Ethiopian music is influenced by traditions and religion. It is a reflection of Ethiopia's long history. Its unique modal system is pentatonic with long intervals. In the Ethiopian highlands, the main modes include Tizita, Bati and Ambassel. Among the commonly used Ethiopian traditional musical instruments are masinko, kirar, and begena. In some parts of Ethiopia, the music is as much about love as about war and patriotism.
The production of vinyl records was discontinued in 1978 in Ethiopia. Their disappearance starting in 1974 also ended, from the haptic side, a decidedly creative and fruitful stage in the history of Ethiopian music. The first blow came in 1974 when Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by a coup d'état, and a neo-Stalinist military regime took power. The hitherto flourishing nightlife in Addis Ababa was harassed with closings, prohibitions, and raids, and music in general, especially decadent Western dance music, was declared superfluous and undesirable. This situation led to more and more musicians and activists leaving the country. From 1978, the Ethiopian music market finally belonged to the most cheaply produced or illegally copied cassette.
The period from 1969 to 1974, however, is considered a miraculous explosion of musical creativity, for which there are hardly any equivalents in the global context. Addis Ababa was raging with soul, funk, fusion and jazz, every now and then even a little rock.
The musicians moved with great sovereignty through the Western stylistics, but without imitations. They used Western stylistic elements to achieve higher goals. It seemed to be more about serving the rich treasure of Ethiopian music, its scales, and vocal styles by providing new musical environments.