Discuss culture and traditions
By neuroanimal
Which rhythms are the oldest? Do you have some knowledge about time of their origin?

From my site, I can give you three examples from popular sources:

TWO OLD RHYTHMS -- from tontinkan.net:

Abondan -- Baoule, Ivory Coast
Sofa -- Malinke, Northeast Guinea

OLD RHYTHMS -- from paulnas.eu:

Abondan (Abonda, Abondant)/Awa Dabole -- Baoule, Ivory Coast
Sofa -- Malinke // Limbadji toko -- Baga
Mamaya (Mamayah) -- Mandingo griots
Mendiani -- virgins learn from elders, Malinke, Upper Guinea (Siguiri, Mandiana, Kouroussa, Kankan)
Djagbé/Djagbè/N'yerebi -- Malinke, Kouroussa // Madan -- Mali
Kemoba -- grandfather, Malinke
Moribayassa -- old clothing

PIECES JELIS PLAY -- from mandebala.net:

HUNTERS -- pre-13th century:
Kulanjan -- simbi ( --> Bala Kulanjan -- bala(fon) )
Janjon -- simbi

OLD MANDE -- 13th century:
Boloba (Kura) -- bala(fon)
Sunjata -- bala(fon)
Lamban -- bala(fon)
Fakoli -- bala(fon)
Kele ye Manden ci -- koni (ngoni)

Mali Sajo

BAMANA -- 17th century:
Tutu Jara -- koni (ngoni)


KABU -- 19th century:
Kelefaba -- kora
Kuruntu Kelefa -- kora

TORODBE (Fula Jihad leaders) -- 19th century:
Taara -- koni (ngoni)
Hama Ba Jata
Alfa Yaya

MANDINKA -- 19th-20th century:
Fode Kaba
Masani Cisse -- kora
N teri jato -- kora
Kura bisan -- kora

FULADU -- 19th-20th century:
Jaka -- kora
Jula Jekere
Jula faso -- kora
Allah l'a ke -- kora
Nywa wulen -- koni (ngoni)

TILIBO -- late 19th century:
Keme Burema -- bala(fon)

Kaira -- accordion
Mamaya -- bala(fon)
Banni le
Yeke yeke

GAMBIAN PIECES -- from mandebala.net:

Manding in Gambia:
Mamadu Bitiki
Mali Sajo
Jara Dinke
Sumbu Yaya
Tira Makang
Fode Kabba
Mansa Jata
Jula Faso
Ala l'a ke
Mabma Bojang
Jula Jekere
Silati Ngaleng Koi
Balang Kula
Kodi n'a julo
Nteri Jato
Kumbu Sora
Malang Marang
Dandan Nyariya

Mandinka in Western Gambia:
Tira Makang
Mamadu Masina
Kelefaba (Kelefa Sanneh)
Chedo (Kingdom of Kabu)
Fode Kabba
Mansa Jata
Jula Faso (any trader)
Ala l'a ke (Mamadi Kora)
Bamba Bojang
Bakariba (Bakari Jobate)
Alifa Yaya
Kata Ndau
Jula Jekere (Jekere Bayo)
Abdu Njai
Sherif Sidi
Silati Ngaleng Koi
Musa Koli
Suntu Baji
Balang Kula (any brave man)
Kodi n'a julo
Nteri Jato (Wandifeng Jobateh)
Kumbu Sora
Malang Marang
Sira Ba
Dandan Nyariya

Tilibo in Eastern Gambia:
Kura (for Sunjata)
Lambango (for the jalis)
Tutu Jara
Duga (any great warrior)
Janjong (any Sissoko)
Mamadu Bitiki
Mali Sajo
Amadu Falike
Satang Madi
Tara (Lamin Julube)
Maki (Muntaga Taal)
Galajo (Koli Tenguella)
Jara Dinke (son of Samori)
Sori (Alimani Samori)
Nya Wuleng (Musa Mollo)
Kairaba (Kairaba Turay)
Miniyamba (name unknown)
Sumbu Yaya
Tubanka (Sori Kandia)

Fula in Gambia:
Satang Madi
Nya Wuleng
Sira Ba
Mamadu Masina
Alifa Yaya

Bambara in Gambia:
Tutu Jara
Amadu Falike

Wolof in Gambia:
Kata Ndau
Abdu Njai

Jola in Gambia:
Musa Koli
Suntu Baji

Mauretanian in Gambia:
Sherif Sidi

Could you add here additional findings?
By ChristianAMR
An important topic .

After having accompanied a Haitian Dancer for years in dancing classes , I had the opportunity to play with the famous drummer Atissou who lives in Paris , as the dancer invited him over here . We played together for some days in the workshops and did also a concert .
We has also some time to do conversations .
He has had the opportunity to travel to Benin and told me that when he showed some Haitian rhythms from Souvenance ( North of Haiti ) , the Beninese drummers were astonished , recognized them as having emanated from their own Ewe/Fon culture and said that they are very old . I don´t remember exactly all the details , but somehow he claimed that these are the oldest rhythms on the planet ... :|

From my own perspective , I think when talking about the oldest rhythms worldwide one should also take into account the Indian tradition ( dating back to Vedic times - very old drums : Pakhawaj in the north and Mridangam in the south , Dundubhis , Bheris - drums that are described in texts that back to many millenia - Sama Veda , Puranas , Itihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata etc ) .
Some other people also mention Babylonian/Mesopatamian drums . ( Maybe digging into how they could be connected to today´s Persian/Kurdic/Arabian rhythms )
And maybe also take into account the rhythms from Polynesia .
Moreover there are also lots of shamanic rhythms and drums in Northern Asia and North America , but I don´t see the complexity or the appeal that I find in the rhythms from the other cultures mentioned above .

Some other ancient cultures with important drumming traditions : Turkey , Japan , Korea , Armenia , Greece , Indonesia , Amazigh etc ...

On a sidenote , I also remember having heard a specialized cassete recopilation of Colombian indigenous rhythms ( but not Afro-Combian or Ibero-Colombian ) , and there were some strange interesting uneven meters , unlike the rest of the indigenous rhythms that are heard throughout Latin America . I haven´t heard them again to this day though ...
Last edited by ChristianAMR on Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By bubudi
that's an impressive list of songs! i don't know if you could call them all rhythms, even though some kora and bala rhythms have distinct beats (some are repeated in 2 or more songs). komofoli and numufoli are old rhythms. there are also several donso rhythms, played on donsongoni, and only adapted to djembe after the formation of the ballets. perhaps some others can weigh in on other old rhythms.

several malian djembefolaw say that many of the djembe rhythms evolved from khassonke rhythms, in particular dansa. jawura also belongs in the khassonke category. there is a khassonke thread in the cultural section, where i've mentioned the names of other khassonke rhythms. dogon rhythms are also quite old but a lot less widely known.
By neuroanimal
Personally I think that the oldest rhythms are of:

category I:
1) the Bushmen (gatherers & hunters), including !Kung, /Ko, Hadza & Sandawe,
2) the Pygmies (gatherers & hunters), including pygmy people from Guinea & Mali,
3) the Hottentotes (pastoral Bushmen) + bantoised Bushmen,

category II:
4) the Bantu peoples (neighbours of Bushmen & Pygmies),
5) the Negritos (Austronesia & Melanesia, Salomon islands, Andaman, Nagas from India),
6) the Australian Aborigines & peoples from Oceania (Tahiti, Cook Islands),

category III:
7) pre-Indo-Europeans (including people from Caucasus, pre-Iberians & Basques),
8) Far East people (Mongolia, Tuva, China),
9) Indus Valley civilisation,

category IV:
10) the Indo-Persians (+ some Arab populations), Egyptians, Tuaregs, Mesopotamia, Babylon,
11) the Indo-Europeans (Balkans, Bretons), Dravidian India, classic India,

category V:
12) the Polynesians (excluding Negritos),
13) the Amazonians & other Amer-Indians,

category VI:
14) the Turkey, Greece, Syria, Georgia,
15) the Gots, Celts, Iberians, Slavs, Germans,

category VII:
16) the Dogons, Ewe/Fon, Igbo/Yoruba,
17) the Tibbu, Hausa, Berbers, old Mande,
18) the Jallonke, Soninke, Xasonke, Manding.

Old musical instruments & oldest musical forms:
-- clapping of hands, bone to bone, stones hit together,
-- imitating bird songs & sounds from other animals (whistling, clicking),
-- tapotement into hollow log (log drums & slit drums),
-- musical bows (hunter bows switched into musical instruments),
-- bagpipes, flutes, reeds, shell whistles, horns & didgeridoo-like instruments,
-- membranophones (various drums with animal skins) & idiophones (like bells), shakers.
-- complex chordophones (harp, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar) & pianos.

Do you agree or I've missed something? Isn't it proper order from the oldest?
I'm not sure about order and content of categories IV-VII. Rest should be OK.
What do you think about? If you're interested, I can give you some references...
By bubudi
well i limited my study here to the mande area. there are many other african musical traditions, not to mention other world traditions and those thay don't fit neatly into any box. it's hard to say which cultures are the oldest as we look at history through a eurocentric model that didn't know about parallel cultures due to lack of contact (some of these cultures may have even ceased to exist as we have seen in several cases, so we would have no way of knowing except through a chance archaeological dig or similar means). so with that in mind, let's go back to mande for now!

the history books would show that soninke and khassonke preceded maninka culture. dogon is too much of an unknown. one theory about age of rhythms suggests that irregular time signatures like 5/4 and 10/8 which are common to dogon rhythms but not any other culture of the mande area, are very old and started to get phased out more and more in favour of 4/4, 16/8, 6/8, 12/8 and 3/4. there are a lot of 'lost' rhythms of the middle east (with irregular time signatures) that are no longer played.

as for your list of instruments, i would like to add xylophones and lamelophones. it's logical that clapping and singing came first and that the more notes/scales an instLnt plays, the more modern it is. therefore the kora might well be the most modern traditional modern instrument in the mande area.
By neuroanimal
bubudi wrote:the history books would show that soninke and khassonke preceded maninka culture. dogon is too much of an unknown. one theory about age of rhythms suggests that irregular time signatures like 5/4 and 10/8 which are common to dogon rhythms but not any other culture of the mande area, are very old and started to get phased out more and more in favour of 4/4, 16/8, 6/8, 12/8 and 3/4.
Could you provide us some examples of Dogon rhythms, or give references to get knowledge about them?
bubudi wrote:there are a lot of 'lost' rhythms of the middle east (with irregular time signatures) that are no longer played.
As far as I heard, many Balkan dances/rhythms have irregular time signatures. Maybe that's why I like chalga style of music :) Also traditional Hungarian rhythms are in strange metrums...

Irregular/imperfect/uneven/odd meter rhythms from Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Armenia, Greece, Turkey) are mainly just Bulgarian dances (see list below; the oro/horo means a "dance").
They can be seen as the additive rhythm structures. Such concept existed in Ottoman musical theory, and was borrowed to Turkish musicology, where it formed term "aksak", borrowed also to Balkan music terminology.
Uneven rhythm patterns are often divided into groupings of twos and threes, so they can be presented in form of equation 2*n+3*m. Twos are identified by dancers as "short beats" ("fast" movements), and threes are "long beats" ("slow" movements).
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Bulgarian rhythms:
3+2=5/8	Hora Femeilor
2+3=5/8	Joc la Sînziene (sinziene/sânziene)
2+3=5/16	Pajduška (Pajduško oro / Пайдушко хоро)
3+2+2=7/8	Lesnoto Horo (Лесното хоро), Ajde Jano, Baba Djurdja, Makedonsko Devojče, Ivanice, Dobra Nevesto, Kalamatiano, Jovano Jovanke, Tino Mori, Karamfil, Šar Planina, Sarakina Ormena, Četvorno horo (Четворно хоро), Ginka (Гинка; from Pirin mountains)
2+2+3=7/8	Račenitsa (račenica/ručenica/ručenitsa/Ръченица), Geamparalele (singular: Geampara, plural: Geamparale, definite article: Geamparalele)
2+2+1+2=7/8	Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) / Elenino horo (Еленино хоро), Petrunino horo (Петрунино хоро)
3+4+2+3=7/8	Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) / Elenino horo (Еленино хоро), Petrunino horo (Петрунино хоро)
1+1+2=2/4	Trite pati (Трите пъти / Trite puti / Trite pâti; Bulgarian)
3+3+2=2/4 syncopated	Basic Čoček
2+2+2+3=9/8	Karsilama (karshilma), Lalica, Sfarlis, Svornato Horo (Сворнато хоро; from the Pirin mountains), Saxofon Kolo, Samokovsko (aka Devetorka, Šareni Čorapi), Varnensko Horo (Варненско хоро)
2+3+2+2=9/8	Gul Dali, Fatiše Kolo (fatise/fatice), Struga, Grancharsko horo (Грънчарско хоро / Gryncharsko horo / Gruncarsko horo)
2+2+2+1+2=9/8	Tamzara
2+2+2+3=4+2+3=9/8	Daychovo horo (Дайчово хopo / Daichovo horo / Dajčovo horo)
3+2+2+3=10/8 "curcuna" (mainly Armenia and Turkey)	Mombar, Ooseke Gookas, Armenian Shuffle, Basamian Bar, Agir Halay, Yeni Hamam
4+3+2+2=11/8	Traichovo horo (Трайчово хоро) tune
2+2+3+2+2=4+3+4=11/8	Kopanitsa (Kopanica/Копаница; accents on beat: primary on 1, secondary on 5 & 8, ternary on 3 & 7 & 10), Gankino Horo (Ганкино хоро), Krivo Horo, Osogovka, Krivata
3+2+2+2+2=3+4+2+2=11/8	Acano mlada nevesto (Macedonian)
3+2+2+3+2=12/8	Beranče, Levendikos, Kucano, Pusteno
3+2+2+3+2=12/8	Žensko Beranče (Bajrače; Macedonian)
3+3+6+6=12/8	Pravo horo (Право хоро)
3+4+2+3=12/8	Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) / Elenino horo (Еленино хоро)
4+4+2+3=13/8	Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) / Elenino horo (Еленино хоро), Petrunino horo (Петрунино хоро)
4+4+2+3.5=13.5/8	Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) / Elenino horo (Еленино хоро)
2+2+2+3+2+2=13/16	Krivo plovdivsko horo (Криво пловдивско хоро)
3+2+3+2+3=5/16+8/16=13/16	Ispaychi (Испайчи / Испайче / Ispayche / Ispajče)
2+2+2+3+2+3=9/16+5/16=14/16	Elbasansko horo (Елбасанско хоро)
(2+2+2+2)+(3+2+2)=15/16	Bučimiš (Бучимиш)
(2+2+3+2+2)+(3+2+2)=11/16(kopanitsa)+7/16(chetvorno)=18/16	Zelenikovka/Balada Za Angele
(3+2+2)+(2+2+3+2+2)=7/16(chetvorno)+11/16(kopanitsa)=18/16	Yove male mome (Йове мале моме / Jove male mome / Jove malaj mome; dancers count it: SQQ-QQSQQ, S=slow, Q=quick; Sopluk region of Bulgaria), Povela e Yova (Повела е Йова)
(2+2+2+3)+(2+2+2+3)+2+2=9+9+4=9/8(daychovo meter)+13/8(Krivo plovdivsko horo meter)=22/8	Sandansko Horo (Санданско хоро)
(3+2+2)+(3+2+2)+(2+2+3+2+2)=7/8+7/8+11/8=25/8	Sedi Donka (Седи Донка), Plovdivsko horo (Пловдивско хоро)

Romanian Danubian rhythms:
2+3=5/16	Rustemul, Resteul (from Dâmboviţa; similar to the Vlach dance Shira from north west Bulgaria), Ghimpele, Bugeacul (Muntenian villages within the Teleorman and Vlasca regions), Murguleţul, Paiduşca (in Dobrogea; similar to northern Bulgarian Pajduška; also Greek Baidouska), Baluţa (from Teleorman and Argeş regions of Muntenia), Brâuleţ (Oltenian men's line version)
2+2+3=7/16	Geampara (found in Dobrogea and Danubian plain of south east Romania), Pandelaşul, Zlata, Vlăşcencuţa, Leliţă Ioană
2+2+2+3=9/8	Cadâneasca (in Dobrogea; resembles Bulgarian Dajchovo/Dajčovo)
2+2+2+4=5/4	Şchioapa (southern Moldavian), Hodoroaga (southern Transylvanian)

Romanian southern-Transylvanian rhythms:
3+2+2=7/8	Purtata, Fecioreasca 
4+3+3=10/16	Purtata, Învârtita (including the Mureş region and across to Sălăj and Cluj regions)
Paul Boizot (C) 2002-2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Additive_r ... ive_rhythm

In Arabic and Persian music during its long history there were identified various so called rhythmic cycles. In Ottoman/Turkish music there were called the "usul".
In Hindustani & Carnatic music there exist the "tālà" meter patterns, with various classification systems for describing them (4 tālàs in Chapu system, 35 in Suladi Sapta Tāla, 72 in Melakarta, 108 in Chanda; also there are many Gharanas/houses/lineages with their own styles).
They are basing on syllabes called bol (in Hindustani music) or konnakol (in Carnatic music), which can form more complex sections like vibhag or anga (for counting-on-hand purposes there are structures called solkattu).
Similarly Kuchi shōga notation from Japanese drumming (on taiko and tsuzumi drums) phoneticizes drum strokes using onomatopoeia syllabes.
Look at this two nice examples from Indian music:
-- Jhoomra tālà has 14 beats, counted 3+4+3+4, while Dhamar tal, also of 14 beats is counted 5+2+3+4;
-- Dharami tālà is an 11.5 beat cycle ("meter" contain a "half-beat"). Similar 13.5 meter was identified for Eleno Mome (Елено Моме) tune by Smithsonian Folkways Center (look on list from above).
So as we can see the most complex musical theory looks to be defined in classical Indian musicology, where a single beat is notated U, two beats are notated with O, three with OU, three or four or more numbers of beats (depending on specified base 3, 4, ...) are notated with multiplies of I (by default it can be 4), while 8 denotes 8 beats, + denotes 16 beats. Such additive meter systems are closely related to classic poetry with its foots, basic metrical units being just a repeating syllabes (long and short syllabes, with or without an accent).

Code: Select all
Examples from Arabic rhythms:
1+2+2=5/8	al Makhuri (old rhythmic mode)
1+2+2=5/8	main pattern for inSiraaf (Andalusian/Maroccan/Tunisian rhythm of type nubaat)
2+3+2+3=10/8	khafIf al-ramal (old rhythmic mode)
4+4+2+2+2+2+2+2+4=20/8	thaqIl al-ramal (old rhythmic mode)
1+1+1+2+2=3+4=7/8	dawr hindii / Andalus (Muwashshat spoken/sung Arabic poetry)
3+4+2+2+2=13/4	murabb`a (Muwashshat spoken/sung Arabic poetry)

Examples from Turkish & Greek rhythms:
2+2+3=7/8	Laz / Laz bar (from Greece or Turkey)
3+2+2=7/8	Kalamantiano (Kalamata is a port in south Greece; like "dawr hindii" rhythm)
2+2+2+3=9/8	Karsilama (it means "face-to-face" in Turkish; aqsaaq type of rhythms)
3+2+2+3=10/8	Curcuna (Armenian rhythm "jurjina" / Egyptian "gurgina" / Afgani tune / "Nubar Nubar")
4+4+1=9/4	Zeymbekiko/Zeybek (folk dance from Greece)

Examples from Yemen based on their poetry:
1+2+2+2=7/8	das'a mutawassit (medium das'a)
3+2+2=7/8	das'a saghIr/fast (split das'a)
2+3+3+3=11/8	das'a kabIr

Examples from Persia:
(2+4)+(2+2)+2+(1+2+4)=6+4+7=19/8	Awfar (one of five fundamental patterns documented in a 17th century Persian work)
(2+2+1.5+1.5)+(1+2)+(1+1)+4=7+3+2+4	Mukhammas (form of five line Persian verse in poetry)
2+1+2+2+3=10/8	HayAllahAllah (from Sufi tradition)
3+2+2+3+2+2=14/8	Garyan (from Sufi tradition)

In 1252, Safi al-Din developed a unique form of musical notation, where rhythms were represented by geometric representation.
A similar geometric representation would not appear in the Western world until 1987, when Kjell Gustafson published a method to represent a rhythm as a two-dimensional graph.
Toussaint, Godfried (August 2004), A Comparison of Rhythmic Similarity Measures
http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/research/report ... 2004.6.pdf

The rich rhythmic vocabulary in Persian music may bear ancestral relationship to the complex rhythms of India and certainly is related to traditional rhythms of North Africa and Ottoman Janissary and Turkish drumming.
The most common time signatures associated with the Persian tombak are 6/8, 2/4, 4/4, 5/8, 7/8, and 16/8 times.
CD by Mohammad Esmaili: Tombak Course
http://www.mahoor.com/dvd/Mahoor/COURSE ... BAK-3.aspx
http://www.madjidkhaladj.net/madjidkhal ... rding.html

African rhythmic structure is entirely divisive in nature, but may divide time into different fractions at the same time, typically by the use of hemiola or three-over-two (3:2), which Novotney has called the foundation of all West African polyrhythmic textures.
Tresillo is generated through cross-rhythm: 8 pulses ÷ 3 = 2 cross-beats (consisting of three pulses each), with a remainder of a partial cross-beat (spanning two pulses). In other words, 8 ÷ 3 = 2, r2. For the comparisonn, in Middle East and Asian music the same figure is generated through additive rhythm, 3+3+2.
The most commonly used key pattern in sub-Saharan Africa is the seven-stroke figure known in ethnomusicology as the standard pattern:
Code: Select all
1 e & a 2 e & a || vertical binary hemiola (hemiola is the strict ratio 3:2)
X . . X . . X . || tresillo part of binary hemiola === 8÷3=2,r2 in divisive form === 3+3+2 in additive form
. . X . X . . . || second part of binary hemiola

1 & a 2 & a || vertical ternary hemiola (hemiola is the strict ratio 3:2)
X . X . X . || first part of ternary hemiola === 6÷3=2,r0 in divisive form === 2+2+2 in additive form
. X . X . . || second part of ternary hemiola

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a || standard binary bell
X . . X . . X X . . X . X . . X || 7-stroke version === 3+3+1+3+2+3+1
X . . X . . X . . . X . X . . . || 5-stroke version (like binary Son 3:2 clave) === 3+3+4+2+4 === horizontal binary hemiola
X . . X . . . X . . X . X . . . || 5-stroke version (like binary Rumba 3:2 clave) === 3+4+3+2+4

1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a || standard ternary bell
X . X . X X . X . X . X || 7-stroke version === 2+2+1+2+2+2+1
X . X . X . . X . X . . || 5-stroke version (like ternary Son 3:2 clave) === 2+2+3+2+3 === horizontal ternary hemiola
X . X . . X . X . X . . || 5-stroke version (like ternary Rumba 3:2 clave) === 2+3+2+2+3
Sub-Saharan African rhythm is divisive rhythm. However, perhaps because of their seemingly asymmetric structure, bell patterns are sometimes perceived in an additive rhythmic form.
For example, Justin London describes the five-stroke version of the standard 12/8 pattern as "2-2-3-2-3", while Godfried Toussaint describes the seven-stroke form as "2-2-1-2-2-2-1."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_in_ ... ican_music
By bubudi
thanks, that is basically the technical detail of the point i made about many older rhythms having what we would term today as odd time signatures. although there is plenty of proof for this in the indo-european traditions, i do not see much evidence in african music although there are two 18/16 rhythms (often referred to as 9/8) in the mande repertoire. the rest are 12/8, 6/8, 4/4 etc. however, there are other kinds of rhythms in both the binary and ternary groups than the two you mention above. we discussed some others in depth elsewhere in the forum (in 'music and drumming', i think when talking about rhythm families). the dogon rhythms are the only examples of 10/8 and 5/4. this music has not been formally studied so there are no references i can point you to other than two recordings that should still be available. if you do a search in google you will surely find them. one has to remember that 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. therefore it is possible that either: a) 'odd' time signatures signifies a more ancient tradition only in euroindian traditions, or b) africa did have many more 'odd beat' rhythms through the ages, but due to loss of popularity and lack of any written record of rhythms, they were eventually lost forever. one more observation is that the convention of writing quarter or half beats in indian traditions is different from western ways of classifying time. if you are counting 1/4 notes rather than 1/8th or 1/16th notes you can easily come to fractional beats. simply make smaller time divisions and you'll be back to whole beats. so not as complex as it at first seems, although i would concede it is still more complex than pretty much all other traditions i've come across in terms of rhythmic structure. mande rhythms seem less complex except for the highly polyrhythmic texture of the music which indian soloists convey in their solos, but is not otherwise inherent in the music.
User avatar
By e2c
Edit: I might have misread you, b. Please disregard my previous comment (below) if so.

bubudi, have you ever watched any Indian kathak dancers and their accompanists?

I kind of think you're off the mark in claiming that Indian music does not have inherent rhythmic complexity. There are simpler patterns in a lot of Indian folkloric music, yes, but in the classical traditions of both North and South India, there are *highly* (very highly) developed rhythmic structures.

Am also wondering if you've heard S. Indian konnakol? North Indian tabla and pakhawaj students learn very similar vocal percussion in order to memorize and fully "feel" the components of the music that they play.

It's not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure!

I'd think that gamelan music would also qualify as music that's highly complex, both in rhythm and melody and the interplay of the two (especially given that all - or nearly all, depending on location - instruments that are used in a gamelan are percussive. The varieties of interlocking parts are pretty astounding, imo.
By bubudi
e2c in no way did i mean to say that indian music lacked complexity. quite the contrary. i have been to many concerts of classical indian music and seen many demonstrations of indian rhythmic principles so i share your appreciation. however, the concept of a fractional beat as i addressed above is simpler than it seems. my second point was that although polyrhythm does get expressed by soloist (and i would include the dancer in that), the basic rhythm isn't a polyrhythm in the way west african drum rhythms are. so to sum up the traditions have different kinds of complexity.
User avatar
By e2c
I understand and pretty much agree - we're on the same page, though probably slightly at odds over some of the footnotes. :)

But that's all by the bye in this discussion! Yes, the expressions are different, and there are subtleties in all of these traditions that tend to escape notice when we (including me) don't have the listening skills to catch them. (I only know some things about Indian music in a very general way - real understanding of that takes a lifetime, and even then, given the diversity of music from the Indian subcontinent, one can only scratch the surface.)

Still, I think that a lot of Indian and Indonesian music might be more polyrhythmic than we imagine... partly due to trade ties and other contacts with Arabs and East African peoples + people of African descent living in India and Pakistan.
By neuroanimal
Thank you for your conclusions:
bubudi wrote:(...) about many older rhythms having what we would term today as odd time signatures. although there is plenty of proof for this in the indo-european traditions, i do not see much evidence in african music although there are two 18/16 rhythms (often referred to as 9/8) in the mande repertoire. the rest are 12/8, 6/8, 4/4 etc.
bubudi wrote:(...) the dogon rhythms are the only examples of 10/8 and 5/4. this music has not been formally studied so there are no references i can point you to other than two recordings that should still be available. if you do a search in google you will surely find them.
bubudi wrote:(...) 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. therefore it is possible that either: a) 'odd' time signatures signifies a more ancient tradition only in euroindian traditions, or b) africa did have many more 'odd beat' rhythms through the ages, but due to loss of popularity and lack of any written record of rhythms, they were eventually lost forever.
e2c wrote:Still, I think that a lot of Indian and Indonesian music might be more polyrhythmic than we imagine... partly due to trade ties and other contacts with Arabs and East African peoples + people of African descent living in India and Pakistan.
I want to add to this my small analysis based on the paper linked below:
http://ehess.modelisationsavoirs.fr/ati ... ES2005.pdf
I have selected only rhythm patterns somehow related to Africa, plus some basic concepts and author's conclusions. Citations from this scientific article are presented in form of italic text.

During the past thirty years a number of researchers have approached the study of rhythmic timelines using generative methods, notably Kubik {77}, Locke {80}, Pressing {101}, Rahn {105}, {106}, Anku {4}, Toussaint {125}, {126}, {127}, {128}, and Agawu {1}.

Agawu {1} provides an in-depth analysis of these methods applied to African timelines.

(...) Euclidean rhythms are closely related to a family of rhythms known as aksak rhythms, which have been studied from the combinatorial point of view for some time now {23}, {33}, {7}.

Béla Bartók {11} and Constantin Brăiloiu {23}, respectively, have used the terms Bulgarian rhythm and aksak to refer to those meters which use units of durations 2 and 3, and no other durations. Furthermore, the rhythm or meter must contain at least one duration of length 2 and at least one duration of length 3. Arom {7} referes to these durations as binary cells and ternary cells, respectively.

Arom {7} has generated an inventory of all the theoretically possible aksak rhythms for values of n ranging from 5 to 29, as well as a list of those that are actually used in traditional world music. He has also proposed a classification of these rhythms into several classes, based on structural and numeric properties.

Three of his classes are considered here: authentic-aksaks, quasi-aksaks, and pseudo-aksaks.
  • An aksak rhythm is authentic if n is a prime number.
  • An aksak rhythm is quasi-aksak if n is an odd number that is not prime.
  • An aksak rhythm is pseudo-aksak if n is an even number.

The Euclidean rhythms that are favoured in classical music and jazz are also Euclidean strings (the first group). Furthermore, this group is not popular in African music.
The following Euclidean rhythms are authentic aksak and Euclidean strings at the same time:
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E(2,5)={x.x..}=(23) (classical music, jazz, Greece, Macedonia, [u]Namibia[/u], Persia, [u]Rwanda[/u]), (authentic aksak).
It is a rhythm found in Greece, Namibia, Rwanda and [u]Central Africa[/u] {7}.
It is the pattern of the [u]N-geru and Yalli rhythms[/u] used in heroic ballads by the [u]Tuareg nomadic people of the Sahara desert[/u] {135}.
When started on the second onset as in {x..x.} it is a rhythm found in [u]Central Africa[/u], Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkestan and Norway {7}.
E(3,7)={x.x.x..}=(223) (Bulgaria, Greece, [u]Sudan[/u], Turkestan), (authentic aksak).
The following Euclidean rhythms are quasi-aksak and Euclidean strings at the same time:
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E(4,9)={x.x.x.x..}=(2223) It is the rhythmic ostinato of a lullaby discovered by Simha Arom in [u]south-western Zaı̈re[/u] {7}.
The Euclidean rhythms that are reverse Euclidean strings (the second group) appear to have a much wider appeal. Finding musicological explanations for the preferences apparent in these mathematical properties raizes interesting ethnomusicological questions.
The following Euclidean rhythms are pseudo-aksak and reverse Euclidean strings at the same time:
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E(3,8)={x..x..x.}=(332) ([u]Central Africa[/u], Greece, India, [u]Latin America, West Africa, Sudan[/u]), (pseudo-aksak).
E(5,12)={x..x.x..x.x.}=(32322) (Macedonia, [u]South Africa[/u]), (pseudo-aksak).
E(7,16)={x..x.x.x..x.x.x.}=(3223222) ([u]Brazilian[/u], Macedonian, [u]West African necklaces[/u]), (pseudo-aksak).
E(11,24)={x..x.x.x.x.x..x.x.x.x.x.}=(32222322222) ([u]Central African[/u] and Bulgarian necklaces), (pseudo-aksak).
It is a rhythm necklace of the [u]Aka Pygmies of Central Africa[/u] {6}. It is usually started on the seventh onset.
The following Euclidean rhythms are not classified as aksak, but are reverse Euclidean strings:
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When started on the second onset as in {x . x}, it is a [u]hand-clapping pattern used by the Bantu people of Africa[/u] {66}, as well as the [u]first rhythm taught to beginners of Mandinka drumming[/u] {74}.
It is also found in [u]Cuba[/u], as for example, the [u]conga rhythm of the (6/8)-time Swing Tumbao[/u] {73}. It is common in [u]Latin American music[/u], as for example in the [u]Cueca[/u]{131}, and the [u]coros de clave[/u] {111}.
It is common in Arab music, as for example in the [u]Al Táer rhythm of Nubia[/u] {58}. It is a [u]Tuareg rhythm[/u] played on the [u]tende drums[/u] {135}.
The Drum Dance of the [u]Slavey Indians of Northern Canada[/u] {8}. The “ancestral” rhythm obtained from a phylogenetic analysis of Steve Reich’s [u]Clapping Music[/u] {36}.
When started on the silent pulse (anacrusis) as in {. x x}, it is used to complement [u]certain African rhythms[/u] {31}.
When started on the third onset it is the Kalamátianos Greek dance rhythm {58}, as well as the [u]Shaigie rhythmic pattern of Nubia[/u] {58}.
When started on the fourth (last) onset it is the rhythmic pattern of the [u]Dar daasa al mutawasit[/u] of [u]Yemen[/u] {58}.
E(5,7)={x.xx.xx}=(21211) is the [u]Nawakhat[/u] pattern, another popular Arab rhythm {121}.
In [u]Nubia[/u] it is called the [u]Al Noht rhythm[/u] {58}.
E(5,9)={x.x.x.x.x}=(22221) When started on the second onset, it is a drum pattern used by the [u]Venda in South Africa[/u] {105}.
E(3,10)={x..x..x...}=(334), when started on the second onset, is the metric pattern of several [u]Tuareg rhythms[/u] played on tende drums {135}.
The Euclidean rhythms that are neither Euclidean strings nor reverse Euclidean strings (group three) fall into two categories: those consisting of interval lengths ‘1’ and ‘2’, and those consisting of interval lengths ‘2’ and ‘3’. The latter group is used only in Bulgaria, and the former is used in Africa.
The following Euclidean rhythms are neither Euclidean nor reverse Euclidean strings:
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E(5,8)={x.xx.xx.}=(21212) (Egypt, Korea, [u]Latin America, West Africa[/u]).
E(7,12)={x.xx.x.xx.x.}=(2122122) [u](West Africa), (Central African, Nigerian, Sierra Leone necklaces).[/u]
E(9,14)={x.xx.xx.xx.xx.}=(212121212) [u](Algerian necklace).[/u]
E(9,16)={x.xx.x.x.xx.x.x.}=(212221222) [u](West and Central African, and Brazilian necklaces).[/u]
E(13,24)={x.xx.x.x.x.x.xx.x.x.x.x.}=(2122222122222) [u](Central African necklace).[/u]
It is another rhythm necklace of the [u]Aka Pygmies of the upper Sangha[/u] {6}.
When started on the penultimate (12-th) onset it is the [u]Bobangi[/u] metal-blade pattern used by the [u]Aka Pygmies[/u].
As mentioned in the introduction, during the past thirty years a number of researchers have approached the study of rhythmic timelines using generative methods, notably Kubik {77}, Locke {80}, Pressing {101}, Rahn {105}, {106}, Anku {4}, Toussaint {125}, {126}, {127}, {128}, and Agawu{1}.

Agawu{1} provides an in-depth analysis of these methods applied to African timelines. On the other hand, the Euclidean algorithm exposed here is a mathematical model of rhythmic timeline generation that applies to music from all over the world.

A notable exception are the Indian talas, which tend to have longer timelines than other music (as many as 128 beats per cycle), and therefore use a greater variety of duration intervals, thus violating the maximal evenness of Euclidean rhythms.

A rhythm is said to be maximally even if its representation on the circle of time maximizes the sum of its pairwise inter-onset straight line distances {34}, {35}. For example, of the 35 Sulaadi talas only 4 are maximally even, and of the 108 Astottara Sata talas only 9 are maximally even {94}. It has been shown by Demaine et al., {45} that a rhythm is maximally even if and only if it is Euclidean, or a rotation of a Euclidean rhythm. Euclidean (maximally even) rhythms have many interesting mathematical and musical properties. For example, the complement of a Euclidean rhythm is also Euclidean {124}.
Selected bibliography more or less -related to African rhythms:
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{1} Kofi Agawu. Structural analysis or cultural analysis? Competing perspectives on the “standard pattern” of West African rhythm. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 59(1):1–46, 2006.
{2} Samuel Akpabot. Theories on African music. African Arts, 6(1):59–62, Autumn 1972.
{4} Willie Anku. Circles and time: A theory of structural organization of rhythm in African music. Music Theory Online, 6(1), January 2000.
{6} Simha Arom. African Polyphony and Polyrhythm. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1991.
{8} Michael I. Asch. Social context and the musical analysis of Slavey drum dance songs. Ethnomusicology, 19(2):245–257, May 1975.
{12} Gregory Barz. Music in East Africa. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2004.
{14} Gerard Behague. Bossa and Bossas: recent changes in Brazilian urban popular music. Ethnomusicology, 17(2):209–233, 1973.
{15} Gerard Behague. Improvisation in Latin American musics. Music Educators Journal, 66(5):118–125, January 1980.
{19} John Blacking. Tonal organization in the music of two Venda initiation schools. Ethnomusicology, 14(1):1–56, 1970.
{20} Rose Brandel. The African hemiola style. Ethnomusicology, 3(3):106–117, September 1959.
{22} Roy Brewer. The use of Habanera rhythm in rockabilly music. American Music, 17:300–317, Autumn 1999.
{30} John Miller Chernoff. African Rhythm and African Sensibility. The University of Chicago Press,
Chicago, 1979.
{31} John Miller Chernoff. The rhythmic medium in African music. New Literary History, 22(4):1093–1102, Autumn 1991.
{49} A. Dworsky and B. Sansby. A Rhythmic Vocabulary. Dancing Hands Music, Minnetonka, 1999.
{50} Issam El-Mallah and Kai Fikentscher. Some observations on the naming of musical instruments and on the rhythm in Oman. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 22:123–126, 1990.
{53} Bob Evans. Authentic Conga Rhythms. Belwin Mills Publishing Corporation, Miami, 1966.
{54} Mary Farquharson. Africa in America. Discos Corazon, Mexico, 1992. {CD}.
{60} Lennart Hallstrom. African Drum Rhythms for Djembes, Bass Drums and Bells. Lennart Hallstrom,
Stockholm, 2000.
{62} Royal Hartigan, Abraham Adzenyah, and Freeman Donkor. West African Rhythms for Drum Set.
Manhattan Music, Inc., 1995.
{63} Christopher F. Hasty. Meter as Rhythm. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1997.
{66} A. M. Jones. African rhythm. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 24(1):26–47,
January 1954.
{67} A. M. Jones. Studies in African Music. Oxford University Press, Amen House, London, 1959.
{68} S. A. Floyd Jr. The sources and rescources of classic ragtime music. Black Music Research Journal, 4:22–59, 1984.
{69} S. A. Floyd Jr. Black music in the circum-Caribbean. American Music, 17(1):1–38, 1999.
{70} R. Kauffman. African rhythm: A reassessment. Ethnomusicology, 24(3):393–415, Sept. 1980.
{73} T˝om Kl˝ower. The Joy of Drumming: Drums and Percussion Instruments from Around the World. Binkey Kok Publications, Diever, Holland, 1997.
{74} Roderic Knight. Mandinka drumming. African Arts, 7(4):24–35, Summer 1974.
{77} Gerhard Kubik. Oral notation of some West and Central African time-line patterns. Review of
Ethnology, 3(22):169–176, 1972.
{78} Gerhard Kubik. Central Africa: An introduction. In Ruth M. Stone, editor, The Garland Handbook of African Music, pages 260–290. Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London, 2000.
{80} David Locke. Principles of offbeat timing and cross-rhythm in Southern Ewe dance drumming.
Ethnomusicology, 26:217–246, 1982.
{81} David Locke and Godwin Agbeli. Drum language in Adzogbo. The Black Perspective in Music,
9(1):25–50, Spring 1981.
{82} Wendell Logan. The ostinato idea in Black improvised music: A preliminary investigation. The Black Perspective in Music, 12(2):193–215, Autumn 1984.
{87} Peter Manuel. The anticipated bass in Cuban popular music. Latin American Music Review, 6(2):249–261, Autumn-Winter 1985.
{90} Matthew Montfort. Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India. Panoramic Press, Mill Valley, 1985.
{91} Robin Moore and Elizabeth Sayre. An Afro-Cuban Bat´a piece for Obatal´a, king of the white cloth. In Michael Tenzer, editor, Analytical Studies in World Music, pages 120–160. Oxford University Press, New York, 2006.
{93} Larry Morris. Rhythm Catalog. The Internet, http://www.drums.org/djembefaq, 2001.
{97} John P. Murphy. Music in Brazil. Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 2006.
{98} J. H. Nketia. Drumming in Akan Communities of Ghana. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland, 1963.
{99} J. H. Kwabena Nketia. African Music in Ghana. Northwestern Univ. Press, Britain, 1963.
{101} Jeff Pressing. Cognitive isomorphisms between pitch and rhythm in world musics: West Africa, the Balkans and Western tonality. Studies in Music, 17:38–61, 1983.
{103} Putumayo. Congo to Cuba. Publisher, Address, 2002.
{104} Jose Luis Quintana and Chuck Silverman. Changuito: A Master’s Approach to Timbales. Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp., Miami, 1998.
{105} Jay Rahn. Asymmetrical ostinatos in sub-saharan music: time, pitch, and cycles reconsidered. In Theory Only, 9(7):23–37, 1987.
{106} Jay Rahn. Turning the analysis around: African-derived rhythms and Europe-derived music theory. Black Music Research Journal, 16(1):71–89, 1996.
{110} John Donald Robb. Rhythmic patterns of the Santo Domingo corn dance. Ethnomusicology,
8(2):154–160, May 1964.
{111} Olavo Al´en Rodr´ıguez. Instrumentos de la Musica Folok´lrico-Popular de Cuba. Centro de Investigaci´on y Desarrollo de la Musica Cubana, Havana, Cuba, 1997.
{112} Rene V. Rosalia. Migrated Rhythm: The Tamb´u of Curac¸ao. CaribSeek, 2002.
{121} James A. Standifer. The Tuareg: their music and dances. The Black Perspective in Music, 16(1):45–62, Spring 1988.
{123} Ruth M. Stone. Music in West Africa. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2005.
{125} Godfried T. Toussaint. A mathematical analysis of African, Brazilian, and Cuban clave rhythms. In Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music and Science, pages 157–168, Towson University, Towson, MD, July 27-29 2002.
{126} Godfried T. Toussaint. Classification and phylogenetic analysis of African ternary rhythm timelines. In Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music and Science, pages 25–36, Granada, Spain, July 23-27 2003.
{127} Godfried T. Toussaint. A mathematical measure of preference in African rhythm. In Abstracts of Papers Presented to the American Mathematical Society, volume 25, page 248, Phoenix, Arizona, January 7-10 2004. American Mathematical Society.
{130} Ed Uribe. The Essence of Brazilian Persussion and Drum Set. CCP/Belwin Inc., Miami, Florida,
{132} John Varney. Colombian Bambuco: The Evolution of a National Music Style. Grifith University,
South Brisbane, Australia, 1999. Ph.D. Thesis.
{135} Caroline Card Wendt. Tuareg music. In Ruth M. Stone, editor, The Garland Handbook of African Music, pages 206–227. Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London, 2000.
{137} Luis Felipe Ram´on y Rivera. Rhythmic and melodic elements in Negro music of Venezuela. Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, 14:56–60, 1962.
Additional ones which can be not related to Africa, but still would be very interesting:
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{7} Simha Arom. L’aksak: Principes et typologie. Cahiers de Musiques Traditionnelles, 17:12–48, 2004.
{9} Marcia Ascher. Mathematics Elsewhere: An Exploration of Ideas Across Cultures. Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2002.
{10} Anthony Ashton. Harmonograph–A Visual Guide to the Mathematics of Music. Walker and Company, New York, 2003.
{23} Constantin Br˘ailoiu. Le rythme aksak. Revue de Musicologie, 33:71–108, 1951.
{25} Viggo Brun. Euclidean algorithms and musical theory. Enseignement Math´ematique, 10:125–137, 1964.
{27} Marc Chemillier. Ethnomusicology, ethnomathematics. The logic underlying orally transmitted artistic practices. In G. Assayag, H. G. Feichtinger, and J. F. Rodrigues, editors, Mathematics and Music, pages 161–183. Springer-Verlag, 2002.
{32} Martin Clayton. Time in Indian Music. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, 2000.
{33} J´erˆome Cler. Pour une th´eorie de l’aksak. Revue de Musicologie, 80:181–210, 1994.
{34} J. Clough and J. Douthett. Maximally even sets. Journal of Music Theory, 35:93–173, 1991.
{39} Aaron Copland. Jazz structure and influence. Modern Music, 4(2):9–14, 1927.
{56} Jos´e Manuel Gamboa. Cante por Cante: Discolibro Didactico de Flamenco. New Atlantis Music,Alia Discos, Madrid, 2002.
{57} David Goldsworthy. Cyclic properties of Indonesian music. Journal of Musicological Research,
24:309–333, 2005.
{58} Kobi Hagoel. The Art of Middle Eastern Rhythm. OR-TAV Music Publications, Kfar Sava, Israel,
{59} Man-Young Hahn. The four musical types of Buddhist chant in Korea. Yearbook for Traditional
Music, 15, East Asian Musics:45–58, 1983.
{84} Justin London. Hearing in Time: Psychological Aspects of Musical Meter. Oxford University Press,Inc., New York, 2004.
{85} M. Lothaire. Algebraic Combinatorics on Words. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England,2002.
{88} Thomas J. Mathiesen. Rhythm and meter in ancient Greek music. Music Theory Spectrum, 7:159–180, Spring 1985.
{89} Alan P. Merriam. Flathead indian instruments and their music. The Musical Quarterly, 37:368–375, July 1951.
{92} Sidney Moore. Thai songs in 7/4 meter. Ethnomusicology, 13(2):309–312, May 1969.
{94} Robert Morris. Sets, scales, and rhythmic cycles: A classification of talas in Indian music. In 21st
National Convention of the Society of Music Theory, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, December 1998.
{95} Robert Morris. Architectonic composition in South Indian classical music. In Michael Tenzer, editor, Analytical Studies in World Music, pages 303–331. Oxford University Press, New York, 2006.
{108} Timothy Rice. Aspects of Bulgarian musical thought. Yearbook of the International Folk Music
Council, 12:43–66, 1980.
{109} Timothy Rice. Music in Bulgaria. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2004.
{113} Curt Sachs. Rhythm and Tempo: A Study in Music History. W. W. Norton, New York, 1953.
{116} Patricia K. Shehan. Teaching music through Balkan folk dance. Music Educators Journal, 71(3):47–51, November 1984.
{119} Alice Singer. The metrical structure of Macedonian dance. Ethnomusicology, 18(3):379–404,
September 1974.
{128} Godfried T. Toussaint. The Euclidean algorithm generates traditional musical rhythms. In Proc. of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music and Science, pages 47–56, Banff, Canada, July 31 - August 3 2005.
{129} Leo Treitler. Regarding meter and rhythm in the ‘ars antiqua’. The Musical Quarterly, 65(4):524–558, October 1979.
{134} Marnix St. J. Wells. Rhythm and phrasing in Chinese tune-title lyrics; old eight-beat and its 3-2-3 meter. Asian Music, 23(1):119–183, (Autumn, 1991 - Winter, 1992).
{136} O. Wright. The Modal System of Arab and Persian Music AD 1250-1300. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1978.

Further readings, this ones are related to rhythm & tonality in human languages:
tone http://wals.info/chapter/13
rhythm http://wals.info/chapter/17
User avatar
By e2c
Aksak literally means "limping" in Turkish. I have always understood it to refer to those rhythms that come from Turkey and countries in the Balkans that were rule by the Ottomans and which absorbed a lot of Turkish music into their own traditions (Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania, for example).

Again, though, I kind of think the main focus on this site is on rhythms from Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, etc. so my talking about the meaning of "aksak" is pretty much beside the point. 8)
By neuroanimal
The topic is about old rhythms. I do not fill uncomfortable when I mention something related to other countries, than Guinea, Mali and Ivory Coast. Is this forum board interested only in Maninka repertoire? What with huge area of Fula, Tuareg, and coast+forest tribes of West Africa? And what with countries closer to Nigeria/Cameroon which are still in West Africa and are famous from their musical traditions? Why when we speak about old rhythms, shouldn't we inspect repertoires from Bushmen and Pygmies?

Africa is not constant place, when everything looks identical through the ages. It is changing inside, absorbing cultures and modifying its own traditions. That's why we should look on it in the wider context. Isn't it?

Regarding aksak, I cited scientific point of view, not limiting itself to Balkan countries. But using aksak terminology was not the point of the article, it was only the tool. The point was to show similarieties and differences between rhythmic patterns in relation to some cultures. For example we can see, that typical additive Balkan patterns like 2+3 or 2+2+3, are not popular in Africa. But we see that they exist there, mostly in Central Africa (Zaire, Rwanda), but also in West-Central Africa (Namibia) and in Sudan. Time signatures 5/4, 5/8 are popular not only between Dogons, of which meters we know from bubudi, but also between Tuaregs. 7/8 and 14/8 patterns are in Arab-influenced regions like Algeria and Nubia. While complex ternary patterns (like 9/8 and 24/8) tend to be characteristic for Aka Pygmies of Central Africa, south-western Zaire & South Africa.

So when you limit itselft to West Africa, still from this article you will have patterns:
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xx.			Mandinka, Tuareg, Bantu
.xx			certain African rhythms
x.xx.x.xx.x.		West Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Central Africa


x..x..x.		West Africa, Sudan, Central Africa
x.xx.xx.		West Africa, Egypt
x..x.x.x..x.x.x.	West Africa
x.xx.x.x.xx.x.x.	West Africa, Central Africa
But if we limit ourself to all sub-saharan Africa, then we have additional ones:
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x.x.x.x..		south-western Zaire
x.x.x.x.x		Venda in South Africa

more complex ternary

x..x.x..x.x.			South Africa
x..x.x.x.x.x..x.x.x.x.x.	Aka Pygmies of Central Africa
x.xx.x.x.x.x.xx.x.x.x.x.	Aka Pygmies of Central Africa
After adding the Sahara, we'll have:
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5/4, 5/8

x.x..			Tuareg (N-geru and Yalli rhythms), Namibia, Rwanda, Central Africa
x..x..x...		Tuareg

7/8, 14/8

x.xx.xx			Nubia (Al Noht rhythm)
x.xx.xx.xx.xx.		Algeria
So summarizing, the point is not how we call type of rhythms (aksak or not aksak), but which are characteristic for which regions, and in this topic, if really it has something to do with the age of the rhythm. As we can see very old ethnic groups (Aka Pygmies) have complex patterns, but Turkish/Balkan-like rhythms still look to be more in the domain of the northern African tribes influenced by Arab culture, and of the desert people (Touareg vs Namibia). And aren't the Dogon people related to the Touaregs? and beside this topic also to some Burkina Faso tribes, and to the Bambara?