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Arts and culture

Grade 6

Expression and communication

Module 5

Music: to identify rituals

Activity 1:

To identify rituals

[lo 4.4]

All cultures in the world practise some or other form of religion through religious ceremonies.

Choose a ritual that plays an important role in your religion. Then complete the questionnaire below. Thereafter it will be possible to determine which elements are usually present in religious rituals.

RITUAL: YES NO Majority of classYes/No
Is music involved?
Is movement involved?
Is dancing involved?
Is singing involved?
Are the words of the song important?
Is the singing mainly solo?
Is it mainly community singing?
Are there any elements that contribute to the atmosphere? (candles)
Does sharing play a role? (e.g. wine, bread)
Are symbols involved? (e.g. water)
Do you think an individual can perform a ritual?

Activity 2:

To identify symbolism in rituals

[lo 4.4]

What is symbolism?

Symbolism plays a major role in rituals.

Think of the ritual of greeting

  • The shaking of hands is only a symbol . It creates a bond between the two persons and symbolises (indicates, means) friendship.
  • Another example where water is used as symbol: The Hatsiatsia (Pronounced: Hat-cha-cha)

The Hatsiatsia, a ritual (ceremony) from Ghana, is performed on the first Sunday of each month. The people form a large circle with a bucket of holy water in the centre of the circle. While dancing slowly around the bucket, they all get a chance to dip their hands into the bucket to wipe their faces with the water. The water is used as a symbol of forgiving and forgetting (washing away) and discord between friends and family during the past month. The music is played on metal gongs.

  1. What is the symbolism of water in your religion?
  2. Why do you think the words in the singing are important in a ritual?
  3. What do think is the symbolism of communal singing in a ritual?

Activity 3:

To investigate the role of music in rituals

[lo 4.4]


Music plays an important role in rituals. Certain kinds of music is associated with certain rituals.

  • Listen to the music examples.
  • Indicate which of the rituals listed below can be linked to the music.
  • Draw any symbol that you would associate with these rituals.
School meeting Wedding National holiday Sporting event

The role of music in rituals

Investigate the music

  • A Sporting ritual

Complete the following with regard to the music in a sporting ritual, e.g. in a rugby or soccer match between South Africa and England:

Which bond is formed?

What message is conveyed?

Describe the emotions experienced?

Describe the atmosphere that is created:

A School ritual

Complete the following with regard to the music in a school ritual:

Which bond is formed?

What message is conveyed?

Describe the emotions experienced:

Describe the atmosphere that is created:

  • A religious ritual

S tep 1

Read the following, first in English and then in Xhosa:

S tep 2

The class divides into groups and each group does what the teacher asks them to do.

Choose the correct term and mark your choice clearly:

  • Repetition / imitation / call and response means the same pattern is repeated by the same voice.
  • Repetition / imitation / call and response means the same pattern is repeated by another voice.
  • Repetition / imitation / call and response means two different voices follow one another with different patterns.

S tep 3

MASITHI is also known as “The Great Amen”.

Stephen Molefe (a teacher) composed this Xhosa song.

In many religions there is usually a prayer of thanksgiving at the end of the public worshipping. The whole congregation joins the minister at the end of the prayer of thanksgiving with this hymn. The words are : Let us say: Amen, We praise Thee

S tep 4

Sing the song.

S tep 5

Complete the following by choosing the right word.

atmosphere call and answer message bond repetition thankfulness
  1. The congregation joins the minister in the final hymn. There is therefore a

_________________________between the congregation and the minister.

  1. The words convey a_________________, which is “We praise Thee” (belief).
  2. A sacred _________________ is created.
  3. The emotion experienced is that of ____________________________________
  4. Features of this song: ____________and_______________________________


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 4
EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION The learner is able to analyse and use multiple forms of communication and expression in Arts and Culture.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
MUSIC (4.4)
  • researches, creates and presents music that conveys and suggests the symbolism of ritual.
DRAMA (4.2, 4.3)
  • dramatises a cultural ritual (religious ceremony or social celebration) showing the use of the elements of drama (e.g. patterns, repetition, sequence); and
  • explains the importance of this ritual for the people who participate in it.
DANCE (4.1)
  • finds out, tries out and explains a song-dance ritual (e.g. snake dance, reed dance, stick dance), referring to its purpose and structure patterns, repetition and sequence.
VISUAL ARTS (4.5, 4.6)
  • demonstrates and describes the use of various artefacts in cultural rituals; and
  • researches murals in the community as a form of visual communication in relation to:
  • the intended message;
  • target group;
  • techniques;
  • appropriate materials; and
  • symbols and signs.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Arts and culture grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11007/1.1
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