These 2 drums in the American Museum of Natural History are approximately 2 feet (60 cm) long.
|temple blocks, Log drums, muyu, wood block|
A teponaztli [tepoˈnast͡ɬi] is a type of slit drum used in central Mexico by the Aztecs and related cultures.
Teponaztli are made of hollow hardwood logs, often fire-hardened. Like most slit drums, teponaztlis have two slits on their topside, cut into the shape of an "H". The resultant strips or tongues are then struck with rubber-head wood mallets, or with deer antlers.Since the tongues are of different lengths, or carved into different thicknesses, the teponaztli produces 2 different pitches, usually near a third or fourth apart.
Teponaztli were usually decorated with relief carvings of various deities or with abstract designs, and were even carved into the shapes of creatures or humans. Some of these creatures are open-mouthed, providing increased volume through the hole at the end. On other drums, a hole was made on the drum's underside. Teponaztli from the Mixtec culture in what is today south-central Mexico are known for their various battle or mythological scenes carved in relief.
These drums ranged in size from about 1 foot (30 cm) to 4 feet (1.2 metres) long. The larger teponaztli would be rested upon a supporting frame. The smaller ones could either be rested on a frame or carried by straps about the shoulders.
Someone who plays a teponaztli is called a teponāzoāni [teponaːsoˈaːni] and teponaztli were used in dances, poetry, celebrations(as shown in the Florentine Codex above) or in warfare as a means of communication. According to some sources, on important state occasions the blood of sacrificial victims was at times poured into the drum.
Motolinia, a Franciscan friar and chronicler of post-conquest Aztec life, stated that the teponaztli, or as he called it the contrabajos (counterbass), was often played with the huehuetl skin drum to accompany various dances. [kʷiːkaˈt͡ɬaʔtoːl] ) even at times appear within the poetry itself ("totocoto tototo cototo tiquititi titiqui tiquito"). The word cuīcatlahtōl, meaning "musical note", is formed from the two words cuīcatl [ˈkʷiːkaˈt͡ɬ] (song) and tlahtōlli [t͡ɬaʔˈtoːlːi] (word). This solfege-style notation allows reconstruction the rhythms and sounds of the Aztecs.In addition to dances, teponaztlis were used to accompanied poetry readings: the notations for the sounds of the drum beats (cuīcatlahtōl
Each drum pattern is written using four syllables: To, Ko, Ti, Ki
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Indigenous music of North America, which includes American Indian music or Native American music, is the music that is used, created or performed by Indigenous peoples of North America, including Native Americans in the United States and Aboriginal peoples in Canada, Indigenous peoples of Mexico, and other North American countries—especially traditional tribal music, such as Pueblo music and Inuit music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American groups, there now exist pan-Indianism and intertribal genres as well as distinct Native American subgenres of popular music including: rock, blues, hip hop, classical, film music, and reggae, as well as unique popular styles like chicken scratch and New Mexico music.
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A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation.
A slit drum is a hollow percussion instrument. In spite of the name, it is not a true drum but an idiophone, usually carved or constructed from bamboo or wood into a box with one or more slits in the top. Most slit drums have one slit, though two and three slits occur. If the resultant tongues are different width or thicknesses, the drum will produce two different pitches. It is used throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. In Africa such drums, strategically situated for optimal acoustic transmission, have been used for long-distance communication.
Pre-Columbian art refers to the visual arts of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, North, Central, and South Americas until the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and the time period marked by Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas.
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The music of the ancient Mayan courts is described through native and Spanish 16th-century texts and is depicted in the art of the Classic Period. The Maya played instruments such as trumpets, flutes, whistles, and drums, and used music to accompany funerals, celebrations, and other rituals. Although no written music has survived, archaeologists have excavated musical instruments and painted and carved depictions of the ancient Maya that show how music was a complex element of societal and religious structure. Most of the music itself disappeared after the dissolution of the Maya courts following the Spanish Conquest. Some Mayan music has prevailed, however, and has been fused with Spanish influences.
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