As part of their studies of music from other cultures, Year 9 have been researching music from all over the world, such as Gamelan music, African drumming and salsa percussion. This week they were joined by Dr Allison Singer PhD, an expert presence in this field, who introduced them to Ethnomusicology, Dance Anthroopology and the Arts Therapies/Psycotherapies.
Dr Allison has studied in depth the inter-relationships between dance, movement and visual imagery in psychosocial work. With a specialist interest in Indian Classical Music and Oriental and African Studies, Allison kindly demonstrated the tanpura. The tanpura is a classic string instrument that originated in India and is commonly used to accompany vocalists.
Allison also explained to pupils the differences in tone and melody in multicultural music, and how it compares and differs around the world between diverse cultures and societies. She introduced the girls to the singing/music of the Bayaka people of the Central African Republic; the Kora of the Mali/Gambia area; North Indian Classical singing and tabla.
Drawing inspiration from her PhD research topic in Dance Anthropology, Allison explained the use of the Arts/Arts Pyschotherapies in International Development work, specifically in the context of working with the arts in a post-conflict zone (Serbia 2001-2).
“She taught us about Indian classical music and showed us some videos about some tribal groups in Africa. We were taught about different tones and how ethnic music uses them differently. It can take years to learn the various tones, something that we might find easy in our native language. I also learnt how difficult it is to learn all the pieces that they sing and how intricate all the notes they use are.” – Tilly, Year 9