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What is an Agogo Bell?

Updated on November 5, 2012

What is an Agogo Bell?


What is an Agogo Bell?

With advancements in the world, different instruments are invented and made. When something new comes to the world, people forget the old things but they also forget that the new things are just a new version of the old ones and are totally based on the old ones. Many interesting instruments were made in past but are now replaced by new ones. Children of new generation don’t even know about them. One such interesting instrument is Agogo Bell. This is a very unique yet interesting instrument.

Agogo is a simple one or multiples bells attached together that are used around the whole world. It was first used traditionally in Yoruba Music as well as Samba baterias. Agogo bell is one of the oldest Samba instruments. Its best feature is that it has the highest pitch of the all baterias’ instruments.

The construction of Agogo bell is very interesting and fascinating. It is made of metal and bells of different sizes are attached to each other. The purpose of different sized bell is that every bell will produce a different king of pitch depending on the size and which one will you hit. When it was first made, wrought iron was used as raw material but now different types of metals are used to make it and variety of sizes of bells is available now. The most common shape used for this instrument is U shape with a bell of different size attached at each end. The bell with the smaller size is attached at the upper end of the U shape. If you squeeze the two bells with each other, a very light sound is produced and if you hit it with a stick that is made by wood, it will produce a cowbell type of sound.

Agogo bell has also traditional uses. It is used in the music of ceremonies of religion of Yorubaland. They also use it in the present world. By many people, it is also used for congregation and this is its official use. It is one of the most important and main instrument of Orisa Nla and Obatala.

In modern world, Agogo bell is used in many concerts and music albums since 1980s. David Byrne has used this instrument in his concerts and music albums. Neil Peart’s all used it in his live instruments when he was performing a solo in front of a huge crowd. You can hear and see its use in the song ‘Addicted to Drugs’ by Kaiser Chiefs.

They are just like cowbells and are typically played by hitting them with a wooden stick. This produces a pitch. The smaller or larger the size of each bell, the more the pitch will differ. Its invention has produced many new instruments in the present world. Many people don’t even know about Agogo Bell because it is now unique. But the countries which use it and has it as their traditional instrument, they are very well aware of it.



Mestre Jonas Agogo 2


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    • Florida Guy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Sara:-)

      They are indeed amazing :-)

    • profile image

      Sara Johnson 

      7 years ago

      Wow! These people are amazing and talented these are great instruments!


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