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Afro-cuban Bata Drum Esthetics

Afro-cuban Bata Drum Esthetics

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Published by Panchote Bascur

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Published by: Panchote Bascur on Jul 18, 2010
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03/08/2013

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 ABSTRACTTitle of Dissertation: AFRO-CUBAN
 BATÁ 
DRUM AESTHETICS:DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL AND GROUPTECHNIQUE, SOUND, AND IDENTITYKenneth George Schweitzer, Doctor of Musical Arts, 2003Dissertation directed by: Professor Robert C. ProvineSchool of MusicThe Lucumí religion (also Santería and Regla de Ocha) developed in 19
th
-century colonial Cuba, by syncretizing elements of Catholicism with the Yorubaworship of 
orisha
. When fully initiated,
 santeros
(priests) actively participate inreligious ceremonies by periodically being possessed or “mounted” by a patron saintor 
orisha
, usually within the context of a drumming ritual, known as a
toque de santo
,
bembé
, or 
tambor 
.Within these rituals, there is a clearly defined goal of trance possession, thoughits manifestation is not the sole measure of success or failure. Rather than focusing onthe fleeting, exciting moments that immediately precede the arrival of an
orisha
in theform of a possession trance, this thesis investigates the entire four- to six-hour musical performance that is central to the ceremony. It examines the brief pauses, the momentsof reduced intensity, the slow but deliberate build-ups of energy and excitement, andeven the periods when novices are invited to perform the sacred
batá
drums, and
 
  places these moments on an equal footing with the more dynamic periods where possession is imminent or in progress.This document approaches Lucumí ritual from the viewpoint of 
batá
drummers, ritual specialists who, during the course of a
toque de santo
, exercise widelatitude in determining the shape of the event. Known as
omo
Aña (children of the
orisha
Aña who is manifest in drums and rhythms),
batá
drummers comprise afraternity that is accessible only through ritual initiation. Though they are sensitive tothe desires of the many participants during a
toque de santo
, and indeed make their living by satisfying the expectations of their hosts, many of the drummers’ activitiesare inwardly focused on the cultivation and preservation of this fraternity.Occasionally interfering with spirit possession, and other expectations of the participants, these aberrant activities include teaching and learning, developing groupidentity or signature sound, and achieving a state of intimacy among the musiciansknown as “communitas.”
 
 AFRO-CUBAN
 BATÁ 
DRUM AESTHETICS: DEVELOPING INDIVIDUALAND GROUP TECHNIQUE, SOUND, AND IDENTITY byKenneth George Schweitzer Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of theUniversity of Maryland, College Park in partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts2003Advisory Committee:Professor Robert C. Provine, Chair Mr. F. Anthony AmesProfessor Jósef Pacholczyk Professor Juan Carlos Quintero-HerenciaMr. John Tafoya

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