History Of Music In Africa

History Of Music In Africa


History Of Music In Africa (How it all began) exclusively from Amebo9ja

What we all call African music nowadays has taken a replacement part compared to the standard music in those days.

In the past, African music was entirely  connected to specific ethnic teams. The individual musician, his vogue and creative thinking, have continually  compete a very important role.

Missionaries brought with them Christianity that could be a bit completely different from the standard beliefs. Most African leaders abandoned their ancient practices to follow the freshly introduced  civilisation. This cultural inheritance resulted in a hybrid between African and foreign music, corrupting the original traditional African music. Very rare communities can be said to have retained their original sounds.

Some of the earliest sources on African music are archaeological.


Most of the information about ancient African music is based on archaeological findings. Paintings on rocks are used to identify and date African musical culture.


Written materials by missionaries such as Ibn Batuta also provide some insight into ancient African musical culture. Linguistics and oral literature are also key information sources on African music.


What are some of the musical instruments used by ancient Africans?

  • Tension drums: Otherwise known as Dundun pressure drums, tension drums were quite popular among the Yoruba. The Dundun tension drums are hourglass-shaped and are played with a stick. These pressure drums were perfect to spice up any ceremonial function, hence they were highly regarded. Some ethnic communities in Nigeria still use the drums for events due to their efficiency and glamour.
  • Iron bells: Iron bells were brought by the Kwa speakers to Central Africa. Iron bells come with several variations. The clapperless bells can be played with a stick to produce sounds that rhyme with traditional African music. The single and double bells are also struck to produce sounds for ceremonial purposes. These are the type of sounds usually in burial and divine ceremonies. Iron bells are still used to date.
  • Horns: Horns were extracted from antelopes, elephants, or even roots from trees. Horn blowing is an art that demands a lot of practice. By the number of sounds blown, the hornblower can convey messages that are well known among the community members. By switching between tones fast and repetitively, horns can create rhythms and sounds that can be musical.


Most songs followed a simple formula. The soloist sings a verse or a line, then the other singers respond. This is the tactic was usually used for traditional folk songs. Other ancient songs include;

  • Work songs: Work songs were composed to motivate and provide harmony when cultivating farms.
  • War songs: War songs are generally similar to your typical resistance songs. These are the type of songs that will make you run to a fight without the fear of death. War songs were meant to channel bravery and fearlessness among warriors.

This tactic of calling and responding is still used for writing and singing songs among communities in Nigeria.


Musical instrument(s) is/are any device for producing a musical sound. The principal types of such instruments, classified by the method of producing sound, are percussion, stringed, keyboard, wind, and electronic. In Africa, some of the musical instruments used are the Drums (Different types) Gongs, Rattles and Double Bells.

Also several types of Harps, and harp-like instruments are used, xylophone  and lamellophone and different types of wind instrument like flutes, trumpets and saxophones. The strings instruments like Guitar etc.

There are five groups of Sub-Saharan African musical instruments:

  • Membranophones
  • Chordophones
  • Aerophones
  • Idiophones
  • Percussion.

Membranophones are the drums, including kettles, clay pots, and barrels. Chordophones are stringed instruments like harps and fiddles. Aerophones are another name for wind instruments. These can include flutes and trumpets, similar to the instruments you hear in American music. Idiophones are rattles and shakers, while percussion can be sounds like foot-stomping and hand-clapping. Many of the wooden instruments have shapes or pictures carved out into them to represent ancestry. Some are decorated with feathers or beads.

Music in Africa is very important when it comes to religion. Songs and music are used in rituals and religious ceremonies, to pass down stories from generation to generation, as well as to sing and dance to.


History Of Music In Africa
Slit drum
Double Bell (Agogô)
Kora (instrument)
Talking Drum

History Of Music In Africa

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