Musical Instruments main content.

Musical Instruments

Part of Northwest Coast Hall.


Drums and rattles were the principal musical instruments of the Tlingit. Dances were accompanied by drumming on long narrow boxes made of cedar boards or on a long plank raised a few inches from the floor. Another drum was the tambourine made by stretching a piece of raw-hide over a narrow circular frame. Elaborately carved, hollow rattles of wood were common over all the Northwest Coast as were rattles made of bunches of sea shells or deer hooves suspended from sticks. A simple wooden whistle was the only other musical instrument of the Tlingit.