Organisation of music in Adangme society

  • J.H. Nketia Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Accra
Keywords: Musical instruments -- Africa, Ga (African people) -- Music, Ghana -- Songs and music, Adangme (African people) -- Songs and music, Idiophones -- Ghana


The specialization which the requirements of social life bring into the content and organisation of folk music and dancing must engage the attention of the student of African music, for it is often by reference to this that the musical heritage of any given society can be discovered and evaluated. Investigation into the practice of music of the Akan, Ga, Adangme, Ewe and other peoples of Ghana shows that this specialization is widespread and tends to follow the pattern described subsequently for Adangme society. Traditional Adangme music is very limited in its music resources, more so than the music of their Ghanaian neighbours. Much of it is vocal. The songs may be sung to the accompaniment of idiophones (bells, rattles, stock clappers, etc.) or they may be combined with drums. The variety of drums of Adangme origin in common use is small; the most important of them are the drums of Klama, the most widely used musical type in Adangme area. Adangme music has in common with the music of other Ghanaians both a polymetric and polyrhythmic foundation. But it is distinct in its style of singing and in its melodic and harmonic usages.