Why Xylophones are great for beginners? Xylophones and Glockenspiels are never out of tune, they are small and portable. And you can buy a lot of simple sheet music tutorials for xylophone with easy-to-play letter-coded children songs.
Music and dance accompany African birth, growing up, initiation, marriage, the birth of children, death, as well as most social activity, such as hunting, planting, and gathering. Music is often associated in Africa with magic. As the African proverb says: "the spirit cannot ascend to heaven without a song".
The xylophone is the most important traditional folk instrument on the continent, alongside the drum. The xylophone exists in Africa in many different forms (for example the log xylophone, the calabash or gourd-resonated xylophones, the bail, and the box resonated xylophones) and under lots of names (malimba, silimba, mbila, timbila, gyil, and belofon).
There are three main types of a xylophone in Africa:Type 1. Wooden blocks located above a natural resonator: a pit or an open trough on clay pots (for example, in Nigeria and Tanzania).
Type 2. Bars laid on two banana stalks (as, for example, in Guinea).
Type 3. A xylophone with a frame, and pumpkins under the keys used as a resonator. These xylophones are almost everywhere in Africa. A hole is drilled in each pumpkin, and then the hole is sealed with paper. This gives a softer sound, and a gentle rattling is obtained.
Usually, African scales differ from Western ones. The African xylophones mostly have 5, 6, or 7-note (pentatonic, hexatonic, heptatonic) scales, while Western instruments typically have a diatonic scale. The songs in this book have been adapted and can be played on all models of popular wooden xylophone, metal glockenspiel (metallophone), or resonator blocks. Even a simple kids' xylophone will be adequate to play most of these songs.
Traditional African songs always involve the full body of the musician or singer. In Africa, singing always involves dancing, so the emphasis is placed more strongly on rhythms than on melody or harmony. Also, lyrics have never been very important. Also, African musicians are extremely sensitive to visions and dreams. For example, among the Bushmen, half of the songs originate from a shamanic trance, which is received in dreams or from spirits, and is why they are healing songs. Polyphony, a composition of multiple simultaneously sounding and rhythmically independent parts, is the primary phenomenon in African music. Additionally, lyric repetition and call and response are very important, and they are a true characteristic of African music.
Rhythm is the most distinguishing characteristic of African music and it always prevails over the melody. Some songs here have been simplified and for beginners. The same song played on a wooden xylophone and on a metallophone will result in very different sounds. Due to their clear rhythmic patterns, African songs are an ideal material for any kind of musician.