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HAMPTON UNIVERSITY HAMPTON VIRGINIA THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM African Culture The Elements of African Language and Music The art that derives from our sense of hearing is music The basic elements of music are sound and silence Music has many purposes within all societies Most music performed by Africans is part of a social activity and is viewed as a sharing experience for everyone African music is generally classified into two main style areas which are Arab North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa There are many unique regional music styles including a immense influence from the Islamic faith which extends across the savanna region and down the east coast Within African music there are many types of percussion instruments including the drums clap-sticks bells rattles slit gongs struck gourds and clay pots stamping tubes and xylophones There are two basic types of xylophone The frame xylophones in which the keys are attached to a frame The lamellaphone which is also known as the thumb piano is found throughout the continent of Africa The mbira kalimba and likembe are a series of metal or bamboo strips mounted on a board or box African drums come in many shapes and sizes Wood pans and pottery are used to construct drum bodies The membranes are usually made from animal skins There are many types of African drums which range from drum-chimes friction drums and the tension drums African wind instruments include flutes whistles oboes and trumpets Panpipe ensembles are seen in Central Africa and globular flutes made from gourds or hard-shelled fruits are found in parts of southern Africa Trumpets made from animal horns or wood are found over a wide area Transverse clarinets made from guinea-corn or sorghum stems with a reed cut from the surface of the stem at one end are played in the savanna region of West Africa Double-reed instruments are derived from North Africa African stringed instruments range from musical bows
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