Culture: Igbo Instruments

Below is a list of common Igbo Instruments

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The ubo-aka is a “thumb piano” of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. This instrument features a wood-burnt hardwood soundboard (with cut-out handholds) mounted on an incised, woodburnt gourd resonator. Instead of the traditional metal cuffs around each key, a metal chain is stretched across the key. One other distinctive fact about this remarkable instrument being that it was by definition, the oldest existing musical instrument in Nigeria, there being no evidence of any older specimens anywhere else in the country. (Sources: nairaland.com + musicinafrica.net)
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The IGBA (Cylinder-drum) is a piece of hollow wood covered at one end with animal hide held down tight with fasteners. The artist carries it over his shoulder with the help of a shoulder strap. The artist produces the sound by beating on the animal hide with his fingers or combination of one set of fingers and a special stick. The cylinder-drum accompanies dances, songs, religious and secular ceremonies, and its tunes have been known to gave special signals for good news as well as bad news. These drums often accompany many other instruments. Traditionally, the deeper shelled Igba are played with the hand, while the shorter drums are played with a curved stick. In an ensemble these drums often lead, and are used to “talk” by the talking drummers. To tune the drum, the player will use a strong object to whack the pegs around the drum in order to restore its best tone. (Source: nairaland.com)

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THE UDU originates from Nigeria. It is a musical instrument that was developed by the women of the Igbo people, who inhabit the eastern part of the country. Originally it was used strictly for women’s ceremonial purposes, but nowadays its use is so widespread that you can find it in Christian churches, shebeens and popular male bands. ‘Udu’ means pot in Igbo. It is believed that the udu evolved from a water carrier. Indeed the larger type of udu is no different from a water storage pot. If you were to travel through the Igbo region in Nigeria you would find it hard to miss an udu of this kind. (Source:soundjunction.org
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The EKWE (Slit-drum) is a tree trunk, hollowed throughout its length from two rectangular cavities at its ends and a horizontal slit that connects the cavities. The size of the slit-drum depends on its use and significance. Its significance includes use as musical instrument at coronation, cultural events and rituals. The different sounds of the drum summon the citizens at the monarch’s palaces, or town squares. The strong rhythm of the slit-drum, gave special signals for inundation, meetings, announcements of fire, theft and other emergencies.(Source: nairaland.com)
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The OGENE (Gong) is the most important metal instrument among the Igbo people. They were made originally in bronze but, in modern time, are mainly made of common metal as a bulging surface in elliptical shaped rim, and tapering like a frustum to its handle. It is hit about its rim by a stick to produce different tunes. The Ogene (gong) accompanies dances, songs, religious and secular ceremonies, and its tunes have been developed to transmit messages by a sort of lyric prose. (Source: umunna.org)
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Uncle Uche plays the flute. Like if u have an uncle Uche. Igbo Music instrument special. The OJA (Flute) is a piece of wood designed with a cavity inside, the top has a wide opening to fit the shape of the human lower lip, a small hole on the bottom and two smaller holes closer to the top on exact opposite side. The artist blows the musical sounds through the wide opening, while placing the thumb and the ring fingers simultaneously on the two smallest holes to control the rhythm. The bottom hole which is left alone at all times controls the musical rhythm out flow. It accompanies dances and songs, or played as solo. (Source: nairaland.com)

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