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Native American Musical Instruments

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Cultures +4 Age Levels Preschool (0 to 4 years old), Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults

Music was an important element in the life of Native Americans. It was created through voice and instruments. The combination of voice and sound was quite elaborate and was created to be used for ceremonies, entertainment, relaxation, and healing. Featured within this collection are musical instruments of several Native American groups. The groups featured are the Cheyenne, Seneca, Hopi, Sioux, and Iroquois. The instruments span from the 18th-20th century. Three different classifications of instruments are featured within the collection. The classifications are idiophones(rattles), Membranophones(drums), and aerophones (flutes) and are organized respectively. The purpose of this collection is to provide a visual comparison of similar instruments among tribes in different geographical regions. The instruments display the similarities in craftsmanship and use of natural material among the various groups. Most of the materials are organic in origin (composed of carbon) and include seeds, wood and animal components. The instruments vary to some degree as far as adornment, but the instruments within their classification serve a similar function and produce a similar sound. As previously mentioned, the music produced by these instruments in combination with voice was intricate. Although the sounds created with the instruments were similar, each of the Native Americans groups created a sound that was unique to their region.