Posts Tagged ‘dundun’
The study of African Music History is derived from archaeological findings, oral historical accounts, rock paintings and petroglyphs, and field notes from travelers from the Middle East and Europe. As the continent is the cradle of human beings, music evolved and traveled the globe to influence music everywhere.
Ancient cultures from what is known as the “green Sahara” created vast amounts of written history in the form of rock paintings. These are among the earliest sources of African music. The most primitive rock painting was discovered by a French explorer in 1956 in the Tassili-n-Ajjer plateau of Algeria. It depicts music and dance and is astonishing for its similarity of costume and style of movement to what is still practiced today. The rock painting in question dates from 6,000 to 4,000 bc.
The study of African musical instruments is somewhat limited by the natural materials used to create them. Those made from vegetables like horns and drums of gourd did not survive in the earthen deposits of sub-Sahara, however those made from stone or clay did endure for discovery.
From these discoveries, scientists conclude the pressure drum called dundun, and one used throughout the Savannah region, was likely formed in the 15th century. Also created during that century were the double iron clapperless bells, pellet bells and tubular bells with clappers.
By the 17th and 18th centuries, lamellaphones, with iron keys, grew in influence throughout the Zambezi valley and into Angolan society. As use of the instruments spread they became smaller and portable. These became known as travel instruments.
The small lamellaphone became popular in the Congo where it was named the likembe, still in use today in Zande, Ngbandi and Gbaya.
It is fascinating to realize Latin America has a wealth of knowledge about African Music History, as slaves carried their oral histories with them to their reluctant new homes.