Notes on musical instruments among the Fulani of Diamare (north Cameroon)


  • Veit Erlmann Department of Music, University of Natal, Durban



The Central Sudan, enclosing the northern parts of the Cameroons and Nigeria, South-Niger and parte of Chad, has been viewed by different scholars under various aspects as one coherent area sharing certain cultural traits. Some of these are due to the impact of Islam during the past 500 years: town-culture, feudal social hierarchy, class distinctions, and literacy. Hence, this paper attempts to give a general account of the musical organology of the Fulani in North Cameroon and to contribute to the completion of ethnomusicological knowledge in this area through the presentation of new material and the basic facts of Fulani organology (names of instruments and their parts, social usage, history).


Ames, D.W. 1968 "Professionals and amateurs: the musicians of Zaria and Obimo", African Arts 1/2: 41-45, 80-87.
1973 "A sociocultural view of Hausa musical activity", Azevedo, W. d'(ed): The traditional artist in African societies. Bloomington: 128-161.
Ames, D.W., Gregersen, E.A., Neugebauer, Th. 1971 "Taaken saamaarii: a drum language of Hausa youth", Africa 41:11-31.
Ames, D.W., King, A.V. 1971 Glossary of Hausa music and its social contexts, Evanston.
Ba, H. 1966 "The Fulbe or Fulani of Mali and their culture", Abbia 14-15.
Baratte Eno-Belinga, T. and Nourrit, C. 1980 Musique traditionnelle de l'Afrique noire, discographie, Centre de Document- ation Africaine, Radio Thèques no. 9, Paris.
Barth, H. 1857 Reisen und Entdeckungen in Nord- und Central Afrika in den Jahren 1849 bis 1855, Vol. III, Gotha.
1971 Collection of vocabularies of central African languages, Reprint London.
Bauer, F. 1904 Deutsche Niger-Benue-Tschadsee-Expedition 1902/3, Berlin.
Besmer, F. 1971 Hausa court music in Kano, Nigeria. Ph.D., New York.
Brandily, M. 1967 "Un exorcisme musical chez les Kotoko", Nikiprowetzky, T.(ed), La musique dans la vie, I. Paris: 33-75.
n.d. Notes of record "Music of Kanem ", Bärenreiter Musicaphon BM 30 L 2309.
Braukämper, U. 1970 Der Einfluss des Islam auf die Geschichte und Kulturentwicklung Adamauas, Wiesbaden.
Dominik, H. 1908 Vom Atlantik zum Tschadsee; Kriegs- und Forschungsfahrten in Kamerun, Berlin.
Eguchi, M.J. 1975 "Aspects of the life style and culture of women in the Fulbe Districts of Maroua", Kyoto University African Studies 9: 17-92.
Eguchi, P.K. 1973 "The chants of the Fulbe Rites of eircumcision", Kyoto University African Studies 8: 205-231.
Erlmann, V. 1980 Die Macht des Wortes: Preisgesang und Berufsmusikertum bei den Fulbe des Diamaré (Nordkamerun), München.
Farmer, H.G. 1924 "The Arab influence on music in the western Soudan", The Musical Standard, November: 158-59.
1939 "Early references to music in the western Sudan", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 569-80.
Gourlay, K.A. 1976 "Letter to the Editor", Ethnomusicology 20/2: 327-332.
Griaule, M. 1932 "Griots, dictons, devinettes", Togo-Cameroun: 57-68.
Harris, P.G. 1930 "Notes on Yauri (Sokoto Province), Nigeria", Journal of the Royal Anthro- pological Institute 60: 283-334.
1932 "Notes on drums and musical instruments seen in Sokoto Province, Nigeria", Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 62: 105-125.
Hause, H.E. 1948 "Terms for musical instruments in Sudanic languages", Journal of the Amer- ican Oriental Society 68/1, suppl. 7: 1-71.
Klingenheben, A. 1963 Die Sprache der Ful, Hamburg.
Krieger, K. 1968 "Musikinstrumente der Hausa", Baessler Archiv, Beiträge zur Völkerkunde 16:373-425.
Labouret, H. 1935 "Les Sultans Peuls de l'Adamaoua", Togo-Cameroun.
Lethem, G.J. 1920 Colloquial Arabic. Shuwa dialect of Bornu, Niger and of the region of Lake Chad, London.
Lukas, J. 1967 A study of the Kanuri language, reprint London.
MacKay, M. 1950 "The traditional musical instruments of Nigeria", The Nigerian Field 15/3: 112-133.
MacLeod, O. 1912 Chiefs and cities of Central Africa: across Lake Chad by way of British, French and German territories, Edinburgh.
Mohammadou, E. 1970 Les Feroobe du Diamaré, Maroua et Pette, Niamey.
Nachtigal, G. 1871 "Dr. Nachtigal's Ankunft in Kuka und die Übergabe der Preussischen Ge- schenke an den Sultan von Bomu", Peterman n's Mittheilungen 17.
1877 "Das Becken des Tsade und seine Bewohner", Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin 12/1.
1881 Saharâ und Sûdân, Vol. II, Berlin.
Nikiprowetzky, T. n.d. Trois aspects de la musique africaine, Paris.
Passarge, S. 1895 Adamaua, Berlin.
Podlewski, A.M. 1966 "La dynamique des principales populations du Nord-Cameroun". lère partie: entre Bénoué et Lac Tchad, Cahiers ORSTOM 3/4.
Salasc, L. 1934 "Sur les musiques du Haut Cameroun", Togo-Cameroun: 34-45.
Schaeffner, A. 1933 "Notes sur la musique des populations du Cameroun septentrionale", Mino- taure 2:65-70.
Smith, M.G. 1957 "The social functions and meaning of Hausa praise-singing", Africa 27/1: 26-43.
1964 "The beginnings of Hausa Society, A.D. 1000-1500", Vansina, J.; Manny, R.; Thomas, L.V. (eds), The historian in tropical Africa, London.
Strümpell, K. 1912 "Geschichte Adamauas nach mündlichen Überlieferungen", Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft in Hamburg 26: 49-107.
Surugue, B. 1972 "Contribution à l'étude de la musique sacrée Zarma Songhay", Etudes nigeriennes 30.
Taylor, F.W. 1932 A Fulani-English Dictionary, Oxford.
Thieme. D. 1963 "Research in African music: accomplishments and prospects", Ethnomusic- ology 7/3: 266-271.
Touma, H.H. 1975 Die Musik der Araber, Wilhelmshaven-Amsterdam-Locarno.




How to Cite

Erlmann, Veit. 1983. “Notes on Musical Instruments Among the Fulani of Diamare (north Cameroon)”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 6 (3):16-41.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>