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Independent Native American Music

Native American music is primarily a vocal art, usually choral, although some nations favor solo singing. Native American music is entirely melodic; there is no harmony or polyphony, although there's occasional antiphonal singing between soloist and chorus. The melody is generally characterized by a descending melodic figure with irregular rhythm. There is no conception of absolute pitch and intonation can appear uncertain, the result of the distinctive method of voice production, involving muscular tension in the vocal apparatus and making possible frequent strong accents and glissandos. Singing is nearly always accompanied, at least by drums. Various types of drums and rattles are the chief percussion instruments. Wind instruments are mainly flutes and whistles.

Artist

Description

The Blessed Blend

Blended American Native and Celtic sounds.

Keith Secola

Native American native folk and blues rocker.

Many researchers feel Native American music is some of the most complex ever performed. The tensing and releasing of the vocals combined with varying drum beats makes it a very intricate form of art. Also interesting is that every region of the country where the Native Americans had settled produced greatly varying forms and sounds of music. With so many different tribes, the music produced is always unique to its specific group. Generally, Eskimo music has been touted as being the most simple of all of the Native American music styles, while the Hopi, Pueblo, and Zuni tribes of the Southwestern part of the country produce much more complex sounding music.

For Native Americans, song is traditionally the chief means of communicating with the supernatural powers. Music is seldom performed for its own sake; definite results, such as the bringing of rain, success in battle, or the curing of the sick, are expected from music. There are three classes of songs-traditional songs, handed down from generation to generation; ceremonial and medicine songs, supposed to be received in dreams; and modern songs, showing the influence of European culture. Songs of heroes are often old, adapted to the occasion by the insertion of the new hero's name.

Modern Native American music ranges from modern singer-songwriter music to chants and drumming to atmospheric or meditative music.

Independent Music From Independent Bands and Musicians

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