Membranophones

In African Polyphony and Polyrhythm different categories of instruments in the Central african Republic are mentioned. In one such category, we see that many of these drums aka membranophones look familiar to us. They are all struck by hand or with a stick and typically in families of up to five instruments. These drums all have membranes but have different shapes and are fastened differently to the body of the resonator depending on the region.

  • The Manja have cylindrical drums with buttoned skins.
  • The Ngbaka have conical drums with laced skins.
  • The Mbenzele have waisted drums with pegged skins.
  • The northern Islamic groups have hourglass tension-drums.

 

Drums such as those listed above are seen in many other parts of the world in a somewhat similar form perhaps having traveled by ship hundreds of years ago or through collective memory.

Many of these drum shapes and styles are a staple among classical and pop percussionists constructed out of wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic and alloys. Simha Arom desribes membranophones in families of up to five that reminds me of drum kits with a snare, two mounted toms, floor tom and a kick drum. Good ideas crossover.

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One Response to “Membranophones”

  1. David DiLullo Says:

    I like this! It’s amazing to think about the variety of rhythms and drums that emanate from West Africa.

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