Traditional African Musical Instruments 750x450 - Traditional African Musical Instruments

Traditional African Musical Instruments

Traditional African musical instruments are wholly different from contemporary internationally recognised musical instruments. Some of the conventional instruments have crossed national borders and can be found in a variety of different styles.

The most traditional instruments have not yet been changed much and are still used in the same traditional manner that’s it’s been working throughout history.


African drum circles are probably the first thing you think of when trying to imagine what the genre may include.

Percussion plays a large role in African traditional music and includes rain sticks, wood sticks, bells, rattles, gongs, and many different styles of drums. Percussion is the base factor in African rhythm.

Traditional African Musical Instruments 1 - Traditional African Musical Instruments


Chordophones are not very recognisable to musicians as it’s only used within African traditional music. The instrument works differently than any other stringed instrument due to no plucking or strumming taking place. With the Chordophones, the musician stretches the strings to get the desired notes.


Many musicians may see the idiophones as percussion instruments but are known in the traditional African music scene as an instrument of their own playing method. The instrument can be used either for rhythm sections or lead melody in traditional African music and are prominent at most events and workshops.


The aerophone produces sound caused by air moving through it. The instrument is used as a wind instrument with the same aesthetic look as a wooden flute. Although found within many cultures throughout history, it is believed that its earliest use was with the Koi San of Africa and has been recreated in many different forms.


The name comes from the use of stretched membranes that are used to produce the sound of the instrument, and they all include drum instruments that are used in African music as well as instruments such as the kazoo, the mirliton, and the friction drum. These instruments are seen as the most widely used instruments in African music.

These African musical instruments can provide any musician with a new love for creating exciting sounds that can fit in within any other musical genre when used artistically. Most of these instruments have been used not only in African music but also in other traditional music.