Native American Music Essay

490 Words 2 Pages
Native American music has many different musical styles. Within every Native American tribe there is a variety of musical styles and instruments. In response to the research that I have conducted, there are three main musical styles that are going to be my point of focus. The Sioux Grass Dance, the Zuni Lullaby, and the Iroquois Quiver Dance are the principal methods which contribute to Native American music.      

The Sioux Grass Dance is considered to be the most popular style of Native American Music. As one dances to this music, they follow a pattern known as “toe-heel.” This consists of the individual placing the left foot in front of the right and repeating with the other foot. Each male dancer makes many
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The Zuni Lullaby illustrates a contrast with Plains singing to assist in confirming that there is not an individual style to Native American music. Through the Native American styles of music, repetition becomes a prominent feature. This is not because the Native Americans can’t find words to fit into the music, but because repetitions with slight variations are often too insignificant for outside listeners to notice.

In the Iroquois Quiver Dance the first thing to strike the ear is what is often known as a “call and response” form. One singer announces a phrase of “lexical text,” known as the call, the other singer answers him in a vocal pattern. This continues throughout the song. In illustrating many of the musical styles among Native American music, this has another name known as the “Warrior’s Stomp Dance.” The voices in the Iroquois Quiver Dance are relatively relaxed compared with that of the Plains singing.
Instruments used to portray these various styles of music were often drums of all shapes and sizes, rattles, and often tambourines or bells with other percussion instruments. The drums were constructed by using such materials as clay, iron, wood or aluminum with heads of buckskin, chamois, or rubber. These drums were typically played with a single drumstick, holding a steady pattern of four beats. Also, in addition to these instruments there were wind instruments.
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