ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Music and the drum in African Cultures

Updated on November 11, 2013

The Mouth Organ or Flute

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This music organ is found in all communities in Africa used and made differentlyYou can call it anything in your language! It is ubiquitous
This music organ is found in all communities in Africa used and made differently
This music organ is found in all communities in Africa used and made differently | Source
You can call it anything in your language! It is ubiquitous
You can call it anything in your language! It is ubiquitous | Source

West Africa Drum Ensemble

Mobilization means

Music and the drum in Africa have been tools used to mobilize communities for different occasions over millennia. A collection of ensemble to produce different sounds, represent a culture and dress has been made by the different people in the African continent. Many are indigenous and many are a hybrid of two or more cultures both in and outside of Africa.

Wherever a trumpet is blown or a drum sounded people will come to the place where these two are making their sound. Cultures in Africa have used these and other means to bring people together. The ululation, the rapid beat or the sound of the trumpet or horn are still used to mobilize people today. They are sounded at night or during day. The ones sounded at night mostly mean there is trouble somewhere or an emergency that requires more than one people to handle. In USA they have level one or two or three fires! In Africa the culture of categorizing emergency has also been used. When the village chief is calling for community clean ups, clearing the village well and marking the common boundaries as well as sharing the bounty the drum is used or a horn of some kind.

The visit by a dignitary may be announced earlier and notifications may hang at community meeting venues with information on venues and dates. On the day of the event it is not uncommon for one to find that the area singers or troupe has been commissioned to make music, dance and drama.

The political scene has capitalized on these means even more in Africa inspite of the modern music instruments, jazz bands or singing groups. The drum and traditional music have persisted. The drum may be sounded to announce a funeral but it is only silent when mourning is taking place. Later during the installation of a heir, that is when the drum comes out and reverberates as if it were never silent at all.

Identity as conveyed through music, dance and drama

Status, Symbol and Identity

The Drum, rhythm and accompanying music are key identifiers of a culture. From the long drums whose membranes are made from goat, sheep or monitor lizard skin to the big bass drums whose membranes are made of cow hide to the smallest drums made of metal one can tell a culture and ethnicity.

The common animals or resources in an area have been used to make music instruments and mimicked to make sounds that are incorporated in the songs. It is not uncommon for one see an ensemble whose troupe has colored costumes, large ostrich feathers made into crowns, animal skins and rattles to follow. The rattles may be metallic or in form of small gourds in which seeds are sealed. These rattles are then shaken to follow the rhythm of the music. The rattles may be worn on the body or legs. They could also be held in the hands. Other forms of rattles are made like small flat cartons of small dry reeds with a space for seeds or small stones and a weaving on the sides to hold the stones or seeds inside.

The ensemble and the types of instruments used mark the kind of music to be played. It could be a sad song, a song about adventure, a song about war, a song about peace, a song about a long passed great person, a song about behavior, a song about gender or a given culture.

Music and the drum are identifiers and enhancers of status, symbol and identity.

Skills in playing instruments

The Skills

Children, youth and elders are able to show off skills in music, dance and drama. Music and the drum have been used to train, perfect and pass on skills through generations.

The ability to hold one's notes, the discipline of rhythm and the hard work towards perfection not to mention harmony and working with others to achieve a goal has been seen in music and playing the drum.

There are a variety of skills that music and playing the drum bring out of a person or a group. The ability to entertain others, the ability to find time for practice, dependability, duty, roles and responsibilities are some of the soft skills. The hard skills could be: Singing different notes, leading others, encouraging others and keeping the team together. Music composition and its playing is around this kind of organization.

Entertainment as conveyed through music, Dance and Drama

Entertainment, marketing and continuity

Music and the Drum have endured as entertainment tools. The drum and accompanying music bring a smile to many attending an event. The music or beat of the drum could be such that it carries a message of hope, or reminds people of a past event. It could be a lesson to be shared.

Crowds are known to go on a frenzy when a favorite song is played. They are also enticed to sing along. This way they pit themselves with the originators of the songs or those performing the songs.

Many corporate companies have hired entertainers to promote brands and products because the people feel attachment and relate to experiences at very memorable events. Thus, a product hitting the market for the first time may get introduced during an entertainment event. People will tend to link its introduction to an event they recall and remember as a memorable one. They may continue purchasing this product or brand.

Entertainers are also sustained by the continuous flow of commissions. Let us recall that many get sponsorship and are able to promote their talent by the assured flow of cash. They are able to raise funds to pay for the people, costumes and instruments.

Music and the drum are a link on continuity by entertainers, market and public.

Social Political Message

Message

Music and the Drum are media for conveying messages from eradicating poverty, diseases, political messages and other forms of messages.

The messages are remembered perpetually as one hums a song or recalls an entertainment event. This way people emulate and act out what was in the message.

Music and the Drum from your area

Is the following using even today in the music of your culture?

See results

Conclusion

Music and the Drum in Africa still command a very respectable and enduring position:

1. They are used in mobilization of communities.

2. They enhance status, symbolism and identity.

3. They are a media to train, promote and hone skills

4. They are used in entertainment of people

5. Through music or the sound of the drum different messages are conveyed.

Music and Drum an enduring pacifier

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)