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Seminole music

Identifier: Recording Number 14

Scope and Content

The original format of this recording is unknown. The digital audio file was produced from a reel-to-reel tape made at the Library of Congress in 1955.

A hand written note by R.T.King (oral historian) enclosed in the box with the reel-to-reel tape states the following. "The second song on the tape is introduced by a Mr. William Boehmer. Mr. Boehmer was formerly the teacher at the Indian Day School on the Brighton Reservation, and he indicates in his introduction that the recording is being made at the school. This would date the recording as being sometime after 1937, as the school was not in existence until the late 1930s." The note also states that the tape was "evidently copied from was cylinder recordings made by Miss Densmore," but this is crossed out.

Recordings 1-11 are Florida Seminole. With the exception of number 2 all are dance songs from the Green Corn Dance or Hunting Dance. Number 12 is not Seminole. The subject was apparently a black woman, born in 1831. It may have been added accidently when the Library of Congress made this tape or it may have been part of the original recording.

00:00:00-00:02:07 A man sings.

00:02:10-00:02:25 Introduction by Mr. William Boehmer followed by a Seminole girl singing a traditional Seminole song.

00:02:56-00:03:41 Several men sing.

00:03:47-00:08:01 A longer song with some call and response pattern. One male singer leads off with a phrase followed by several men singing.

00:08:11-00:10:27 Another song with some guttural sounds.

00:10:31-00:12:07 A song with a call and response pattern and whooping sounds.

00:12:19-00:13:34 A man sings a solo and there is a sound of a rattle shaking.

00:13:39-00:16:32 A beating of a drum is heard with a chorus of voices and intermittent yipping. The volume increases at intervals.

00:16:11-00:20:34 A sort of background drone and a main voice. Phrases are repetitive. The phrases end in almost a singing cheer with two tones.

00:20:45-00:23:39 Sound is very faint. The lead singer is a woman and one or two other women sing along.

00:23:46-00:27:48 A group of men sing. Again one male voice leads with a beginning phrase and then the other male voices join in. This song concludes with two distinct yips.

00:27:57-00:31:13 A woman's voice can be heard speaking. A woman then sings. The words are difficult to understand but the song is reminiscent of the song "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child".


  • Date unknown


Language of Materials



The recording is available for research.

Usage Restrictions

This recording may not be reproduced without the permission of the Library of Congress.

Biographical/Historical Note

At the time of this recording, William Boehmer was a teacher at the Indian Day School at the Brighton Reservation in Florida. Later, he was community services officer of the Seminole Indian agency in Hollywood, Florida.


0.01 Linear feet (Reel audio recording, 7 1/2 ips, Mono. Duration: 00:31:13)


A recording of Seminole music made at the Brighton Reservation in the 1930s.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building
Seminole music
Finding aid prepared by Joyce Dewsbury
August 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America