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Africa Africa, Poetry and Love

Musical Africa: Talking Drum

The Talking Drum is peculiar to the Yoruba people of West Africa.

Musical Africa
You will agree with me that Africa is a musical continent. It’s full of sounds and songs. Every tribe and nation has a peculiar musical identity. As dressing and languages differ so do musical instruments. I will like to share a musical instrument common to the Yoruba people of West Africa.

The talking drum
The pitch of the talking drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead: the opposing drum heads are connected by a common tension chord. The waist of the drum is held between the player’s arm and ribs, so that when squeezed the drumhead is tightened, producing a higher note than when it’s in its relaxed state; the pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note. The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.