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KenteClothtoJazz.pdf


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7
First trumpet

Tlte Bod1

Second trumpet

As we saw in chapter r, stereotyped views intimate that jazzworks mechanistically, entering dre body to ignite erotic desire. In the rgzos, for example,

FT

Legend

F

Figure z. Hockets ìn salsa: kente notation.

See also

...1+
.jH

color plate r.

-

Melodies whose constituent notes are distributed between more than one
fixed-pitch instrument or singer are called hochets. Hockets permeate BaAka
(and other "pygmy'') singing, much West African flute music, and are basic
to rø.rø., the one-note trumpet and percussion processional music of Haiti
(rara is also endemic in the Dominican Republic, where itrs calledgøgá').26
As clear examples of bounce-off melo-rhphms, hockets are an appropriate
place to begin looking at kente notation. Salsa arrangements occasionally
use trumpet hockets in a technique called rJire cøwpønø (or bell).zz Figures
z and 3 present kente and conventional notation of two hocketing trumpets
in a ¡møvnbo (or instrumental iñterlude) in sølsero Perico Ortiz's recording
"Perico lo tiene."28 As the figures' legends show, the colors of kente notation express specific pitches or sonorities; in figure z, each color indicates a
particular note played by a trumpet. The lighter tÏe color, the higher the
pitch, so the ability to read Western notation is not necessary for a passive
reading of this visual correlate to the sound. The upper trumpet part repeats a note, leaving spaces that the lower trumpet part fills in. The resulting two-note melo-rhythms forge a different effect than the same pitches
would create if produced on a single instrument: group coordination
makes a crucial difference. As Chernoff puts it, "the notion of participation
as a significant gesture of active effort" is a "contribution which gives life
and meaning."29

Bb trumpet

I
a)

I

ao trumpet z

Figure 3. Hockets in

Sa.lsa:

t

conventional notation

.n\lqarnrlqr.rpcs

/ rn

"hot rhythm" was portrayed as a dangerous social ill, a virus linked to a devilish sexuality that infected white bodies and minds.3o The perversity of this
exotification does not mean, howeveS that African-based musics are not
linked to dance.3l As Ghanaian ethnomusicologist Kofi Agawu affirms, West
African "music is not prior to the dance. . . . [M]any misintcrpretations of AÊ
rican rhythm and meter stem from a failure ro observe the dance. To say that
in the beginning dance ald music were together . . . is nor ro exaggerate."32
The rhyhms of Afro-diasporics musics are best understood in the conrext
of related body movement. The Twi language of Ghana has no equivalent to
the English word "music." The closest is øgur))which denotes an aggregate
of drumming, singing, and dance perhaps best translated as "dance theater."33 Similarly, Caribbean geffes such as salsa and merengue are dances as
much as musics. For much of its histor¡ lazz was danced, and its basis in
body motion persists in later periods. Musicologist Gunther Schuller shows
that the swtngof jazz is based in bodymotion: it happens when rhe "listener
inadvertently starts tapping his foot, snapping his fingers, moving his body
or head to the beat of the music."34 This finger-snapprng swing is at the core
of (Afro-) North American culture; it is basic to j azz,bfues,gospel, rock, and
hip-hop. Its upbeat or backbeat embodies a back-and-forth motion berween
aural and kinesthetic rhythms: finger-snapping body motion alternates with
aural accents: the undulation gets into you, and it feels good!
Fanti master d¡ummer Abraham Adzinyah talks about a "hidden rhlthm"
that he keeps in the back of his mind while improvising ro rhe panern, played
on a bell (seen at figures 4 and 5).3s In fact, this rh¡hm is only hidden aurally,
for it is expressed in dance motion; we can thus also call it the dancers' rnotor
beøt.36 Frgtxes 4 and 5 combine the dancers' motor beat, the bell pattern, and
a conunon d¡um rhythm (the høgøn in Ewe agbekor music, the oþónþ.olo1n
Afro-Cuban batá music, the bwlø in Haitian Vodou music).37 Represenring
the motorbeat and the drum, the ¡vo lower lines express the bor¡nce-off aesthetic: one can see the motor activity bouncing off the aural stimulation as
dancers are lifted up by the drum rhythm and implanted in its wake. As the
late, great Ewe d¡ummer and dancer Freeman Donkor used to tell his students, drummers are "cheerleaders" for the dancers, encouraging them, spurring them on.38 Figure + graphically displays where the timeline meets and
veers off the other rhlthms: it coincides with the motorbeat at the first and
last occurrence of the motorbeat and coincides with both strokes of the

(-lntl¡