African music

In Africa, music is an important part of traditional life. The styles of music vary across Western, Northern and Southern Africa.

African musicians play the drums
African drums are played using hands, or sticks, or both

African music is:

  • part of everyday activities - everyone joins in, clapping, singing and dancing to the music
  • part of rites and ceremonies where it is performed by specialist master drummers and court musicians
  • not normally written down but passed on through oral tradition

The influence of African music is widespread. It came over to America with the African slaves and combined with the folk music of the European settlers to produce new styles of music such as blues, gospel and jazz . These went on to form the basis of pop music today.