ERIC Number: ED094919
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974-May
Current Ethnomusicology in Alaska.
Johnston, Thomas F.
The systematic study of Eskimo, Indian, and Aleut musical sound and behavior in Alaska, though conceded to be an important part of white efforts to foster understanding between different cultural groups and to maintain the native cultural heritage, has received little attention from Alaskan educators. Most existing ethnomusical studies lack one or more aspects essential to their validity. In a culture where instrument use is minimal and vocal music is maximal, the relationship of syllabic patterns to musical units and the social and psychological implications of musical roles (i.e., the separate roles of both the musical material and the human performers) are essential considerations. Alaskan native music communicates a world-view, particularly concerning the sea/land polarity and its supernatural overtones. It provides acculturation with native groups and group cohesiveness by songs of the arbitrary namesake relation and story-songs which emphasize the importance of belonging. Many songs function to maintain group norms of behavior; others relate to the changing seasons of the social year. Music demonstrates the division of labor inasmuch as the dances differ for the 2 sexes. Still possessing much ceremonial significance, music also demonstrates aspects of the economic system and spirit world relationships. The appendix gives 6 examples of native songs, such as a Point Hope inherited dance-song of the Sayuum category -- "People Feel Warm Inside (Themselves)". (KM)
Descriptors: American Indians, Behavior Patterns, Communication (Thought Transfer), Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Background, Dance, Eskimos, Music, Musical Instruments, Psychological Patterns, Role Perception, Sociocultural Patterns, Speeches, Vocal Music
Not available separately, see RC 008075
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alaska