NM2610 Research Essay
Drumming Traditions of Ghana
The Traditional music of Africa presents itself as an oral practice of instrumental skill passed down from ancient ancestors. This idea has influenced the sound produced through instrumentation thus allowing the replication of spoken language. Within Ghanaian tradition, the practice of dance drumming is a part of everyday culture and can be linked to religion, politics, life events and entertainment (Green 2012 p. 235-238). The practice of drumming acts as the central focus of Ghana’s musical culture functioning to form well-connected ethnic groups (Jones 1964 p. 334). Through the relationship of music and traditional ritual, an understanding of the Ghanaian culture may be…show more content… Rhythms known as ‘okomfo twene’ are chosen based on their success in attracting the gods but it is not uncommon for musicians to create their own. The Asente perform three modes of drumming, which are signal mode, speech mode and dance mode; these may all be observed within the possession ritual. The drumming of the healing ceremony is often dynamic signaling the beginnings of a ritual whilst its connection to dance rhythms inspires movement thus encouraging possession. The drums used within the ceremony are the talking drums called Atumpan that feature a high tone and a low tone which are used to mimic tonal language of the Asente (Wilson 2006).
It is through the musical elements incorporated within the healing ceremony that attendance, possession and the ability to heal is affected. The significance of the drum within this ritual to appease the gods can be compared to the importance of drumming in relation to the deceased in funeral ceremonies of the Ewe people.
Within the tradition of the Ewe people, music is a representation of worth with this idea reflected within funeral ceremonies. Ghanaian funerals of the Ewe people do not only function to farewell loved ones but also act as an occasion that inspires the creation and performance of music. An Ewe funeral is a three-day event that includes the wake-keeping, burial and grand funeral showcasing a diverse variety of drumming practices. The wake-keeping