Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Matta Zeybegi" by Kismet

"Matta Zeybegi" by Kismet is an amazing piece from the island of Crete off of Greece. It uses many mediterranean instruments like an udu (Aisian flute), guatam (Indian drum), Cajon, Zarb, and bansuri (Greek stringed instruments). It also uses a few more traditional instruments like the bass flute and octobass. I love studying music from different cultures because I hope to go to graduate school to become an ethnomusicologist. While in Greece I got to experience the music first hand. This helps me invision its beats and the dances that accompany them. The piece begins with a steady heartbeat pulse on the guatam. The drum is pitched to 3 different tones which make up the underlying rhythmic pattern that stays constant through the remainder of the piece. Soon after the drums, the flutes begin. They sound improvisatory on a foreign key. This section has many embellishments. After an authentic cadence, the female vocalist enters. She also sounds like she's improvising with embellishments. The flutes and vocalist play back and forth adding complexity in each round until they both begin to play at the same time. The microtones of the two melodic lines leave a haunting and mesmerizing impression on the listener. The steady pulse unites the improvisitory sections of the music. It seems to mimic the trance like dancing of the men who perform this piece. A few scalar passages introduce the start of new sections of music. The dynamics remain as constant as the heartbeat pulse. The intensity of the playing between the two voices creates interest through density and rhythmic variation.

10 comments:

Devin Hurd said...

Nice description. It gives me a sense of what it sounds like and yet makes me insanely curious to hear the specifics of the microtonal content (and "foriegn key").

I wish you well on your path to ethnomusicology.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Is it really improvisatory, or are the melodies fixed in some way? I can see the inclusion of the asian flutes, given the interaction of Turkish and Greek society. But how did the Indian drum get adopted? And what is the purpose of this music? Is it dance music, for storytelling, or something else?

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hello, my name is dani and i play bouzouki, oud and ney: instruments played in Greece and turkey. Please send me a mail to talk about greek and mediterranean music because i am very interested in ethnomusichology too!

parejomartinez@hotmail.com

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