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SHIASHTASHA                                       145
the lower octave of the initial note of the song, raised through pre­cisely the quarter tone by which both singers emphasize the distinction between strophes minor and strophes major.
All three performances are less regular than some of the other songs, yet exact coincidences between them are not infrequent, as the circled notes show, and close approximations are numerous. In the diagrams of the observed course the level of the actual performance of No. 1 has been lowered a semitone to facilitate comparison with that of No. 2 by giving the initial note of each the same pitch. It cannot be by chance that in the final descent of the first and third major B's (B2 of No. 1 and B4 of No. 2) both singers shift from the pitch of their opening notes (actually different pitches) to the quarter tone higher level which in the song of each has since represented it; and that in the remaining major B (B1) No. 2 strikes intermediate pitches, in the C immediately following copying No. 1 in reflecting the identical shift b— to b+ in the octave below. These coincidences argue in both per­formers a notable musical endowment, — delicacy of ear, tenacity of auditory memory, and pliancy of voice.
Beside ignoring the non-diatonic (minor) version of this song, the staff notation missed the melodic point of that it chose. Extending the span of the introductory movement to a fourth above the A triad it changed the melody from a combination of fifths to a division within an octave. The musical thought in which the contrast between the strophes has its seat was obscured from the start, the unchangeable fourth (e'-b) usurping the place which the singers had given the mutable third. Note (2) is adiatonic in the major version and its re­tention on the interior pitch of the A triad was the only specific recog­nition accorded by the ear to the minor version. Here as elsewhere the ear noted and enjoyed a game flavor in the performances which it was impossible to imprison in the staff notation.
Codas like the C's of the present song, consisting mainly of leaps at one or two important notes, add their item of evidence against a scalar interpretation of this music; for it is in their finales that
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III