The Role of Music in African Communities

By Mikayla Reid

Music is deeply embedded in African culture. In  Africa almost all societal events revolve around music. For example, weddings, religous ceremonies,games, rituals, hunting, and festivals. Music brings people together.

How music was created

Music In African and African American Communities

Music was created with instruments, rythm, beats and syncopation. Accompanied by stomping feet, dancing, singing, and clapping hands. In Africa instruments were hand made out of unique objects. Popular instruments that was used was the deba and djembe drum. The debe is a long hollowed piece of wood, many people would to sound of the deba drum. The djembe drum has 3 dfferent sounds, bass, slap and tone. Some songs also included other instruments like horns, and xylophones.

The timbre in African songs varied. In many African songs people would shout, sing, and groan. Call-response was commly used as well. Europeaners disliked African music and called the timbre “noisey,” and, “strange,”.  Musicians would  match or copy the instruments to the voice of the song. African American music is heavily influenced by African music. It uses different types of devices to change the timbre of a song. The music has a wide range of timbres, creating different genres of music. Common musical structures between African and African American music is polyrhythm and call-response. Both types of music have songs that are mostly interactive. Meaning that a lead singer would sing something and either the audience or a choir will respond back. It is most popular in Black churches but is also included in music genres like gospel, funk, rap and disco. 

African music greatly influenced African American music which has shaped all genres today.