was a very important part of Chumash Indian culture, and the Chumash
had a great variety of songs for different events, rituals,
ceremonies, festivals, and just about any other part of everyday life.
Sometimes, songs served as instructions for food preparation, warfare,
hunting rituals, or healing the sick; there were even gambling songs.
Singing was the most important part of Chumash music, but it was
often accompanied by unique instrumentation;
The shell rattle (pictured to the right) were made with seashells
or turtle shells filled with coarse sand or pebbles, and and sealed
Other percussion instruments included the clapper stick, made from
split pieces of elderberry wood, which was used instead of drums.
Other more eclectic instruments included the bull-roarer, made from
a a perforated piece of wood tied to the end of a cord, which was spun
to produce a low-end roar, and musical bows which produced an
undulating high pitched tone, not unlike that of a musical saw.
Flutes were made of various sizes made from bones and other
materials, in pitches ranging from lower mid-range to very high. Bird
bones were used to make whistles.
During Chumash ceremonies, dances were performed in honor of the
different creatures from Chumash mythology. The Eagle, the Bear,
and the Coyote were represented, as were creatures of the sea such as
the Dolphin and the Swordfish, for which the ceremonial dancer would
wear an actual swordfish skull on his head.