythms using proper percussion performance techniques.

3. Students will improvise short rhythmic improvisations two, four, and eight beats in length.

4. Students will experience the sense of musical community inherent in the drum circle performance.


II. Competencies & Objectives


• Recognize and demonstrate appropriate instrumental technique.

• Play a varied repertoire of instrumental music representing diverse styles, genres, and cultures.

• Show respect for the instrumental playing efforts of others.

• Improvise simple melodic and rhythmic patterns.

• Show respect for the improvisational efforts of others.

• Read whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted notes and rests in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 3/8, 2/2, and mixed meters.

• Identify various types of accompaniments.

• Describe the aesthetic nature of music and how perceptions of interacting musical elements affect one’s responses to music.

• Show respect for the musical efforts and opinions of others.

• Identify the uses of characteristic elements, artistic processes, and organizational principles among the arts areas (dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts) in different historical periods and cultures.

• Identify representative examples of music using distinguishing characteristics to identify genre, style, culture, and/or historical periods.

• Examine situations to determine conflict and resolution in relation to music in history and cultures.

• Examine the role of music/musicians in at least two different cultures and/or time periods.

• Show respect for music from various cultures and time periods.


III. Materials


• Whiteboard/Markers and/or copies of Rhythm Handout (see below) and music stands (optional if teaching by rote)

• Computer and projector (optional if showing online audio or video examples)

• Chairs

• Various percussion instruments (bass drum, floor toms, tom toms, timbales, bongos, shakers, scrapers, cowbells, triangles, etc.), one per student.

• Sticks, mallets, and beaters for each appropriate instrument.


IV. Lesson Plan


• Set up chairs in a circle/semi-circle.

• Place instruments and mallets in front of or on chairs.

• Notate rhythms on board and/or hand out copies of the rhythm handout.


• Greet students and discuss each rhythm briefly by explaining the notations and identifying each rhythm’s geographic, cultural, and musical associations (consider listening to audio examples or viewing online videos of each culture or rhythm).


• Clap, count, sing, tap on legs, etc. until students are comfortable with an assigned rhythm, and demonstrate correct performance techniques for each instrument. Or demonstrate each rhythm and instrumental technique for each student, have the student demonstrate the rhythm and technique, and have the student continue playing. Students continue playing as each new rhythm and technique are demonstrated until all students are performing. Allow the composite rhythm to settle into a groove, and encourage visual contact and body movement.


• Stop on cue, and ask students to pass their instrument to the person on their right. Ask students to teach the rhythm they just performed to their neighbor, and begin the groove again (either all together or joining in one instrument at a time). Repeat this as much as time allows, with the intention of allowing all students to play all of the instruments and rhythms.


• Once students are comfortable with the instruments and rhythms, establish parameters for improvisation (6 bars groove, 2 bars improvisation; 12 bars groove, 4 bars improvisation; 8 bars groove, 8 bars improvisation; etc.) and state that you will provide the first improvisation, after which you will point randomly at students to improvise (eighth-notes only, combination of eighth-notes and sixteenth-notes, free improvisation, etc.) until everyone has had an opportunity to spontaneously compose (or stop after a few students have improvised to switch instruments again and/or change the parameters of improvisation). If time is short, call on all females to improvise, then the next time all males, all green-eyed students, all sophomores, all soccer fans, etc. to allow the maximum amount of students to participate (this also works well when beginning the lesson plan if some students are hesitant to improvise alone).


• Repeat as time allows, and end with a discussion of how these rhythms, instruments, and cultures are unique and how they are similar as a springboard to a brief discussion of the metaphor of cultures from around the world having much in common and the potential for living in harmony.


• Ask students to replace instruments and chairs/stands in their assigned storage areas.


Selected World Music Rhythms


A Fusion of Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean Rhythms in Duple Meter




Selected Multicultural Percussion Ensemble Repertoire

Title
Composer
Number of Players
AFRICA


Atenteben

Bob Becker

7

Frembe

John Bergamo

4

African Song

William Cahn

7

Millet Music

Matthew Davidson

Variable

Afro-Amero

Phil Faini

8

Highlife

Phil Faini

10-12

African Search

Steven Kastuck

8

Variation on a Ghanian Theme

Daniel Levitan

3

A La Nanigo

Mitchell Peters

5

Ogoun Badagris

Christopher Rouse

5

Akadinda Trio

Emmanuel Sejourne

3

African Welcome Piece

Michael Udow

12

African Sketches

J. Kent Williams

4

Shona Celebration

B. Michael Williams

8

Three Shona Songs

B. Michael Williams

8

AFRO-LATINO


Ritmica No. 5

Amadeo Roldan

11

Ritmica No. 6

Amadeo Roldan

11

Ogoun Badagris

Christopher Rouse

5

El Cumbanchero

Phil Faini

12

Four Comments for Latin Hand Instruments

Larry Snider

4

Trio for Ogun

N. Scott Robinson

6

A La Nanigo

Mitchell Peters

5

ASIA


Three Asiatic Dances

George Frock

6

BRAZIL


Chichi Chichi Samba

Jose Bethancourt/Peters

9

Brazilian Street Dance

Thomas Brown

7

Rudi’s Batuque

Julie Hill

6+

Sonhando em Salvador

Julie Hill

6+

Tres Miniaturas Brasileiras

Osvaldo Lacerda

4

A La Samba

Mitchell Peters

6

Samba de Verna

Stephen Primatic

7

Genas Brasileiras (Brazilian Scenes)

Ney Rosaura

4

Fred No Frevo

Ney Rosaura

4

Mitos Brasileiros (Brazilian Myths)

Ney Rosaura

4

Samba

Ney Rosaura

6

CARIBBEAN


City Soca

Arthur Lipner

8

Caribbean Festival

David Mancini

7

CHINA


Ancient Temple Gardens

William Cahn

5

The Swords of Mada-Ling

Gordon Peters

7

ECUADOR


Vamos a Ecuador

Steve Chavez

4

HAWAII


Ku-Ka-11/imoku

Christopher Rouse

4

INDIA


Mudra

Bob Becker

5

Pa/ta

Bob Becker

7

Piru Bole

John Bergamo

Variable

Fantasy on a Raga

Ronald Keezer

8

Six Invocations to the Svara Mandala

Walter Mays

13

INDONESIA


Gending Bali

Rick Kvistad

7

Taiko Night



Japanese Impressions

Anthony Cirone

5

Hoo-Daiko

Robert Damm

6

Taiko

Scott Harding

8

Marimba Spiritual

Minoru Miki

4

Japanese Overture

Ney Rosaura

7-8

MEXICO


Escale Mexicaine

Yannig Beauperin/Guillot

3

Mexican Marimba Arrangements

Ruth Jeanne

4-5

PUERTO RICO


Three Puerto Rican Songs

Morris Lang

6

RUSSIA


Balalaika: Russian Folk Song Suite

Traditional/Cahn

5

MULTICULTURAL FUSION


Tabla-Tahmeel No. 1

Halim EI-Dabh

Variable

Hindi-Yaat No. 1

Halim EI-Dabh

5

World Beat Sonata

Robert Damm

6

Hot Pants

Joseph Krygier

Variable

Friends

David MacBride

4

Taqsim

Scott Meister

7

Alone or Together

Eugene Novotney

Variable

Cross

Eugene Novotney

Variable

Puzzle Piece

Rich O'Meara

3

Lift Off!

Russell Peck

3

Nagoya Marimbas

Steve Reich

2

Mirage

N. Scott Robinson

2

Bear Talk

N. Scott Robinson

2

Music for Cross Cultures No. 1

Michael Udow

12


World Music Reference Sources


Bakan, Michael. World Music: Traditions and Transformations (4 CDs). McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Bohlman, Philip. World Music: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2002.

Broughton, Simon. The Rough Guides to World Music. Rough Guides, 2006.

• Vol. 1: Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (CD)

• Vol. 2: Latin and North America, Caribbean, India, Asia, and Pacific (CD)

Lieberman, Julie Lyon. Planet Musician: The World Music Sourcebook for Musicians. Hal Leonard Corporation, 1998.

Miller, Terry. World Music: A Global Journey. Routledge, 2008.

Netti, Bruno. Excursions in World Music. Prentice Hall, 2007.

Nickson, Chris. The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to World Music. Perigee Trade, 2004.

Nidel, Richard. World Music: The Basics. Routledge, 2004.

Reimer, Bennett. World Musics and Music Education: Facing the Issues. Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2002.

Schmid, Will. World Music Drumming: A Cross-Cultural Approach. Hal Leonard Publishing Company, 1998.

Stone, Ruth. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Routledge, 1999.

• Vol. 1: Africa

• Vol. 2: South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

• Vol. 3: The United States and Canada

• Vol. 4: Southeast Asia

• Vol. 5: South Asia - The Indian Subcontinent

• Vol. 6: The Middle East

• Vol. 7: East Asia - China, Japan, and Korea

• Vol. 8: Europe

• Vol. 9: Australia and the Pacific Islands

• Vol. 10: The World’s Music - General Perspectives and Reference Tools

Titan, Jeff. Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World’s Peoples. Schirmer, 2009.


 

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