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 personal variations of this dance resulting in a solo display.The costume is an elaborate style that correlates with the vocal approach of music. Bells are tied around the legs of the dancers for an added effect.
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. The most common was the vertical flute, whistle, and occasionally panpipes. The flute was most often used to express a love song and never for religious ceremonies.
Looking at Native American music, one can conclude that there are three main types of music: The Sioux Grass Dance, Iroquois Quiver Dance, and the Zuni Lullaby. Drums and wind instruments are used in portraying the music. The Native Americans dressed accordingly to the music that they dance to. All of these features add to what we have become acquainted with, Native American music.