How would you describe the rhythm of African music?

The rhythm is generally the most important, and West African songs are polyrhythmic featuring two or more conflicting rhythms. The most common form of polyrhythm in West Africa is the cross-rhythm made from repeating hemiolas, or patterns of three beats played over two beats in the same space.

What are the rhythm or characteristic of African music?

Like the music of Asia, India and the Middle East, it is a highly rhythmic music. The complex rhythmic patterns often involving one rhythm played against another to create a polyrhythm. The most common polyrhythm plays three beats on top of two, like a triplet played against straight notes.

What is the tempo of African music?

This series of 24 notes, when played by expert musicians, is at a speed of approximately 600 notes per minute. But each musician, for himself, plays one-third that fast.

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What is characteristics of African music?

Among the qualities of African music which may be considered characteristic, then, we may include the following: an emphasis on rhythmic and metric complexity expressed throughout the musical system; the use of extended syncopation, or off- beat phrasing of melodic accents, as a melodic device; the antiphonal call and …

How do you define African music?

African music, the musical sounds and practices of all indigenous peoples of Africa, including the Berber in the Sahara and the San (Bushmen) and Khoikhoin (Hottentot) in Southern Africa. The music of European settler communities and that of Arab North Africa are not included in the present discussion.

Why is rhythm important in African drumming?

It provides a ‘mixer’, allowing you to mute and fade different drums in a complex rhythmic cycle. Polyrhythm (literally meaning ‘many rhythms’) is the layering of a number of different rhythms. African rhythms are usually simple on their own, but when combined together they produce a complex, polyrhythmic texture.

What are the eight characteristics of African music?

Terms in this set (8)

  • Polyrhythm. Rhythms that occur simultaneously in two different meters or with different starting points.
  • Call and Response. …
  • Ostinato. …
  • Use of Percussion. …
  • Background Shimmer. …
  • Close Connection between Music and Language. …
  • The Participatory Nature of the Arts. …
  • Close Connection between the Performing Arts.

How do African instruments make sound?

Sounds are generated by plucking flexible, tuned tongues of metal, wood, cane or other material attached at one end to a small board or mounted on a resonator such as a box, gourd or tin and plucked with the thumbs or fingers.

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How does African music differ from Western music?

– Western Music is, broadly speaking, expressed with emphasis on the downbeat, whereas African music seems to emphasise the rhythm on the upbeat. Sometimes, to the untrained ear, African music appears deceptively easy to reproduce, but once you try it, there seem to be layers beneath layers of rhythm.

What are the 5 most important features of African music?

Aerophones (wind)

  • Flutes (bamboo, horn)
  • Ocarinas.
  • Panpipes.
  • Horns from animal tusks.
  • Trumpets wood or metal.
  • Pipes being single or double reeds.
  • Whistle.

What are the classifications and characteristics of African music?

Introduction. African musical instruments are classified into four groups namely; idiophones, chordophones, aerophones and membranophones.

What is the texture of African music?

Texture. African music, from the communal nature of African society, is marked by the simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches. Melody and rhythm are interwoven within this dense structure of various instrumental and metric combinations.

What is the rhythm of Afro Latin American music?

One of the popular musical trend produced by African-Americans in the United states Of America is the ragtime. This became popular in the late 19th century. It is commonly uses ragged rhythm, which is syncopated in beat and also performed in a lager group.

Which genre is described as a mix of African sounds and house music?

Distinct from Afrobeat is Afrobeats – a sound originating in West Africa in the 21st century, one that takes in diverse influences and is an eclectic combination of genres such as highlife, hip hop, house, jùjú, ndombolo, R&B and soca.

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Derivative forms Afrobeats
Regional scenes
Ghana Nigeria

What elements are typical of sub Saharan African music?


  • Music made with percussion instruments.
  • The practice of polyrhythm.
  • Call and response singing.
  • A pentatonic pitch system, and bending/sliding pitches.

What is the main instrument in African music?

Drums are the basic instrument for most African music. Each group of people uses a special type of its own. Though mostly of wood, drums can be gourds, turtle shells and clay pots. Drums have many uses in Africa.