- Principal sacred music of the Native American Church, which is the 20th-century descendant of an ancient religious cult of central Mexico associated with the practice of chewing the peyote cactus for hallucinogenic effect. The modern church has Christian themes and has supplanted older religious traditions and songs in many tribes in North America.The songs are monophonic, as are virtually all songs of North American Indians, and frequently build phrases from a single rhythmic motive. The fast singing style seems distinct from most other known Indian singing. The syllables sung, while standardized, make no language and each tribe believes them to have come from some other. Accompaniment is provided by gourd rattles and a special water-filled drum.
Historical dictionary of sacred music. Joseph P. Swain. 2006.
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