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Music of the Navajos/

by: Victoria Notetaker

Music of the Navajos/ MUSC 3039

Victoria Notetaker

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About this Document

These notes cover Navajo Traditional & Popular Music and Navajo Culture
America's Musical Life
Dr. Joel Haney
Class Notes
Music, history




Popular in America's Musical Life

Popular in Music History

This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Victoria Notetaker on Monday October 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MUSC 3039 at California State University - Bakersfield taught by Dr. Joel Haney in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see America's Musical Life in Music History at California State University - Bakersfield.


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Date Created: 10/03/16
Music 3039: Study Questions 2 Music of the Navajos Questions Why has it been difficult for cultural outsiders to write a history of Native American music? No physical documented evidence. All history was passed down orally through the generations What evidence exists to assist this project? Journalistic entries from explorers or missionaries as they encountered Natives and their response to when they experienced Attempted notation on sheet music - however, notation was European and possibly lacked the proper notation to document the music. We run the risk of influencing the history of the natives. When was the phonograph invented, and by whom? 1877 by Thomas Eddison By the 1800’s colonists would bring phonographs for tribes to sing into for documentation purposes. Where is the Navajo reservation located, and when was it created? New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah ; Originated in 1886 after the Navajo people suffered horrible at the hand of the US Government In 1864, the Navajo’s were forced to march in 1864 to prison camp. Fort Sumner, New Mexico between 1864-1868 Released by General Sherman. Treaty drawn and reservation est. Where else are Navajos located today? Farmington, Gallup, Flagstaff, Chicago, LA, and San Diego Describe some basic features of the Navajo worldview (humans’ relation to nature, other humans, the supernatural world)? Humans are part of the earth. They are part of an interconnected web. Humans are to live in harmony with nature and part of nature. Humans live in close proximity to the earth, physically and conceptually. What role does music have within this worldview? It is sacred and plays a role of ritual and religious duty as it connects to divine beings Broadly, how is Navajo traditional music structured, and how is this appropriate to an oral tradition? Small segments that are put together and then recycled; easier to remember due to the oral tradition of the culture. List some distinguishing features of Native American traditional music, as found in our Navajo examples. Monophonic texture, falsetto voice, shouts Which quality of life factors seem important in Navajo traditional music? Health, social connectedness, spirituality Provide some examples of popular-sphere musical activity among Navajos. Some Navajo’s have not approved of the process of secularization that has taken place with Navajo musicians modernizing traditional styles or mixing the two. “Folsom Prison Blues” (1960s) by The Fenders- a Navajo group; country western Navajo’s became fond of country music because it allowed them to appealed to their way of life. Sharon Burch 1980s - put out a recording of Yazi Girl. “Mother Earth” (1989) What are some similarities and differences between this music and Navajo traditional music? Sharon Burch 1980s - put out a recording of Yazi Girl. “Mother Earth” (1989) Vocables, language, lyrics relating to the Earth, repetition Terms Long Walk - forced march in 1864 to prison camp. Fort Sumner, New Mexico between 1864-1868 Released by General Sherman. Treaty drawn and reservation est. hogan /hoogan/ - traditional Navajo house. Covered in dirt. Round - circle represents the earth, circle of life, interrelated with nature. Nightway - nine night ritual that includes practices such as purification by sweating and vomiting, making prayer offerings, for deities presence to be invoked and bring healing. Prayers, chanting of ritual poetry. Ceremonial practitioner leads ceremony. Last night: natives impersonate Navajo ancestor deities called Yeibichai Sand painting - During Nightway, the one who is sick is to sit in the middle of the sand painting and draws healing from it Ceremonial practitioner - person responsible for remembering all of the rituals. Guardian of oral tradition. one-sung-over - sick person that people are singing over to bring healing. celebrated as a kind of hero. The rituals encompass stories of the hero. Yeibichai - gods-their-grandfathers. Dance song. Singers are the dancers. Enemyway- performed for a returned Navajo member who has been away and amongst strangers for a long period of time; may be performed for a Navajo who has returned cured from a hospital because often sickness comes with being amongst strangers. This dance is the only time in traditional Navajo culture that women and men will dance together. circle dance- dancers join hands and dance around in a circle while singing vocables - Non-lexical syllables; they identify what kind of song it is tonic note - the basic note of the song. Most important note in a melody or scale Hoop dance - related to Navajo worldview—part of an interconnected web Butterfly, eagle, snake, coyote shapes made—story telling function


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