Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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and that they were brought by the Finno-Ugric tribes when they moved westward in the early Middle Ages.
The most striking of these features is the practice of transposing a bit of melody several times to create the essence of a song. Many Hungarian songs have the form A1A2A1 fifth lower)A2(a fifth lower), for example. Transposition is usually up or down a fifth, perhaps because this interval is an important one in the series of over­tones, or perhaps because this practice may have originated long ago, in the Far East, under the influence of Chinese musical theory in which the fifth is significant, or for any of various reasons. In Hun­garian folk music and even more in that of the Cheremis, pentatonic scales composed of major seconds and minor thirds are important. Such scales have sometimes been called "gapped scales" on the as­sumption that they are simply diatonic scales in which gaps have been made or left. Of course such a label is not really justified, for there is nothing any more "natural" about a scale made up of seconds (of two sizes) than there is about one made up of seconds and thirds,
example 5-1. Cheremis song, from Bruno Nettl, Cheremis Musical Styles (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1960), p. 37.
or, for that matter, one made up of quarter tones or augmented fourths. To demonstrate the integrity of the kind of pentatonic scale we have mentioned, let us examine a Cheremis song that makes use of the principle of transposition, in Example 5-1.
First we assign to each of the notes in the scale a number: be­ginning with the lowest tone, B—1, C sharp-2, E-3, F sharp—4, G sharp-5, B—6, C sharp—7, E—8. Then we compare the section

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