North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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noise,—a difficulty still further aggravated by the habit of pulsating the voice, creating a rhythm within the rhythm of the song.
Emotion also affects the rendering of Indian music. This is especially noticeable in solos, as love-songs, where the singer quite unconsciously varies from a quarter to a whole tone from the true pitch. On the contrary, emphasis sharps the tone. If, however, these peculiarities are imitated to him, the Indian immediately detects, and declares them to be wrong, thus betraying his unconsciousness of his own inaccuracies in endeavouring to strike a plain diatonic interval.
Our difficulty in hearing the music of the Indian is equalled by the trouble he has with our instru­ments. His attention is engaged by the mech­anism. He hears the thud of the hammer, "the drum inside" the piano, the twanging of the metal strings, and the abrupt, disconnected tones. Until he is able to ignore these noises he cannot recog­nise the most familiar tune. Even then, if his songs are played as an unsupported aria, they are unsatisfactory to him. His ear misses something it heard in the unison singing of his people, and which the addition of a simple harmonic accompani-
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