Akogo: Thumb Piano – Percussion instrument

The Akogo features as part of the Ugandan string family and has various names depending on dialects, it is also known as an idiophone.

The Akogo, also known as the thumb piano or idiophone, is one of the most popular instruments to hail from Uganda.

Made up of a series of flexible metal tongues varying in length, the Akogo achieves its sound by pairing these vibrating membranes with a small wooden chamber made of kiaat wood. Musicians play the Akogo with both hands, using their thumbs to pluck the slightly upturned end of the metal tongues, which they usually tune to the diatonic scale of G major.

In Uganda, the instrument is usually played by solo musicians and is occasionally used to accompany songs of thought. To make the Akogo more personal or unique, some musicians add small metal wraps to the tongues, creating a rattle effect as they play.



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