Based on a qualitative research design using semi-structured qualitative interviews, this thesis aims to describe the circumstances and conditions of performing taarab musicians within Zanzibar Town’s centre: Stone Town. The focus is on taarab instrumentalists, both male and female, with a particular emphasis on female instrumentalists. I explore reasons for the gender differences on the taarab scene and discuss the conflicting values musicians are facing in contemporary Stone Town. Certain areas of conflict or friction seem to keep reappearing among those concerned with taarab. Traditional patterns of knowledge transmission are changing rapidly with the beat of society. The growing commercialism and changing society influences taarab musicians towards economical gain. The development is particularly challenging for female musicians with professional aspirations. From the voiced opinions of four informants I suggest that this is due to a number of factors: the role of Islam in Stone Town society, the significance of tradition, the changing demands of the audiences and employers on the taarab scene and mere practicalities of practicing the profession.