Music was an important tradition in Africa centuries before Africans were brought to America. Singing was a part of everyday life when people were at work, worship or play. The drum was the most important instrument in addition to the voice. Just like we use telephones today, Africans communicated by playing different beats and rhythms.
Sometimes a person called out with a voice or an instrument and then another person answered. This is the call-and-response pattern in music. Africans also sang new words and created new rhythms for songs. This is called improvisation. These traditions in African music are found in popular American music styles today. Continue the journey to find out why.