Zuni (Zuni A:shiwi)
- Barbara Tedlock
- , revised by Victoria Lindsay Levine
Native American tribe. With a population of more than 9000, it is the largest Pueblo group in the United States. In their own language, which is an isolate, the Zunis call themselves A:shiwi. Their pueblo is located in western New Mexico. Along with other Pueblo peoples, the Zunis are the descendants of Ancestral Puebloans, who settled in what is now the southwestern United States thousands of years ago. Zuni musical culture has been a topic of scholarly research since the late 1800s.
Zuni traditional music includes a large repertory of prayer chants, songs in stories, songs to accompany war and harvest dances, children’s game songs, and lullabies. However, their three major musical categories include songs to accompany corn grinding, medicine songs, and kachina dance songs. The repertory for each major musical category includes several distinct genres with hundreds of songs. Music theory is highly developed in Zuni culture; the Zuni language contains a rich musical nomenclature, such as terms for song and dance genres, vocal registers and ornaments, song sections, melodic contours, rhythmic figures, and musical instruments, as well as dance positions, steps, gestures, and performance cues....