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Section Two: Native American Music

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  1. Section Two:Native American Music Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  2. Music Contexts • Religion • Social dances • Games • Calendar rituals and events in the life cycle. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  3. Supernatural Elements • Some individuals, special relationship with music • Form of prayer • Imparted to the humans by spirit beings • Dreams • Visitations • At the legendary time of the tribe’s origin. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  4. Music and Dance • Music and dance are closely related. • Unite members with spirits of their ancestors. • Circular pattern, steps, hand gestures, intricate designs on costumes or face have symbolic meaning. • Dancers often sing, use rattles, sound-makers. • The structures of music and dance often connected. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  5. Some General Characteristics For Native American Vocal Music • Monophonic • Singing in octaves • Vocables • Repetition • Falsetto • Pulsations on long notes • Pentatonic scale • Descending small note collections • Accompanied by percussion instruments • Percussion and vocals not necessarily metrically united Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  6. Musical Examples • Sioux Grass Dance (I:3) • Zuni Lullaby (I:4) • Gadasjot (I:5) Compare and contrast using the general characteristics above. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  7. Traditional Instruments • Idiophones: rattles, stick instruments, log drums, etc. • Membranophones: single-headed or double-headed drums; kettledrums, sometimes filled with water. • Chordophones: almost nonexistent • Aerophone: flute, made of wood, cane, and sometimes pottery. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  8. Navajo Traditions Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  9. Navajo Way of Life • Largest tribe; communities and reservations in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah • Have economic impact on region • Sources of livelihood include coal, uranium, oil, natural gas, lumber; to a lesser degree farming, raising stock, weaving, and silversmithing Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  10. General Characteristics of the Navajo • Some government support for education, health care, business • Costume/dress: men, Western, cowboy hats; women skirts and blouses; both wear jewelry • Houses, modern stucco houses, trailer homes; some old-style circular log & earth hogans • Ceremonial buildings: circular floors, domed roofs; symbolizes earth, mountaintops, sky Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  11. Music from three ceremonial events • A Yeibichai song from the Nightway ceremony (I:6) • The song “Shizhané’é from the Enemyway ceremony (I:7) • The Navajo Sacred Prayer from the Shootingway Ceremony (I:9) Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  12. Yeibichai Song from the Nightway Ceremony • Identify characteristic elements • Yeibichai (YAY-beh-chai) means “gods their grandfathers” and refers to ancestor deities who come to dance at the Nightway ceremony • Masked dancers impersonate the gods • They bring supernatural power and blessing to help a sick person Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  13. The Singers and Dances • Teams of men from a particular region, no women singers • The teams compete, and best receives a gift the family hosting the event • Will include costumes, masks, a clown figure Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  14. The Ritual • Dance occurs on the last night of a nine-day ritual • Will include purification activities, prayer offerings, sand-painting rituals • Then a reenactment of the myth on which the ceremony is based. Like a complex opera • Directed by the singer who must memorize every detail; considered an intellectual and ceremonial leader Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  15. The Circle Dance Song Shizhané’é • The Ndaa dance songs are the ‘hit tunes’ of traditional Navajo life • Includes humorous lyrics about woman leaning against a store front • Identify characteristic elements Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  16. The Enemyway Ceremony • Curing Ritual for returning to tribal life • Shizhané’é is one of the songs used in the ceremony • Sickness is brought on by the ghosts of outsiders who have died • Often performed for someone who has been away from home among strangers (in the Armed Forces or in the hospital) Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  17. The Shootingway Ceremony • Part of the creation myth • Restoration of harmony between people, and snakes, water and lightning. • Navajo Sacred Prayer (CD I:9) (recording fades in and out) • Much Native American music is so sacred it is not performed in public. Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  18. Newer Navajo Music • Christian hymns, some Mormon influence; evangelical Christianity • “Clinging to a Saving Hand” (CD 1:11) • Native American Church (Peyote Church) • (CD 1:10) Perform in Class! • Country music • “Folsom Prison Blues” (CD 1:7) • Try to conduct this performance in 4/4 • The Native-American Flute Revival (I:14) • Intonation issues? • New Composers in Traditional Modes (I:12) Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University

  19. Assignment 2 • Create a table in which you identify the presence or absence of each of the following five characteristics (vocables, repetition, falsetto, descending small note collections, and percussion) in the following music: Sioux Grass Dance, Yeibichai, Shizhané’é, Hymn of the Native American Church, Folsom Prison Blues. Please design your table like the following example: Introduction to World Music, Missouri State University