African guitar scales

M any genres and guitar styles in American music are based on the all-important interval of a third. Melodies and solo lines are often constructed using thirds, and chord structures for example, triads, and seventh chords are built in thirds sometimes known as tertian or tertial harmony.

The type of third interval—major or minor—will determine the characteristic sound of the chord, whereas fifths and sevenths do not have the same degree of influence. Lines based on thirds present great material for picking- and fretting-hand exercises, and also provide a solid foundation for melodic ideas and solos to explore in your improvising and writing scroll down to view the music examples.

There are two types of thirds intervals: major and minor. A major third is the distance of two whole steps; a minor third is smaller, and equal to a whole step, plus a half step. Thirds can be played on the same string Ex. In these examples, C is the root; E H is the minor third, and E natural is the major third two whole steps above C.

However, these relationships are the same with any root, and they will look and feel the same on all adjacent strings, except for the G and B strings Ex. You can think of the notes corresponding to numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

These examples are great guitar warm-ups, as they require some serious cross-picking to move up and down the strings. Try Ex. Finally, Ex. Incidentally, this particular exercise utilizes a pattern of diatonic seventh-chord arpeggios for C major, a favorite exercise among classical and jazz pianists.

Play these exercises very slowly, concentrating on clarity with every note. Start out by using strict alternate picking, especially as you move across the different strings. Try just one exercise per day before moving on to the next.

Of course, you can play any scale or mode with thirds patterns; this example uses Dorian as it works well over minor seventh chords.

They are great exercises for both the fretting and picking hands. In addition to using these lines for technical workouts, spend time improvising with these concepts over chord changes in your favorite songs. The melodic line over G7 features an ascending line in thirds reaching up to the ninth of the chord before coming back down the scale.

Then, a combination of broken thirds is used to rappel back down the C7 chord. In addition to the fingerings and patterns illustrated here, try coming up with your own fingerings, and write them down in a practice notebook.Africa is not well known for its ethnic stringed instruments. Probably the most famous one is the KORAbut that is a kind of "harp" see page not included.

However there are quite a few instruments that are "guitar-like". In North Africa you can find several types of lute. In Africa the Spanish or Western guitar is now probably the most played plucked instrument, often the electric version. To most ears a quite pleasing twanging sound is produced, in often very danceable rhythms.

Apparently not many guitars are made locally in Africa, as most photos of African players even the older ones show cheap western or Far Eastern made instruments.

The real home-made instruments with 3, 4, 5 or 6 strings, made of bicycle brake wire often use an open tuning. Guitar playing techniques are often based on ngoni playing : with alternating thumb and right hand fingers in lute-style stretched forefinger and sometimes rhythmic tapping on the front.

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Typical African is the use of repeating riffs, and hardly any strumming of full chords. Occasionally some odd tuning is used, like tuning up the low E string to G, or replacing the d string for a d'. On a trip through Malawi and Zambiawe encountered several home-made instruments, fabricated from all kinds of materials see also the ramkie furtheronand often using unravelled bicycle brake wire for strings. The CD "Zambia Roadside" featuring some examples of this kind of guitar mentions that these instruments are locally called "banjos".

Pity he was not home, but we slept in a tent on the flat roof of his house, and saw some of his guitars. The real African guitar is the welknown " blik kitaar " used all over Southern Africa.

Digging Deeper: African Guitar 101

It is a home made guitarusing an empty oil can for the body. Therefore it is often called oil can guitarbut local names for it are : ramkie and katara like in Lesotho and Botswana. In Zululand it is called igogogo. The rough wooden neck is often stuck all the way through the can; sometimes it is fixed to a wooden "lid" on the top of the can. It usually does not have frets, or frets that are made from U-shaped pieces of wire, stuck in the front of the neck.

The kind of capodastre construction is usually just an upside-down "nut-bridge" and can not be moved. The 3, 4 or 6 strings were often made of unravelled bicycle brake wire, but now usually nylon fishline is used. The tuning is often in an open chord, like c f a c'. In Lesotho they use only 3 nylon strings.

Quite recently a modern, electric version of the ramkie also available in USA and Europe with a proper professional neck is factory-made in Capetown by African Oil Can Guitars : Townshipguitars. For more information about the history of the ramkie : GoogleBooks.

african guitar scales

It was used in a group with an oilcan ramkie. The typical African lute-like instruments are all basically of the same construction, whatever the name like ngonior hajhujor gunbri : a wooden bowl, covered with a hide, with a round stick as neck that has on the end tuning "pegs". The other side of the stick goes through a hole in the hide, where the bridge rests on the stick, and the strings are fixed to the end of it.

A similar type of instrument was already found in the time of the Pharaos. In Central and West Africa you can find this widely used type : the ngoni. Alternative names for it are : hoddu, tidinit, xalam, khalam, kontingo, koni, molo, kondegaaciganbaretehardent with the Tuaregetc.

african guitar scales

The name depends usually more on the area it is used, than on a difference in appearence. It is mainly found in countries like : Mali, Senegal, Mauretania, etc. Although it has many different names, basically it is always a very similar instrument.Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony is a music theory of harmony in sub-Saharan Africa music based on the principles of homophonic parallelism chords based around a leading melody that follow its rhythm and contourhomophonic polyphony independent parts moving togethercounter melody secondary melody and ostinato - variation variations based on a repeated theme.

Polyphony contrapuntal and ostinato variation is common in African music and heterophony the voices move at different times is a common technique as well. Although these principles of traditional precolonial and pre-Arab African music are of pan-African validity, the degree to which they are used in one area over another or in the same community varies. Specific techniques that used to generate harmony in Africa are the "span process", " pedal notes " a held note, typically in the bass, around which other parts move"Rhythmic harmony", "harmony by imitation", and "scalar clusters" see below for explanation of these terms.

Two or more events tend to occur simultaneously within a musical context. Even players of simple solo instruments such as the musical bow or the flute manage to manipulate the instrument in such a way to produce simultaneous sounds by playing overtones with the bow, by humming while bowing, and the like Overlapping choral antiphony and responsorial singing are principal types of African polyphony.

Various combinations of ostinato and drone-ostinato, polymelody mainly two-partand parallel intervals are additional polyphonic techniques frequently employed. Several types may intermingle within one vocal or instrumental piece, with the resulting choral or orchestral tendency being the stacking of parts or voices.

Consequently three- or four-part density is not an uncommon African musical feature. Such densities are constantly fluctuating so that continuous triads throughout an entire piece are uncommon. Canonic imitation may occur in responsorial or antiphonal sections of African music as a result of the repetition of the first phrase or the introduction of new melodic material in the form of a refrain.

The latter may involve a contrasting section or a completion of the original melody. Hester [1]. Chordal relationships that occur as a result of the polyphony, homophonic parallelism and homophonic polyphony found in African music are not always 'functional' in the western musical sense.

However, they accomplish the balance of tension-release and dissonance-consonance. In addition, they form varieties of chord combinations and clusters, as well as varying levels of harmonic patterning.

Chords are constructed from scales. Pentatonic and hexatonic scales are very common scales across Africa. Nonetheless, heptatonic scales can be found in abundance.

Anhemitonic scales, equal heptatonic scales, and scales based on the selected use of partials are used in Africa as well. The same community that may use one set of instruments tuned to a certain scale i. In traditional African music, scales are practised and thought of as descending from top to bottom.

African harmony is based on the scales being employed in a particular musical setting. Scales have a profound impact on the harmony because Africans modalize their music. Modalization is the process of applying modal concepts in a non-modal setting.

African music uses recurring harmonic reference points as a means of musical organization. Therefore, African music is not modal or purely based on one mode. Nonetheless modal concepts are employed in African music.

This predates exposure to western and Arab musics. Homophonic parallelism is the harmonizing of a single melody, or subordinate melody and moving with it in parallel. This means the notes that harmonize the melody follow its characteristic shape and rhythm.The Cuban dance music got really popular in both the Belgian and French Congo in the s.

That has led to African people covering the tunes then creating their own music, written in this peculiar style. Fast tempos, single lines, double stops, arpeggios are the major part of the genre.

Short staccato strums can also appear here and there. Our example is a single melody line ending with a double stop, played fingerstyle, of course. Another signature characteristic of the guitar patterns in soukous is the relatively high pitch.

Most of this tune takes place over the 12th fret on the fretboard, too. The usual advice of a slow, accurate practice for a fast performance rings true here as well.

Check the tablature for the correct notes you need to play. Doing so enhances the quick, fresh, upbeat nature of the soukous style. It also means though that you need to pay more attention to what the picking fingers are supposed to do.

I suggest you to not be impatient and rush through the piece. Internalizing this focused picking technique can become a useful part of your technical skills.

West African Music for Fingerstyle Guitar

Also, using multiple fingers instead of a single pick can make your playing more effective. That leads to a lower chance of tension build-up and cramping. Your email address will not be published. Search for:. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. This website uses cookies to help give you the best possible user experience. By continuing to browse this site you give consent for cookies to be used. More info Got it!Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

African music is extensive and this introduction should be considered just the tip of the iceberg.

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People outside of Africa tend to lump the varying sounds and grooves together the way someone might think of rock music. Both Elvis Presley and Metallica can be placed under that label, but are completely different in nearly every imaginable way. Many African songs include several short interlocking parts that fit together like a musical puzzle. The first three examples feature both rhythm and lead soukous-style guitar parts.

Soukous integrated even more indigenous sounds and was further developed in such East African countries as Kenya and Zimbabwe.

african guitar scales

You can see the chord progression in Ex. The rhythmic syncopations found in typical soukous parts will likely be new and challenging for most guitarists. Click here for Ex. For the most part, this melody outlines the chords D-G-A-G. Use a relaxed, sweeping movement for picking the melody and hold down the chord shapes whenever possible. Note the unusual triplet figure on beat 3 of the first measure. One can easily argue that African music should not be written down—at least using Western notation—as it contains many nuances that are beyond the scope of traditional notation.

But I concur that listening trumps reading, so use the notated music as a reference and rely on the audio to interpret the rhythms. This is very common in African music. One guitar might play a Dm arpeggio while the bass emphasizes an F chord, while still another part features an A minor scale run.

Just knowing that the piece is in the key of A minor is enough for now. Finally I have included one repetitive solo guitar groove. Note the capo on the 3rd fret. Rogie, African music means different things to different people. Use this lesson as a starting point and then go off to explore Africa yourself! Shawn Persinger, a.

Free African Loops Samples Sounds

Prester John, has performed and taught guitar on five continents, in 36 countries, and hundreds of cities. His music has been described as a myriad of delightful musical paradoxes: complex but catchy; virtuosic yet affable; smart and whimsical.


Readers and critics are hailing his latest book, The 50 Greatest Guitar Booksas a monumental achievement in music education. For more information, visit greatestguitarbooks. Guitars Bass Amps Pedals Players. More videos from Premier Guitar. The Unsung Heroes of Twang Guitar. One-Shape Blues. Digging Deeper: Twin-Guitar Harmonies. Get our email newsletter! Rig Rundowns Most Recent.The free african loops, samples and sounds listed here have been kindly uploaded by other users.

If you use any of these african loops please leave your comments. Read the loops section of the help area and our terms and conditions for more information on how you can use the loops. Please contact us to report any files that you feel may be in breach of copyright or our upload guidelines. This list only shows free african loops that have the word african in the title or description.

Use the search box to find more free african loops and samples. Description : cinematic moombahton tribal dirty drums drum drumloop drum loop drumkit intro digital jungle dark cinema movie suspense ethnic weird africa african synth pop Share your music with me.

Rebel Blues in the Sahara: A Desert Guitar Primer

Just leave a link. Find me on Instagram. Click on my profile picture Enjoy. Description : Burna boy, Wizkid, Tekno, Rema Description : but sometimes i gotta do the haram cause of the environment im in you know what im saying?

Interested to see if anyone uses this as it changes things up a bit.

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Register Log In.The guitar - arguably the most well-traveled and widely played instrument in the world - has played a prominent role in the development of African music over the past century, providing a medium through which African and Western audiences continue to engage. As its influence has grown, the guitar has adopted the roles and sounds of indigenous instruments, supplemented traditional ensembles, provided a musical bridge with the Americas and driven the development of urban dance music.

By the midth century, the guitar was a universal fixture in rural, town and city music, and had established distinctive and varied styles and approaches that fused indigenous, European, Caribbean, South American and Arabic music.

african guitar scales

Second, they have shown how the guitar can embody the melodic and percussive language of a wide range of other instruments, such as the xylophone ex. Mande balafonspike lute ex. Mande ngoniharp ex. Akan seperewaand thumb piano ex. Shona mbira. In coastal North Africa, the guitar has been less influential than string instruments such as the Arabic oud and Gnawa guembriwhich have maintained strong cultural and musical traditions tied to Berber culture dating back to BCE and Arab influence beginning in the 7th century.

However, in the desert regions of North and West Africa, the guitar has a strong presence. In the past decade, guitar styles of the Tuaregs a subset of the Berber people who inhabit the Saharan dessert regions of Algeria, Mali, and Niger have gained international attention. The ishumar guitar style was developed by young Kel Tamasheq, who was displaced by drought and political instability in the s.

The band Tinariwenfounded in a Libyan refugee camp in the late s, gained widespread attention with their album Amassakoulopening the way for other bands such as TamikrestTerakaft and Etran Finatawa.

These bands shaped a guitar-driven sound that invokes Arabic melismatic melodies, the rolling rhythmic feel of North African music, and the drone of American folk-blues with the political and social messages of a people struggling with minority status in an increasingly instable region of Africa. Listen to the guitar riff in above and notice how the melody is phrased so the second and third notes of each beat are slightly delayed to create an uneven, loping feel.

The interplay of bass and melody creates a feeling of constant movement though the song, and does not follow a Western harmonic progression. This intimate sounding music was often performed in small, informal palmwine bars and followed harmonic progressions that reflected European choral harmonic influences. In the figure sample below, you can hear the clear outline of a Western harmonic progression with the incorporation of the Akan recreational sikye bell pattern. However, there are certain palmwine guitar progressions that follow a modal movement between the IV and iii chords F major and E minor in the key of C.

This progression, called odonsonevolved as the guitar slowly replaced the Akan two-course harp called the seperewa. Examples of this style can be heard by proponents such as Ghanaian guitarist Koo Nimo and seperewa master Osei Korankye.

Likely the most ubiquitous African guitar style outside the continent is that of afrobeat, which is a high-energy blend of highlife, Yoruba music and American funk developed by the larger-than-life musician Fela Kuti during the s and 70s.

The guitar parts range from short, muted single-line patterns to jabbing, three-note chord riffs, and produce a hypnotic cycle that converses with melodic basslines and tight kick drum-driven percussion parts.

Congolese rumba — also known as soukous, kirikiri and kwasakwasa — was the result of a dialogue between Lingala musical traditions and language, European brass band and Christian hymns, and Caribbean music. As with highlife in West Africa, soukous generally follows a short progression outlining the I tonicIV subdominantand V dominant chords.

Sebene lines are usually flat-picked single lines in the highest range of the guitar that simultaneously outline the harmonic progression, provide a rhythmic counterpart to lower supporting guitar parts and raise the energy of the music with soaring guitar lines.

Few guitar styles in Africa feature individual virtuosity and the aesthetic of simultaneously accompanying and soloing as proficiently as soukous. Several important guitar styles have developed in Zimbabwe. The use of electric guitars, elements of Congolese rumba and traditional Shona music resonated with younger listeners during the politically-charged atmosphere of the War of Liberation

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