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
THE ROTE-SONG OF THE HOPI                        19
ing the pitch of the shifted note may be referred to the attraction of the after image of its new position. Doubtless these motives all enter, but not alone nor even chiefly. A completely satisfactory account has perhaps not yet been given of the emotional contrast to European feel­ing between the major and the minor modes of the scale. The fact remains that a semitone alteration of a phrase may change it from an expression of exaltation to an expression of depression. Mutation pre­sents such changes, varied and multiplied. It appears a generalization of modality, affecting not one or two steps in an otherwise invariable standard of pitch combination, but any part of indefinitely various orders marked out by a melodic movement free of all guidance other than that of approximate consonance. Such a generalized expansion and con­traction of intervals would seem to promise an indefinite enrichment of the emotional expressiveness of combinations of tone. A melodic music of fourths (of which a chain of two might mark out a five step octave), like the diatonic music of fifths, but with an inverse expressive­ness, is suggested by the use of the major trichord to carry a drooping movement like Mana, and the minor to carry a vigorous turn of phrase like the opening of the repetition of Anonymous II. All the pathetic charm which Pueblo singing possesses to European ears is assuredly there, and much beside that does not penetrate the diatonic sense.
With its amplified emotional expressiveness mutation combines an­other important source of effect, that of the reappearance of the fa­miliar. The shaped fabrics demand to be restored in form and mood, as all music and all poetry demand the return of the same. This mo­tive also is fruitfully used by the Hopi singers. Apart from the charm their songs possess at a single hearing, and from the varied emotional suggestion resulting from their mutability, they are full of imagina­tive expression, based on the multifarious ways in which the natural end of their mutation is withheld, delayed, or conceded.
Inference concerning these possible moods and images must be largely conjectural; only the orderly variety of form which invites it is a fact. In Snake Song No. 8 the fall and momentary recovery of the base of the tetrad vividly picture depression. A mind at rest is
Previous Contents Next