Tribal Music

Even though music has many cultural differences it has played a big role in every culture. The Native Americans were no different. To them tribal music was used in everything from pow- wows to storytelling. Tribal music is incorporated into ceremonies as well and there are typically dances to go along with the music.

Pow-wows were traditionally held in the spring and celebrated the renewal of life. Native Americans would come together to sing, dance, celebrate old friendships, and make new ones. While the songs and meaning differ from tribe to tribe, all pow-wow songs follow a similar structure. There were songs for all occasions including honor songs, war songs, and party songs. Drums and flutes play a large role in tribal music and some drums are handed down from generation to generation.

The men's traditional dance would begin when the men of war would return and instead of telling the story of their fight, they would "dance out" the battle. This way of re enacting what took place became tradition and even hunters would do the traditional man's dance to tell the story of attacking their prey.

The jingle dress dance is said to have come from a holy man's dream. In his dream four women came to him wearing a jingle dress. They then told him what types of songs went with them and how to perform the correct dances. These women also showed him how to make the "jingle dress." Jingle dress dances are common among tribes and women wear dresses adorned with hundreds of metal coins so they jingle.

To a lot of Native American tribes, the eagle feather is sacred. If an eagle feather falls from a dancer's outfit the pow-wow is stopped so that a ceremony to restore the feather's power can take place. Four traditional dancers will dance around the feather to restore its power. While the way this dance is performed differs between tribes, it always requires four dancers.

Tribal music and dance play a huge role in the Native American culture. From war dances, to ceremonial dances these traditions are passed down from generation to generation. For the most part the music has meaning or tells a story. There are various rituals and they differ between the tribes, but one thing is the same. Music has played an important role in each of their lives.





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