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Africa is where historians and scientists believe, mankind originated.

Archive for the ‘African Musical Instruments’ Category

Instruments of Afro-Latin Percussion

The styles of Samba that we will be learning in class include Enredo, Pagode, Reggae and Samba de Roda.  Each of these styles uses different sets of instruments and variations on the basic Samba feel.

Enredo is a parade and marching style that is typically played at a fast tempo.   The main instrument used for Enredo inlude Surdo, Repinique, Caixa/Tarol, Tamborim, Ago-go, Cuica and Chocalho/Ganza.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

The surdo is a large bass drum used in many kinds of Brazilian music, such as Axé/Samba-reggae and samba, where it plays the lower parts from a percussion section.

Surdo sizes normally vary between 16″ or even 26″ or even 29″ diameter. In Rio de Janeiro, surdos are generally 60cm deep. Surdos used in the northeast of Brazil are commonly more shallow (50cm deep). Surdos may have shells of wood, galvanized steel, or aluminum. Heads may be goatskin or plastic. A Rio bateria will commonly use surdos that have skin heads (for rich tone) with aluminum shells (for lightness). Surdos are worn from a waist belt or shoulder strap, oriented with the heads roughly horizontal. The bottom head is not played.

Stay tuned for further blogs where I will take up the other instruments and styles. In later classes and blogs I will discuss the Afro-Cuban styles such as Guanguanco.



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african drum lessons

Africa – A land of endless music and art

I always thought that African music meant just three varieties; the types of rumba, jazz and blues. But I was amazed to find that African music is something much beyond these. In fact, researchers have subdivided the genre of music into 7 categories based on their history, the style of music and ethnicity. North African music and Sub Saharan music are the most popular among these.

North African music

African history is rich in various evolving art forms including music and musical instruments. However, North African music has been deeply influenced by its close Arab neighbors and the Mediterranean culture. Some of the popular forms of music are the nomadic Tuareg and Berber African music.

Sub Saharan music

Arthur Morris Jones who has studied the development of music in African history has commented on the rhythmic uniformity in the various traditions in Sub Sahara. The music is normally created for different social contexts such as hunting, marriage or childbirth and always has an accompanying dance and rhythm to go with it. Some of the famous musical forms are of the Ewe people in West Africa known as Ewe music and the Niger Congo music from the Niger Congo region.

Musical instruments

Few music genres would have had as much effect as that of African music on contemporary western music. African history is replete with instances of musical instruments, dance and songs binding the social fabric together. Apart from the well known musical instruments, some of the lesser known ones which caught my attention were the rain stick which makes the sound of rain and Kashaka, a percussion instrument made of gourds and beans.

If you are interested in music or you want to gift something to a musically talented friend, musical instruments from Africa gives you plenty of choices. You will find these and other items like paintings, sculptures, baskets, pottery and fabric at many online gifting stores which deal with African merchandise.

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