Colonial African American slaves brought the banjer, a stringed instrument with a gourd body, from their West African homeland in the 17th century. They also played handmade drums and reed instruments.
Read more: Early American Music Instruments | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5171986_early-...
Most slave owners did not permit slaves on their plantations to use drums. They feared that the slaves would use the drums as a means of communication in order to plan rebellions. As a result, slaves had to adopt European instruments such as the fiddle.
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