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Flutopedia Symposium

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians - Sheet Music for Native American Flute

From the Harvard Dictionary of Music ([Apel 1969]), page 33:

In the 18th century, F. W. Marpurg, the German music historian, published Remarks on Three Songs of the Iroquois (Berlin, 1760), and an early attempt at adaptation of an actual Indian melody, call Alknomook or Alkmoonok (“The death song of the Cherokee Indians”), was first published in London in 1784. In America, James Hewitt included Alkmoonok in the score he arranged and composed for the ballad opera Tammany (1794).

The following is from [Ritson 1794] Scottish Songs, Volume 2 (reprinted also in [Ritson 2009] Scottish Songs, Volume 2):

“The simple melody” of this song, as we are informed by its fair author, “was brought to England ten years ago by a gentleman named Turner, who had (owing to some singular events in his life) spent nine years amongst the natives of America; he assured the author,” she continues, “that it was peculiar to that tribe or nation called the Cherokees, and that they chanted it to a barbarous jargon, implying contempt for their enemies in, the moments of torture and death.” She adds that, “The words have been thought something characteristic of the spirit and sentiments of those brave savages;” that “we look upon the fierce and stubborn courage of the dying Indian with a mixture of respect, pity and horror; and” that “it is to those sentiments in the breast of the hearer that the death song must owe its effect.”
Death Song of the Cherokee Indians (1794)Death Song of the Cherokee Indians (1794)

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians (1794) More information

Another version of this song appears in [Sonneck 1905] Early American Operas, later reprinted in [Sonneck 1921] Miscellaneous Studies in the History of Music, pages 63–64.

Sheet Music - Six-hole Pentatonic Minor Tuned Flutes

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians - six-hole Pentatonic Minor

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians - Six-Hole Flutes - Pentatonic Minor Tuning Larger image

Sheet Music - Five-hole Pentatonic Minor Tuned Flutes

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians - five-hole Pentatonic Minor

Death Song of the Cherokee Indians - Five-Hole Flutes - Pentatonic Minor Tuning Larger image

 
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