North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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efficacy. When he planted, he sang, in order that the seed might fructify and the harvest follow. In his sports, in his games, when he wooed and when he mourned, song alike gave zest to pleasure and brought solace to his suffering. In fact, the Ind­ian sang in every experience of life from his cradle to his grave.
It would be a mistake to fancy that songs floated indiscriminately about among the Indians, and could be picked up here and there by any chance observer. Every song had originally its owner. It belonged either to a society, secular or religious, to a certain clan or political organization, to a partic­ular rite or ceremony, or to some individual.
Religious songs were known only to the priest­hood ; and, as music constituted a medium between man and the unseen powers which controlled his life, literal accuracy was important, otherwise the path between the god and the man would not be straight, and the appeal would miscarry.
In every tribe there were societies having a defi­nite membership, with initiatory rites and recipro­cal duties. Each society had its peculiar songs; and there were officials chosen from among the members because of their good voices and retentive
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