Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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Northwestern Penobscot and the Northwestern Nootka, and in less than 10 per cent of the repertory of the Southeastern Creek, Yuchi, and Tutelo.
3)   A third area is centered in the Great Basin of Nevada, Utah, and northern interior California, basically a desert area with simple hunting and gathering cultures. The style of the music here became the style of the Ghost Dance songs further to the East. Singing is in a relatively relaxed manner, melodic range is small, and the typical form is that of paired phrases, with each phrase repeated once. In the northwestern part of the area, some tribes with even a simpler style—the Modoc and Klamath, for example—have many songs con­sisting of a single repeated phrase. This kind of form is found, of course, in traditional musics throughout the world, and there are a few Indian tribes such as the previously mentioned Siriono of Bo­livia whose entire repertories don't go beyond this level of simplicity. But it seems possible that the simple repetitive forms of the Modoc and Klamath are historically related to the somewhat more complex but still essentially repetitive forms of the Great Basin proper. Be­cause of long-standing contacts with the Plains Indians, the Great Basin tribes also have songs in the Plains style. And an interesting ex­ception to the tendency of Indian songs to be short and to eschew narration is the existence, among the Ute, of some songs that serve as the vehicle for reciting tales. These narrative songs do not have strophic forms (as do European ballads), but continue in unstruc­tured fashion, liberally repeating and varying a few basic musical motifs. Example 8-2 illustrates the Great Basin style.
4)  A fourth area, the Athabascan, seems to coincide with a lan­guage family by the same name. It consists of the Navaho and Apache tribes and—possibly—of another group of tribes, the North­ern Athabascans, in Western Canada. Though these northern tribes have for centuries been separated from the Navaho and Apache by a thousand miles, there is evidence that the musical styles of the two areas are related. The music of the Navaho is the most complex of this area, perhaps because it has been greatly influenced by the neigh­boring Pueblo tribes. Its melodies have a large range, a pendulum­like melodic movement, large intervals, and liberal use of falsetto. The Apache songs tend to have smaller range and tenser singing. What ties them together is the form—it is usually nonstrophic and re­sembles that of the California-Yuman tribes—and the rhythmic struc-

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