Blekete sacred ritual Drummers

Foundation Course in African Music


by C. K. Ladzekpo

"Gbe na dze ga dzi"
"The voice should sound in time"

Rhythm may be defined as the movement in time of individual sounds. In an Anlo-Ewe sense, however, rhythm is not only the whole feeling of movement in music, but also the dominant feature which, along with others, create the transcendent environment (music) necessary for the vital needs of communal communication and unification. In this communal view, rhythm provides the regular pulsation or beat which is the focal point in uniting the energies of the entire community in the pursuit of their collective destiny.

In another Anlo-Ewe definition, rhythm is an important instructional medium in the development and reinforcement of the basic Anlo-Ewe mental and moral consciousness in terms of what is real and important in life, and how life ought to be lived. In this view, rhythm is the animating and shaping force or principle that underlies the distinctive quality of being. Its medium provides the training and the logical means of subjecting contrasting forces or moments in human existence to human control. In this world, a good rhythmic sensitivity is very essential and is the most desired musical skill.

The Myth of Cross-Rhythm
The Structure of African Rhythm
Beat Schemes
Developmental Techniques of Cross Rhythms
Technique of Main Beat
Main Beat Schemes
Measure Schemes
Technique of Composite Rhythm
Technique of Polyrhythm
Cultural Understanding of Polyrhythm
Cross-Rhythmic Textures
Six Against Four Cross Rhythms
Three Against Four Cross Rhythms
Eight Beat Scheme
Rhythmic Frameworks Exercise

© Copyright 1995 C. K. Ladzekpo
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