African Music Styles & Performance
Author: African Music
African music is very traditional and has been handed down from father to son and from generation to another. When a music concert is forthcoming, posters will be pinned on every street wall, radio adverts play and the final day for the concert sets in. Africans line up in queue with either their money or tickets in their hands, eagerly waiting for the performance from the Artiste of the day.
The magic about going to an African music concert is much different from going to a classical concert. At a music concert the audience will join in by clapping, singing or playing an African music instrument, rather than just sitting and listening to the music quietly. Most people will stand up during the performance, raise their hands as they sing along..
It is interesting and interactive. The music (African) sounds very different from European classical music. Although it is nearer to popular music styles, it still seems very unusual to western ears.
Music instruments like the drums are more complex than those found in Europe. Western music is usually played with the same rhythm throughout the piece. African music, however, is often played with a number of rhythms at the same time. This is known as a polyrhythmic style of music.
At the heart of African singing is the ‘call and response’ style. In this style a group of singers might sing a line which is repeated or answered by a soloist. African artistes also like to put a lot of emotion into their performances as if they were acting a part. They like to shout words.
African instruments are often made from plants and animal products such as hide and bone. African artistes are very fond of percussion instruments and use a wide variety of drums, clappers, scrapers, gongs and xylophones.
Perhaps the most famous African percussion instrument is the ‘talking drums’. By loosening or tightening the cord around the body of these drums variations in pitch can be produced which are so subtle they sound like the human voice. Stringed instruments such as bows, lyres, lutes, zithers and harps are popular as well as wind instruments like whistles, reed pipes, trumpets and horns.
Since the 1980\’s there has been a growing interest in African music from amongst American and English record buyers. Musicians such as Youssou N\’Dour from Senegal and Hugh Masekela now have an international reputation. With more upcoming young energetic artistes, Africa is destined for musical superiority.
Harps are played mainly north of the Equator, in a broad band extending from Uganda to the western Savannah. Harp-lutes, such as the Gambian kora, are popular in West Africa. Other string instruments include fiddles in East Africa and the musical bow, fashioned like a hunting bow and played, with varying techniques and great sophistication, throughout the continent.
Africa singing and dancing has survived as long as we can remember the existence of humankind. African music will last long after we are gone. For more information, Please visit AFRICAN MUSICIANS and watch traditional African Videos
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