Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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because the Indians have been segregated—such a mixture of styles did not take place. There are occasional exceptions, of course, as in the case of Peyote songs being accompanied by piano. Some North American Indians, moreover, learned songs from the white folk and popular repertory, but unlike the American Negroes, they did not create a style consisting of elements from both sides, Indian and white. This may perhaps be attributed to the great difference be­tween Indian and European musical styles, in contrast to the rela­tively greater similarity of the Western and African musics. But we should not rule out subtle influences; for example, in the Plains, the intervals of Peyote songs seem to coincide more frequently with those of European music than do those of the older song types. If this is so, the more recently introduced Peyote song style (in retro­spect) would be more easily subject to foreign influence because presumably the influence occurred at the time the style was being formed.
The influence of the West can also be felt in less direct ways in American Indian music. In Mexico and Peru, the relatively high de­velopments in musical culture were reduced to simpler levels and styles through the annihilation or reduction of the ruling classes, and through the introduction of Christianity. In Central America, the presence of simple, xylophone-like instruments facilitated the intro­duction of the African marimba. In North America, where homoge­neous styles evidently had been developed and musical areas of some stability had been formed aboriginally, the encroachment of the whites and the resulting migration of tribes caused a greater degree of intertribal contact than had previously been known. Tribes with radically different musical cultures became neighbors and learned from each other. An example is the Shawnee tribe, which at the time of first white contact was located in the southeastern United States, but which within a few centuries had probably come from the Northeast. It participated in the music of the eastern musical area, but was forced to migrate westward and was located in Oklahoma, near some of the Plains tribes. Its repertory today contains songs in both the Plains and the eastern styles, as well as simple songs of an old layer which they may have brought with them from the North­east, and the Peyote style, to which they were introduced only in the twentieth century. The spreading of the Peyote and Ghost Dance styles to tribes with other kinds of music was, of course, also the result—indirect, perhaps—of the impact of Western culture. An-

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