Traditional Hopi Songs - online book

Native American Songs With Sheet Music, Notation & Commentary

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
THE ROTE-SONG OF THE HOPI                        11
intervals when the need of change is felt. Their diatonic explana­tion by rapidly succeeding modulations is necessarily a complex one; and still more complex if accidentals also enter. In themselves they give no hint of a scale-consciousness in intricate activity. The com­bination of fifths in B of Anoshkaey is the only one among them that suggests modulation, and this occurs just before in A without giving the suggestion.
Further, these combinations, and all but one or two of the other repeated phrases of the songs, are more or less changed in repetition by a semitone shifting of the pitch of some but not all of the notes; and this flexibility of structure forms what is apparently a definitive bar to the scalar theory of this music. The effect of the partial shift­ing is that of a movement of one part of the texture affected on the rest, and its explanation on the scalar theory involves either a modula­tion transferring the phrase to another part of the scale or a mod­ulation advancing part of it into the new key before the rest. The former case presents the unlikely supposition that a grasp of the scale as doubtfully expressed as elsewhere in these songs, even in the imme­diate context of the phrases in question, should be equal to changing the scalar significance of all the notes of a phrase upon a change of but one or two in pitch. The supposition of modulation by install­ments — that of an alternation between two atmospheres represented by parts of two keys in rapidly succeeding instants of passage across a given tract of tone — involves an intricacy of musical thought hitherto unknown even in modern European music, and not easily credible of any.
The major thesis of the " Zuni Melodies"—that Pueblo music is without scale — is strongly confirmed by this cumulative evidence. The diatonic form of the Hopi songs is (a) harmonic necessity or (b) apperceptive illusion. In large measure their adiatonic features are at once (c) intentional and (d) inexplicable by interpolation and transposition.
Previous Contents Next