Traditional Hopi Songs - online book

Native American Songs With Sheet Music, Notation & Commentary

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

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
In my paper on Zuni Melodies I called them examples of a music without scale.1 The view was a novel one, and its confirmation has been sought in the performances of Hopi singers here presented. These supplement the previous negative result by indicating methods of composition and performance which replace and exclude reliance upon a scale. They strengthen the belief that aboriginal American music is a type apart, whose essential remoteness from the music of Europe and Asia may be symbolized, as it doubtless was conditioned, by the physical isolation of the Americas.
A new artistic principle, ethnic in scope, demands a name. The old word " rote-song " (route) signifies, by the analogy of a pathway, the pursuit of a beaten track of tone, and is here taken to imply the sub­stitution of melodic autonomy for the support and limitation compared in the word " scale " to a stairway.
Defining music as the fine art of interval, a scale is an interval-order auxiliary in its production. What is an order of intervals, and how may it be operative in their satisfac­tory combination ?
An order of intervals is a complex relation in tone. Tones differ from noises, the other species of auditory sensation, in presenting them­selves arranged in a continuous series, having one dimension, called
1 Page 89. "What we have in these melodies is the musical growths out of which scales are elaborated, and not compo­sitions undertaken in conformity to norms
of interval order already fixed in the con­sciousness of the singers. In this archaic stage of the art, scales are not formed but forming."
Previous Contents Next