The music of the American Indians is widely-known to be mystical and more spiritual than other kinds of folk songs. It reflects the psyche and character of the American Indians, a tendency to seek to transcend the troubles of real life and ask for guidance with spirits and unseen forces. For the Indians, music is a way to communicate with the gods and request them for material favor and long life.

To the Indians, the sung message is the most important. Rarely can one find an American Indian music that is purely instrumental; in order to be effective and impressive upon the spirit world, a message has to be sung -- lyrics have to be in every song. The lyrics themselves are composed of requests and supplications. Indians ask their tribal gods for very specific things, like rain, good health, success in battle, or deliverance from illnesses. Others sing songs to receive visions and dreams, or to ask guidance for the benefit of the whole tribe. People who receive these kinds of spiritual gifts are considered very powerful, influential, and regarded as mediators for the gods.

One of the distinguishable vocal characteristic of an American Indian song is the utterance of vocables. These vocables are actually syllables that have no symbolic or literal meaning, and are sung in a single breath for long stretches at a time. When one has the time to download native American songs, he/she will notice this one attribute that will come out strongly. Another unique mark of native Indian songs is their persistent use of percussive instruments. These two -- vocals and percussion -- form the backbone of American Indian music.