Native American Music- Excursions Chapter 11

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What is a powwow?

tribal or intertribal gathering in 20th centruy native american culture, a principal venue for performance of traditional and modernized music and dance

What is intertribal

songs or dances on the plains styles with which traditions of various other tribes are combined, developed for performances at modern powwows

vocables

nonsemantic syllables that are sung, nonsense syllables

incomplete repitition

structure common in intertribal and plains style consisting of two sections. the first section includes a short melodic phrase called a push up followed bu a repetition of that melody by another singer. this is called the second. the second section is called the chorus and consists of generally two more phrases and is itself repeated

What is terraced melody

melody structure so that it begins in a high register and steps or cascades down to low and concluding on high

peyote music

songs in characteristic style accompanying a ceremony surrounding the use of peyote, a drug derived from a cactus,. peyote religion is a major component of 20th century native american culture of the plains and the southwest


• Intertribal and based on hallucinogenic buttons of a cactus native to Mexico, the Peyote religion spread through much of the Native American world between 1700 and 1940.
• The songs represent a distinct repertory and you can always tell it's a Peyote song, no matter who's singing it.
• The vocables are unique and every song ends with an amen-like "heneyowe."
• The Native American church continues to use Peyote songs in its rites.

What is monophonic

music comprising a single melody without chords or other melodic or harmonic parts

What is a Ghost Dance

Native American religious movement of protest against US government excesses of the 1880s

• These songs protested the encroachment of white Americans on their land and way of life.
• The ghost dance religion was believed to bring back the dead and restore the buffalo and aid the Sioux and Arapaho in defeating white people.
• This eventually becomes intertribal in style.

What is polyphonic

all music in which one hears more than one pitch at a a time for example songs accompanied by guitar, choral music, or two people singing together. music which incorporates two or more simultaneous melodic lines or parts

What are the musical characteristics of Native American music?

• Concept of song as a relatively short unit
• Songs presented in large groups and sequences as parts of elaborate ceremonies and rituals
• Majority of songs accompanied by drum and/or rattle
• Generally monophonic vocal melodies (a few exceptions, for example in the Northwest)
• Mostly vocables used, sometimes texts
• Use scales of about 3-4 notes (plains style)
• Phrases start on higher pitch and gradually descend to a lower one (terraced melodies)
• Tense, nasal vocal quality is often aesthetically pleasing
• Dancing often takes place during songs
• Pulsations may occur at ends of phrases or throughout song, also on longer notes
• Two or three types of forms predominate: strophic songs; very short songs that consist of one or two lines repeated many times; forms in which two or three contrasting sections of music, one usually higher than the other, alternate

What is the Musical context of native american music

• Strong association with religion is characteristic
• See animals, birds, elements, as active potencies that directly affect human life
• Each of these forces may teach human beings the songs and rituals for ceremonies
• Each tribe has its own musical culture, own repertory and style, own ideas about music
• Idea of technical complexity has never been a criterion of musical quality
• More complexity on a microscopic level (i.e. slight variations in repetitions)
• Intertribal styles facilitate shared repertories

What's the history of native american?

• Came across the Bering Straight approx 14,000 years ago or so (still lots of debate about this)
• Strongest tribes took best lands, weakest tribes were pushed to the least desirable places (middle of the Amazon, polar region, and the Great Basin area in Nevada and Utah)
• Many different tribes and languages, but music grouped into 7 areas in the US
• These include
o Plains Style (Blackfoot and Lakota)
o Eastern US (Shawnee, Ojibwe)
o Yuman (Walapai, Mohave)
o Athabascan (Navajo and Apache)
o Pueblo (Papago, Hopi)
o Great Basin (Ute and Shoshone)
o Northwestern (Lummi, Makah)
• Recent push to gain rights, deliberate counter-use of the word NATION, legal action over burial sites, religious ceremonies, and land.

Characterize Plains Style

1. Plains Style
• High pitch to low pitch
• Rhythmic pulsasions on the long notes
• Tension
• Harshness
• Strophic
• Short phrase is presented and repeated (AA)
• A descending line of three or four phrases follows (BCD)
• This long section is repeated (BCD)
• The overall form is AA BCD BCD

Characterize Eastern United States

• Greater variety of forms than plains style
• Rounder and more relaxed vocal style
• Sometimes a bit of call and response

Characterize Yuman (Southwest US and Southern California)

• Form with one section
• A phrase or short group of phrases is repeated several times but is interrupted occasionally by another, slightly higher and definitely contrastive section
• This section is called the rise
• Relaxed vocal style

What are 49er songs?

• A newer body of songs tied to powwows and including English lyrics.

Describe Powwows in more detail.

• Powwow as ceremonial complex formed in 1940s
• Community most obviously celebrated is that of all Native Americans
• National model of powwow matched in broad outline, not necessarily in the details (these are more local)
• Model: a dance circle, surrounded by a few ranks of chairs, some space to walk, circle of vendors of Native American handicrafts and food, and parking that may include a camping area
• Participants: one or several drums ("drum means both the instrument and the ensemble of a few to over a dozen men striking it and singing); an emcee explaining and pacing the event; an arena director keeping things and people where they ought to be; and from a dozen to over a hundred dancers
• General practice of proceedings: grand entry (parade led by color guard, followed by all dancers grouped by gender, regalia type and age); flag song and veterans' dance (most solemn parts of event); intertribal dances; dances by category (men: traditional, grass and fancy dances; women: traditional, fancy/shawl); and interspersed with "specials" (e.g. giveaways, where paid head dancer ritually honors individuals by awarding them gifts like blankets and apples)
• Most powwow songs are strophic, with interior repetition and each strophe called a round/push-up
• These are called intertribal songs: based on plains styles and used in powwows
• Northern, "traditional/straight" style, pushes pitch up higher at each strophe, plays honor beats (series of accented drum beats) within each strophe
• Southern "war dance" style is lower in pitch, honor beats normally at end of each strophe
• More drums performing "word songs" which contain a phrase or two of words toward the second half of the strophe, which is otherwise sung to vocables
• Different compositional terminology: Westerners and members of urban drums talk about "composing" a song and attribute it to an individual, whereas rural/reservation powwow singers talk about "making" a song and attribute it to the drum as a whole

Scoring the Indian in the 1930s

• Native Americans treated as one group
• Early film (1930s) traded on stereotypes of the drum (BUM, bum, bum, bum, BUM, bum...). Modal melodies in fourths or fifths predominated (music worked like theme to Jaws, you didn't even have to see them to know them). Native Americans stood in the way of Cowboy's manifest destiny

Scoring the Indian 1950s

• Films in the 1950s ushered in a change in the Cowboy. He was becoming a sensitive guy with feelings and all. The beginnings of the liberal Western. Focus on Native American culture. Hero's fall in love with Native American women. Native American culture shown to be dignified as opposed to the boorish and ignorant Americans. Composers began to romanticize (modal flutes and strings) and to use diegetic musical clips ("real" Native American music in "real" narrative roles)

Scoring the Indian 1970s

• 1970s found composers trying to idealize native american culture as the real thing, the real America. Reaction to Vietnam a part of this move. Composers moved toward scoring Native Americans in the same way that they scored other characters...trying to defamiliarize the sounds for the viewers. The technique that didn't work as well as they would have hoped because there is something about aural stereotypes that helps code a film.

Scoring the Indian 1980s and 1990s

• The 1980s and 90s find composers like John Barry (Dances with Wolves) and Ry Cooder (Geronimo) abandoning the stereotypical modal and tom-tom idioms and using either "authentic" Native American chants (Dances: Lacota) or providing beautiful Western/World Music melodies. Whereas the prewar Indian was an obstacle to overcome, the postwar Indian has emerged as the ideal American

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