January2016

Native American Music

Native American music is vocal art that can either involve choral or solo singing. When you listen to it, you will hear no rhythm, pitch, or harmony. The melody is characterized by a sliding melodic form. Native American singing is always accompanied by drums. If other instruments are used, they are usually wind instruments, such as flutes and whistles.

In Native American culture, song is how the chief communicates with the spirits and supernatural powers. In the past, singing was done to deliver results, like making it rain, healing the sick, or success in battle.

Different Types of Music

Native American music falls into one of three categories: traditional, ceremonial/medicine, and modern. A number of Native Americans don’t consider modern Native American music as “real” Native American music, since it is influenced by European white music.

But like other genres and types of music, Native American music has grown with the times. There is now pan-tribal and inter-tribal music. Furthermore, there is a huge subgenre of Native American music of popular genres, including reggae, hip-hop, blues, and classical.

In the Native American culture, history and music go hand-in-hand. For example, the history of a tribe is told through song, also thought of as an oral narrative. These songs play an enormous part in identifying a tribe’s history.

If you want to hear traditional Native American music, you will hear music that starts off with a slow, steady beats that gradually grow faster and faster, while other factors (shouts and accented patterns) not only bring variety, but also signals the changing of singers and/or dancers.