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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

Ernest H. Siva

revised by Kay Edwards

Native American tribe also known as Paui (people of the hot springs) that spoke a Uto-Aztecan language and lived in south-central California, south of the San Bernardino Mountains. They live in California, in Riverside and San Diego counties; many live on the Cahuilla or neighboring tribes’ reservations established in the 1870s. Cahuilla native music was typical of Indian musical style in southern California. Almost entirely vocal and highly functional, it consisted of songs sung to accompany the various rituals in Cahuilla life. Song was the basis of the oral tradition, providing a vehicle for the transfer of knowledge and traditional practice from one generation to another. Thus there were songs for rites of passage, such as birth and puberty, and for entrance into certain societies. There were songs for work, play, and gambling, shamanistic songs for healing and to invoke power (for love, competition, and rso on), and priestly songs for commemoration, prayer, and dedication, which were cosmological in nature....

Article

J. Bryan Burton

[Goyaałé, Goyathlay, Goyahkla ]

(b New Mexico, 1829; d Fort Sill, OK, Feb 17, 1909). Native American instrument maker, singer, medicine man, prophet, and military leader. He is better known in Western history for his military leadership of Western Apache resistance to reservation life during the 1880s. Goyaałé (“One who yawns”) was given the name Geronimo after an attack on a Mexican village on St. Jerome’s day when terrified Mexican soldiers cried out “Jeronimo” appealing for help from St. Jerome. After his surrender he was held as a prisoner of war, first in St. Augustine, Florida, then in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until his death. His celebrity was such that he often made public appearances, including at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, rode in Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1904, and wrote an autobiography with S.M. Barrett, the Oklahoma superintendent of education.

As a medicine man (Apache: diyan), Goyaałé performed Apache sacred ceremonies and rituals that required the knowledge of a vast repertoire of traditional songs sung during the ceremonies. A number of the songs he created were collected for Natalie Curtis’s ...

Article

Hopi  

Robert W. Rhodes

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Native American Pueblo tribe of northern Arizona. Music is an integral part of Hopi culture; as recently as three or four generations ago there were songs to accompany virtually every activity. As the Hopi Reservation entered the modern era, however, many songs ceased to be sung and remembered. Contemporary Hopi music may be divided into three categories: sacred ceremonial music, secular ceremonial music, and children’s game or utility music. The number of children songs is diminishing, but ceremonial songs are in regular use and continue to be composed. Religious ceremonies of the Hopi use songs to communicate with spiritual forces, to tell stories, myths, and legends, and to accompany ceremonial dances. Secular ceremonies consist principally of preparation for and performance of ceremonial dances.

Most Hopi men compose ceremonial songs. Some keep their music secret; a Hopi may work on a song for several years before revealing it to others. During preparation for a ceremony an individual sings his song for the performance group, which then learns it, modifies it as needed to fit the situation as hand, dances to it, and sometimes further modifies it to make it more suitable for actual performance. This collective revision process or communal composition ensures that all are familiar with the song and that it will fit the ceremonial function for which it is intended. Once the song is at this stage it is no longer thought of as belonging to an individual, though its source is still recognized; it may in fact be used in other situations or adopted without the composer’s permission....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

(Apache: ísal, ‘pot’ or ‘bucket’; ‘bucket bound around’)

Water drum of the Apache people of Arizona and New Mexico. A large iron pot or kettle with the handle removed is partially filled with water and sacred materials (corn pollen and ash). A buckskin head (or nowadays sometimes rubber from a truck tire inner tube) is lashed tightly over the opening with buckskin thongs or strips of cloth or inner-tube rubber, with the excess skin or rubber draped around the pot. Historically a large pottery vessel was used; there is no evidence for use of a wooden vessel. The drumstick, of pine, is wrapped in buckskin at the distal end.

The drum accompanies singing, secular and religious (na-i-es, girl’s puberty ceremony; edotal, diagnostic; gojital, curing). It is usually played in groups of four with the performers standing and holding the drums under the left elbow, but in the curing rites it is held in the lap of a seated player. The earliest representation of the drum is a painting by George Catlin of ...

Article

Beverley Diamond

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[kalluraq, kalluak, kaylukuk, kotlookuk]

Ceremonial box drum associated with the Messenger Feast of the Iñupiaq-speaking people of Alaska. It is a rectangular wooden case (usually made of poplar), 45 to 90 cm tall by 18 to 30 cm long and wide. A fur-padded rail, attached along one side with a strip of black whale baleen, is struck with a thick, short stick while the drum is suspended from the ceiling of the ceremonial house. The drum is played by a seated drummer (usually male) wearing the tuutlik, a loon-skin headdress. A soundhole can be cut in the bottom of the drum and a handhold attached to one side. The drum is decorated with a zigzag pattern on the top edge and with eagle feathers. In the native cosmology that explains the origin of the feast, the drum is said to represent an eagle’s heartbeat.

The Tlingit people call the box drum lákt gaaw. Such instruments are often decorated in red and black stylized raven patterns....

Article

Nigun  

(Heb.: ‘melody’; pl. nigunim

In the liturgical music of the Ashkenazi Jews, an early form of centonized chant, also known as nusa . Among the East European Ḥasidic Jews, the term refers to a type of vocal music, often sung to nonsense syllables and accompanied by dancing, of which one of the important forms is the ...

Article

David P. McAllester

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Water drum used in meetings of the Native American (or Peyote) Church. The standard drum consists of a well-soaked buckskin head stretched over an iron kettle about 25 cm deep. The best skins are said to be ‘brain tanned’. The head symbolizes the former war shield, now a spiritual shield. It is attached by an intricate tying method that has symbolic import. Symbolism and rules may vary from fireplace to fireplace with some ideas common throughout the religion. Seven stones or marbles indicating the seven days, the seven sisters (constellations), the seven senses (orifices) of the face, or, for the Sioux, the seven council fires, are tied to the head. The rope tying the head represents the rope used to tie enemies, the reins of war horses, or blood veins. The kettle is half-filled with water, which represents rain or the water of the earth; the sound of the drum represents thunder. Live coals (four to 12 depending on the fireplace) symbolizing lightning are put in the water before the head is attached. The skin is kept moist during meetings by vigorously shaking the kettle between songs or by a quick shake during a song when the sound begins to change. At some fireplaces the drummer will suck or blow on the edge of the drum to force water onto the head, while at others this is prohibited....

Article

Charles Garrett

Article

David P. McAllester

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Small vessel rattle used by singers during ceremonies of the Native American (or Peyote) Church. It is a gourd about 8 to 9 cm in diameter containing pebbles, pierced by a straight wooden handle about 25 to 30 cm long that passes through the gourd and projects slightly. A circular stopper on the handle prevents the stones from falling out. A tuft of dyed horsehair, representing the peyote cactus blossom, is tied to the projecting end. The handle, which may be carved or beaded at the base, symbolizes the arrow or the riding crop used in war but now used in peace. The beadwork may show various symbolic designs: rainbow for beauty of life, red–white–blue for war veterans, fire, or water. 12 tassels cut from a bow string (so it can never be used on a bow again) decorate the end of the handle to symbolize the months or yearly cycle. The user shakes the rattle with one hand and holds the peyote staff (symbolic of the broken bow) in his other hand. The stopper can be of wood or even a coin; it does not touch the edge of the gourd. Friction of the end of the handle projecting at the top (symbolic of the arrow head) holds the handle to the gourd. The rattle pebbles may have individual significance such as turquoise for an Apache, salt, ant, or ocean pebbles, and so on. The outer surface of the rattle may be decorated in patterns related to the peyote ceremony or patterns important to the owner such as stars, moon, fire, eagle; older rattles often had patterns scratched into the surface....

Article

Article

Avigdor Herzog

The tradition of sacred vocal (synagogue) music of the Samaritans, a religious community (which in 1999 numbered about 640), living in Nablus (Shechem) and Holon near Tel-Aviv. They claim descent from the ancient Israelites, and their music and the manner of its performance have many apparently archaic features. The Samaritans differ from the Jews in a number of ways, recognizing only the Pentateuch as canonical (and no other books of the Bible) and regarding Mt Gerizim (near Nablus) rather than Jerusalem as the supreme holy place (see John iv.20).

Samaritan music is an oral tradition sung at synagogue services and at other religious and social gatherings. It consists of performances of literary texts (the Pentateuch and prayers in Hebrew, and hymns in Samaritan Aramaic) and is sung only by men. Although old manuscripts contain Samaritan biblical accents for guiding the reading of the texts, these are no longer used today. Samaritan music can be divided into three categories: songs sung by the whole community; those sung by both a soloist and the community; and solo songs. The group songs are more syllabic in style and rhythmically repetitious, and have fewer glissandos and tremolos than solo music. They are sometimes sung in unison, but mostly antiphonally, the worshippers being divided into two groups, one on the right-hand side of the synagogue facing Mt Gerizim, the other on the left; the former group is termed the ‘right’ or ‘upper’ group, the latter the ‘left’ or ‘lower’ group. Alternate groups of verses drawn from the Pentateuch (called ‘Qataf’), or important hymns (in Samaritan Aramaic) are taken by the two groups, beginning with the ‘right’ group together with the priests; each group begins as the other reaches approximately the midpoint of its verses, so that there is an almost continuous bitextual performance. All the group songs are characterized by improvised parallel polyphony, in which all the intervals are at times found, and in which there are also usually drones and notes of indefinite pitch (...

Article

Shofar  

Jeremy Montagu

(Heb., pl. shofarot)

The ram's horn of the Bible; it is the only ancient Jewish liturgical instrument that survived the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 ce and is still in use. For a discussion of the shofar in biblical times, see Biblical instruments, §3, (x); see also Jewish music, §II.

In post-biblical times, the shofar was still widely used for signalling, not only as an alarm but also with some symbolical intent on occasions of natural or man-made catastrophe such as droughts, famine or raging inflation. It was also used on occasions of rejoicing and jubilation (the word ‘jubilee’ is derived from the name of a special form of the instrument, the shofar ha-yovel), a practice still in use today among the Sephardim.

The Ashkenazim, however, use the shofar only during the month of Ellul, on Rosh Hashanah (New Year; the first day of the following month) and Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashanah it is blown at several points during the service, symbolically to call Israel together and to summon all Jews to repentance and to God; all adult male Jews are under obligation to hear the shofar on this day. Four calls are blown in varying combinations at each point (...