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 PHONOGRAPHIC METHOD                         65
of rhythmical howling, containing hardly more than the adumbra­tion of interval. Any representation of such passages as pure sequences of notes will then in a measure be defective. Under these circumstances the pitch of the cardinal sounds of the performances, that is, the tone rests in distinction from tone movements, might often be judged some­what differently, according as the phonograph was silenced a moment earlier or a moment later. I question whether the estimates of the pitch of the high sforzando notes are much to be relied upon unless when confirmed by repetition, and perhaps largely from this cause. The notations of quicker passages is for the like reason specially difficult and specially uncertain. Again, I seemed to find that, in the moment of silencing it, a phonograph note drops minimally in pitch. Yet any underestimate resulting from this cause would be apt, as far as one can see, to be a constant and therefore negligible error. Again, a blunder at which I once or twice caught myself was that of conceiving a clearly recognized difference between a harmonium note and one from the phonograph in the opposite to its actual sense; i. e. judging the wrong note to be the higher. Again, I found I had to keep to one attitude in using my apparatus; for much change in the position of the head with respect to the phonograph and the harmonium seemed to shift the pitch of the notes from both sources. Further, in order to eliminate the possible error from alterations in the intensity of the harmonium notestone from pp. to ff.), the effort had to be made to produce them at a constant (moderate) intensity. Upon the whole, numerous as are the sources of difficulty and error in an attempt to study musical performance carefully by the phonograph, it can hardly, I think, be denied that we are much nearer the raw material of the original sensa-tion in notations made thus than in notations made by the naked ear.
But it may be questioned whether even this fact should suffice to commend the use of the phonograph to students of primitive music. For although we admit that the instrument repeats what it hears, and that what it repeats can be written down with an accuracy suffi­cient for scientific purposes, we may still impeach the character of the sequence of sound itself to which the cylinders were exposed. In an
Previous Contents Next

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III