Online Resources for MUS 431: Exploring World Music
All content on these pages is intended for the exclusive use of students enrolled in MUS 431: Exploring World Music, taught by Professor Peter Epstein at the University of Nevada, Reno

MUS 431 Home | North India | South India | Java & Bali | Japan | Middle East | Balkans | Sub-Saharan Africa | Brazil & Cuba


Musical Instruments of Sub-Saharan Africa


MBIRA

play sound clip

 

Idiophone> Lamellaphones

Shona; Zimbabwe

Shona version of the "Thumb pianos” – plucked idiophones (lamellaphones) unique to Africa and widely distributed throughout the continent

Constructed of tuned metal or bamboo tongues of varying length fitted to a board, box, or calabash resonator

Central to Bira ceremony


DEZE

gourd made from nhangatanga
deze
mbira with deze

Gourd/resonator to enhance sound of mbira

 


HOSHO

Idiophone

Shona; Zimbabwe

Shakers (filled with seeds)

Main percussion part in Bira ceremony


EWE MUSIC

 

GANKOGUI

Gankogui video

Idiophone

Ewe; Ghana

Double bell made of iron

Plays constant repeated pattern (core part)

Serves as "heartbeat" and main time-keeper


AXATSE

Axatse video

Idiophone

Ewe; Ghana
ng out a gourd or calabash
Hollowed out gourd or calabash; beads attached with string woven in a fishnet pattern

Plays constant repeated pattern (core part)

Can be played by many people at once

 


SOGO, KIDI, KAGANU


Membranophone

Ewe; Ghana

Sogo: sometimes takes over as "lead" drum; generally plays major role in "dialogues" with the atsimevu; played with one or two sticks, and/or bare hands

Kidi: sometimes "elaboration" part, sometimes "core" part; often plays major role in "dialogues" with the atsimevu; played with two sticks

Kaganu: "core" part; played with two thin sticks


ATSIMEVU

Atsimevu video

Membranophone

Ewe; Ghana

Played by lead drummer in typical Ewe music and dance ensemble

Lead drummer plays calls (musical cues) to direct the musicians and dancers; improvises extensively

Played with one or two sticks, and/or open hands


EWE MUSIC/DANCE CLUB

Performers often belong to a specific club and learn the songs and choreography of that club

More photos of Ewe performance

 

 

 


ATSIA

Gankogui demonstration video

Axatse demonstration video

Kaganu demonstration video

Kidi demonstration video

Sogo demonstration video

Atsimevu demonstration video

All movies from Kevin O'Sullivan's DanceDrummer website. built by


Atsia parts


KORA / CORA

 

play sound clip

 

Chordophone

Mande; Gambia

21 string harp: Principle instrument used by Jali

Jali have traditional role as: oral historian, musician, praise singer, genealogist, etc.

 

 


BALOFON / BALO

play sound clip

 

 

Idiophone

Mande; Guinea

Xylophone - tone bars laid across a frame and struck with mallets


Ngoni


play sound clip

 

Chordophone

Mande; Mali

Typically about two-feet long and has either four or seven strings

Body is a hollowed-out, canoe-shaped piece of wood with dried animal skin stretched over it like a drum

"The string closest to the player actually produces the highest pitch, and the player plucks it with his thumb, just like a 5-string banjo. This feature, coupled with the fact that the ngoni's body is a drum rather than a box, provides strong evidence that the ngoni is the African ancestor of the banjo." Cora Connection


Quicktime movie of Efe "water-music"

Quicktime movie of Efe children singing

Both movies from the Ituri Peoples Fund website.

top of page