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Mahalvah Lou Ruiz-Torres Sept.

19, 2017

Oceania: Voices of Land and Sea

Questions to Consider:

1. Why would vocal traditions predominate in Australia and Oceania?

- Oceania music is primarily made of vocal, and vocal traditions predominate in Oceania and
Australia because instruments are only few and scarce. Music is considered a link to the
spiritual plane, and specialists in ritual-associated music tradition.
2. How do you circular breathe? Why is this technique useful when playing certain musical
- Air is expelled through the lips by tongue and cheek muscle. As the performer exhales, he
simultaneoulsly inhales through his nose to replinish the air reserve stored in the cheeks.
3. How do Hawaiians use music to express their unqie identity within American culture?
- Most examples of Hawaiian music today are influenced by European music. They express
their identity by doing the Hawaiian Drum-dance chant. The songs play an important role to
maintain the indigenous language, spiritual beliefs, history and social customs.
4. Why is music important to the Australian Aborigine’s cosmology, The Dreaming?
- It has a scared element. The Dreaming tells of an ancient mythodology past when the earth
was merely a featureless swirl of creative energy. At that time, the ancestral spirits roamed
the planet creating life and shaping the topographical features of the earth.
5. How might musical instruments be used in courting practices? Does your culture have any
courting rituals? If so, does music play a role in them?
- The instrument is the “speech surrugate” in courting. The man is able to say things to the
woman that might otherwise be considered inappropriate. The instrument also provides
impunity from rejection.
- Yes, we call it Harana – wherein men introduced themselves by singing underneath the
window of the women at night.
6. Name some ways in which Christian missionaries have influenced traditional music in Oceania.
- Ukelele from Hawaii, a small chordophone modeled after the guitar, only appeared in
Hawaii after the colonial period began.
- Vocal choirs, the use of harmony reflects European musical influences.
- Youthful vocal timbre – a bit nasal and somewhat strained, even though many of the male
voices are forceful and full.