Music has conventionally assumed a critical part of African culture. It is paramount in characterizing the great African tradition and its significance is apparent in many facets of the entire civilization. Dissimilar to other lifestyles today, ancient African heritage incorporated music into their everyday lives.
As a matter of fact, African music is often described as a total form which is intimately connected to dramatization, dance and gesture. It spreads through African life and has a function in religious ceremonies and rituals. Notably, African is utilized to not only tell stories and provide political guidance but also mark the phases of life and death as well as state dissatisfaction.
In addition, it also serves as a medium of entertainment for masquerades and ceremonial festivals. More often than not, performances by ancient African musicians are long and include the participation of the spectators.
Customarily, African musicians made use a wide range of sounds which are sometimes confronting and emotionally-driven but not appealing to the ears. It is also important to note that their singing style is loud and resonant but can be accompanied by other sounds. Likewise, their singing style can also be extremely harmonious when musicians decide to use an acapella.
Other than using the singing voice, African music also involves the use of a wide variety of musical instruments. Musical instruments include but are not only limited to slit gongs, drums, harps, xylophones and bows.
Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that African music has undergone continual and decisive changes throughout the centuries. What is known traditional music today is possibly very distinctive from African music in old times.
At present, many organizations in Africa are currently working towards preserving traditional music by going out on the field and recording the last practicing music artists of various traditional genres.
According to most historians, traditional African music has encountered many barriers to keep its significance in a globalized and technology-driven world. Often times, the blame falls on the lack of transcribed and archived musical documents in some of the most culturally-rich locations in the continent.
Drums which are widely used in African music are water drums, djembe, talking drums, bougarabou and Ngoma.
African music is completely different from Western music as numerous parts of their songs do not necessarily have harmonious sounds. Instead, African musicians use the medium of sound to express the different aspects of life.
During old times, it is believed that the musical heritage of sub-Saharan Africa expanded into North Africa.