Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore Recording The Music Of A Blackfoot Chief Onto A Phonograph, 1916
In 1907, Densmore began to record Native American music as part of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) working with many tribes, including the Chippewa, the Mandan, the Sioux, the Winnebago, and the Seminoles. She spent more than 50 years studying American Indian music and collected thousands of recordings, originally often on wax cylinders, although many of them have been reproduced on other media. Many of them are in the Library of Congress and some are in other archives as well.
In 1926, she wrote The Indians and Their Music, and between 1910 and 1957, she published 14 book-length pamphlets for the Smithsonian. These works each described the music of a different Native American group; although she at first believed that the music of the Plains Indians was representative of all Indians, over time, and through exposure to tribes across North America, she began to recognize the diversity of Native American music and culture.