For example two important late developing traditions

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Unformatted text preview: UCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony Rhythmic organization in traditional Native American music was additive rather than divisive, such that there was a steady, uniform beat (often referenced to the heartbeat) that served as a piece’s foundation. Most melodies were small in range, rarely over an octave. Melodies frequently began on a high note and then moved downward, breaking off on an open vowel syllable an octave or a minor third below the octave. Pitches were closer 11 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 together than our current Western pitch system, and the scales were different than the major and minor system with which we are most familiar today. Listen to “Sun Dance Song” of the Northern Arapahoe to hear the steady beat of the divisive rhythmic pattern and also follow the downward contour of the melody. Sundance Song by Northern Arapaho Texture, Instrumentation, and Form Textures were monophonic or heterophonic, and performance styles were usually direct or responsorial. Music was heard as sound occupying space, with great value placed on sound coming from multiple directions, such as singers moving around and engulfing their listeners with song. The flute was the most important melodic instrument, and these were made from wood, cane, bark, bone, and pottery and were mostly end- blown (as distinguished from the European flute, which is “transverse,” or blown across a whole on top of the flute). Men of some tribes played courtship songs on flutes. The primary (perhaps only) chordophone was the musical bow, in which a regular hunting bow was used to make music by plucking the string. The form of a piece was closely related to text and dance, but there was considerable use of incomplete repetitions in which a second iteration of a phrase did not include the beginning notes of the first iteration of the phrase. Apache War Song Zuni Buffalo Dance PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: NATIVE AMERICAN STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS IN “INTERTRIBAL 2” A FIELD RECORDING MADE AT A POWWOW. Intertribal 2 (Lakota) Now let’s listen to “Intertribal 2” attributed to the Lakota and recorded at a powwow to see how these structural characteristics are incorporated into a single, unmistakably representative example of traditional Native American music. First of all, this is a field recording made at a powwow. Since the music of the Plains style is a dominant source for powwow music, it is not surprising that this recording has several of the Plains style characteristics: men’s voices predominate, but the singing is in high falsetto and often has the itense, forceful style with dynamic pulsations. The melody is a typical terraced- contour of starting out high and gradually descending as the song progresses. It uses a (pentatonic) five note scale and vocables. Although there is not a visual, it does appear as though the recording is of dancing that is accompanied by songs with the drumming of a group of men, probably sitting around a large, double- headed drum played with drumsticks. Please listen once just to hear these and the following general structural characteristics: 12 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Rhythm: Listen to how the track begins with the steady beating of a drum. Although you could superimpose counting “1 2 1 2 1 2” over it, thereby giving it a sense of a duple metrical rhythm, it is actually additive rhythm with the emphasis on accumulating beats – try just counting out 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 and so forth to ‘feel’ the difference. Melody: Notice how the melody is of a fairly limited range and that the overall contour moves...
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

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