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Re: Music-conlangs & music

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Thursday, July 6, 2006, 0:34

On 7/5/06, Hanuman Zhang <zhang@...> wrote:
> > on 7/5/06 10:27 AM, Patrick Littell at puchitao@GMAIL.COM wrote: > > > On a slightly different topic, has anyone put together a purely rhythmic > language? For beings, earthling or otherwise, that communicate by drumming > on things? (Not just a drum-version of a spoken language, but one designed > from the ground up to be purely percussive?) > > > I think that in some rather diverse West African tribes the use of "talking > drums" are used to communicate much like the ol' much clichéd Native > American "smoke signals."
As I understand it, the "talking drums" imitate the tonal contours of a handful of useful phrases (most if not all of the languages of West Africa being tonal); these drummed phrases have become conventionalized. Anything like a real conversation isn't possible, if this is correct. I'll be happy to be corrected, if anyone has more detailed information. I've always thought that this was an interesting thing (along with the whistled language of the Mazateco which also imitates tonal contours). Dirk


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>