Hand-crafted decorative item. One inch by one inch.
Music was one of the essential parts of the Haudenosaunee culture. It is a way to celebrate, a way to give thanks and a way to express passion and joy. Most music of the Haudenosaunee is rhythmic and consists mostly of drumming and lively singing. Instruments were use as aids in singing rather than as individual components.
The Haudenosaunee use music as a way to speak to the Creator (165kb/1sec) to give thanks for crops and health or to prepare for a hunt and pray for a successful venture. Some songs are used to heal the sick while others are performed to bring forth a more bountiful crop. Music has had a hand in nearly every area of Haudenosaunee culture.
Most songs are monophonic, meaning consisting of only a single melody with instruments like water drums, rattles and simple hand clapping used to provide a rhythmic accompaniment. Most music is performed by men who lead the singing and play instruments to accompany social and religious dances and ceremonies.
The main instruments in Haudenosaunee music are sticks and leather strap, water drums (135kb/1sec), rattles made of gourds or turtles and flutes. While flutes were used frequently in the past especially among some medicine societies, it has drifted out of use among the Haudenosaunee of today.
The water drum or Kana’tsio:wi is one of the most popular instruments among the Haudenosaunee and is said to be a gift from the Creator as a source of entertainment. The beat of the drum is to be a symbol of the heartbeat of all living things. Used mostly for social dances this drum is traditionally made from wood and covered over with animal skin. A plug in the side of the drum provides a place to add water to maintain an accurate pitch. This drum is usually about four and a half inches in diameter making it easy to hold on to while playing. A larger water drum called the Ohki”we water drum is used only for Ohki”we or the Feast for the Dead (159kb/1sec)