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Help: Melanesian Harmonies

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John in Brisbane 08 Apr 01 - 06:10 PM
Sorcha 08 Apr 01 - 06:23 PM
John in Brisbane 09 Apr 01 - 03:01 AM
Pete M 09 Apr 01 - 06:20 AM
M.Ted 09 Apr 01 - 05:44 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 01 - 05:49 PM
mousethief 09 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM
John in Brisbane 09 Apr 01 - 07:45 PM
Dani 11 Apr 01 - 07:59 AM
catspaw49 11 Apr 01 - 08:30 AM
Charlie Baum 11 Apr 01 - 11:20 PM
M.Ted 16 Apr 01 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 17 Apr 01 - 08:30 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Apr 01 - 12:13 AM
LR Mole 18 Apr 01 - 11:20 AM
pattyClink 18 Apr 01 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Alopesao 29 Jan 11 - 11:52 AM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 11 - 01:35 PM
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Subject: Melanesian Harmonies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 06:10 PM

Greetings. I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction please to find scores or Midi files of traditional Melanesian songs, c/w harmony lines. I'm not talking about Hawaiian or Polynesian songs, nor songs from New Zealand, but those from the Western Pacific (including the Torres Strait Islands of northern Australia). This music is characterised by strong melody and soaring female harmonies. Any help appreciated.

Regards, John
johninbrisbane@lycos.com


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 06:23 PM

Jeez, John, you don't want much do you? LOL. I'll see what I can find.....but quite frankly, I don't hold out a lot of hope......were the Lomax's out there? (grin)


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 03:01 AM

Hi Sorcha, like most things in life you typically only get what you ask for. The worst that could happen is for you to slap my face. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Pete M
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:20 AM

John,

not exactly what you are after but the cultural centre on Vanuatu may be able to help link here

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 05:44 PM

There is a kind of music that I have heard that draws a lot from the hymns and harmony that were taught by the missionaries--I have heard recordings of both women's and men's choruses, diatonic hymn type melodies, but sung with island rhythms for the pulse. there is a high voice carrying a counterpoint melody--with men, it could be a falsetto with yodelling style voice breaks--is this what you are looking for?


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 05:49 PM

I have not found anything you could use. Lots of stuff about culture, visual art, religion, and "religious music" in passing, but no examples or sound files.....quite an esoteric subject, John. Perhaps you should go there on hols with your trusty tape recorder???


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: mousethief
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM

Where exactly is Melanesia? I had previously thought it was a condition in which you couldn't remember your skin colour, but apparently this is incorrect. Is it a place, or a culture, or a group of people, or none of the above?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 07:45 PM

From http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=53153

Melanesia, one of the traditional ethnogeographic groupings of the Pacific Islands, including (generally from west to east) the island of New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, and the Bismarck and Louisiade archipelagoes; the Solomon Islands and the Santa Cruz Islands; New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands; Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides); Fiji; Norfolk Island; and numerous smaller islands. The island group is separated from Polynesia in the east by the Andesite Line of extreme volcanic and earthquake activity and from Micronesia in the north (along the equator); it is bounded by the Tropic of Capricorn and Australia in the south. Melanesia's name was derived from the Greek melas, "black," and nesoi, "islands."

In December 1974, just after Cyclone devastated Darwin, we spent a couple of intriguing weeks on Thursday Island (between the Northern tip of mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea). T.I. is not your archetypal tourist destination, but heard the locals involved in group singing on a couple of occasions - no, I didn't have a tape recorder. M Ted describes the music quite accurately, as far as I can recall it.

Any further help still appreciated.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Dani
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:59 AM

refresh, "dum spiro spero"


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 08:30 AM

I know that if you dropped the turquoise dinner plate in conjunction with the pale yellow saucer and the pink cup, you got a perfect F chord............................say what?.................really?.................Melanesian ain't that cheap 50's dinnerware?..........Oh...well............Never mind then..........................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 11:20 PM

There were some recordings released a few years ago as being by the "Tahitian Choir" or "Tahitian Chorus" but were actually polyphonic singing in non-Western scales by the people of Rapa Iti, a small island some 1,000 miles South of Tahiti. Are those the recordings you're thinking of?

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 03:51 PM

John,

The choral music is actually formally taught, which is the good news, and, if I remember correctly, there are even choral competitions--the music, rooted as it is in the music spread by missionaries, is, at least at the root, pan-Oceanic, but each island integrates their own particular tastes and traditions--years ago, there was a series of programs on American Public Radio that featured music from a variety of places--It has been so long that I have heard anything that I haven't a clue as to where to go for more info--

The Vanuatu web site above has some ethnomusicological links--none had music files, but there are at least offices and names, and that might lead you somewhere. Good Luck, and let us know what you find--


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 08:30 PM

Thanks Mted and all. I'll pursue this further with the excellent State Library here.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 12:13 AM

G'day John,

I seem to remember that Ron Edwards (now the living doyen of Australian folk collectors) is putting together a song book of TI material. I can check when i get home and have access to the infinite chaos I laughingly call my library.

If you are already a member of his Australian Folklore Society, you may have that material already.

I think he would only have melodies, song words and English translations, where necessary, but he may be able to supply dubs of his tape recordings for someone interested in the harmony aspect ... even publish something on the subject (nice contra-deal).

regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: LR Mole
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 11:20 AM

No, Spaw, it's what you take for a sour stomach. With Milk.


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: pattyClink
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 04:50 PM

I can't offer a bit of useful help, sorry. But friends who visited Tonga 3 yrs ago said the locals habitually burst into song. I just think that's so wonderful, that there is a place where that happens, and it's ringed with beautiful beaches. If there were a Mudcat heaven, it would be a lot like that...


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: GUEST,Alopesao
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 11:52 AM

Anybody there that got something similar to what John in Brisbane was looking for? I am looking for Melanesian polyphonies, too (sheetmusic, or at least music files and lyrics). Thank you!


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Subject: RE: Help: Melanesian Harmonies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 01:35 PM

There is an old LP from Folkways, with a fair range of genres, both vocal and instrumental, but nothing quite like what John was describing. The most extraordinary was the sound of aeolian flutes - these were bamboo poles with a slot cut in each segment at a random angle, set up on a beach to be sounded by random gusts of wind, and intended to guide the souls of the dead on their journey out to sea. Unearthly microtonal dissonances.

I have a book on Kanak music, from Bougainville island off New Caledonia. Again, not much like what John was describing. A lot of the vocal music has extremely narrow range, and some of it uses microtones you probably can't easily represent in MIDI. There are a few choral pieces that use yodelling/hocketing techniques like those you find in Georgian music.

There are also ethical issues. Some of this music belongs to specific peoples, families and lineages - "belonging" in a very strong sense, that it's unthinkable that anyone else would play it. You need to know which pieces are fair game for the sort of dissemination John had in mind.


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