The importance of the Navajo drum in Navajo culture and Navajo music cannot be understated. Drums and drumsticks figure heavily into many of the Navajo songs that are still known to this day. To put it another way, if you want to learn about Navajo history, then you are going to want to devote some of your studies to Navajo music. If you plan to devote some of your studies to Navajo music, then you will need to give some time over to the significance of the Navajo drum.
Located in the Four Corners region of the Southwestern U.S., as well as the Navajo Nation territory, the Navajo continue to this day to place a great deal of importance on the value of music. This value is considered to be far-reaching and profound. Beyond the value of the Navajo drum in so many different aspects of Navajo music, one of the most interesting components to Navajo music is its versatility. There are certainly a wide variety of traditional songs, many of which use such instruments as drums and drumsticks. However, there is also contemporary Navajo music, which covers such genres as rap, rock, and even country. Many examples of contemporary Navajo music still seek to bridge the gap between modern musical stylings, and the more traditional aspects of their people’s music. Contemporary Navajo music is performed in both English and the native language.
When it comes to the role of the drum in traditional Navajo music, it is important to remember the role of musical instruments in traditional Navajo music as a whole. That is to say that because traditional Navajo music always emphasizes vocals, the physical instruments, which includes the drum, is designed to accompany. Within traditional Navajo music, there are essentially two different camps. There are sacred songs that are only used for important ceremonies. Then there are songs that cover all other aspects of daily life. You can find the Navajo drum in many of these songs.
It is also worth noting that the water drum is keenly associated with the peyote songs that are found within the Navajo Nation. Peyote songs came to the northern portion of the Navajo Nation in the late 1930s. Water drums are typically made of both wood and clay. They can be found in the musical stylings of many different tribes throughout the United States. While this isn’t necessarily what people think of with Navajos and drums, it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.