You’ve heard the phrase, “just because you’ve seen one, it doesn’t mean you’ve seen them all,” right? Well the same is true for tribal music. Just because you’ve heard one melody, it doesn’t mean you “know” tribal music. Yes, it’s been around for generations, but as with everything else these days, it’s evolved in sound, tonality, and structure.
Just as with all genres of music, tribal music takes on many forms. From classical to pop, and even rap, tribal music reflects the sounds and “voice” of each individual tribe. There are many different Native American tribes living across the United States today and each tribe has its own sound.
Flutes and Indian drums are commonly found in Native American tribal music. These instruments promote a harmonious sound, a common theme in tribal music. The flutes used in tribal music are unique to the Native American culture and produce a sound unlike the typical flutes found in stores. Tribal music is used to accompany singers, or to lead the way for various tribal dances.
If you’d like to hear tribal music, you can go straight to the source, of course. Visiting a reservation that perhaps performs tribal music is a wonderful introduction to the culture. However, if you’d like to listen to tribal music at home, nearly all music stores now offer various tribal music CDs and tapes. If you like classical music, you’ll likely find it. If you’re more into blues or rap, you’ll likely find that too. Tribal music has adapted with the ages. And just as with all sections of the music store, there are places within the shelves for the oldies but goodies and places within the shelves for the new sounds. One thing is certain, however. There’s a melody for every music lover. You just have to look.
Joseph Paige © 2006