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Alexandre Vieira


The melodic-rhythmic conundrum of African (Diaspora) Music:
Vocal and instrumental interaction in African based music performance

Alexandre Vieira


Approach music as a language in order to understand how these elements (instrument and voice) feed each other and what, within this dialogue, can be understood as a contribution of orality to the creation and structuring of melodic/harmonic discourse.

Locate the origins of this way of making music that go back to ancestral traditions, vocalizations that when combined with the instrument at the time of creation can enrich the way of elaborating the musical phrasing.

The study include different Jazz genres as one potential way of tracking African roots of African American music in the Diaspora. One striking aspect of these genres is the use of vocalities. These are closely interwoven with the musical instrument in the process of creation/improvisation. The way it establishes a strong connection between the mind and the instrument it suggests a potential origin in a deep ancestral heritage of African traditional music which found its ways and expressions throughout all of the African Diaspora. It has had a deep impact on my Jazz experience as well as in Afro-Brazilian popular music.

From my music practice's point of view, the use of vocalities is a very interesting tool for bass players, since it delivers a quite particular sonority. Having said this, I believe that it is a creative experience applicable to all musicians, considering individual differences regarding vocal extension, timbre, musical/artistic context and the way the voice mixes with the instrument.

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