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Music and Dance in the Igbo Culture
dance in nigeria
music in nigeria
Music and Dance in Nigeria
When I started researching for this page my topic consisted mainly of the Igbo peoples, the only problem was that finding the information specifically for the one tribe was almost impossible. I did manage to find a couple videos of traditional Igbo dances but not much else. In order to collect enough information forthis page I had to open my topic to all of Nigeria, and the information I found was extremely interesting to me.
Dance was once used to express a variety of things in the Nigerian tribes. There were war dances, and dances used as rites of passage, some dances were put together specificallly to showcase an opinion about a social or political topic. Today however, most of these dances are traditions and for social gatherings, often times the religious backround of the dance is not mentioned and the music is in some ways altered slightly to help with that. Yet, I cannot say that the dances are not perfomed with a zest that captivates.
Not much is known about Nigerian music from before European settlers. However much of Nigeria's music consists of folk style, due to the diverse ethnic groups of the people. Over time it fused with other sounds and created many different types of music in the area. Nigeria is known for having some of the most advanced recording equipment in Africa with a great music industry acclaimed to the culture of it's peoples.
Music in Nigeria has developed it's own style that has matured and become more modern.
The more traditional sounds of the country include a lot of polyrythms (two or more beats played at once). Traditional instruments include a wide variety of percussion, string instruments, and some woodwinds and brass.
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The Igbo instruments
The Igbo music is known for it's wide range of sounds, tempos, and pitches making it quite easy to incorporate it into daily life. The music relies on percussion instruments (ex. drums and gongs). The drum holds a very respected place among all Nigerian music, especially in the Igbo music where it is the most important instrument. The Udo is a bell shaped drum that changes pitch when water is added to the inside since there is no cover on the opening. It is played with a cupped hand hitting the opening. The Igba drum creates a sound similar to the native language thus dubbing it the talking drum. It is played in a more complicated manner where the pitch varies depending on how tightly the cover is tied onto the opening and where the muician stops the vibration. The Ekwe holds a more useful purpose than music. It is used to notify of an emergency, warn of intruders, and call council meetings. Thos istrument is played by being hit with a stick straight across the openeing. Along with the various drums, gongs are also played. These are useful during dances because they help the dancers keep time. Along with these two very importanat instruments are also a woodblock, a woodwind similar to a flute and an ichaka. The Igbo music has remained very traditional throughout the years while at the same time remaining relatively open to modernization and fusion with the newer styles.
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