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Given the vastness of the
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...

African
continent, its music is diverse, with
regions In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wor ...
and
nations A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of observation ...
having many distinct
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
al traditions. African music includes the genres Jùjú,
FujiFuji may refer to: Places China * Fuji, Xiangcheng City (付集镇), town in Xiangcheng City Xiangcheng () is a county-level city in Zhoukou, Henan, People's Republic of China. It borders Shenqiu to the east, Shangcai to the west, Huaiyang County, ...
,
Highlife Highlife is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...
,
Makossa Makossa is a Cameroonian style of urban music. Like much other late 20th century music of Sub-Saharan Africa, it uses strong electric bass rhythms and prominent brass instrument, brass. In the 1980s makossa had a wave of mainstream success across ...
,
Kizomba Kizomba is a genre of dance and a musical genre originating in Angola in 1984. Kizomba means "party" in Kimbundu, a Bantu language spoken by Ambundu in Angola. The word kizomba is also used as an umbrella-expression to include several other danc ...
,
Afrobeat Afrobeat is a music genre which involves the combination of elements of West African musical styles such as fuji music and highlife with American jazz and later soul music, soul and funk influences, with a focus on chanted vocals, complex interse ...
and others. The music and dance of the
African diaspora The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas. The term is most commonly refers to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were ...

African diaspora
, formed to varying degrees on African musical traditions, include American music like
Dixieland Dixieland, sometimes referred to as traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. The 1917 recordings by the Original Dixieland Jass Band (which shortly thereafter changed ...

Dixieland
, the
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, old-time, and bluegrass and many
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
genres, such as
calypso Calypso refers to: *Calypso (mythology), a nymph who, famously in Homer's ''Odyssey'', kept Odysseus with her on her island of Ogygia for seven years. *Calypso (nymphs), other nymphs called Calypso. Calypso may also refer to: Places *Calypso ...
(see
kaiso Kaiso is a type of music popular in Trinidad and Tobago, and other countries, especially of the Caribbean, such as Grenada, Belize, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica, which originated in West Africa particularly among the Efik people, Efik and Ibi ...
) and
soca Soca or SOCA may refer to: Places * Soča, a river in Slovenia and Italy * Soča, Bovec, Slovenia * Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport, by ICAO code * Soca, a village in Banloc Commune, Timiș County, Romania * Southern California, SoCa, Southern C ...
.
Latin American music The music of Latin America refers to music originating from Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , et ...
genres such as
zouk Zouk is a musical movement pioneered by the French Antillean band Kassav' Kassav' is a French Caribbean band formed in Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Gwadloup, ) is an archipelago and Overseas departments and re ...
, bomba,
conga The conga, also known as tumbadora, is a tall, narrow, single-headed drum from Cuba. Congas are stave (wood), staved like barrels and classified into three types: quinto (drum), quinto (lead drum, highest), tres dos or tres golpes (middle), and ...
,
rumba The term rumba may refer to a variety of unrelated music styles. Originally, "rumba" was used as a synonym for "party" in northern Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country compri ...
,
son cubano Son cubano is a genre of music and dance that originated in the highlands of Oriente Province, eastern Cuba during the late 19th century. It is a Syncretism, syncretic genre that blends elements of Spanish and African origin. Among its fundament ...
,
salsa music Salsa music is a style of Latin American music The music of Latin America refers to music originating from Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , ...
,
cumbia Cumbia refers to a number of musical rhythms and folk dance traditions of Latin America Latin America is the portion of the Americas comprising countries and regions where Romance languages—languages that derived from Latin—such as Spanish la ...

cumbia
and
samba Samba (), also known as samba urbano carioca (''urban Carioca samba'') or simply samba carioca (''Carioca samba'') is a Brazilian music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the ...

samba
, were founded on the music of
enslaved Africans The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved List of ethnic groups of Africa, African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regular ...
, and have in turn influenced
African popular music African popular music (also styled Afropop, Afro-pop or Afro pop), like African traditional music, is vast and varied. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Many genres of pop ...
. Like the music of Asia, India and the Middle East, it is a highly rhythmic music. The complex rhythmic patterns often involving one rhythm played against another to create a
polyrhythm s over Tuplet, duplets in all four beat (music), beatsSlenczynska (1976). ''Music At Your Fingertips: Advice For The Artist And Amateur On Playing The Piano'', p. 43. . Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not rea ...

polyrhythm
. The most common polyrhythm plays three beats on top of two, like a triplet played against straight notes.
Sub-Saharan African music traditions In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the use of music is not limited to entertainment: it serves a purpose to the local community and helps in the conduct of daily routines. Traditional African music supplies appropriate music and dance for work ...
frequently rely on percussion instruments of many varieties, including
xylophone The xylophone (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek words —, "wood" + —, "sound, voice", literally meaning "sound of wood") is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by Percussion mallet, ...

xylophone
s,
djembe A djembe or jembe ( ; from Maninka language, Malinke ''jembe'' , N'Ko script, N'Ko: ) is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe ...

djembe
s,
drums The drum is a member of the percussion A percussion instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be consid ...

drums
, and tone-producing instruments such as the
mbira Mbira (pronounced ''m-BEE-ra'' , ) are a family of musical instruments, traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They consist of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal Tine (structural), tines, played by ...
or "thumb piano." Another distinguishing form of African music is its
call-and-response Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, where it falls under the general category of ...
nature: one voice or instrument plays a short melodic phrase, and that phrase is echoed by another voice or instrument. The call-and-response nature extends to the rhythm, where one drum will play a rhythmic pattern, echoed by another drum playing the same pattern. African music is also highly improvised. A core rhythmic pattern is typically played, with drummers then improvising new patterns over the static original patterns. Traditional music in most of the continent is passed down orally (or aurally) and is not written. There are subtle differences in pitch and intonation that do not easily translate to Western notation. African music most closely adheres to Western tetratonic (four-note),
pentatonic A pentatonic scale is a musical scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), se ...
(five-note),
hexatonicIn music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social ...
(six-note), and
heptatonicA heptatonic scale is a musical scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), set of poi ...
(seven-note) scales. Harmonization of the melody is accomplished by singing in parallel thirds, fourths, or fifths (see
Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony is a music theory of harmony in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan African music traditions, music based on the principles of homophonic parallel harmony, parallelism (chords based around a lea ...
). Music is important to religion in Africa, where rituals and religious ceremonies use music to pass down stories from generation to generation as well as to sing and dance to.


Music by regions


North Africa and the Horn of Africa

North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
is the seat of
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
and
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
, civilizations with strong ties to the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and s ...
and which influenced the
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and Roman cultures. Eventually,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
fell under Persian rule followed by
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and Roman rule, while Carthage was later ruled by
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
and
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
. North Africa was later conquered by
the Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world. In modern usage the term refers to ...
, who established the region as the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
of the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab world
. Like the musical genres of the
Nile Valley The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubi ...

Nile Valley
and the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
''(sky-blue and dark green region on map)'', its music has close ties with
Middle Eastern musicMiddle Eastern music refers to different various music styles that span across the Middle East. The various nations of the region include the List of countries where Arabic is an official language, Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East, the Ir ...
and utilizes similar melodic
modes Mode ( la, modus meaning "manner, tune, measure, due measure, rhythm, melody") may refer to: Language * Grammatical mode or grammatical mood, a category of verbal inflections that expresses an attitude of mind ** Imperative mood ** Subjunctive mo ...
(''maqamat''). North African music has a considerable range, from the music of ancient Egypt to the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
and the
Tuareg music Berber music refers to the musical traditions of the Berbers, an ethnic group native to the Maghreb, as well as parts of the Sahara, Nile Valley, West Africa. Berber music varies widely across North-West Africa and some of the best known varieties c ...
of the desert nomads. The region's art music has for centuries followed the outline of
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...
and
Andalusian classical music Andalusian classical music ( ar, طرب أندلسي, ṭarab ʾandalusī; es, música andalusí) or Andalusi music is a genre of music originally developed in al-Andalus by the Native Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practi ...
: its popular contemporary genres include the Algerian
Raï Raï (, ; ar, راي), sometimes written rai, is a form of Algerian traditional music, folk music that dates back to the 1920s. Singers of Raï are called ''cheb'' (Arabic: شاب) (or ''shabab,'' i.e. young) as opposed to ''sheikh'' (Arabic: ...
. With these may be grouped the music of Sudan and of the Horn of Africa, including the
music of Eritrea The music of the State of Eritrea is a diverse mix of traditional and popular styles originating from ancient to modern times. The nine major ethnic groups of Eritrea—Afar, Bilen, Hedareb, Kunama, Nara, Rashaida, Saho, Tigre and Tigrinya—celebr ...
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...
,
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsu ...
and
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...
. Somali music is typically
pentatonic A pentatonic scale is a musical scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), se ...
, using five pitches per
octave In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated co ...

octave
in contrast to a
heptatonicA heptatonic scale is a musical scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), set of poi ...
(seven note) scale such as the
major scale The major scale (or Ionian mode Ionian mode is a Mode (music), musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale also called the major scale. It is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new Gregorian mode#Authentic mode, authent ...

major scale
. The music of the Ethiopian highlands uses a fundamental modal system called ''
qenet Kignit or qenet ( amh, ቅኝት) is a mode (music), mode in the music of Ethiopia, particularly that of the Amhara people in the Ethiopian highlands. There are four main kignit that are used, all of which are pentatonic: tizita (ትዝታ), bati m ...
'', of which there are four main modes: ''tezeta'', ''bati'', ''
ambassel Ambassel (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic languages, Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic languages, Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken as a first lang ...

ambassel
'', and ''anchihoy''. Three additional modes are variations on the above: tezeta minor, bati major, and bati minor.
Abatte Barihun Abatte Barihun ( he, אבטה בריהון, born 1967) is an Israeli jazz saxophonist and composer. His sound is reminiscent of John Coltrane's, who has highly influenced Barihun. Early life and career (1967–1999) Barihun was born in Addis Aba ...
, liner notes of the album Ras Deshen, 200.
Some songs take the name of their qenet, such as
tizita Tizita ( am, ትዝታ; en, memory, "nostalgia" or "longing") is a music genre in Ethiopia and Eritrea consisting of ballad form. It can refer to the ''qenet'', musical mode, used in such songs. Western culture, Western sources often compare tizit ...
, a song of reminiscence.


West, Central, Southeast and South Africa

The
ethnomusicological Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that emphasize cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dim ...
pioneer
Arthur Morris Jones Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980), was a missionary A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education Education is the process of facilitating ...
(1889–1980) observed that the shared rhythmic principles of
Sub-Saharan African music traditions In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the use of music is not limited to entertainment: it serves a purpose to the local community and helps in the conduct of daily routines. Traditional African music supplies appropriate music and dance for work ...
constitute ''one main system''.Jones, A. M. (1959). ''Studies in African Music''. London: Oxford University Press. 1978 edition: . Similarly, master drummer and scholar C. K. Ladzekpo affirms the "profound homogeneity" of Sub-Saharan African rhythmic principles. African
traditional music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and t ...

traditional music
is frequently functional in nature. Performances may be long and often involve the participation of the audience.''GCSE Music – Edexcel Areas of Study'', Coordination Group Publications, UK, 2006, p. 36. There are, for example, specialised
work song A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a form of work, either sung while conducting a task (usually to coordinate timing) or a song linked to a task which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song. Definitions and c ...
s, songs accompanying
childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produc ...

childbirth
,
marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...

marriage
,
hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism ...

hunting
and political activities, music to ward off evil spirits and to pay respects to good spirits, the dead and the ancestors. None of this is performed outside its intended social context and much of it is associated with a particular dance. Some of it, performed by professional musicians, is sacral music or ceremonial and courtly music performed at royal courts. Musicologically, Sub-Saharan Africa may be divided into four regions: * The eastern region ''(light green regions on map)'' includes the music of Uganda,
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...
,
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's b ...
,
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is ...
,
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-larges ...
,
Malawi Malawi (; or aláwi, officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of ...
,
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...
and
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...
as well as the islands of Music of Madagascar, Madagascar, Music of the Seychelles, the Seychelles, Music of Mauritius, Mauritius and Comorian music, Comor. Many of these have been influenced by Arabic music and also by the music of India, Music of Indonesia, Indonesia and music of Polynesia, Polynesia, though the region's indigenous musical traditions are primarily in the mainstream of the sub-Saharan Niger–Congo language, Niger–Congo-speaking peoples. * The southern region ''(brown region on map)'' includes the music of South Africa, Music of Lesotho, Lesotho, Music of Swaziland, Swaziland, Music of Botswana, Botswana, Music of Namibia, Namibia and Music of Angola, Angola. * The central region ''(dark blue region on map)'' includes the music of Chad, Music of the Central African Republic, the Central African Republic, Music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Music of Zambia, Zambia, including Pygmy music. * West African music ''(yellow region on map)'' includes the music of Senegal and Music of The Gambia, the Gambia, of Music of Guinea, Guinea and Music of Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, Music of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone and Music of Liberia, Liberia, of the inland plains of Music of Mali, Mali, Music of Niger, Niger and Music of Burkina Faso, Burkina Faso, the coastal nations of Music of Cote d'Ivoire, Cote d'Ivoire, Music of Ghana, Ghana, Music of Togo, Togo, Music of Benin, Benin, Music of Nigeria, Nigeria, Music of Cameroon, Cameroon, Music of Gabon, Gabon and Music of the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo as well as islands such as Music of Sao Tome and Principe, Sao Tome and Principe. Southern Africa, Southern, Central Africa, Central and West Africa are similarly in the broad Sub-Saharan musical tradition. They also have several ancillary influences, from the Islamic world, Muslim regions of Africa, and in modern times, the Americas and Western Europe. Afrobeat, Juju, Fuji, Highlife, Makossa, and Kizomba are performed in West Africa. West African music has regional variations, with Muslim regions incorporating elements of Islamic music and non-Muslim regions more influenced by indigenous traditions, according to the historian Sylviane Diouf and ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik. According to Diouf, traditional Muslim West African Music incorporates elements of the Adhan, Islamic call to prayer (originating from Bilal ibn Rabah, an Abyssinian people, Abyssinian Islam in Africa, African Muslim in the early 7th century), including lyrics praising God, melody, note changes, "words that seem to quiver and shake" in the vocal chords, dramatic changes in musical scales, and nasal Intonation (music), intonation. According to Kubik, the vocal style of Muslim West African singers "using melisma, wavy intonation, and so forth is a heritage of that large region of West Africa that had been in contact with the Arabic world, Arabic-Islamic world of the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
since the seventh and eighth centuries." In terms of instrumentation, Kubik notes that stringed instruments (including ancestors of the banjo) were traditionally favored by Muslim West Africans, while drumming was traditionally favored by non-Muslim West Africans.


Musical instruments

Besides vocalisation, which uses various techniques such as complex hard melisma and yodel, a wide array of musical instruments are also used. African musical instruments include a wide range of drum (musical instrument), drums, slit gongs, Rattle (percussion instrument), rattles and double bells, different types of harps, and harp-like instruments such as the Kora (instrument), Kora and the Ngoni (instrument), ngoni, as well as fiddles, many kinds of
xylophone The xylophone (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek words —, "wood" + —, "sound, voice", literally meaning "sound of wood") is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by Percussion mallet, ...

xylophone
and lamellophone such as the
mbira Mbira (pronounced ''m-BEE-ra'' , ) are a family of musical instruments, traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They consist of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal Tine (structural), tines, played by ...
, and different types of wind instrument like flutes and trumpets. Additionally, string instruments are also used, with the lute-like oud and Ngoni (instrument), Ngoni serving as musical accompaniment in some areas. There are five groups of Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan African musical instruments: membranophones, chordophones, aerophones, idiophones, and 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. Drums used in African traditional music include talking drums, bougarabou and
djembe A djembe or jembe ( ; from Maninka language, Malinke ''jembe'' , N'Ko script, N'Ko: ) is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe ...

djembe
in West Africa, water drums in Central Africa, Central and West Africa, and the different types of ngoma drums (or engoma) in Central and Southern Africa. Other percussion instruments include many Rattle (percussion instrument), rattles and Shaker (musical instrument), shakers, such as the Kashaka, kosika (kashaka), rain stick, bells and wood sticks. Also, Africa has many other types of drums, and many flutes and stringed and wind instruments. The playing of
polyrhythm s over Tuplet, duplets in all four beat (music), beatsSlenczynska (1976). ''Music At Your Fingertips: Advice For The Artist And Amateur On Playing The Piano'', p. 43. . Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not rea ...

polyrhythm
s is one of the most universal characteristics of Sub-Saharan music, in contrast to polyphony in Western music. Several uniquely designed instruments have evolved there over time to facilitate the playing of simultaneous contrasting rhythms. The
mbira Mbira (pronounced ''m-BEE-ra'' , ) are a family of musical instruments, traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They consist of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal Tine (structural), tines, played by ...
, kalimba, Kora (instrument), Kora, Ngoni (instrument), Ngoni and dousn'gouni are examples of these instruments which organize notes not in the usual single linear order from bass to treble, but in two separated rank arrays which allows additional ease in playing cross rhythms. The continuing influence of this principle can be seen in the 20th century American instruments the gravi-kora and gravikord which are new modern examples.


Relationship to language

Many Languages of Africa, languages spoken in Africa are tonal languages, leading to a close connection between music and language in some local cultures. These particular communities use vocal sounds and movements with their music as well. In singing, the tonal pattern or the text puts some constraints on the melodic patterns. On the other hand, in instrumental music a native speaker of a language can often perceive a text or texts in the music. This effect also forms the basis of drum (communication), drum languages (talking drums).


Influences on African music

Historically, several factors have influenced the Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony, traditional music of Africa. The music has been influenced by language, the environment, a variety of cultures, politics, and population movement, all of which are intermingled. Each African group evolved in a different area of the continent, which means that they ate different foods, faced different weather conditions, and came in contact with different groups than other societies did. Each group moved at different rates and to different places than others, and thus each was influenced by different people and circumstances. Furthermore, each society did not necessarily operate under the same government, which also significantly influenced their music styles.


Influence on North American music

African music has been a major factor in the shaping of what we know today as
Dixieland Dixieland, sometimes referred to as traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. The 1917 recordings by the Original Dixieland Jass Band (which shortly thereafter changed ...

Dixieland
, the
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
, and
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
. These styles have all borrowed from African rhythms and sounds, brought over the Atlantic Ocean by enslaved Africans. African music in Sub-Saharan Africa is mostly upbeat
polyrhythm s over Tuplet, duplets in all four beat (music), beatsSlenczynska (1976). ''Music At Your Fingertips: Advice For The Artist And Amateur On Playing The Piano'', p. 43. . Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not rea ...

polyrhythm
ic and joyful, whereas the blues should be viewed as an aesthetic development resulting from the conditions of slavery in the new world. The blues has likely evolved as a fusion of an African blue note scale with European Chromatic scale, twelve tone musical instruments. The musical traditions of the Irish and Scottish settlers merged with African-American musical elements to become old-time and bluegrass, among other genres. On his album ''Graceland (album), Graceland'', the American folk musician Paul Simon employs African bands, rhythms and melodies as a musical backdrop for his own lyrics; especially Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In the early 1970s, Remi Kabaka, an Afro-rock avant-garde drummer, laid the initial drum patterns that created the Afro-rock sounds in bands such as Ginger Baker's Ginger Baker's Air Force, Airforce, The Rolling Stones, and Steve Winwood's Traffic (band), Traffic. He continued to work with Winwood, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger throughout the decade. Certain Sub-Saharan African musical traditions also had a significant influence on such works as Disney's ''The Lion King'' and ''The Lion King II: Simba's Pride'', which blend traditional music with Western music. Songs such as "Circle of Life" and "He Lives in You" combine of Zulu language, Zulu and English lyrics, as well as traditional African styles of music with more modern western styles. Additionally, the Disney film incorporates numerous words from the Bantu languages, Bantu Swahili language. The phrase ''hakuna matata'', for example, is an actual Swahili phrase that does in fact mean "no worries". Characters such as Simba, Kovu, and Zira are also Swahili words, meaning "lion", "scar", and "hate", respectively. Babatunde Olatunji, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela were among the earliest African performing artists to develop sizable fan bases in the United States. Non-commercial African-American radio stations promoted African music as part of their cultural and political missions in the 1960s and 1970s. African music also found eager audiences at Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and appealed particularly to activists in the civil rights and Black Power movements.


Popular music

African popular music, like Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony, African traditional music, is vast and varied. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Many List of popular music genres, genres of popular music, including
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
and African Rumba, rumba, derive to varying degrees from musical traditions from Africa, taken to the Americas by enslaved Africans. These rhythms and sounds have subsequently been adapted by newer genres like Rock music, rock, soul music, and rhythm and blues. Similarly, African popular music has adopted elements, particularly the musical instruments and recording studio techniques of western music. One of the most important 20th century singers of South African popular music was Miriam Makeba, who played a key-role, in the 60s, in drawing global audience's attention to African music and its meaning. Zenzile Miriam Makeba was said to have been one of the most influential and popular musicians of Africa, beginning in the 1950s. She was a part of three bands, including one all-woman band and two others. She performed all types of jazz music, traditional African music, and music that was popular in Western Africa at the time. Miriam played a majority of her music in the form of "Mbube (genre), mbube", which was "a style of vocal harmony which drew on American jazz, ragtime, and Anglican church music, Anglican church hymns, as well as indigenous styles of music." After she moved to the U.S., problems with Makeba's passport occurred and she had to stay in America, it was said that she put an American twist on most of her African music. She had a very diverse scale of her vocal range and could hit almost any note. "The Empress of African Music" died at the age of 76. The Afro-Euro hybrid style, the Cuban son (music), son, has had an influence on certain popular music in Africa. Some of the first guitar bands on the continent played covers of Cuban songs.Roberts, John Storm (1986: cassette) ''Afro-Cuban Comes Home: The Birth and Growth of Congo Music'', Original Music. The early guitar-based bands from the Congo Basin, Congo called their music ''rumba'' (although it was son rather than rumba-based). The Congolese style eventually evolved into what became known as soukous. Kalpop is a music genre that originated in the Klassikan royal communities under Klassik Nation record label. Kalpop is a genre of Klassikan, African, lingual (multicultured), and popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1990s in Kenya and later spread to the United States and the United Kingdom. Kalpop music has found a home to a growing fan base and with a number of locally established as well as emerging Kalpop bands (there are over thirteen active local Kalpop bands in Nairobi alone) further cementing this genre by engaging in different as well as mutually organised Kalpop themed events. DON SANTO, Badman Killa, Blessed Paul, Cash B, Jay Nuclear, Rekless, G-Youts (Washu B and Nicki Mulla), Sleek Whizz, Chizei, are among the many artists playing Kalpop music in Kenya.


Music industry

For African artists, concerts were the one of the few ways to earn in the industry. Piracy and changing consumer behavior are behind declining sales of records. Enforcement of copyright law remains weak in Africa. MusikBi is the first legal music download website in Africa. It does not offer music streaming, streaming and is limited by internet speeds in Africa. African countries (Kenya, Gambia and South Africa) have seen protest over airtime given to American music. In Zimbabwe 75% of airtime has to be given to local music. Protective actions have seen the growth of new genres like Music of Zimbabwe, Urban Grooves emerge in Zimbabwe. In 2016 Sony Music launched in Africa by opening an office in Nigeria. Traditionally services of western major international studios have not been available in Africa, the local demand for their music being met through piracy.


See also

* African heavy metal *
African popular music African popular music (also styled Afropop, Afro-pop or Afro pop), like African traditional music, is vast and varied. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Many genres of pop ...
* Victor Kofi Agawu * Paul Berliner (ethnomusicologist), Paul Berliner * Ian Brennan (music producer) * Clave (rhythm) * Gravikord * International Library of African Music *
Arthur Morris Jones Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980), was a missionary A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education Education is the process of facilitating ...
* Ashenafi Kebede * Gerhard Kubik * List of African guitarists * Mine bengidzakiwe * Polyrhythm * Hugh Tracey *
Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony is a music theory of harmony in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan African music traditions, music based on the principles of homophonic parallel harmony, parallelism (chords based around a lea ...
* World music


References


Further reading

* Joshua Clark Davis
"African Sounds in the American South: Community Radio, Historically Black Colleges, and Musical Pan Africanism,"
The Journal of Popular Music Studies, December 2015 * Graeme Ewens. ''Africa O-Yé: a Celebration of African Music''. 1992, cop. 1991. New York: Da Capo Press. * Ruth M. Stone, ed. ''The Garland handbook of African Music'' 2nd edn, 2008. NY & Oxford: Routledge. (Abridged paperback edition of vol."Africa", vol. 1 of ''The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music'' with additional articles)
Rhythms of the Continent
from the BBC
International Library of African Music
at Rhodes University
Recordings of African music from the British Library's collections


External links


Glossary of African music styles

Historical Notes on African Melodies
*
Lecture on music and politics in contemporary Mali

African music industry can spark billions worth of investments
{{authority control African music,