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World Music

  1. Jul 31, 2005 #1
    The reason I decided to post my queries out here is simple:I believe that ideas of PF members,by and large,represent the ideas of the world. :smile:
    I've been learning indian classical music for about 12 years now...have lots of friends who're equally passionate about music.I guess, since I'm into academics(music is just a passion),I read up a lot of literature on the theoretical aspects of music as well. I appreciate western classical music and light western music but i must admit I'm no connoisseur of either of them.Recently,i got a chance to interact with a mathematician from France who has been into indian music for ages.I was quite amazed to see that his perception of indian music was starkingly different from mine.For example, i would be at a loss of words if somebody asked me why i love music and when did this passion begin...most of us(my pals and me) who're into music are into it because they feel happy being in it...it's as simple as that for us! getting to the point now...certain facets of the discussion we had with him intrigued us and it would be a great help if you could answer the questions below

    1. We thought, being indians, we "feel" the music more since we understand(feel) the lyrics, which is more than often unpolished and rustic. Yet, i find so many non-indians being so fascinated by the music...being passionate and what's more...being equally good!! what I'd like to know is..IF you do appreciate our music, where does it all begin?? What attracts you to indian music,if it does?

    2. Do you think an indian's perception of western music could be equated with a non-indian's perception of indian classical music?

    3. My friends say I've no ears for Rock and Rap music... :rolleyes: .What I'd like to know is...preferably from someone who is passionate about Rock-n-rap, are there subtleties and nuances in these forms of music that only connoissuers understand? I feel most people just love to get all charged up and dance .:uhh: I really hope I'm mistaken and that ears do play a role when it comes to rock.

    4. Do you believe in the concept of "World music"... you know,something that appeals to each one irrespective of the country they come from?

    Thanks for being patient enough to read all of this!! :biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2005 #2
    Music has many different varieties and tones, and Indian music is no exception. What sets apart "World" and "ethnic" music from Western music is differences in rhythm, scale (Western music is pitched in a standard Pythagorean 7-note scale tuned at A=440 hz), format and style, lyrical structure, and so forth. This is why most "world" music sounds different than western music, and is probably why the mathematician who you spoke with sees it in a different way (like many westerners do).

    While I am not familiar with the particular style of Indian music myself, the two different classical styles of Indian music (Hindustani and Carnatic) differ dramatically from western classical music.

    I'm not sure, it could be that way, and it probably is. Its equivalent of comparing music between other cultures as well (say a Brazilian trying to analyze Hawaiian music).

    Hmm.. I'm not too passionate about rock and rap, but I do know the musical structure of those styles. Most (American music) is very simple in style, rhythm, and chord schemes. In rap in particular, there is little to no variation in rhythmic structure from one measure to another (which IMO makes it extremely repetitive). Rap music does, however, contain an extremely complex lyrical structure with many triplets, fivelets, and so forth mixed in; this may be the primary appeal of rap. Pop music parallels some of the traditional rock structures, usually 4/4 time, ~120 bpm, with basic major chords (ie no minor or complicated modes). They are usually patterned around a refrain/chorus that repeats periodically throughout a song. In some music, an instrumental solo takes place within the song.

    Its probably just personal preference as to which music to dance to. Personally, I prefer the swing music and jazz ballads of the early twentieth century to the rock/rap of today. But yeah, there are people who get up and dance to Rock just as people get up and dance with any other form of music (whether it be Indian or western Waltz). I'm in America, and I can't even understand some of these rock forms, so you're not alone :tongue2:.

    "World music" is quite diverse, but there are a few trends (such as rhythm) that seem to be prevalent in several forms of "world music". In some tribal cultures, unique and syncopated drum beats from many different instruments are even used in modern music (such as Mambo to a lesser extent). Differences in tonal structure can also attribute to the uniqueness of different cultural music styles. The pentatonic scale in Asian music is completely different than classical western music, and even the hexatonic scale of Native American flutes and penny whistles is even different than that.

    I think "World music", or at least different cultural styles, can definitely appeal to those who aren't used to those particular styles. A hardcore metal rock player who plays an electric guitar can probably relate to the acoustical forms of traditional Spanish ballads. It all depends on the person.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2005
  4. Aug 1, 2005 #3
    Thanks so much for all the inputs...i was hoping for more responses,though...
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