Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Valerie I. Harrison
Music is a central part of the lifestyle in most traditional African cultures. Beginning with ancient African civilizations, music was considered sacred. The sacredness of music remains a key concept in traditional African societies today. The African's concept of music is unlike that of Western societies, and therefore those unfamiliar with the African concept of music often misunderstand it. Specifically, in creating music, Africans do not strive to put sounds together so that the end result is a pleasant sound. The African musician is not trying to reproduce sounds in nature through musical instruments. Instead, the African musician takes nature's sounds and integrates those sounds into the music. The goal is to express life through sound. Each sound has a meaning fully understood only by those familiar with African life. The use of music for its supernatural powers is the chief function of music in traditional African societies. In a ...