Music of Africa

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The lamellophone thumb piano or mbira, a popular instrument in the African Great Lakes Mbira dzavadzimu.jpg
The lamellophone thumb piano or mbira, a popular instrument in the African Great Lakes

The traditional music of Africa, given the vastness of the continent, is historically ancient, rich and diverse, with different regions and nations of Africa having many distinct musical traditions. 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.

Africa The second largest and second most-populous continent, mostly in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Music form of art using sound and silence

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.

Contents

Traditional music in most of the continent is passed down orally (or aurally) and is not written. In sub-Saharan African music traditions, it frequently relies on percussion instruments of every variety, including xylophones, djembes, drums, and tone-producing instruments such as the mbira or "thumb piano." [1] [2]

Sub-Saharan African music traditions

African music traditions exhibit so many common features that they may in some respects be thought of as constituting a single musical system. While some African music is clearly contemporary-popular music and some is art-music, still a great deal is communal and orally transmitted while still qualifying as a religious or courtly genre.

Xylophone musical instrument of the family of mallets

The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. Each bar is an idiophone tuned to a pitch of a musical scale, whether pentatonic or heptatonic in the case of many African and Asian instruments, diatonic in many western children's instruments, or chromatic for orchestral use.

Djembe rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa

A djembe or jembe 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 comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace."

The music and dance of the African diaspora, formed to varying degrees on African musical traditions, include American music and many Caribbean genres, such as soca, calypso (see kaiso) and zouk. Latin American music genres such as the rumba, conga, bomba, cumbia, salsa and samba were founded on the music of enslaved Africans, and have in turn influenced African popular music. [1]

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native sub-Saharan Africans or people from Sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly in the Americas. Historically, ethnographers, historians, politicians and writers have used the term particularly to refer to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States and Haiti. Some scholars identify "four circulatory phases" of this migration out of Africa. Prior to the Atlantic slave trade, Arab traders took even more slaves from other parts of Africa, selling them to markets in North Africa and the Middle East.

The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish, Scottish and mainland European cultures among others. The country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rhythm and blues, soul, ragtime, hip hop, doo wop, pop, techno, house, folk music, disco, boogaloo, reggaeton, and salsa. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near-global audience.

Soca music is a genre of music that originated within a marginalized subculture in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s, and developed into a range of styles by the 1980s and later. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in the early 1970s in an effort to revive traditional calypso, the popularity of which had been flagging amongst younger generations in Trinidad by the start of the 1970s due to the rise in popularity of reggae from Jamaica and soul and funk from USA. Soca is an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from Latin, cadence, funk and soul.

Like the music of Asia, India and the Middle East, it is a highly rhythmic music. African music consists of complex rhythmic patterns, often involving one rhythm played against another to create a polyrhythm. The most common polyrhythm plays three beats on top of two, like a triplet played against straight notes. Beyond the rhythmic nature of the music, African music differs from Western music in that the various parts of the music do not necessarily combine in a harmonious fashion. African musicians aim to express life, in all its aspects, through the medium of sound. Each instrument or part may represent a particular aspect of life, or a different character; the through-line of each instrument/part matters more than how the different instruments and parts fit together. African music does not have a written tradition; there is little or no written music to study or analyze. This makes it almost impossible to notate the music – especially the melodies and harmonies – using the Western staff. There are subtle differences in pitch and intonation that do not easily translate to Western notation. African music most closely adheres to Western tetratonic (three-notes), pentatonic (five-note), hexatonic (six-note), and heptatonic (seven-note) scales. Harmonization of the melody is accomplished by singing in parallel thirds, fourths, or fifths. Another distinguishing form of African music is its call-and-response 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.

Music by regions

North Africa and the Horn of Africa

North Africa is the seat of ancient Egypt and Carthage, civilizations with strong ties to the ancient Near East and which influenced the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Eventually, Egypt fell under Persian rule followed by Greek and Roman rule, while Carthage was later ruled by Romans and Vandals. North Africa was later conquered by the Arabs, who established the region as the Maghreb of the Arab world.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North 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 the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.

Carthage archaeological site in Tunisia

Carthage was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. Carthage was widely considered the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and was arguably one of the most affluent cities of the Ancient World.

Aar Maanta performing with his band at Pier Scheveningen Strandweg in The Hague, Netherlands Aar maanta.jpg
Aar Maanta performing with his band at Pier Scheveningen Strandweg in The Hague, Netherlands

Like the musical genres of the Nile Valley and the Horn of Africa (sky-blue and dark green region on map), [3] its music has close ties with Middle Eastern music and utilizes similar melodic modes (maqamat). [4] North African music has a considerable range, from the music of ancient Egypt to the Berber and the Tuareg music of the desert nomads. The region's art music has for centuries followed the outline of Arabic and Andalusian classical music: its popular contemporary genres include the Algerian Raï.

Horn of Africa peninsula in Northeast Africa

The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in Northeast Africa. It extends hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent. Referred to in ancient and medieval times as the land of the Barbara and Habesha, the Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Middle Eastern music spans across a vast region, from Morocco to Iran. The various nations of the region include the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the Iranian traditions of Persia, the Hebrew music of Israel and the diaspora, Armenian music, the varied traditions of Cypriot music, the music of Turkey, traditional Assyrian music, Berbers of North Africa, Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the Andalusian music very much alive in North Africa, all maintain their own traditions. It is widely regarded that some Middle-Eastern musical styles have influenced India, as well as Central Asia, Spain, and the Balkans.

In the theory of Western music, a mode is a type of musical scale coupled with a set of characteristic melodic behaviors. Musical modes have been a part of western musical thought since the Middle Ages, and were inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music. The name mode derives from the Latin word modus, "measure, standard, manner, way, size, limit of quantity, method".

With these may be grouped the music of Sudan and of the Horn of Africa, including the music of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Somali music is typically pentatonic, using five pitches per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale. [3] The music of the Ethiopian highlands uses a fundamental modal system called qenet , of which there are four main modes: tezeta, bati, ambassel , and anchihoy. [5] Three additional modes are variations on the above: tezeta minor, bati major, and bati minor. [6] Some songs take the name of their qenet, such as tizita, a song of reminiscence. [5]

Sudan has a rich and unique musical culture that has been through chronic instability and repression during the modern history of Sudan.


Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa. Its music is distinguished by its unique rhythm.

The music of Ethiopia is extremely diverse, with each of Ethiopia's ethnic groups being associated with unique sounds.

West, Central, Southeast and South Africa

The ethnomusicological pioneer Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980) observed that the shared rhythmic principles of Sub-Saharan African music traditions constitute one main system. [7] Similarly, master drummer and scholar C. K. Ladzekpo affirms the "profound homogeneity" of sub-Saharan African rhythmic principles. [8]

African traditional music is frequently functional in nature. Performances may be long and often involve the participation of the audience. [9] There are, for example, little different kinds of work songs, songs accompanying childbirth, marriage, 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 socialess 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: [7]

Southern, Central and West Africa are similarly in the broad Sub-Saharan musical tradition. They also have several ancillary influences, from the Muslim regions of Africa, and in modern times, the Americas and Western Europe.

Azande song from the Congo performed with xylophone.

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. [10] According to Diouf, traditional Muslim West African Music incorporates elements of the Islamic call to prayer (originating from Bilal ibn Rabah, an Abyssinian 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. 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-Islamic world of the 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. [10]

Musical instruments

Algerian musician Abderrahmane Abdelli playing the oud Abderrahmane Abdelli.jpg
Algerian musician Abderrahmane Abdelli playing the oud

Besides vocalisation, which uses various techniques such as complex hard melisma and yodel, a wide array of musical instruments are used. African musical instruments include a wide range of drums, slit gongs, rattles and double bells, different types of harps, and harp-like instruments such as the Kora and the ngoni, as well as fiddles, many kinds of xylophone and lamellophone such as the mbira, and different types of wind instrument like flutes and trumpets. Additionally, string instruments are also used, with the lute-like oud and Ngoni serving as musical accompaniment in some areas.

There are five groups of 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. [11] Many of the wooden instruments have shapes or pictures carved out into them to represent ancestry. Some are decorated with feathers or beads. [11]

Drums used in African traditional music include talking drums, bougarabou and djembe in West Africa, water drums in Central and West Africa, and the different types of ngoma drums (or engoma) in Central and Southern Africa. Other percussion instruments include many rattles and shakers, such as the kosika (kashaka), rain stick, bells and wood sticks. Also, Africa has lots of other types of drums, and lots of flutes, and lots of stringed and wind instruments.

The playing of polyrhythms is one of the most universal characteristics of Sub-Sarahan 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, kalimba, Kora, 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 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 languages (talking drums). [12]

Influences on African music

Traditional drummers in Ghana Drumming (7250728078).jpg
Traditional drummers in Ghana

Historically, several factors have influenced the 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. [13]

Influence on North American music

Although African American music is widely known and loved, and much popular North American music emerged from it, White American music also has strong African roots. The musical traditions of the Irish and Scottish settlers merged with African-American musical elements to become old-time and bluegrass, among other genres.

African music has been a major factor in the shaping of what we know today as Dixieland, the blues and jazz. These styles have all borrowed from African rhythms and sounds, brought over the Atlantic Ocean by slaves. African music in Sub-Saharan Africa is mostly upbeat polyrhythmic and joyful, whereas the blues should be viewed as an aesthetic development resulting from the conditions of slavery in the new world.

Steve Winwood's progressive rock/jazz rock band Traffic often used West African rhythms Traffic 1973.jpg
Steve Winwood's progressive rock/jazz rock band Traffic often used West African rhythms

On his 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 Airforce, The Rolling Stones, and Steve Winwood's Traffic. He continued to work with Winwood, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger throughout the decade. [14]

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 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 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. [15] [16]

Babatunde Olatunji, Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masakela 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. [17]

Miriam Makeba during a performance Miriam Makeba 2011.jpg
Miriam Makeba during a performance

African popular music, 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 popular music, including blues, jazz and 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 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", which was "a style of vocal harmony which drew on American jazz, ragtime, and 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. [18] [ circular reference ] "The Empress of African Music" died at the age of 76. [19]

The Afro-Euro hybrid style, the Cuban 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. [20] The early guitar-based bands from the Congo called their music rumba (although it was son rather than rumba-based). The Congolese style eventually evolved into what became known as soukous.

Music industry

For African artists concerts were the one of the fews 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 of Africa. It does not offer streaming and is limited by internet speeds in Africa. [21] 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 Urban Grooves emerge in Zimbabwe. [22] 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. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Funk genre of music

Funk is a music genre that originated in African-American communities in the mid-1960s when African-American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bass line played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that created a "hypnotic" and "danceable feel". Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Polyrhythm simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms

Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not readily perceived as deriving from one another, or as simple manifestations of the same meter. The rhythmic conflict may be the basis of an entire piece of music (cross-rhythm), or a momentary disruption. Polyrhythms can be distinguished from irrational rhythms, which can occur within the context of a single part; polyrhythms require at least two rhythms to be played concurrently, one of which is typically an irrational rhythm. Concurrently in this context means within the same rhythmic cycle. The underlying pulse, whether explicit or implicit can be considered one of the concurrent rhythms. For example, the son clave is poly-rhythmic because its 3 section suggests a different meter from the pulse of the entire pattern.

In music, an ostinato[ostiˈnaːto] is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, frequently in the same pitch. Well-known ostinato-based pieces include both classical compositions such as Ravel's Boléro and the Carol of the Bells, and popular songs such as Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love" (1977), Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn (1959), and The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (1997).

There are many styles of traditional and modern music of Ghana, due to Ghana's cosmopolitan geographic position on the African continent. The best known modern genre originating in Ghana is Highlife. For many years, Highlife was the preferred music genre until the introduction of Hiplife and many others.

Clave (rhythm) rhythmic pattern in Afro-Cuban music

The clave is a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Afro-Cuban music. It is present in a variety of genres such as Abakuá music, rumba, conga, son, mambo, salsa, songo, timba and Afro-Cuban jazz. The five-stroke clave pattern represents the structural core of many Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Mbaqanga is a style of South African music with rural Zulu roots that continues to influence musicians worldwide today. The style originated in the early 1960s.

African popular music, 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 popular music like blues, jazz, afrobeats, salsa, zouk, and rumba derive to varying degrees on musical traditions from Africa, taken to the Americas by enslaved Africans. These rhythms and sounds have subsequently been adapted by newer genres like rock, and rhythm and blues. Likewise, African popular music has adopted elements, particularly the musical instruments and recording studio techniques of western music. The term "afropop" is sometimes used to refer to contemporary African pop music. The term does not refer to a specific style or sound, but is used as a general term for African popular music.

Cycle has several meanings in the field of music. Acoustically, it refers to one complete vibration, the base unit of Hertz being one cycle per second. Theoretically, an interval cycle is a collection of pitch classes created by a sequence of identical intervals. Individual pieces that aggregate into larger works are considered cycles, for example, the movements of a suite, symphony, sonata, or string quartet. This definition can apply to everything from settings of the Mass or a song cycle to an opera cycle. Cycle also applies to the complete performance of an individual composer's work in one genre.

Culture of Africa

The culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their own unique characteristic from the continent of Africa. It is a product of the diverse populations that today inhabit the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora. African culture is expressed in its arts and crafts, folklore and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. Expressions of culture are abundant within Africa, with large amounts of cultural diversity being found not only across different countries but also within single countries. Even though African cultures are widely diverse, they are also, when closely studied, seen to have many similarities; for example, the morals they uphold, their love and respect for their culture as well as the strong respect they hold for the aged and the important, i.e. kings and chiefs.

African dance

African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub-Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with Sub-Saharan African music traditions and Bantu cultivation of rhythm. African dance utilizes the concept of as well as total body articulation.

Little is known about the exact origin of the music now known as the blues. No specific year can be cited as the origin of the blues, largely because the style evolved over a long period and existed in approaching its modern form before the term blues was introduced and before the style was thoroughly documented. Ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik traces the roots of many of the elements that were to develop into the blues back to the African continent, the "cradle of the blues". One important early mention of something closely resembling the blues comes from 1901, when an archaeologist in Mississippi described the songs of black workers which had lyrical themes and technical elements in common with the blues.

Jazz drumming art of playing percussion, predominantly the drum set, in jazz styles

Jazz drumming is the art of playing percussion in jazz styles ranging from 1910s-style Dixieland jazz to 1970s-era jazz fusion and 1980s-era Latin jazz. The techniques and instrumentation of this type of performance have evolved over several periods, influenced by jazz at large and the individual drummers within it. Stylistically, this aspect of performance was shaped by its starting place, New Orleans, as well as numerous other regions of the world, including other parts of the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Bell pattern

A bell pattern is a rhythmic pattern of striking a hand-held bell or other instrument of the idiophone family, to make it emit a sound at desired intervals. It is often a key pattern, in most cases it is a metal bell, such as an agogô, gankoqui, or cowbell, or a hollowed piece of wood, or wooden claves. In band music, bell patterns are also played on the metal shell of the timbales, and drum kit cymbals.

In music, a cross-beat or cross-rhythm is a specific form of polyrhythm. The term cross rhythm was introduced in 1934 by the musicologist Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980). It refers to when the rhythmic conflict found in polyrhythms is the basis of an entire musical piece.

Rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan African music is characterised by a "strong rhythmic interest" that exhibits common characteristics in all regions of this vast territory, so that Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980) has described the many local approaches as constituting one main system. C. K. Ladzekpo also affirms the profound homogeneity of approach. West African rhythmic techniques carried over the Atlantic were fundamental ingredients in various musical styles of the Americas: samba, forró, maracatu and coco in Brazil, Afro-Cuban music and Afro-American musical genres such as blues, jazz, rhythm & blues, funk, soul, reggae, hip hop, and rock and roll were thereby of immense importance in 20th century popular music [citation needed]. The drum is renowned throughout Africa.

Guajeo

A guajeo is a typical Cuban ostinato melody, most often consisting of arpeggiated chords in syncopated patterns. Some musicians only use the term guajeo for ostinato patterns played specifically by a tres, piano, an instrument of the violin family, or saxophones. Piano guajeos are one of the most recognizable elements of modern-day salsa. Piano guajeos are also known as montunos in North America, or tumbaos in the contemporary Cuban dance music timba.

Tresillo is a rhythmic pattern used in Latin American music. It is a more basic form of the rhythmic figure known as the habanera.

Music and Black liberation refers to music associated with Black political movements for emancipation, civil rights, or self-determination. The connection between music and politics, has been used in many cultures and was utilized by blacks in their struggle for freedom and civil rights. Music has been used by African Americans over the course of United States history to express feelings of struggle and hope, as well as to garner feelings of solidarity for their freedom struggle. African Americans have used music as a way to express their struggle for freedom and equality which has spanned the history the United States and resulted in the creation and popularization of many music genres including, jazz, funk, disco, rap, and hip hop. Many of these songs and artists played pivotal roles in generating support for the civil rights movement.

References

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Further reading