African Roots of Egyptian Music

Egyptian Musical instruments that have their origins in Kemet, highlighting the African roots of Egyptian music

The Ancient civilizations of Kemet (Egypt) nurtured a vibrant musical tradition that resonates to this day.

Rooted in the rich cultural tapestry of the African continent, Ancient Egyptian music from Kemet encompassed a diverse array of musical instruments and styles which can be traced back to the earliest days of Kemetic Civilization at Ta-Seti also known as the Land Of The Bow

Here are some Egyptian Musical instruments that have their origins in Kemet, highlighting the African roots of Egyptian music.

The Sistrum – A Sacred Rattle

The sistrum was a revered musical instrument in Nubia Kush.

This sacred rattle consisted of a metal frame with movable crossbars, often adorned with religious symbols.

The sistrum held great significance in religious ceremonies, as its melodious sound was believed to invoke divine blessings and connect with the spiritual realm.

The Oud 

The oud, an instrument synonymous with the soulful melodies of ancient Egypt, has its origins in the Nile Valley Civilization in Kemet. This pear-shaped lute with a short neck and frets was highly cherished for its enchanting sound.

Its deep connections to African culture and history highlight the African roots of Egyptian music.

The Lyre – A Celestial Instrument:

The lyre, an ancient stringed instrument, held a significant place in both Kemet.

Its celestial associations and soothing melodies made it a preferred instrument in royal courts and religious ceremonies alike.

The Darbuka – A Rhythmic Drum:

The darbuka, a goblet-shaped hand drum, traces its roots to the vibrant rhythms of Kemet.

This percussive instrument brought dynamic energy to Egyptian music, complementing the melodies of other instruments.

The Nay – An Ethereal Flute:

The nay, a hauntingly beautiful flute-like instrument, finds its origins in the heart of Africa. Its captivating sound has endured through the ages and continues to grace traditional Egyptian music highlighting its Nubian roots.

The Arghul – A Dual-Piped Wind Instrument:

The arghul, a unique double-piped wind instrument, originated in Kush.

Its distinctive tones and versatility made it a favoured instrument for various musical expressions in the region.

The Rababa – A Bowed String Instrument:

The rababa, a bowed string instrument with a long history in Kemet, contributed to the evocative melodies of ancient Egyptian music.

Its resonant sound evoked emotions and told stories of a rich cultural heritage.

The Buzuq – A Versatile Stringed Instrument:

The buzuq, a long-necked stringed instrument, also has its roots in Nubia.

Its adaptability allowed it to be used in both lively folk music and soulful ballads.

The Tanbura – A Spiritual Harp:

The tanbura, a large harp-like instrument, was associated with spiritual ceremonies and ritual music in Kemet.

Its spiritual essence influenced the music of Ancient Egypt.


The musical heritage of Ancient Kemet (Egypt) carries the soul of Africa within its vibrant melodies and enchanting rhythms.

From the sacred sistrum to the ethereal nay, and the rhythmic darabuka to the celestial lyre, each instrument reflects the diverse cultural tapestry and historical connections of the African continent.

Egyptian music from Kemet, with its roots in Nubia Kush, remains a testament to the enduring creativity and artistic expression of the people of Ancient Africa.