Music instruments

Traditional musical instruments in Nigeria



Music is described as a combination of vocal or instrumental sounds or tones in varying melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre to form structurally complete and emotionally expressive compositions.

It is the art of producing tones or sounds in harmonious succession. Music is part of Nigerian culture and that of Africa as a whole. Music has always had its place in the lives of people from various ethnic groups in Nigeria. It is the nourishment of the soul that provides a kind of tolerated tonic that calms the heart – the aching and troubled mind. What reason was David, son of Jesse, for playing music for King Saul of Israel? The Bible explains that “The next day an evil spirit from God suddenly took control of Saul and he raged in his house like mad. David played the harp as he did every day ”(1 Samuel 18:10, GNB). This means that whenever King Saul fell into a frenzy, David, the son of Jesse, was always there to play uplifting and rejuvenating melodious music for the spirit to ward off the evil spirit. Music is a refreshing tonic for the troubled and hurt mind; a spiritual aperitif and an antidote to melancholy. Music drives away anger, discouragement and frustration, and replaces them with happiness, joy and encouragement. This is the reason why Brother Sunny Obi once said, “Flee from all those who do not like music. Do not associate with such.


Indeed, the music serves rather to relieve suffering and drudgery. It energizes warriors for action on the battlefield. Even in sports activities, music plays an important role as well as the traditional ceremonies of historically notable events of the country. Take for example the Argugun festival. During this colorful festival, drummers are usually employed to beat drums, while professional fishermen, both men and women, engage in competitive fishing. Music also helps to dramatize vast human experiences such as joy: birth, nomination and marriage, and sadness: death, social strife, and the trials of life. In fact, it promotes social entertainment and plays an important role in ceremonies such as the installation ceremony of a local chief.

The dances always go hand in hand with the music, played by the musical instruments while the musicians play energetically but rhythmically and sonically their harps, rattles and flutes. in total unison. Even spectators are not exempt. They enjoy the pulsating musical rhythm and the dance steps. To all, it’s a dance galore !!!

Oh, “music is a spirit, you don’t have to get anyone’s consent to enter it,” said Felix Liberty.

In Nigeria, as in all other African countries, drums and the art of drumming represent a living aspect of the cultural heritage of the people. People drum on different occasions, in times of peace or war.

All the drums have names. Each ethnic group in Nigeria has certain drums that are unique and unique to each of them. However, in the multi-ethnic country of Nigeria, there are a few drums common to a large number of ethnic groups. The talking drum is typical of such. It is common among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.

The Ibo call him “Ekpete”

The Yoruba call it “Gangan”

The Hausa call it “Kalengu”.

The ancestors of the country have talking drums that speak the language of their communities, express their feelings, circumstances, situations and life events among the people of the communities. The Talking Drum speaks without a tongue and its audience hears and understands the content of the message without any hearing impairment. It communicates quickly and spreads news and transmits messages to individual members of the community with the greatest speed. He also praises important dignitaries in the community and invokes the gods through diviners.

Talking drum shapes may vary from ethnic group to ethnic group, but the purpose remains the same. The drum ranges from the huge talking drum used in ceremonies to the small neck drum. Some drums are cylindrical while others are conical. Some are carved from wood and can be made from calabash. Some can also be made of clay pots or rings can be used. The membranes, usually made of animal skin, can be glued like those used on the calabash, or nailed or suspended by pegs or tension straps.

In fact, among the various musical instruments of Nigeria, the “gangan” is unique in Yoruba land, both in structure and in application.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.