YIRI- KOKO STYLE: West African Music Features of West African Music: * Call and Response * Musical knowledge is passed down through oral tradition * Improvised melodies * Repetition (ostinato) * Layered, polyrhythmic textures.
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* Cyclic structures CONTEXT * The country from which this piece comes from is Burkina Faso, West Africa. * Koko is a group composing of 6 musicians, led by Madou Kone, the singer and balafon player. * Yiri is the 4th track of Burkina Faso: Balafons et Tambours d’Afriquereleased by Koko in 2002. ‘ Yiri’ means wood in the local dialect, referring to the wood used in the making of drums. METRE * Main metre of the piece is 4/4/, although a few bars are in different metres (eg.
Bars 27, 94 and 120 use the metre ? and bar 47 uses the metre 5/4) * A change in metre- from 4/4 to a bar of ? then back to 4/4 is used to signal the start of new sections (eg. Bar 95) * The introduction is free tempo, and a steady pulse is maintained throughout the whole piece. RHYTHM Within vocal and balafon parts, syncopation is frequently used (for example in bar 34 during the balafon break where every bar is syncopated) * Cross rhythms are created in bar 66 during the vocal solo as the balafon plays semi quavers in groups of 3 (cross phrases) against quavers. * Triplets are often used by the vocal soloist * A rhythmic ostinato consisting of a quaver and two semiquavers is repeatedly played by the drums throughout the entire piece * The djembe plays occasional fills Piece is polyrhythmic- more than one rhythm at a time * Simple rhythm ostinatos are found throughout the piece (for example bar 14 and bar 17 with the balafons) MELODY * The piece is in the key of Gb major * The music is hexatonic (based on a 6-note scale, without the note F), but pentatonic at the beginning. * Short patterns, falling from high to low are played by the balafons. * The balafons emphasize the notes Gb (tonic) and Db (dominant) and also play virtuosic breaks between the choruses.
* The group sings together in unison during the chorus (bar 128).
The chorus also has short, falling phrases emphasizing the notes Gb (tonic) and Db (dominant), like the balafons. * New melodic idea is introduced near the end to indicate the ending, instead of slowing down the tempo. TEXTURE * Yiri has a mostly layered and polyrhythmic texture, but is also monophonic in the introduction with the balafon solo * An occasional heterophonic texture is created by two balafons playing different versions of the same tune at the same time (bar 10), and homophonic textures are also found in bar 154 * Piece begins with a monophonic texture, a solo played by one of the balafons
INSTRUMENTS AND VOICE * Balafon- Similar to xylophone, instrument is made up of differently pitched wooden bars. To make the instrument sound more resonant, gourds are hung beneath the bars.
* Djembe- A goblet-shaped drum played with the hands * Talking drum- played with a hooked stick. This drum can imitate speech, creating different pitches and slides. * Members also sing, split into a soloist and chorus There are clearly defined roles for instruments/voices.