Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

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

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
example 2-4. Shoshone Indian Peyote song, from David P. McAllester, Fey ate Music (New York: Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology no. 13, 1949), song no. 73. Reprinted by permission from David P. Mc­Allester and Wenner-Genn Foundation for Anthropological Research.
Melody and scale
We come now to the aspect of music that has been of greatest interest to the serious students of music in folk and nonliterate cul­tures—melody; and this aspect is probably the most difficult to study or describe. A simple approach employs consideration of the melodic contour. We need to know whether the melody of a piece generally rises, falls, remains at the same level, proceeds in a curve, or moves in large leaps, and so on. Listening to the over-all movement of the tune is thus important. We are also interested in the ambit, or range, of a tune—that is, the distance, in pitch, between the highest and lowest tones. This can be found with little difficulty by listening. Finally, we come to consideration of the scale.

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