One of my favorite parts of Things Fall Apart is the integration of music throughout the novel. When I read this in high school we talked a lot about the musical instruments mentioned in the novel. I thought it would be cool to write about some of the instruments and how they are used in Igbo society.
The Ekwe is a silt drum. This drum is used for cultural events and rituals. In the book, drums are often used to signal an important message or announcement. Different rhythms played convey different messages that vary from declaring and emergency or calling people to a common area. To hear what the Ekwe sounds like click this link! http://www.umunna.org/ekwe.wav
Udu means ‘pot’ in Igbo. It is a percussion instrument made out of clay and is hollow with a small open mouth at the top. It is used for playing the bass line of a musical arrangement. It is also a multipurpose piece of pottery. The Igbo use the Udu not only for making music but also for storing produce, palm oil, and water. To hear what an Udu sounds like click this link http://www.soundjunction.org/profiletheudu.aspa?NodeID=2
The Ogene sounds like a gong. The stick is used to hit the Ogene to create sound. Depending on where it is hit, different tones are produced. The Ogene is used in many arangmetns featured in religious and secular ceremonies. The different tones and rhythms that make up a song can hold messages. In the book, the town crier summons all of the men in the village to a meeting by playing the Ogene before and after his announcement. To hear what an Ogene sounds like click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iER1uwH78o4 It is a youtube video that also has an Udu in it.
Music in Igbo society was (is?) primarily used to communicate. Instead of sending out a mass text, they just sent a guy with a loud voice (the town crier) and a loud instrument. This seems like a very effective way to get the word out and quickly.