"Weapons of Emotion": A Sampling of Historical Indigenous Instrumental Music throughout North America

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexis Baril (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library
Jane Haladay

Abstract: The Indigenous traditions and experiences of instrumental music in North America are as varied and diverse as the people that use them. However, Indigenous instruments share three common traits. First, particularly prior to European contact, instruments, are of organic construction. After contact, Indigenous peoples had access to various processed materials such as tin that they then incorporated into their musical practices. Second, instruments can be classified into four distinct families: drums; flutes and whistles; rattles and shakers; and other percussion. Finally, the vast majority of uses of these instruments were strongly tied to spiritual rituals and events and were used to symbolize, imitate or invoke sounds, experiences, or entities found in the natural and spiritual worlds. This paper will examine musical instruments of eight different groups of Indigenous peoples, spanning six of the ten cultural regions in North America: the Pacific Northwest, the Great Basin, the Southwest, the Great Plains, the Southeast, and the Northeast, specifically, the Great Lakes.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Esther G. Maynor Honors College
Language: English
Date: 2019
Indigenous music, Native American music, instruments, European contact

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