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[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 ...

Article

Chumash  

Gary Tegler

revised by Kay Edwards

Native Americans inhabiting the coast of California from north of Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo and inland. The Chumash are part of the California-Yuman musical region identified by Bruno Nettl. Because of epidemics in the 1800s, which severely reduced the population, and assimilation by the Spanish mission system and boarding schools, traditional Chumash musical practices have almost disappeared.

The Chumash practiced several traditional genres of songs. Work songs coordinated the work of groups: of this sort was the Canoe song, sung as the men rowed their boats in the Santa Barbara Channel. There were also lullabies, gambling or game songs, healing songs, and songs to teach morals to children. Ceremonial songs included those for the recently deceased, for ancestors, and to honor such mythological characters as Coyote, Eagle, Bear, Dolphin, and Swordfish, as well as songs performed by members of the Antap secret society, the members of which sought to exercise control over the natural and supernatural worlds....

Article

Cibecue  

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ciciikwu’n, shishikwun]

Generic term for rattle among the Ojibwe (Ojibwa, Anishinaabe) people in the Great Lakes region of the USA and Canada. Three forms exist. The first, a cylindrical vessel rattle, is made by wrapping birchbark around two wooden disks, with a wooden handle inserted through both discs. The body is 11 to 15 cm tall and 10 to15 cm in diameter, and contains small pebbles or buckshot. The second form is a disc-shaped vessel made from a narrow wooden hoop 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 1 to 3 cm thick, covered on both sides with hide; it contains pebbles or buckshot. A long extension (20 to 30 cm) of the hoop serves as a handle. Usually three of the first type and one of the second are used together by the jaasakiid or dja’sakid (doctor or juggler) and singers in the mĭdé (Grand Medicine religion) and curing rituals. The third type is a combination of a rattle and a frame drum about 24 cm in diameter and 2 to 3 cm thick, with only a few pebbles inside. In the ...

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

[sepú‧nmeʔs mítʼip]

End-blown flute of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called č ɫx̣ ʷálq ʷ by the Interior Salish and sepú ‧nme ʔs mít ʼip by the Sahaptin. A heated metal rod is used to push the pith out of a straight section of elderberry stalk 38 to 60 cm long and about 2.5 cm in diameter, and to burn fingerholes (typically six) into the stalk; often an additional non-fingered hole is made near the bottom. A V-shaped slot is cut near the proximal end and partially filled with pine pitch to deflect the air; the slot is covered with a rawhide block to direct the wind over the pitch and against the lower end of the V. Historically it was used by men to court women; nowadays it is more commonly used for personal enjoyment....

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Cochiti  

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Article

Creek  

Charlotte Heth

[Muskogee]

Native American group of the Muskogean confederacy. They lived in towns along major river courses in Alabama and Georgia (hence the name “Creek”) from as early as 1000 to the 1830s. In the 2010s most were living in Oklahoma, with other groups in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Knowledge of the history of Creek music incorporates accounts given in the 18th century by soldiers, travelers, and traders and later by missionaries, ethnographers, and informants.

Music of the Creek people includes songs for public ceremonies and celebrations (both seasonal and cyclical), social dances, and animal dances, and music associated with games, prayers to the Creator, affective magic, and curing. Because missionaries made little impact on the Creeks until comparatively late (the 1840s) the singing of Christian hymns is less pervasive in Creek culture than among some other Southeastern tribes.

The ceremonial season begins in the spring with night-time stomp and social dances. These are held at the square grounds, variously called stomp grounds, ceremonial grounds, or tribal towns. These “towns” are reconstructed versions of those that existed in the Southeast before the forced removal of the Indians to Indian territory in the 1830s. Ceremonial activities include, besides dancing, the practicing of dances, taking medicine, the renewal of the clan arbors around the square, playing ball, and feasting. As time for the midsummer Green Corn Ceremony, or Busk, draws closer, activities increase, culminating when the astronomers determine the two most important days for the start of the ceremony. The Green Corn Ceremony is the highlight of the year, with participants showing respect and thanksgiving to the deities for the ripe corn and the earth’s goodness. Its major dances—the Feather, Ribbon, and Buffalo—occur, along with renewal and purification ceremonies, during daylight hours. Although in the past the ceremony took two weeks, it has recently been held as close to a weekend as possible so that everyone may attend. The dances take place, for the most part, in the center of the square ground around a sacred fire that has logs oriented to the four cardinal directions; the sacred number four and multiples of it control most of the ceremonial activities, including the music and dance. The ceremony is directed from the chief’s arbor, or bed, on the west, but the songleaders usually sit in the south arbor; the north and east arbors, when all four are present, also contain seating, usually for males and arranged by clan. Almost every movement of the dancers, singers, medicine men, fire-keepers, and others is counterclockwise around the fire, the ball-game pole, or the square ground....

Article

Crow  

Mary Riemer-Weller

[Absaroke]

Native American tribe of the northern plains whose language is part of the Siouan family. The name Absaroke means “children of the large-beaked bird.” Formerly sedentary farmers of the Northeast, the Crow migrated westward during the 18th century and became nomadic buffalo-hunters. Their culture, based on the horse and buffalo, was typical of Plains Indians; it came to an end in 1878 when the Crow were moved to the reservation they now occupy in Montana.

Central to the traditional Crow world view was the belief that every natural phenomenon had its spirit and that some of these spirits could exert supernatural power. Contact with a spirit was sought through visions, during which an individual received its “medicine”; this usually took the form of a song, which was peculiar to the individual and would aid him in a specific aspect of life. Thus men with appropriate power sang game-charming songs before a buffalo hunt, and a warrior always sang his personal medicine song before encountering the enemy. The Crow viewed all songs as having supernatural origins. Received either in dreams or visions, they became an individual’s personal property. Songs were also borrowed, proper recognition being always given to the tribe of origin....

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

[c’alʼá·kstin]

Suspension rattle of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called čt ʼewá by the Interior Salish and c’al ʼá·kstin by the Sahaptin. Approximately 20 to 50 deer dewclaws, each about 3.5 cm long, are strung together on a buckskin thong 30 to 40 cm long. One or more lengths are wrapped around the ankles (or nowadays the knees) to accentuate ceremonial dancing, or fastened to a wooden staff or cane as used in the Medicine (or Winter) Dance, the oldest ceremony practiced today in the region. Among Sahaptin-speaking groups the ...

Article

Dakota  

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Dance rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Each rattle consists of four to 20 containers made from box turtle shells or evaporated-milk cans, the number depending upon the dancer’s age and experience and on whether she is wearing shells or cans. The overall size of the rattle is approximately 28 cm by 31 cm, and a pair of rattles weighs about 2.7 kg. The containers are drilled with small soundholes at regular intervals, and each is filled with rounded pebbles. Shells and cans are tied vertically with wire to a leather backing so that they do not strike against each other. Cherokee women wear the rattles during nighttime dances at ceremonial grounds. First they wrap their lower legs with a towel or piece of foam rubber and then tightly tie the rattles on with leather thongs, wearing one rattle on each leg. The choreography involves a quick, double gliding step that provides rhythmic accompaniment to the song in an even subdivision of the beat. Ceremonial dances generally last all night; ideally, once a dancer dons her leg rattles, she wears them until sunrise. Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, Yuchi (Euchee), and other southeastern Indian female dancers wear similar leg rattles. Each tribe has its own word for leg rattles, for example Creek, ...

Article

Daluka  

Goblet drum of Sudan. It is traditionally made of clay and played by women, notably by the main singer during spirit possession ceremonies. The Arabic name daluka, of Nubian origin, denotes a small drum beaten by the hand; in a bowl excavated from Tumulus VI at Hobagi, Meroe, one such drum is shown hanging from the drummer’s neck....

Article

Kay Edwards

[Blue Butterfly ]

(b Madison, WI, June 4, 1959). American composer and flutist of Mohican descent (enrolled member of Stockbridge Band of Mohican Nation). He earned degrees in music composition from Northern Illinois University (BM 1981) and Arizona State University (MM 1990) and a separate degree in American Indian Religious Studies from Arizona State University (MA 1992). Davids merges his classical training in Western music with Native American elements that have been nurtured by many visits to Stockbridge Munsee Reservation, where his father was raised; in many of his pieces, native percussion can be heard alongside European instruments to create a colorful musical tapestry. Davids is also a concert flutist, famous for performing on his signature handmade quartz crystal flutes, as well as standard flute and native wooden flutes. He has written commissioned works for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Chanticleer, Zeitgeist, the Kronos Quartet, the Miró String Quartet, and the Joffrey Ballet. He has received awards from In-Vision, Meet the Composer, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others. In ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion board of the Dena’ina (Tanaina Athabascan) people of Alaska. It is a plank, usually of poplar, about 1 metre long by 25 cm wide and 3 to 4 cm thick. It is struck with two wooden sticks. Two holes about 4 cm in diameter are drilled near each end of the board for cords that suspend it from the rafters of the ceremonial house. The board may be decorated with the tail of a sea mammal at one end and the head at the other, or with other clan symbols such as the raven or beaver. The board is used to accompany singing in the potlatch ceremonies. The Yup’ik of Siberia have a similar instrument....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for drum among the Ojibwa Indians of the Great Lakes area of North America. It specifically refers to the large powwow-style drum that is a recreation of the historic war drum. The drum is made from a large log or from a staved washtub about 50 to 60 cm in diameter and 35 cm deep. Traditionally it was double-headed, but modern washtub drums have a circular wooden piece attached to the base to hold the staves in place, with a circular opening cut in the middle of the circular piece and a single cowhide head on the top. Leather straps attached to each side are used to mount the drum to the dedsaakwa’igan, a four-pole frame that holds the drum above the ground; the old term for the drum legs is waaganaakobijigan (‘scalp sticks’). The drum is played by four or more singers each with a baaga’akokwaan or ...

Article

Leanne Hinton

revised by Kay Edwards

[Ipai-Tipai; Iipay Tipay; Tiipay; Kumeyaay; “Mission Indians” of Southern California; Kumeyaay Kumiai (Mexico); Cochim (Mexico)]

Native American group, whose territory included most of what are now San Diego and Imperial counties, and Western Baja California, extending somewhat south of Ensenada. Like most Californian Indians, the Diegueño were not recognized as a tribe in a political sense, but were a set of autonomous clans, each identified with a defined territory, and all speaking mutually intelligible dialects of a single language; the separate clans were linked to each other primarily by marriage and by social ties expressed in ceremonies and their accompanying dances and songs. The Kumeyaay-Diegueño are one of four surviving tribal groups indigenous to San Diego County and include 13 federally recognized bands (nations).

Solo instrumental music was rare among the Diegueño, as it was among other North American Indians. Young men played courtship melodies on the flute, and the musical bow and whistle were played for entertainment. The bullroarer was used as a call to ceremonies. Other instruments included scraped baskets, and rattles made of clay, gourds, turtle shells, or deer hooves; for instance, in Kumeyaay-Diegueño bird songs, gourd or tortoise-shell rattles filled with palm seed are used to provide rhythm. The Diegueño did not use drums. Most Diegueño sang, though many song types were restricted to shamans, or to men who had taken jimsonweed at initiation in an effort to obtain spiritual contacts. Singing played a central role in most social gatherings. It was also a necessary part of attempts to cure illness and to manage weather, and of all ceremonial occasions, including adolescence rites, religious ceremonies, and mourning rites. Much recreation involved singing, including a traditional gambling game, known by its Spanish name ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Term for a percussion idiophone of Native Americans in the present-day USA. It is a plank or log stamped upon rhythmically. Planks are used in the kivas of the Pueblo Indians, in the Northwest and the Great Basin, while inverted hollowed logs are found in California. The plank or log may be placed over a shallow hole in the ground which acts as a resonator and may either be danced upon or beaten with sticks. In the Northeast a sheet of birch bark may be placed over a hole and struck with beaters, and boxes and poles are found as similar instruments in the Northwest....

Article

Klisala Harrison

[raven rattle; sheishoox]

Zoomorphic vessel rattle of the Tsimshian people of the North American Pacific Northwest Coast. Indigenous oral histories suggest that the concept of the ‘raven rattle’ originated with the Tsimshian, but it is also used by the Haida, Nuuchahnulth, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Tlingit. The Tlingit, the most prolific carvers of the rattle, call it sheishoox, a seemingly onomatopoeic word.

The rattle is made of two hollowed sections of yellow cedar, alder, or maple wood. The outside is carved with a knife and polished with sharkskin or sandpaper. The handle is the bird’s tail. Typical dimensions are 10 cm wide and deep by 30 to 40 cm long. Small stones or buckshot are placed inside, and the two halves are sewn together with thin strips of vegetal fibre through small holes bored in the wooden pieces, one, two, or three stitches on each side. Withes bind the two halves of the handle together....

Article

Gaaw  

J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for drums, and specifically the frame drum, of the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Alaska. The circular frame, about 30 to 35 cm in diameter, is made from willow wood. The single head, of elk skin, is wetted and then dried around the frame. The head is tied across the back of the frame with sinew strips crossing at the centre to form a grip. It is struck with a willow stick about 30 cm long with a padded hide tip. The head is usually decorated on the outside in black, red, and green colours depicting crests symbolizing the clan of the owner. Some instruments are also decorated on the inner surface. The term gaaw may be modified with an adjective to denote other objects, for example lákt gaaw is a box drum and gaaw hít a drum house.

The lgheli is a similar instrument of the Dena’ina (Tanaina Athabascan) people of Alaska. It is not decorated and the head is of moose skin. The drumstick is padded with a small piece of sheepskin pelt....