Element 3: Scenes of an African village

Summary

Rhythm is movement through time and shapes daily life. The differentiated perception of rhythm in movements, in nature, in language, and in day-to-day activities are inspiration for the musical realisation in this section.  Starting with a short film about a musician from Mali and his view on rhythm, pupils develop their own rhythms and soundscapes.

Description

Step 1: No rhythm without movement

Pupils and teacher watch the film “Foli”:

Impulses for reflection

Impulse 1: “What actions/situations in the film do you associate with rhythm?”

Answers given by pupils in the project:

  • the drums
  • everyting is rhythmic
  • the pounding of the mortars
  • the felling of trees, the smithy with the rhythmic sounds
  • language becomes rhythm
  • the dance is wild, even men dance
  • children playing rhythmically on water canisters (film)
  • rubbing on the washboard while washing clothes (film)

Impulse 2:  “What other actions/situations that are closely linked to rhythm do you imagine take place in an African village?”

Answers given by pupils in the project:

  • voices
  • advertising of market goods/ market vendors
  • cooking noises
  • noises related to work

Step 2: Short film scenes

Using the example of pounding grains, pupils recreate basic elements of short actions from the film and transfer them into a musical rhythm.
Example:  A pupil imitates the pounding movement with a mortar, all other pupils accompany the resulting rhythm on calabashes or other drums. Repeat with other motives from the film.

Group assignment

Pupils are divided into three groups of equal size. A selection of all previously introduced African instruments, as well as school instruments and personal instruments are available for the group work.

  • “Develop a scene in an African village, using a maximum of three key words.
  • Pick instruments and match them with the individual actions of your scene.
  • Transfer the rhythm of the actions to instruments and create a short, repeatable musical description of your storyline. One pupil is responsible for the basic pulse.
  • Finally, decide where in the classroom you want to present your scene, and where the audience (the other groups) should be seated to watch or listen to your presentation.”

Step 3: Presentation of the scene

Desert sand – Caravan is coming (2:23 – 4:58)

African village (6:35 – 9:00)

  • Group 1 stage their instruments in the class room, hang the keywords up on the blackboard and guide the audience (the other groups) to their place
  • Performance group 1
  • Repeat with all groups

Reflection

  • What musical means were used to translate the keywords of the scene?
  • How could the musical scene be made more exciting? (characteristics of suspense Element 1: Discovering and experiencing New Music)
  • How can all three storyboards be put together?

Step 4: Arrangement

Together with the teacher, pupils combine the three storyboards in one overall arrangement over a basic beat.

Competencies

The pupils are able to:

  • learn about characteristics of West African music culture presented in the film.
  • transfer movement rhythm into musical rhythm.
  • examine and analyse situations and actions with regards to their basic musical characteristics and translate them vocally/instrumentally.
  • organise themselves in an team and take decisions.
  • learn how to present their music in front of an audience.
  • experience the classroom as a space for performance.

Materials

  • African instruments, school instruments, personal instruments
  • different rooms for group work
  • cards for the keywords of the storyboard
  • video camera