African Music

African Music

HAMPTON UNIVERSITY
HAMPTON, VIRGINIA

THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM

African Culture: The Elements of
African Language and Music

The art that derives from our sense of hearing is
music. The basic elements of music are sound and silence.
Music has many purposes within all societies. Most music
performed by Africans is part of a social activity and is
viewed as a sharing experience for everyone. African music
is generally classified into two main style areas, which are
Arab North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. There are many
unique regional music styles, including a immense influence
from the Islamic faith which extends across the savanna
region and down the east coast.
Within African music, there are many types of
percussion instruments, including the drums, clap-sticks,
bells, rattles, slit gongs, struck gourds and clay pots,
stamping tubes, and xylophones. There are two basic types of
xylophone. The frame xylophones, in which the keys are
attached to a frame. The lamellaphone, which is also known
as the thumb piano, is found throughout the continent of
Africa. The mbira, kalimba, and likembe, are a series of
metal or bamboo strips mounted on a board or box. African
drums come in many shapes and sizes. Wood, pans, and pottery
are used to construct drum bodies. The membranes are usually
made from animal skins. There are many types of African
drums which range from drum-chimes,

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