41-60 of 209 results  for:

  • Native American Music x
Clear all

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Vessel rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Cherokee singers make their own handheld rattles. A hollow gourd, coconut shell, or terrapin carapace is partially filled with round pebbles and drilled with small soundholes; a wooden handle about 30 cm long is inserted lengthwise through the container. The rattles may be decorated with feather pendants. Song leaders play them to support the song’s pulse and to signal changes in direction or choreography during communal dances performed at ceremonial grounds. The male song leader holds the rattle in his right hand and shakes it while singing and dancing at the head of the line of dancers. He plays a tremolo to indicate the start and end of individual songs within a longer series; during a song, he plays steady, evenly spaced beats. Similar rattles are used to accompany communal dances among the Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, and Yuchi (Euchee), and in the 18th century were used by the Choctaw. Each tribe has its own word for such rattles; for example, Creek, ...

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

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Double-headed snare drum of the Choctaw people of Mississippi, USA. Presumably modelled after a European instrument given to or captured by the Choctaw during the 1700s, such drums are made from black gum, cyprus, hard pine, poplar, or sweet gum wood and are about 31 cm tall by 25 cm in diameter, although sizes vary. The heads are made of goatskin, sheepskin, or deerskin and are attached to the body by hoops made of hickory wood. The hoops are laced together with strips of deer hide in a V pattern. Two additional strips rest on the unplayed lower head, acting as snares. The male drummer uses a pair of hickory drumsticks about 30 cm long. The drum is played to accompany processions such as dance troupes entering or leaving an arena or ballplayers taking or exiting the field. The Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), and Yuchi (Euchee) had similar snare drums in the past....

Article

Leanne Hinton

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Native American tribe whose members live in a verdant, isolated region near and in the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Havasupai culture has been influenced by other proximate Native American cultures, but retains its unique character; while assimilating a large number of song types from many sources. They have a lively tradition of song types not reported elsewhere in North America. The language of the Havasupai belongs to the Yuman family, but their music differs sufficiently from other Yuman types to be considered distinct from the California-Yuman musical tradition. Havasupai music does, however, owe something to the California-Yuman and Great Plains Indians, whose relaxed vocal delivery resembles their own, and from whom some (though not all) of their songs are borrowed. Members of the tribe use frame drums to accompany some songs and gourd rattles for others; no other musical instruments are used. The typical Havasupai song has a short, strophic melody, with two to six short phrases, and a form such as AB, AAB, AABC, ABCA, or AABBCA. Often the penultimate or last phrase of a strophe has slightly higher melodic material than the rest, but in all cases the range is small—rarely greater than a 5th or 6th. The text in most native Havasupai songs is through composed, consisting principally of real words rarely vocables, altered slightly by adding extra syllables and changing some vowels and consonants into a “song language.” The song often ends abruptly, sometimes in the middle of a strophe. Havasupai song genres can be divided into those which originated with them and those they borrowed from other cultures. Original Havasupai genres include medicine, weather, and circle dance songs. Medicine songs traditionally were sung by a shaman during healing ceremonies, using a gourd rattle as accompaniment. Many Havasupai also had personal medicine songs that they sang without instrumental accompaniment. No singing shamans remain today among the Havasupai, but some of their songs are remembered, and a few people still sing their personal medicine songs. Medicine songs are believed to have been revealed by spirits to members of the tribe while they slept. Weather songs were used to try to alter the climate and like medicine songs they were acquired via dreams. Some weather songs are remembered, but the Havasupai consider it to be dangerous to sing them except within a ceremony....

Article

Hirukis  

J. Richard Haefer

[hirukiam]

Rasp or scraper of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. A hardwood stick about 4 cm wide by 50 to 60 cm long has a series of small grooves cut into the bottom two-thirds. The unnotched part of the stick serves as a handle when the distal end is placed on top of half a gourd about 20 cm diameter, inverted in a pail of water which acts as a resonator. The rasp is scraped by a second stick in time with the singing of the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[u’us hikiat, hiokat]

Scraper of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. Two types are used by the O’odham. The hiwculdakuḍ (‘thing with which one rubs’) is made from a stick of hard wood (u:pad [catclaw, Acacia Greggii] or ho’idkam [ironwood, Olneya tesota]) about 50 to 60 cm long and 3 to 5 cm diameter, with 10 to 12 deep notches cut widely apart along the length. The distal end is placed on an inverted basket on the ground that serves as a resonator, and the notches are rubbed with a short stick of the same material, producing a sound like blowing wind and rain. It is used to accompany curing and other ritual songs.

The u’us hikiat (‘jagged wood’, Densmore’s hiokat) is made from segoi (greasewood, Sarcobatus vermiculatus) or kui (mesquite, Prosopis velutina), softer woods yielding a lighter sound. The thin stick has shallow cuts spaced closely together. Though it can be played without a resonator, most performers nowdays use a basket resonator. It is used to accompany ...

Article

Hoa  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[tamoa]

Idiophone scraper and drum of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. A common household woven basket about 25 to 45 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm deep is inverted and held in the crook of the left arm. It is scraped with a stick across the basket’s ribs during the first part of a song and beaten with the stick in the second part. Older baskets woven from willow branches are preferred over the modern baskets woven from yucca fibre over a bear grass foundation. Densmore indicates that the basket was inverted on the ground and played by several singers simultaneously. Nowadays it is usually played by one person. Russell wrote that among the Akimel O’odham (Pimans) the hoa made from willow branches could be beaten softly with the hand at the beginning of songs instead of being scraped. The Pimas sometimes substitute a cardboard box if a basket is not available....

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

Cylindrical drum of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. The body was open at the bottom and had a single head of jaguar skin or deerskin pegged to it and beaten with bare hands to accompany songs, the player either sitting beside the drum or on top of it. Along with the teponaztli (wooden slit drum), it was one of the most important instruments of Aztec culture, frequently inscribed with symbolic carvings. The name huehuetl is derived from the name of the tree ahuehuete (Pinus sabiniana), which supplied the wood from which the instrument was made, though examples of oak and walnut exist (earlier ones might have been made of precious metal or clay). It was tuned by heating the interior with live coals to dry and tauten the head. High and low pitches were produced by striking near the rim and centre of the head, respectively. Drum patterns were apparently learned by reciting the syllables ...

Article

John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

In modern Nahutl, a generic term for an Aztec flute. Traditionally it was a ceramic globular vessel flute. Stanford equates it with the flute çoçoloctli. Clay huilacapitztli have been found up to 20 cm in diameter and with five to eight tone holes. More developed examples are found throughout Central America. It was played together with the tlapitzalli by ‘Adonis’ (the Aztec sacrificial young man) as he ascended the steps of the pyramid for sacrifice.

The tlapitzalli is an Aztec end-blown flute, usually made of clay but sometimes of wood or bone. It is found in various shapes (straight, curved, Y-shape) and sizes from 15 to 35 cm long. The proximal end has a duct mouthpiece and the distal end is often flared. It can have up to four bores which can be blown together or separately. The body might be painted with images of Aztec dieties or decorated with three-dimensional figures. Traditionally it was blown by priests at solemn ceremonies, and Montezuma is said to have been entertained by one while eating. Adonis played the ...

Article

Article

Hupa  

Article

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

Isleta  

Article

Jemez  

Article

Sorab Modi

revised by Sarah Eyerly

(Ruth )

(b Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 1961). American violinist and violin teacher. She received her first violin lessons from her mother in 1963 and began formal study with Eunice Wennermark at six and Manuel Compinsky at age seven. As a child she played for jascha Heifetz and at the ages of 16 and 17 she studied with josef Gingold . At the age of seven she performed as soloist in Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor under the direction of Compinsky. She made her professional debut in 1973, performing Mendelssohn’s Concerto with the New York PO under André Kostelanetz. In 1975 she made her European debut with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, where she attended master classes given by nathan Milstein in the years 1974–6. She won second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1978, the youngest woman ever to do so. Jenson is an honorary citizen of Costa Rica and was appointed Distinguished Professor of Music at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has performed extensively with major orchestras in the United States and undertaken tours of Europe, Australia, Japan, the Soviet Union, and Latin America. One of the finest violinists of her generation, she has made recordings of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and of two Brahms sonatas. In ...

Article

Richard Keeling

Strung rattle of the Hupa and other native peoples of California. The Maidu call it temsisili. It is a cluster of deer hooves or dew claws tied to a wooden or bone handle 30 to 45 cm long. When shaken, the hooves create a sharp clicking sound. Among tribes of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley, it is used in the girls’ puberty ceremony. Luiseño hunters shook the rattle for luck before setting out for deer. Other southern California tribes such as the Chumash, Fernandeños, and Gabrielinos used it in mourning ceremonies....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ka’wásta’] (Seneca: ‘stick’)

Stamping sticks of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. The sticks, used in pairs, are hickory wood poles from 1.5 to 1.8 m long and about 5 cm in diameter. They are held vertically by two women of the towisas (society of women planters) and are used to beat time to the songs of the women’s rite, performed at the Green Corn and Midwinter ceremonies. According to Seneca belief, the stamping is said to represent thunder, wind, and rain....