Posts Tagged ‘More About Traditional African Instruments’
Many Traditional African Instruments evolved out of fabricating the instrument by hand, using materials available in the home. Today they are made with fine materials and their popularity is growing around the world.
One of these instruments is a xylophone called a Balafon or Marimba. It’s made from the Shea Butter tree that has been dead for many years and has released the oils from the wood. That wood gets cut into boards and is further dried over fire pits.
The wood is cut into smaller pieces and combined with gourds to amplify the sound. Sound is made by striking the planks with pieces of rubber made from old truck tires. The professional Balafon is large and comprised of a hardwood frame with keys made from hardwood or metal.
African Bells are another traditional musical instrument and these were used as a means of communication between villages. Many Bells come from Ghana but also from Nigeria and Cameroon.
The Nigerian Double Gong is 12 inches tall and produces two different gong sounds. The toke bell is also called a Banana Bell for its oblong shape. It is held in the palm of the hand and hit with a metal beater. Small Toke Bells are 6 inches long while the large one is 10 inches.
There’s another class of instrument called shakers. Most are made from wood and gourds and they produce a steady rattling sound. One of the largest is a bead shaker, approximately 11 inches long and 8 inches wide. A large shaker like this stands up well to the heavy percussive sound of drums and is preferred by many artists.
Drums are an important part of African music and there are many varieties available. Large and small, drums round out the unique and powerful sound made with Traditional African Instruments.