Thunderbird image
spacing image
Search   CARD   MediaBase
Colours  
Myths
Stories
Drumming
Music
Sound
Video
Interviews
Artists
Press
Scholars Site
Teachers Site
Kids Site
Website français venant bientôt.
Native Drums Homepage
Tell us what you think... Take a site survey
Scholars Site
Teachers Site
Kids Site
Set Large Text
Set Medium Text
Set Small Text
  Visit our
companion
   website

Visit our companion website, Native Dance
Native Dance

 

Site Design
Design and
technology by
Sumner Group


Site Content
Content by
Carleton
University


Acknowledgement
This site was
made possible by
the support of

Heritage Canada Logo
Drum Gallery
Mask Gallery
Chapter Buttons
Paul Kane Watercolour - Ojibwe Cermonial Drum
Painted Cree Frame Drum
Cedar Box Drum
Frame Drum with 2 Snares
Octagonal Painted Frame Drum
Butterfly Painted Frame Drum
Ojibwe Frame Drum
Cedar Log Drum
Raven Wolf Drum
Halibut Drum
Sculpin Drum
Iroquois Water Drum
Ojibwe Bird Drum
Dzunukwa Mask
Kwigwis Mask
Bakwas Mask
Deaf Man Mask
Nulamal Mask
Crooked Beak Mask
Baxbakwalanuksiwe Mask
Owl Mask
Ancestor Mask
Xwi Xwi Mask
Home
Drums
Masks
Myths
Stories
Drumming
Music
Introduction
Structuring
Uniqueness
Singing
Context
Drum Dance
Social Dance
Powwow
Glossary
Bibliography
Links

Sound
Video
Interviews
Showcase
Press
Citations
Teachers
Scholars
Card
About

 

Video bullet
Morningstar
River Singers
Perform Live


Video bullet
Making an
Ojibwe
Hand Drum


Interview bullet
How to
find your
Voice


Interview bullet
The When
and Why
of Drums


 

Unique Sounds

The distinctiveness of sound can be further enhanced by means of the type of beater used. Drumsticks vary considerably as to shape, whether padded or not. Sometimes carved drumsticks are prepared that have in addition a rattling sound. Sometimes this is done by means of carved balls within the stick, or in other cases a drummer may use a form of rattle as a drumstick.  Depending on what substance has been placed within that rattle – pebbles, pits, seeds, corn kernels, gun shot, etc. – the sounds produced hitting against the resonator casing will come into play with contact against the membrane of the drum.

The materials placed inside these drumsticks/rattles depend on what is available in the maker's environment. For example, dried corn kernels would not be available in ecozones where the climate is not conducive for the growing of corn. The membranes used to make various musical instruments vary according to what is available within a certain region. The voice of the drum is shaped by whether its membrane comes from deer, moose, buffalo, or caribou skin. Thin fish or bird skin can give a very distinctive sound quality as a rattle resonating body.  Turtle carapaces are the basis for the most revered musical instruments of the Haudenosaunee, not only for the sound that can be produced, but by their symbolism in representing the origin myth of Turtle Island, known usually as North America. Ingenuity certainly plays a role as well. The northern Nehiyaw produced a  type of fiddle using a caribou shoulder blade and stringing a sinew across its arc (Diamond, Cronk, von Rosen 1994: 194). This fiddle played with a bow strung with sinew was dependent on caribou being available in the area. This animal had a large enough bone for the purpose. Similarly the moose-hoof rattle (shinaueshikan) of the Algonquin in northern Ontario could not have been created in an area without moose.

As yet, researchers of soundscape have not systematically explored the sounds produced by Aboriginal musical instruments created within certain regions. It is likely that many of the desired sounds produced by drums, rattles, wind and string instruments deliberately mimic effects heard in the environment including calls of animals and bird songs. In a study of the sound preferred by the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea, Steven Feld discovered that their aesthetic preferences were deeply rooted in the sounds of the natural world around them (1990: 268). See also http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/wfae/readings/ecomuse.html;
http://www.bosavipeoplesfund.org/rec.html).

Sounds produced by objects from the region and possibly imitating naturally occurring situations are desired by dancers as they move to the beat of the drum or melodic line of the voice.  Inuit would attach small bones to fringes on their clothing to make soft swishing sounds as  they moved. Claws, shells, bones, beads, are just some of the objects chosen carefully to be attached  to aprons, or other articles of regalia used in dancing.

In the powwow one of the women's dances is the jingle dance that requires an outfit made of cut cloth, decorated with tin cone jingles fastened in line or chevron patterns. For an adult woman's outfit, there are normally 365 tin cones and the maker will carefully select the metal from which to make the cones.  Sometimes the lids of certain tin cans can be rolled in such a way that  the resultant tinkling sound while dancing will give the desired effect. That sound will be influenced by the cultural norm for the region as well as individual taste.

   * * *

 

Valid XHTML!     Level Triple-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

 

Back to Top


This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through Canadian Culture Online

Heritage Canada Logo