Given the vastness of the African continent, its music is diverse, with regions and nations having many distinct musical traditions. African music includes the genres Jùjú, Fuji, Highlife, Makossa, Kizomba, Afrobeat and others.
The music and dance of the African diaspora, formed to varying degrees on African musical traditions, include American music like Dixieland jazz, blues, jazz, and many Caribbean genres, such as calypso (see kaiso) and soca.
Latin American music genres such as zouk, bomba, conga, rumba, son cubano, salsa music, cumbia and samba, were founded on the music of enslaved Africans, and have in turn influenced African popular music.
Like the music of Asia, India and the Middle East, it is a highly rhythmic music. The complex rhythmic patterns often involving one rhythm played against another to create a polyrhythm.
The most common polyrhythm plays three beats on top of two, like a triplet played against straight notes. Sub-Saharan African music traditions frequently rely on percussion instruments of many varieties, including xylophones, djembes, drums, and tone-producing instruments such as the mbira or “thumb piano.”
Another distinguishing form of African music is its call-and-response nature: one voice or instrument plays a short melodic phrase, and that phrase is echoed by another voice or instrument. Correctbase
The call-and-response nature extends to the rhythm, where one drum will play a rhythmic pattern, echoed by another drum playing the same pattern. African music is also highly improvised.
A core rhythmic pattern is typically played, with drummers then improvising new patterns over the static original patterns.
Traditional music in most of the continent is passed down orally (or aurally) and is not written. There are subtle differences in pitch and intonation that do not easily translate to Western notation.
African music most closely adheres to Western tetratonic (four-note), pentatonic (five-note), hexatonic (six-note), and heptatonic (seven-note) scales.
Harmonization of the melody is accomplished by singing in parallel thirds, fourths, or fifths (see Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony).
Music is important to religion in Africa, where rituals and religious ceremonies use music to pass down stories from generation to generation as well as to sing and dance to.