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Lacota Music

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Music, through its dynamics, pitch, and melody, can excite people on the dance floor; stimulate the flash of emotions, evoke inspiration, and rejuvenate the soul. The music one listens plays a great role in the expression of his self, his preferences, disposition, and even in the definition of a people’s culture; no one can deny its essentiality.

Music, being a central art form of the Lakota culture, plays a major role in the life of the people. To them, it is not merely an expression of one’s self. It is a gift of the spirits, a tool of mystic powers, and a potent way by which certain purpose may be accomplished. Music is found in almost everything they do. They have songs set apart for religious purposes (Sacred Music), for formal social gatherings (Society Songs), for social dancing (Social Dancing Music) and even for entertainment purposes (Show Music). Although we may have the same kinds of songs, their standards of the beauty of the song and the singing are different from ours. Their reasons for valuing songs are also different according to the accomplishment of its purpose.

Through the traditional passing of these songs from generation to generation, the unique kind of the Lakota music and literature is preserved. Since culture evolves, the Lakota culture is not an exception, it is also a potent way by which the younger Lakota generations learn of and appreciate the culture patterns of the Lakota people at the time the song was created. However, at some point in history, the Lakota songs were unsung. The Lakota people were forbidden to hold their religious rites, thus, some these songs that define them as people faded from memory.

The variety of Lakota music and its uniqueness tells us how rich this art form is. It is so rich that mere listening would not be enough to fully comprehend and appreciate it. To fully behold its beauty, a live performance would be necessary. It is so rich that even the writer humbly subscribed to the fact that its entirety cannot be covered in the essay.

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