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Aztec Music and Dance

Music and dance played a large part in many aspects of Aztec life. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 learned to dance, sing, and play different kinds of musical instruments.

Religious ceremonies used music and dance. Everyone, even peasants, participated in dances and chanting for the gods. Hundreds of people danced in these events. Their dances were plays that would describe an event from the past or recreate scenes about their gods.

Some musical instruments were said to be holy and mistakes were thought to be an offense to the gods. Musical instruments were usually rattles, whistles, trumpets, flutes, copper bells, and shells. An Aztec 'orchestra' was generally made of several types of rattles and different styles of drums. Aztec instruments were used for specific things. The trumpet sounds were long and deep while the drums created hypnotic rhythms. The big temple drums could be heard for several miles. The wind instruments included pan pipes, whistles, and flutes.

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