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Inuit Games: Introduction to Indigenous music

In this lesson, you will experience the captivating and unique sounds of Inuit throat singing.

Watch the interview with Inukshuk Aksalnik to find out more about the culture and history behind throat singing and how it is practised. Then watch the performance to hear composer T. Patrick Carrabré’s Inuit Games performed by Inukshuk Aksalnik and Pauline Pemik together with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and use the melody tracker to follow along.

Did you know that the Inuit people of Northern Canada practise a special kind of musical game called throat singing? Throat singing can be heard around the globe in many forms, but the Inuit have a unique, playful competition using this technique. Using their breath and voices to mimic nature sounds, they chant back and forth with a partner, creating rhythmic and melodic patterns. They speed up and slow down these patterns, with the object of making their partner laugh first. In Inuit Games, the composer uses the symphony orchestra to paint a rich musical landscape that supports and interacts with the timbres, rhythms, and humour of this singing tradition.

T. Patrick Carrabré’s Inuit Games fuses Indigenous throat singing and orchestral music. Follow the melody by selecting the correct instrument in this Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance. As you watch the video below, listen carefully for the instrument playing this melody, and click on that section when it turns red.