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| | |-+  How Bata Drums Talk and What they Say
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Author Topic: How Bata Drums Talk and What they Say  (Read 8423 times)
Oshun_Auset
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« on: October 14, 2004, 07:52:12 AM »

How Bata Drums Talk and What they Say



The bata drums speak. Not in a metaphorical sense, but they really can be used to speak the Yoruba language, and have been used traditionally to recite prayers, religious poetry, greetings, announcements, praises for leaders, and even jokes or teasing.
How Bata Talk
The Yoruba language, the mother tongue of over 10 million people, is a tonal language, like Chinese and many African languages. Yoruba speakers use three basic tones, or pitches, and glides between them, as an essential part of how words are pronounced. Since tone is a critical part of meaning, the same word pronounced with a different melody means something entirely different.

In fact, tone is such an important part of meaning that a fluent speaker can recognize and understand spoken Yoruba from the pitches alone, without hearing the spoken consonants and vowels, especially if they know the context and are listening to a familiar text, such as a common phrase or prayer. This is how the hourglass-shaped "talking drums" (called dundun in Yoruba) are able to speak Yoruba praises and sayings. This is also how bata and other drums can talk.


http://www.batadrums.com/understanding_rhythms/talk.htm
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