Indian Games, Dances & Native Songs - online book

Native American Ceremonials, Sports, and Songs with Sheet Music, Lyrics & Commentary

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6                 INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES
stanzas are not meant to be read but to be sung. They express the thought or the feeling that gave rise to the music, they aim to make its meaning understood so that the song can be intelligently sung. In arranging these words, care has been taken never to forget or to change the natural and the psychical environment that belongs to the melody.
Indian songs are very short. They have no prelimi­nary measures, but at once voice the actuating emotion; that done, they come to a close. Although they are so short, they have form and in their structure follow in simple lines the rules of phrasing and motivization taught in our schools. These songs, speaking in general terms, partake more of the character of motifs than of musical compositions. They do not stand alone or apart from the ceremonials or pleasures of which they form an essential feature.
The Dance
The different Indian tribes vary in their modes of dancing; moreover, the same theme is not interpreted by all the tribes in the same manner. In some sections of our country the dancers wear costumes and masks that are symbolic, both in color and form; in other regions, feathers are the principal and emblematic deco­ration ; elsewhere, the men may dance very nearly nude. However diverse the dancing regalia may be or how marked its absence, the Indian dance always presents two characteristics, namely: Dramatic Action and Rhythmic Precision.
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