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Article

David P. McAllester

Rattle consisting of small pieces of flint of ritually prescribed shapes and colours used by the Navajo people of the southwestern USA to accompany songs in the Flintway ceremony. The flints are cupped in both hands and shaken to produce a jingling sound. They symbolize the restoration of fractured or dislocated bones as well as the renewal of vitality in general....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion idiophone widely known in the Americas. Examples include the kalukhaq of the Alaskan Inuit and Native Americans of the northwest coast of North America, the cajón of Cuba and Peru, and the Mexican cajón de tapeo, which supposedly developed as a substitute for the tarima (dance platform). Box drums are also played in the Trinidadian shango cult and on other Caribbean islands. The typical cajón is a rectangular wooden box with a soundhole on the back or side; the box is usually large enough for the player to sit on while striking the front (tapa) with the hands or with sticks. Modern innovations include a padded seat on the top, screws for adjusting the timbre, snares that vibrate against the wood, and a pedal-operated striker. In 2001 Peru declared the cajón part of the nation’s cultural patrimony.

A. Chamorro: Los instrumentos de percusión en México (Zamora, 1984)....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made by cutting a piece of hide and sewing it into a spherical shape, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with an extension about 10 cm long to wrap around a wooden handle. The hide is wetted and filled with wet sand, then moulded into shape and allowed to dry, and the sand emptied. Small pebbles are inserted as rattle elements, and the handle is secured to the base of the body. Normally the rattle is not decorated either with feathers or paint. When used for the ‘begging around camp’ ceremony it is called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. It was a three-legged clay vase with clay pellets inside the hollow legs. The name also refers to other clay vessels containing seeds, stones, or other pellets. According to Molina (Vocabulario en lengua mexicana, 1571), cacalachtli (‘to sound’) denotes any clay receptacle containing pellets and for ritual use. The ...

Article

Canari  

J. Richard Haefer

Guitar-like plucked chordophone of the Huichol (Wixáritari or Wirr’ariki) people of west-central Mexico. It is slightly larger than a violin. Typically the soundbox, neck (with four to six frets), nut, and pegboard are carved from a single piece of wood, and a thin piece of cedar serves as a soundtable; the soundbox is only slightly waisted or even oval. A bridge is attached to the soundtable using glue from a local plant. The four or five strings can be of metal, monofilament nylon, or gut. It is played with the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[č’tuá]

Suspension rattle of the Flathead people of Montana, USA. It is a stick about 100 cm long with 20 to 25 split deer hoofs and dewclaws tied near the top. It is carried during the winter spirit dance and medicine dance, when it is struck against the ground to the beat of the song....

Article

Michael Suing

[chancega, cancega](Lakota: ‘wood kettle’)

Generic Sioux Indian term for frame drums. The term refers both to single- and double-headed drums used in personal, powwow, and ceremonial settings, while čháŋčheğa miméla refers specifically to the hand drum. Historic Euro-American accounts often refer to the large drums as war drums; however, this is a misconception as specific drums did not exist for this purpose. Lakota construction methods and materials are representative of traditional drummaking in the Northern Great Plains. A likely predecessor of the Lakota frame drum was a solitary hoop of bent branches with no drum head, played by striking the hoop with a beater. This idiophonic frame was a talismanic object employed by healers and shamans. After idiophonic frames, longitudinally split and bent sections of wood with increased structural integrity for supporting a drum head were used. The two ends were overlapped and lashed with sinew and hide passing through holes cut through the wood. Later, vegetal twine, iron tacks, and wire replaced or were used to repair lapped joints. The use of cross-sections of hollowed trees is common in larger powwow drums, but smaller handheld drums sometimes employed this method. Other lumber, typically from discarded shipping crates, provided wood of ideal thickness and length for use as bent drum frames, and other collected materials, such as large snapping turtle shells, large iron hoops, small shipping crates, wooden buckets, and cast iron kettles were used as drum frames or bodies....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[Čłxwa]

End-blown flute of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. Often called a courting flute, it is made from elderberry or fir and is about 45 cm long and 2 cm in diameter. The soft elderberry pith is burnt out with a heated metal rod and six ésłxlox (fingerholes) are burnt near the middle of the instrument, the distance between them determined by hand position. A small slit near the top of the flute is partially filled with pitch directing the air against the edge of the opening. Traditionally it is not decorated, but some Flatheads have adopted decorated vertical Chinese flutes as substitutes....

Article

[chorromón]

Suspension rattle of the Atacameño people of the Atacamá Desert, province of Antofagasta, northern Chile. It is formed by attaching four to 12 solid objects in a row to a leather thong which is shaken to produce the rattle sound. In pre-Contact times small metal balls were used; nowadays small pellet bells are preferred. It is identical with archaeological specimens of the extinct Diaguita culture. It is played with the ...