Africa / History / Music

On the Early History of African Lamellophones

A new article I have written as a guest blogger on the Zvembira blog, on the history of lamellophones, a field of speical interest for me.


File:Sanza anthropomorphe Bamun-Musée barrois.jpg

The history of African lamellophones can be reconstructed by comparative studies of the instruments, the tunings, the music played on them and specifically by studying and comparing the words and technical terms used in different languages for the instruments, their parts, for techniques of playing and tuning them, aspects of the music and so on. Where available, oral traditions, historical documents and archaeological information can also be used. Using a broad range of such information, it is possible now to reconstruct the early history of lamellophones in some detail.

An excellent overview of what is known about the history of this class of instruments can be found in the following article:

Gerhard Kubik: “African and African American Lamellophones: History, Typology, Nomenclature, Performers, and Intracultural Concepts” in : Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje (editor): “Turn up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, edited by, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles…

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