It may seem strange that we're discussing music from a Broadway production in this class, "The Lion King" especially, since it's based on a popular Hollywood movie. I mean music preformed for Broadway theater in the heart of New York city surely would seem to be in the western tradition of popular music and not have much in common with the music we have been studying in this course, such as gamelan music of Indonesia, or Zulu chants of South Africa, music that developed outside the western tradition of Europe and America. But in fact, musicians have a long-standing tradition of borrowing front one another's cultures. And this production's director intentionally included both western and non-western music. That way, some of the rhythms, instrument, and harmonies typical of non-western music contrast with and complement popular music more familiar to audiences in North America and Europe, music like rock, jazz or Broadway style show tunes. So I want to spend the rest of this class and most of the next one on the music from the show "The Lion King" as a way of summarizing some of the technical distinctions between typical western music and the non-western music that we've been studying. Now the African influence on the music is clear. The story takes place in Africa. So the director got a South African composer to write songs with a distinctly African sound. And the songs even include words from African languages. But we'll get back to the African influence later. First let's turn to the music that was written for the shadow puppet scenes in "The Lion King", music based on the Indonesian music used in the shadow puppet theater of that region
In ancient times, many people believed the earth was a flat disc. Well over 2,000 years ago; the ancient Greek philosophers were able to put forward two good arguments proving that it was not. Direct observations of heavenly bodies were the basis of both these arguments. First, the Greeks knew that during eclipses of the moon the earth was between the sun and the moon, and they saw that during these eclipses, the earth's shadow on the moon was always round, they realized that this could be true only if the earth was spherical, It the earth was a flat disc, then its shadow during eclipses would not be a prefect circle; it would be stretched out into a long ellipse. The second argument was based on what the Greeks saw during their travels. They noticed that the North Star, or Polaris, appeared lower in the sky when they traveled south, in the more northerly regions, the North Star appeared to them to be much higher in the sky. By the way, it was also from this difference in the apparent position of the North Star that the Greeks first calculated the approximate distance around the circumference of the earth, a figure recorded in ancient documents says 400.000 stadium, that's the plural of the world stadium. Today, it's not known exactly what length one stadium represents, but let's say it was about 200 meters, the length of many athletic stadiums. This would make the Greek's estimate about twice the figure accepted today, a very good estimate for those writing so long before even the first telescope was invented.