Instruments used in African music

By | April 10, 2021


Also known as the tumor, mbira is an East and South African instrument made from two rows of staggered metal keys attached to a wooden soundboard.


Djembe is an early version of the goblet drum. Bare hands belching animal hair stretched over a wooden frame. Djembe is a common instrument whose name means to ‘come together’ in the Bamanaka language.


Kora is a complex 21-string lute that sounds ethereal like a harp but is held like a modern guitar. Played with the thumb and forefinger, this West African instrument is made of cowhides pulled hard over a gourd spider.


Shekere is a West African instrument made of pearls woven into nets and wrapped around a small gourd. It is shaken or slapped on the hand.


The origin of Balafon is something mysterious. Today it is a West African instrument, but it may have been invented in southern Africa. It is a wooden key instrument dropped by padded templates or sticks, with resonators made of hollow gourds to amplify the sound.

Algaita h2> Algaita is a double-pipe instrument that is similar to the oboe but with open finger holes and a wider opening at the bottom. Music styles vary widely across Africa, as do the instruments used to create them. The sounds differ depending on the type of forest, animal skins and gourds used to make them. African music is a mixture of string instruments, percussion and woodwind instruments.