ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Music

Koko: 'Yiri'

Updated on September 21, 2016

Koko: 'Yiri'

Revision notes for the Edexcel GCSE Scheme of work

Koko was born in sub-Saharan Africa in a country called Burkina Faso. He always wanted to share music and decided to get his music produced in a studio, producing many songs including 'Yiri'.

Music in sub-Saharan Africa is part of traditional life.

- it is traditionally part of everyday entertainment where everyone will join in singing and dancing

- traditional ceremonies where master drummers play ritual pieces

- passed down by oral tradition - basically word of mouth

Note from the editor:

Not really much to say about this piece! It's a lovely song to listen to and makes me feel like I want to dance! But apart from that, just learn the names of the instruments and the key parts of the piece and you'll be finee!

Key Features

Repetition - repeated sections of music, usually drum rhythms or balafon patterns.

Improvisation - quite normal for lots of drum based music where the lead drummer will control the tempo and who plays. Initially Yiri was improvised but then transcribed so we get to study such different and wonderful pieces!

Polyphonic texture - 2 or more parts play different melodies creating cross rhythms, ect, building the texture.

Call and response - a drummer or singer 'calls' and is responded to by another singer or drummer.


What is it?

MAD T-SHIRT is a tip for remembering musical features by going through 9 key parts of any musical piece.

They are:

Melody, Articulation, Dynamics, Texture, Structure, Harmony (tonality), Instrumentation, Rhythm, Tempo




- Vocal line - this is a simple pentatonic call and response structure

- Repetitions with variations on most ostinati


- Accented rhythms help create cross rhythms and syncopations, making it easy to dance to


- Dynamics are controlled by the number of instruments playing, but all are playing at the same volume


- Monophonic at the start

- Heterophonic when the bass and treble balafons are playing

- Polyphonic sections where one balafon is playing an ostinati and one playing repeated root (Gb) or dominant (Db) notes

- Call and response between the chorus or solo with the balafon or chorus respectively


- Balafon ostinati - in combination these produce complex polyphonic textures

- Drum ostinati - play relentless one-bar pattern

- Vocal line - this is a simple pentatonic call and response structure

- - The piece starts with a monophonic texture with one balafon.

- - Another balafon enters playing hetrophonically an octave lower than the first.

- - Drums enter with a quaver - semi-quaver - semi-quaver rhythm.

- - Vocals join at chorus 1 and the texture changes from heterophonic to call and response.

- - The piece continues to build with variants of the original melody being played as well as some polyphonic sections

Harmony (tonality)

- In the key of Gb major, with improvises in Gb - happy song


- Chorus of singers, Djembe, Large and small talking drums, balafon, and final bell


- Time signatures vary between 4/4 and 3/4

- Cross rhythms in the balafon ostinati along with the drum patterns creates complex polyphonic textures


- Free tempo - help to add emotion, but when the drums enter, the tempo becomes stable


- For all those words you didn't understand and more! -

Djembe - goblet shaped drum

Donno - hour-glass shaped drum

Dundun - double headed drum

Oral tradition - music that is learnt by listening and repeating

Cross rhythms - musical rhythms don't fit together that can add a syncopated feel

Polyrhythmic texture - a texture made of many rhythms

Master drummer - a lead drummer in a group of drummers

Tone language - in some African languages, each tone corresponds to a meaning

Balaphon(e) (balafon(e) - xylophone like instrument

Talking drum - a drum where the pitch can be varied

Vocables - effect using vocals to sing vowel sounds, with no meaning

Heterophonic - like homophony but the musical rhythms are slightly different (one pitch or note value)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      James Jungle Gibsn 3 years ago