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98                                          HOPI SONGS
Within all but the opening fragmentary strophe the axis is either exactly constant (5 and 6) or mainly so (in 2, once tone, five times
tone flat; in 3, once tone sharp; in 4, once and twice tone flat). A marked exception occurs as before only in the initial segment of the song, and again admits of interpretation by a change in the singer's conception of his place in the strophe, which he seems to imagine at first completed and later continued.
The shaping of the figure executed results from the initial resistance opposed by the two outlying notes above and below, to the upward movement of the axis, about which the augmented triad they form sways as in Song 2. Under the first upward shift from 1 to 2 both boundaries hold, the upper interval being compressed toward a major third and the lower stretched beyond a fourth : from 2 to 3 both yield, the lower at once by a semitone, the upper finally giving way a semi­tone after yielding by successive sixth tones: from 3 to 4 both hold again, the upper interval contracting, the lower expanding; the former exactly righting itself at the end of the strophe, the latter approxi­mately at the end of the next: finally from 5 to 6 both boundaries move with the axis, the upper reactingtone, but leaving the upper interval redundant as at first.
The interest of the song lies in its stately rhythm, occasionally delicately varied; and in this deliberate ascent, as if from level to level of the singer's native mesa, with a pause midway in each to rally loiterers. Forced by the diatonic prison-grating that checkers to the European sense every landscape of tone, to interpret this steady dis­placement as a negligible inaccuracy, the unaided ear reduced to a dead level of monotony a performance whose uneven plenitude of in­terval and stealthy upward tread possess no little dramatic fascination.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III