'Pygmy' is a term used to describe various ethnic groups worldwide which are characterised by an unusually low average height. Anthropologists have defined 'Pygmy' as applying to ethnic groups within which the male average height is less that 4'11”. Members of slightly taller groups are called 'Pygmoids'. The best known Pygmy group are the Aka, Efé and Mbuti of Central Africa, though there are also Pygmies in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Phillipines, Papau New Guinea and Brazil.
The African Pygmies are noted for their unusually complex vocal musical ability, and it is claimed that the level of polyphonic complexity that the Pygmies had practiced for centuries was only reached in Europe in the 14th century.