It is exceptional and unique in its production and sound which connotes so much to those that deeply understand the Yoruba language and cultural heritage.
History[ edit ] Hourglass-shaped talking drums are some of the oldest instruments used by West African griots  and their history can be traced back to the Yoruba peoplethe Ghana Empire  and the Hausa people.
The Yoruba people of south western Nigeria and Benin and the Dagomba of northern Ghana have developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on the talking drum.
Soon, many non-hourglass shapes showed up and were given special names, such as the Dunan, Sangban, Kenkeni, Fontomfrom and Ngoma drums. The Serer drums played include: Perngel, Lamb, Qiin and Tama.
The Perngel, the Lamb, the Qiin and the Tama. He is also believed to be the spirit or muse that inspires drummers. The word "Ayan" means drummer. This is why some Yoruba family names contain the prefix Ayan- such as Ayangbade, Ayantunde, Ayanwande etc. From a historical perspective, the tama just like the Serer junjungwas beaten by the griots of Senegambian kings on special occasions, such as during wars a call for armswhen the kings wanted to address their subjects, and on special circumstances in Serer Ilu the talking drum essay — a call for martyrdom, such as the mayhem at Tahompa a 19th-century surprise attack   and the Battle of Naoudourou where the defeated Serers by the Muslim- marabouts of Senegambiacommitted suicide rather than be conquered by the Muslim forces or forced to submit to Islam.
This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead: The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants. Detailed messages could be sent from one village to the next faster than could be carried by a person riding a horse.
In the nineteenth century Roger T. Clarke, a missionary, realised that "the signals represent the tones of the syllables of conventional phrases of a traditional and highly poetic character.
The problem was how to communicate complex messages without the use of vowels or consonants, simply using tone. An English emigrant to Africa, John F. Carringtonin his book The Talking Drums of Africa explained how African drummers were able to communicate complex messages over vast distances.
This process may take eight times longer than communicating a normal sentence but was effective for telling neighboring villages of possible attacks or ceremonies. Example[ edit ] The message "Come back home" might be translated by the drummers as: For example, "moon" would be played as "the Moon looks towards earth", and "war" as "war which causes attention to ambushes".
The extra phrases provide a context in which to make sense of the basic message or drum beats. These phrases could not be randomized, when learning to play the drum students were taught the particular phrase that coincided with each word. This reason alone made learning to talk in drum language very difficult and not many were willing to take the time to do so.
The irony was that by the time the West understood the mechanism of the drums they began to diminish in use in Africa. It was also not uncommon for words to lose their meaning. When given the beat for young girl the drummers thought the phrase played was in fact the one for fishing nets.
Drum languages could also be used for specifically literary forms, for proverbs, panegyrics, historical poems, dirges, and in some cultures practically any kind of poetry.
The ritualized forms and drum names constituted a type of oral literature. Among some peoples such as the Ashanti or the Yorubadrum language and literature were very highly developed.
Talking drum variance[ edit ] Dimensions[ edit ] Various sizes of hourglass talking drum exist, with the dimensions of the drum differing between ethnic groups, but all following the same template.Feb 20, · The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech.
Its body is covere. The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum made from wood and goatskin. The drum is tagged the talking drum because it can “imitate the lines, speech or words of a spoken language especially Yoruba.
However, the talking drum is not limited to Africans; similar talking drums were found in Asia. How to play the drum. Playing the instrument is fun but learning how to play the drum is also not a tedious task. First of all, there are two ways of playing the drum; by sitting or standing.
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