The World Of Ethiopia Music

The world of international music can be fascinating in its complexity and enjoyable in the adventurous nature of the music on the whole. The music of Africa is especially appreciated for this reason and Ethiopia music is among the finest out there. Considered a musically traditional country, the music of Ethiopia is very diverse and varied. Some forms of the tribal Ethiopia music are influenced by religious beliefs from Islam while other forms take their influence from a lot of the folk music in the area.  Ancient music from Ethiopia also has a distinctive Christian element that is related to their descent from Yared, a man who lived during the reign of Gabra Masqal.


With such an extensive and influential history, it’s no wonder that Ethiopia music remains to be diverse and popular. Throughout recent history, before the 1990s, Ethiopia went through a period in its history that was especially hard on the people. This included a siege of floods and famines that overtook the land and cost many lives. This part of the history of Ethiopia has helped to shape the land into what it is now and influenced the people in many ways. The country is currently in the middle of a rebuilding process, however, and is starting to re-establish some of their infrastructure to create a way of life for the people. This, of course, also influences the musical expression of Ethiopians.


The Continual Influence Of History

Music, because of the changes made in the last decade or two, has become more accessible outside of Ethiopia’s major city, Addis Ababa. Before the changes to the structure of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa was the major cultural center of Ethiopia music and held much of the culture of the country within its borders. Since then, music has grown throughout the land again and people are practicing all sorts of new styles and flavors of music in their villages and towns.  The music of Ethiopia uses a unique system that is known as the modal system.


The modal system, as used in Ethiopia music, is a style of music that has long intervals between notes. This leads to an often unfinished and spontaneous feel to the music that creates an atmosphere of anticipation as to what will come next. The modal system is well suited to the instrument most often used in Ethiopia music, the “krar”. The krar is a five or six stringed lyre type instrument with a pentatonic scale that is used much the sale way as a standard guitar or violin.