Ghana is a country renowned for its rich culture, diverse traditions and a rich musical heritage.
From the drums of the Ashanti people to the xylophones of the northern tribes, Ghana has a wide array of musical instruments that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Traditional music instruments used in Ghana
- Atenteben (flute)
- Bolon (three-stringed lute)
- Fontomfrom (talking drum)
- Gongoni (lute)
- Kora (harp-lute)
- Sekyi (small xylophone)
- Gyil (xylophone)
- Sogo (drum)
This article provides a comprehensive guide to the musical instruments of Ghana, with a focus on their history, design and cultural significance.
Drums: The Heartbeat of Ghanaian Music
Drums are considered to be the heartbeat of Ghanaian music, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and sounds.
The most common type of drum in Ghana is the “talking drum,” which is used to communicate over long distances, convey messages and tell stories.
The talking drum is played by hitting it with a curved stick, while simultaneously squeezing the drum’s strings to change the pitch.
Another popular drum in Ghana is the dawuro, which is played by the Ashanti people. The dawuro is a double-headed drum that is played with the hands, and it is typically used for religious ceremonies and dances.
The dawuro is often played in combination with other instruments, such as the xylophone and bells, to create a powerful and mesmerizing rhythm.
Xylophones: The Melodic Percussion of Ghana
Xylophones are melodic percussion instruments that are widely used in Ghana. They are made of a series of wooden bars that are struck with mallets to produce different notes.
The xylophone is an important part of many traditional music ensembles, and it is used to play a variety of musical styles, including dance music and religious music.
One of the most famous types of xylophone in Ghana is the gyil, which is played by the northern tribes. The gyil is a large xylophone that is played by striking the bars with two small sticks.
It is considered to be one of the most difficult instruments to play in Ghana, and it is typically performed by skilled musicians who have undergone years of training.
Bells: The Significance of Rhythm in Ghanaian Music
Bells are an important part of Ghanaian music, and they are used to add rhythm and texture to musical compositions.
Bells come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are made from materials such as brass, iron and bronze.
Bells are typically played by striking them with a stick or by shaking them, and they are used to create a variety of different sounds and rhythms.
One of the most famous types of bells in Ghana is the kpanlogo, which is played by the Ga people of Accra.
The kpanlogo is a small, handheld bell that is struck with a stick, and it is used to accompany dance music. The kpanlogo is considered to be an important part of the cultural heritage of the Ga people, and it is still widely used in traditional music performances today.