Native America Shamanic Music
Shamanic Culture Music Of different Ethnic Folk Nation
Native American music. The music of Native North Americans 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 is occasional antiphonal singing between soloist and chorus. The melody is, in general, characterized by a descending melodic figure; its rhythm is irregular. 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.
For the Native American, song is traditionally the chief means of communicating with the supernatural powers, and 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 songstraditional 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. Love songs often are influenced by the music of whites and are regarded as degenerate by many Native Americans.
Shamanic music is music played either by actual shamans as part of their rituals, or by people who, whilst not themselves shamans, wish to evoke the cultural background of shamanism in some way. So Shamanic music includes both music used as part of shamans' rituals and music that refers to, or draws on, this.
In shamanism the shaman has a more active musical role than the medium in spirit possession. But a shaman's ritual is a ritual performance and not a musical performance, and this shapes its musical dimension. A shaman uses various ways of making sounds to which different ritual purposes are ascribed. Of particular importance are the shaman's song and shaman's drumming.
Recently in Siberia, music groups drawing on a knowledge of shamanic culture have emerged. In the West shamanism has served as an imagined background to musics meant to alter a listener's state of mind.