African Musical Instruments

In traditional African culture, music has ritual, social, and ceremonial functions along with some solely recreational functions. Musical activities are highly ritualized and are considered to link the invisible world with the visible world. Melodies are generally organized within a scale of four, five, six, or seven tones. Musical instruments in Africa take on sculptural forms that are sacred, elaborate, simple, humorous, and serious, or a combination of all. Irrespective of whether these musical instruments are beaded, carved, painted, or decorated with skins, they send messages about the religious beliefs, artistic styles, and entertainment practices of the people who made them.

Percussion instruments are very popular musical instruments in Africa. Musical instruments of sub-Saharan Africa comprise of a wide variety of resonant solids such as stamping tubes, the mbira (thumb piano), and the xylophone. Mbira is one of the most popular melodic instruments in Africa. The mbira is used in different ways by different cultures and also exists in different forms in different cultures. Mbira may be used for entertainment purpose or for religious ceremonies. Friction sticks, bells, clappers, rattles, cymbals, and sansa are very popular percussion instruments.

Among the popular African instruments, drums are an important musical instrument. There are various parchment-head drums such as kettledrums, cylindrical drums, semi cylindrical drums, goblet drums, barrel-shaped drums, and hourglass drums with variable-tension heads. Many wind instruments are constructed out of horns, tusks, conch shells, or wood. Among wind instruments are flutes made of millet, reed, bamboo, or the tips of animal horns, and gourds. Panpipes, ocarinas, whistle, oboe, horns that are made from elephant tusks or animal horns, and trumpets made of wood, sections of gourd, or metal tubes, single-reed pipes made from millet stalks, and double-reed pipes adopted from Arabic culture are among other African wind instruments. African stringed musical instruments or chordophones include musical bows, zithers, bowed and plucked lutes, arched harps, harp-lutes, and lyres.

Music Instrument Show Your Passion About Music

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Most Commonly Played Musical Instruments in Marching Bands

There are numerous and variety of musical instruments played by the members of a marching band. Most commonly played musical instruments in a marching band include brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

These instruments can be easily carried and simultaneously played by marching band members while marching.

Brass instruments of a marching band include Cornet, Trumpet, Tuba and French horn.

• Cornet is similar to a trumpet which is usually pitched in the B flat. Cornet is a transposing instrument that features valves and it is extensively used in brass bands.

• Trumpet is also a transposing musical instrument that has underwent numerous changes with passage of time. Trumpet was initially used for the military purposes to declare danger and today it’s used band members of Jazz bands.

• Tuba is a deep sound producing musical instrument and regarded as largest instrument in brass-wind family.

• Main feature of the French horn is that it produces a unique musical effect with bell point backwards.
Woodwind instruments in a marching band comprise clarinet, flute, oboe and saxophone.

Clarinet has undergone numerous innovation and changes since its inception. As a result of unique sound it is extensively used in band performances.

Flute is a man-made musical instrument and initially the flutes were made up of wood.
Oboe is one of the musical instruments and has only two keys. This instrument is used in orchestras and military band performances.

Saxophone is available in variety of types and sizes. Baritone sax, alto sax and tenor sax are the most commonly used saxophone varieties in musical bands.

Bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, timpani and xylophone are the percussion instruments used in a marching band.

Bass drum is a percussion instrument regarded as largest members in drum family.

Cymbals are shaken, scraped or struck percussion instrument with or without pitch.

Glockenspiel is the best example for a tuned musical instrument.

Timpani is a kind of musical instrument that emerged from the kettledrums.

Xylophone is a variety in percussion instruments that has resonating metal tubes and supported extensively by the frames.

Most of these instruments can be practiced by enrolling in your school’s music class. Most teachers allow students to practice these instruments during class. Try practicing each instrument before choosing which one you will be using full time. It’s important to know the ins and outs of each instrument, which will help with your decision. Visit your local music class for more information.