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Nambe  

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(from Omaha ne’xe: ‘water vessel’; and gaku: ‘to beat’)

Water drum of the Omaha people of the central Plains area of the USA. It is made from a hollowed log partially filled with water and with a head of buffalo skin. The drum is tuned by tipping it to wet the skin, then partially drying it near a fire to produce the correct sound. As with the Ojibwa ...

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Paula Conlon

[‘Doc’ Tate ]

(b Fletcher, OK, July 3, 1932; d Lawton, OK, March 5, 1996). Native American (Comanche) maker and player of juniper flutes. He attended the Fort Sill Indian School and Haskell Indian Institute. He learned flute making from the Kiowa maker Belo Cozad (1864–1950) and the Lakota maker Richard Fool Bull (1887–1976). He used the traditional method of splitting the wood, carving the channel, boring the holes, and inserting the plug, then gluing the flute back together with sap, binding it with leather thongs, and attaching the external block. His first album, Indian Flute Songs from Comanche Land (NAM 401C, n.d.), was the first commercial recording consisting entirely of music for solo Indian flute. He introduced new playing techniques, including cross-fingerings to extend the range, and extending the warbling sound on the lowest tone to all the available pitches, thus expanding the flute’s repertoire and contributing to its revival in the latter 20th century. Tate (the English name given to him) was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow in ...

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Niçude  

Mary Riemer-Weller

(Omaha: ‘whistle’)

Bone whistle of the Omaha Indians of the central Plains of the USA. It is made from the wing bone of an eagle and is about 15 cm long, and it has a V-shaped flue opening in the centre but no fingerholes. It produces only one shrill note which, when played repeatedly, was said to imitate an eagle’s call. The whistle was played during parts of the ...

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Nisenan  

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Nomlaki  

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Chad Stephen Hamill

Whistle of the Salish Indians of the Columbia Plateau. 10 to 15 cm long, it can be made from various hollow dry creek weeds, cow parsnip stalk, willow or elder wood, the ulna bone of a bald eagle, or the leg or wing bone of a crane or similar wading bird. The proximal end is cut at a 45-degree angle to rest against the lower lip of the player. A wedge-shaped hole is cut on the side opposite the angled cut and partially filled with pine pitch to direct the air to the lower edge of the cut. It produces a single sound. Whistles are used by young boys and men for personal enjoyment. The term ...

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Oglala  

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Richard Moyle

Nose flute of Hawaii. It is a tube of thin-walled native Hawaiian bamboo, traditionally between 25 and 50 cm long, with a nose hole cut at an angle below the upper end, closed by a node. Two or three fingerholes penetrate the tube towards the open end. The traditional way of playing the flute was to hold it with the right thumb and forefinger and use the rest of the fingers of the same hand to cover the holes. The left thumb was used to hold the left nostril closed with the left hand cupped over or under the flute. Like the ...

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J. Richard Haefer

[omitzicahuastli]

Generic term for a bone scraper of the Aztec (Nahua) people and other central Mexican cultures. The name was derived from omitl (‘bone’) and chicahuaztli (‘power’). It was a long serrated stick or bone scraped with a smaller stick. Two types have been identified, one a long femur with deep notches and incised with images relating to Quatzalcoatl and Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, found in the central Mexican highlands. The second type, notched but not incised, was from the Toluca and Tarascan areas. It is pictured in ...

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Oneida  

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Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by Richard Keeling

[pakpaka]

Clappers of the Maidu people and other Indians of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley. Other names include Wintun tcakatta, Pomo tebatab, Chimariko hĕmuimektsa, Kato cun telegal, and Wailaki djin delbak. A straight piece of elder or other soft wood, about 45 cm long, is split in two for slightly more than half its length and the pith removed; the un-split portion serves as a handle. It is held one hand and the split portion is struck against the other palm. It provides a regular beat to accompany sacred and secular singing. A variant with the split part cut into many slender rods is used by the Hupa Indians of northwestern California in the ...