Native American Instruments

Published on January 6, 2012 by Amy

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A group of Native Americans holding instruments and masks
A group of Native Americans holding
instruments and masks

The Native American people used many different Native American instruments for their different rituals, ceremonies, and celebrations. Some of the most well known Native American instruments are the Native American drums, rattles, and flutes. These were used in almost all of their tribal rites and the American Indians crafted all of these instruments out of the many available materials such as wood, bones, and animal hides for the drum skins.

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The tribes used to adorn these Native American instruments with many different decorations and they believed that each instrument would appease different spirits and gods.

Some of the things that could be found on these instruments were things like carvings on the sides of the drums, or feathers hanging from the flutes. Certain beats and melodies that the Native American’s would play were considered sacred and would only be played at certain times of the year. The use of instruments was something that was seen among all of the Indian tribes that once inhabited North America.

You can go to many Native American reservations and buy traditional Native American instruments that are handcrafted like they have been for thousands of years. On many of these Indian reservations you can see performances by Native Americans playing these traditional Native American instruments. Music was also played by some tribes for the mere purpose of entertainment, they did still have certain sacred aspects of it, but they had many other songs that would entertain for hours while telling stories and traditions of the tribes at the same time.

There are many stories of Indian folklore that were passed on through the generations by these entertaining Native American songs. There are also many Native American musicians that play modern day music such as rock and roll and country on modern day instruments like the guitar, keyboard, bass guitar and acoustic drum kits. There are many tribal traditionalists that still perform and record albums of the generations old Native American songs and still perform many of the ancient tribal rites and ceremonies, this can also be seen on some of the modern day Indian reservations.

Source: native-net Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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