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Take A Musical Safari To Africa. By Stacey Kirschenman. Characteristics of Africa. 2 nd largest continent with a population of approximately 700 million people Geography – deserts (Sahara), rain forest jungles, mountains, rivers & lakes, & the Great Rift Valley Mostly tropical climate

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By stacey kirschenman

Take A Musical Safari To Africa

By Stacey Kirschenman

Characteristics of Africa

  • 2nd largest continent with a population of approximately 700 million people

  • Geography – deserts (Sahara), rain forest jungles, mountains, rivers & lakes, & the Great Rift Valley

  • Mostly tropical climate

  • Animals – elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, crocodiles, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and lions

  • Over 800 languages and cultures

African Music

Call & Response

– generation to generation

  • Alternates between a soloist and a group

  • Call (leader) changes and the response (group) remains the same

Purpose of Music

  • Recreation

  • - singing, dancing, drumming, and concerts

  • Rituals & Ceremonies

  • – celebrating

  • Occupational

  • - work songs, preparing food

  • Social

  • - child care, story telling, social games, and parties

  • Language

  • - drumming and signaling are used to send messages

Gives birth to many forms of music

  • Jazz & Rock

African Musical style and practice

  • Taught and learned orally

  • Sing & play together easily (teamwork)

  • - rhythmic singing & clapping children’s games

  • Most common form

  • - call & response

  • Texture is complementary

  • - many rhythms occurring at the same time

  • Syncopation – off-beat phrasing

  • Music is part of most activities

  • - music and movement are linked to each other

  • Buzzy tone quality

African Instruments

  • Classified into these categories

  • - Idiophones (main parts vibrate)

  • - Membranophones (membrane vibrates)

  • - Chordophones (Strings vibrate)

  • - Aerophones (Blow into instrument)


Musical instruments whichproduce their sound by using air as the principal vibrating factor: air may be unconfined by the instrument or enclosed within a tube

  • Flute, Horn Trumpet, Pan Pipes, Side Blow Horn, Whistles


Musical instruments which produce sound from their own substance: can be struck, plucked, blown, or vibrated by friction

  • Rattles, Bells, Sistram, Thumb Piano, Xylophone


Musical instruments which produce sound from tightly stretched membranes, either struck or 'singing'

  • Drums and Tamborine


Musicalinstruments which produce sound by means of strings stretched from one point toanother

  • Berimbau, Harps, Lute, Lyre, Ramkie, Valiha

Internet Links for Musical Instruments

  • Audible Artworks

  • UDU Gallery

  • Chains Performance

  • African Instruments

  • New world African Instruments

  • African Musical Instruments

N’kosi sikelel’i Africa

In 1897, Enoch Mankayi Sontonga wrote the following hymn, “N’kosi sikelel’I Africa.” It was originally performed at public meetings in South Africa. Today, it is sung in many languages and dialects throughout Africa.

African National Anthem

African Drums

  • Widely Used in African Music

  • -Communication & Celebration

  • Language of the drum takes years of practice

  • Master Drummer holds the most honored position in African societies

Bata Drum

  • Nigeria

  • Two headed drum played with both hands or struck with a flexible piece of leather

  • Part of the religious life of some of the Yoruba people



Type of rhythm in which stressed sounds occur between beats instead of on beats.


Messages in Sound

  • Master Drummer

  • - Children begin studying to become master drummers at a very early age. Has the highest position in African societies

  • African Proverb

  • - Wise sayings passed down from generation to generation. Important in many parts of Africa

  • Griot

  • - Talking regional newspaper. Wandering musician/storyteller responsible for passing along news about what has happened in the community.


Two or more pitches sounding at the same time

African Art & Culture

Museum of African Art


l africanart/82.29med.jpg kambala/Balaphon.jpg

World Music Drumming textbook

Share the Music textbook pp. 28-33, 64, 68-69, 112-115, 154-155, 250-251, 357

African Music by Cheryl Lavender

Abiyoyo by Michael Hayes

Clip Art Resources

Print Artist kambala.htm