Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 18 October 2019

Amerindian musiclocked

  • Bruno Nettl,
  • Victoria Lindsay Levine
  •  and Elaine Keillor


In this article the term ‘Amerindian’ is used in a conventional sense to refer to the native peoples, also known as American Indians or Native Americans, who occupied the North American continent above Mexico before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century. (For a general discussion of Amerindians throughout North and South America see Americas and for the music of Amerindian cultures in Central and South America, see Latin America, §I and the relevant country articles.) The Amerindians are so called because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were part of the East Indies. The Amerindians appear to have come into the Western hemisphere from Asia in a series of migrations; from Alaska they spread east and south. Their common origin explains the physical characteristics that Amerindians have in common, while the several waves of migration are supposed to account for the many native linguistic families. There is evidence of the presence of Amerindians in the Americas for more than 15,000 years. In pre-Columbian times the Amerindian population of the area north of Mexico is estimated to have been between one and two million....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Musical Quarterly
Yearbook for Traditional Music
Journal of the American Musicological Society