the Afro-American Roots of Kraftwerk

Martin D

Well-known member
Personal anecdote: last time i spoke to Ryuji Ikeda, he told me about being present at a drumming class taught by a master in Gabon (i think it was), and the teacher said exactly: do not play from emotion or feeling. you are not human, you are a machine.
But isn't that true of most acts that need to be repeated, driving for example, all these acts are done in a state of neither-neither, they are just reinforced via repetition.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
But isn't that true of most acts that need to be repeated, driving for example, all these acts are done in a state of neither-neither, they are just reinforced via repetition.
well sure. the point here is the false perception that African music is about "the heart", "the soul", and "nature", while it is actually largely about science, discipline, intellect.

The design of rhythms according to and for the particular speeds and proportions of the body, this is a science more developed in many African cultures than anywhere else.

Not to mention how various rhythms fit into complex symbolic and cosmological systems, in accordance with times of the year, position of the stars, etc.

The talking drums not only sound like they are talking, but actually relay complex messages, becoming a substitute for the human voice, actually speaking the tonal languages. Imagine dancing to a rhythm which is also, simultaneously, poetry. Imagine the beat of the drums that while making you dance, is also, at the same time, telling you an epic tale during the course of a night's celebration. Language and music, word and sound, in an undifferentiated whole. The poetic, expressive power of such an experience is not even imaginable, at all fathomable, to outsiders.

The European classical tradition developed amazing harmonics, and created different kinds of beautiful experiences.
But anyone claiming that RHYTHM is just as developed in various types of European traditions as those of Africa is speaking from pure ignorance.
 
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Slothrop

Tight but Polite
But anyone claiming that RHYTHM is just as developed in various types of European traditions as those of Africa is speaking from pure ignorance.
Who's claiming that?

What people are taking issue with is sweeping generalizations like:
"Europeans come from cultures... in which the only respectable form of dancing was as spectacle rather than participatory communal activity; cultures where music is to be enjoyed sitting down, in quiet contemplation;"
which is demonstrably bollocks.

From following a few threads like this, you seem to have this regular bait-and-switch tactic where you aggressively assert a massive generalization, then when people say that it's maybe a bit more complicated than that you accuse them of supporting the exact opposite generalization. It's an incredibly effective way of alienating people who probably pretty much agree with your basic point...
 

Martin D

Well-known member
But anyone claiming that RHYTHM is just as developed in various types of European traditions as those of Africa is speaking from pure ignorance.
I know a few Monks who may disagree with you there, you should look up Oxyrhynchus Hymn, you may find it interesting but I'm not sure how you measure such a "competition", I really don't but I would concur that it did seem more removed.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The European classical tradition developed amazing harmonics, and created different kinds of beautiful experiences.
But anyone claiming that RHYTHM is just as developed in various types of European traditions as those of Africa is speaking from pure ignorance.
But who here is claiming that? Pretty sure I didn't. I was just contesting your assertion that, for the whole of European history, dancing has been universally reviled as something bestial, primitive and repugnant. Which is demonstrably untrue.
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
Who's claiming that?

What people are taking issue with is sweeping generalizations like:
"Europeans come from cultures... in which the only respectable form of dancing was as spectacle rather than participatory communal activity; cultures where music is to be enjoyed sitting down, in quiet contemplation;"
which is demonstrably bollocks.

From following a few threads like this, you seem to have this regular bait-and-switch tactic where you aggressively assert a massive generalization, then when people say that it's maybe a bit more complicated than that you accuse them of supporting the exact opposite generalization. It's an incredibly effective way of alienating people who probably pretty much agree with your basic point...
Dissensus needs a like button at times like this.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
My original sweeping generalization remains for the most part accurate.

In the European tradition, social dancing has largely been looked down upon by members of the culture establishment as fit for fools, the uncouth, the uneducated, the poor, and drunkards.

While the respectable form of dance is as spectacle: ballet.
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
My original sweeping generalization remains for the most part accurate.

In the European tradition, social dancing has largely been looked down upon by members of the culture establishment as fit for fools, the uncouth, the uneducated, the poor, and drunkards.

While the respectable form of dance is as spectacle: ballet.
There's just no arguing with you, is there? The 'respectable form', i.e. one enjoyed by maybe 2-5% of the population, is the defining European dance. The one enjoyed by the poor, the drunkards etc – i.e. the great mass of people, historically – is swept away simply because it blows a massive hole through your argument.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
In the European tradition, social dancing has largely been looked down upon by members of the culture establishment as fit for fools, the uncouth, the uneducated, the poor, and drunkards.
Except that most Europeans historically haven't been members of the cultural establishment, and have had some form of social dancing forming part of their life.

While the respectable form of dance is as spectacle: ballet.
And as a participatory social event: ballroom (in its various historical incarnations).

I'm obviously not trying to say that the minuet is comparable to, say, West African percussive traditions, just that denying it's existence is something of an overstatement.
 
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zhao

there are no accidents
There's just no arguing with you, is there? The 'respectable form', i.e. one enjoyed by maybe 2-5% of the population, is the defining European dance. The one enjoyed by the poor, the drunkards etc – i.e. the great mass of people, historically – is swept away simply because it blows a massive hole through your argument.
There is no arguing with me because i am right.

Even today, the major cultural institutions of Europe make a hard distinction between "serious music", and "entertainment music", guess which one dance music falls under.

Grants and funding exist amply for the former, but none for the later -- the culture at large STILL regards dance clubs as places for drunken idiots.

Folk dancing certainly existed in Europe, as did music which accompanies it. But social dancing and dance music never escaped the lowly positions in society, seen as ridiculous not only by the elite, but largely by everyone, because everyone emulates and mimics the attitudes of royalty and the upper classes. These attitudes which pervades throughout European society had certain, powerful, and lasting influence on the culture at large, which last until today.

Cliches and stereotypes exist for a reason: they often are mostly true. If you think the average European is as good at dancing to repetitive beats as the average African, if you think advanced rhythmic sensibilities permeate European folk music at the same level as it does in various African music cultures, you are simply not operating with a reality based worldview.
 
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crackerjack

Well-known member
There is no arguing with me because i am right.
I'm going to try to get through this without calling you an arrogant racist prick, hard as that may be.


Even today, the major cultural institutions of Europe make a hard distinction between "serious music", and "entertainment music", guess which one dance music falls under.
1/ The major cultural institutions are not the same thing as the people. Perhaps you should write this out 100 times until it sinks in as it seems to be the basis of most of your argument.

2/ There's no more "major cultural institution" here than the BBC. Come over during Glastonbury weekend, then try saying that again with a straight face.

Grants and funding exist amply for the former, but none for the later -- the culture at large STILL regards dance clubs as places for drunken idiots.
Grants and funding exist for the former because they're not financially self-sufficient. Dance music doesn't need public money to survive and thrive, although saying it gets none is cobblers. And again, try the publicly funded BBC for evidence. Or the schools.


Folk dancing certainly existed in Europe, as did music which accompanies it. But social dancing and dance music never escaped the lowly positions in society, seen as ridiculous not only by the elite, but largely by everyone, because everyone emulates and mimics the attitudes of royalty and the upper classes.
I give up. You're an arrogant racist prick.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Even today, the major cultural institutions of Europe make a hard distinction between "serious music", and "entertainment music", guess which one dance music falls under.
But we aren't talking about major cultural institutions - we're talking about actual people, of whom the majority have historically participated in forms of social dancing. Are you saying that they all secretly feel a bit ashamed of themselves for not doing ballet instead?

Folk dancing certainly existed in Europe, as did music which accompanies it. But social dancing and dance music never escaped the lowly positions in society
Except the various historic types of ballroom dancing, which the European upper classes have engaged in enthusiastically since the year dot.

Cliches and stereotypes exist for a reason: they often are mostly true.
You heard it here first...

If you think the average European is as good at dancing to repetitive beats as the average African, you are not operating with a reality based world view.
There you go again - who actually said that?
 

zhao

there are no accidents
1/ The major cultural institutions are not the same thing as the people.
yet major cultural institutions have a powerful effect on the culture at large. Needless to say African cultural institutions have never held anything akin to the attitude that social dancing is not respectable.


2/ There's no more "major cultural institution" here than the BBC. Come over during Glastonbury weekend, then try saying that again with a straight face.
Glastonbury weekend. :D lol are you serious? You really do not realize that phenomenon such as Glastonbury weekend or Radio 1 is A DIRECT RESULT OF THE ARRIVAL OF AFRO-AMERICAN and AFRO-CARIBBEAN CULTURE in England?

Were there festivals where people gathered and danced all night to repetitive music, and seen as perfectly respectable doing so, in England prior to 1910 when Jazz and Swing arrived?

Was there a thriving dance music culture in England prior to 1910?

Grants and funding exist for the former because they're not financially self-sufficient. Dance music doesn't need public money to survive and thrive, although saying it gets none is cobblers. And again, try the publicly funded BBC for evidence. Or the schools.
Again, you are speaking within the context of a Europe already much changed after the arrival of African culture via the Americas and the Caribbean.


You're an arrogant racist prick.
If that's what I am, you're an ahistorical illogical moron.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
and if you think saying Europe does not have as developed traditions of rhythm based dance music as Africa = racism ...

:D :D :D
 

zhao

there are no accidents
But we aren't talking about major cultural institutions - we're talking about actual people, of whom the majority have historically participated in forms of social dancing. Are you saying that they all secretly feel a bit ashamed of themselves for not doing ballet instead?
i have no idea if they felt ashamed or not, but they certainly didn't take the development and refinement of social dance music seriously as a worthy pursuit on which to spend a lot of time and energy, largely because of these all pervasive attitudes.

Except the various historic types of ballroom dancing, which the European upper classes have engaged in enthusiastically since the year dot.
Lets not forget what we are talking about here: the origins of Techno. If you think Techno has just as much to do with ballroom music as it does various percussion traditions in Africa... :D :D :D
 
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Simon78

Well-known member
Were there festivals where people gathered and danced all night to repetitive music, and seen as perfectly respectable doing so, in England prior to 1910 when Jazz and Swing arrived?

Was there a thriving dance music culture in England prior to 1910?
"Stonehenge was built as a dance arena for prehistoric "samba-style" raves"

"This would be at a tempo of about 160 beats per minute, a fast tempo. It is interesting that this is the tempo of fast trance music, of samba"

Must be true, it was on NBC http://www.nbcnews.com/id/28540927/#.U3zS-C_5eyw

I'm sort of thinking they invented Juke you know? :D Anyway Lot's of LOLs in this thread. Thanks
 

zhao

there are no accidents
"Stonehenge was built as a dance arena for prehistoric "samba-style" raves"
That's quite possible. the Ancient Celts and other earlier cultures may well have had advanced rhythm technology.

But enough remnants or traces of these musical and dance cultures most certainly has not survived enough to significantly influence, or indeed be recognized as part of what people generally refer to as "European Cultures".
 

zhao

there are no accidents
To be fair, there is certain strands of techno deep in Bavaria in Southern Germany which are probably more derived from Polka than anything else.

but i wish there wasn't LOLOLOL :D
 
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