How is African music incorporated into other African traditions? What different parts of Africa have different genres of music? Relation?

By: Lila Happel

African culture is very diverse and has many different branches, but music plays an important role in the roots of Africa. There are many different groups throughout Africa with different customs, however their music bears similar characteristics. Fore example, people sing to celebrate weddings and births, hunting songs and work songs (typically hoeing and threshing), and they sing and pray for good weather and bountiful harvest, as these are all major factors and tributes to overall African culture. These songs primarily include dancing as well.

As well as percussion instruments (like the lamellophone), African culture incorporates stringed instruments and wind instruments. With string instruments, sound is produced by the vibration of the strings. One stringed instrument in particular is called the musical bowl. It is an important instrument among the San and the Nguni (this includes the Xhosa and the Zulu) peoples. The instrument itself consists of a string made out of either rope, gut or stretched out skin that is located between both ends of a bendable stick. It is played by either plucking or striking the string with the musicians fingers.

Moving on, wind instruments create sound by the musician producing air. Traditional wind instruments are primarily made/carved out of animal horns, tusks, wood, reeds, bamboo and shells. In some modern day music, the flute, trumpet, clarinet and whistle are popular wind instruments. More complex instruments include: lutes, harps, lyres and pluri arcs. The oldest pluri arc was found in Southwest Africa.

In conclusion, African music has influenced and incorporated itself into many different African traditions.


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