Indigenous Music of the Americas
A Guide to Music of Native Americans in North, Central and South America
Selected Books and Scores
Please note that an "r" indicates a reference title that can be used in the library. Titles with both circulating and reference copies are signified by "(r)" in the call number.
A cry from the earth: music of the North American Indians
Moving within the circle: contemporary native American music and dance
(r)q ML3557.B8 1993
Music of the Americas; an illustrated music ethnology of the Eskimo and American Indian peoples
The American Indians and their music
q ML3557.D353 2006x
It is worth noting that Frances Densmore was one of the first American scholars to document and record the music of several North American tribes. Her publications date from 1913 until her death in 1957. An Author Search will bring up more titles from the 2006 reprint editions of her works as well as other books.
Native American music in eastern North America: experiencing music, expressing culture
North American Indian Music
American Indian music and musical instruments: with instructions for making the instruments
(r)q ML100.G16 1998 vol. 2
rq ML 100.G16 1998
q ML199.G36 2000
Includes sections about Native American cultures of Mexico, Central America and South America plus a compact disc with musical examples. Articles have been reprinted from the "Garland Encyclopedia of World Music", vol. 2.
The Native American Music Directory
r ML156.4.F5 G66 2004x
Musical and other sound instruments of the South American Indians; a comparative ethnographical study
r 781.91 I34
North American Indian music: a guide to published sources and selected recordings
r ML128.F75 K44 1997
North American Indian musical styles
r 970.6 N24
From kokopellis to electric warriors: the Native American culture of music
Voices of Native America: Native American instruments and music
The encyclopedia of native music: more than a century of recordings from wax cylinder to the Internet
r ML156.4.I5 W75 2005
Heartbeat of the people: music and dance of the northern pow-wow
E98.P86 B76 2002
Chazanoff, Daniel (compiler)
Music of the Native North American for the flute or recorder
q M1669.M878 1990x
Chazanoff, Daniel (compiler)
Native American music, in seven volumes: for the flute or recorder, with drum/rattle ad. lib.
Eckels, Steven Zdenek
Mel Bay presents music of the North American Indians for acoustic guitar
q M128.M33467 2000x
Fletcher, Alice C
Indian games and dances with native songs; arranged from American Indian ceremonials and sports
(r)E98.G2 F6 1970
American Indians sing
q 784.4 H68am
War whoops and medicine songs
q 784.4 H68
Levine, Victoria Lindsay (editor)
Writing American Indian music: historic transcriptions, notations, and arrangements
q M2.3.U6 R4 vol. 44
Moore, Gerald (arranger)
Native American tunes: in three and four part settings for SAT & SATB, for recorders or flutes
q M178.M56 N3 1991x
Speckert, George A. (arranger)
Indian chants: for strings
q M553.I53 2007x
The Native American flute: understanding the gift: an interactive guide for learning to play
qMT358.N38 V35 2007x
Selected Videos and DVDs
world of American Indian dance
(DVD) E98.D2 W67 2003x
Selected Compact Discs
music of the American Indian
COMPACT DISC Fo Aut #34168
journey: Native American music
COMPACT DISC Fo Cre #6752
Voice of the drum : a collection of hand drum & round drum songs
COMPACT DISC Fo Bla 32141
of Nations 2000: millennium celebration
COMPACT DISC Fo Gat #18094 v. 1
COMPACT DISC Fo Gat #18094 v. 2
of Nations Pow Wow, 1999: various drum groups
COMPACT DISC Fo Gat #19629
voices of First Nations women
COMPACT DISC Fo Hea #10379
2: more voices of First Nations women
COMPACT DISC Fo Hea #15563
Lil' Bear Singers
Native American Indian
COMPACT DISC Fo Lil 40275
Nakai, R. Carlos
Mythic dreamer: music for Native American flute
COMPACT DISC Na Nak #19368
Northern Cree Singers
Northern Cree and friends. Vol. 5: long winter nights : round dance "live!"
COMPACT DISC Fo Nor 32146
The rough guide to Native America
COMPACT DISC Fo Rou 41754
COMPACT DISC Fo Rou #15909
of earth, water, fire, and sky: music of the American Indian
COMPACT DISC Fo Son #3669
that sings: Indian fiddle music of the Americas
COMPACT DISC If Woo #15963
Using Subject and Keyword Searches
The materials listed above are literature about or collections of general works of Native Americans. If you are looking for music of a specific region in the Americas or of an individual tribe, you may wish to use subject or keyword searches. The searches below are just a few examples to get you started.
You can use a Subject Search (includes terms "Music" or "Music History and Criticism"):
To narrow by region/country:
Indians of North America Canada Music
Indians of North America Great Plains Music
Indians of North America Saskatchewan Music
Indians of North America Southwest, New Music
Indians of Mexico Mexico Baja California Music
Indians of South America Peru Music
Indians of South America Peru Lima Dept Music
To Narrow by State:
To Narrow by Tribe:
If you need help with names of North American tribes, this page from the Library of Congress American Memory Project gives a list of tribe names by geographic region: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/tribes.html
An Advanced Keyword search may also be useful, especially if you need to begin with a broad topic and narrow to one that is more specific.
For example, if you are looking for dance music from tribes of North or South America on a compact disc, you could use a search in this manner:
indians AND dance AND america
(type each term into a separate search box… using the plural of "Indian" and the term "America" will increase your number of hits)
Use the pull-down menu to limit to "Music CD." You can also limit by location if you wish.
Another example… you are looking for songs, texts or printed music, of North American tribes, just some general ideas. You could use this search technique:
indians AND songs AND north america (again, each term in a separate box)
Use the pull-down menu to limit to "Books" and "Music Scores"… the shift key will allow you to highlight both (sometimes printed music is found in general books about Native American music and some poetry books contain texts of traditional songs).
You can use the Keyword feature to find music for a specific instrument, a type of song (e.g. war, ceremonial, medicine), or for terms such as "chants" or names of animals (an important part of Native American culture).
If you need any assistance with your catalog searching, just ask a librarian!
One last important tip:
Many materials about Native American music may not be in the Music Department. You may also wish to ask a librarian about materials found in American History and Anthropology (subject areas in the Reference Services Department) or the Children's Department.
Online Listening and Websites
Click here for remote access with a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card.
This streaming audio website includes recordings from the Smithsonian Folkways label. You can browse by the "American Indian" category or search the site for more music of Native Americans.
- National Museum of the American Indian
This museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is a wonderful resource for information about North American tribes. Their media archive includes audio recordings on wax cylinders, phonograph discs, audio tapes, and compact discs. If you plan a visit, their events calendar will inform you of scheduled live performances.
- National Geographic
Click on their "Music" link, and you can explore the indigenous music of the Americas by searching this page. Includes sound files.