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Field work in Maori music (a preliminary study)

Summary: This thesis embodies the results of field work in Maori music carried out in the Rotorua district between May and July 1958 when some 87 songs were recorded. Of these, only two (Nos. 20 and 21) show obvious signs of European influence and this was acknowledged in both cases. The remaining songs must be regarded as genuine examples of indigenous Maori music. They display many of the characteristics common to the music of native races throughtout the world but as will be shown many characteristics also which are uniquely Maori.
The subject matter of the thesis is solely concerned with the songs recorded and with facts made known to me by informants. Instrumental music, which is now virtually extinct is not treated here. The historical approach through existing writings on Maori music has also been deliberately neglected. For this reason I have not thought it necessary to include the usual bibliography.
Announcements concerning the songs were mostly made by the performers themselves in the Maori language. Performers were asked to give the name and type of song, own name and tribe, name and tribe of composer and anything they could recall of interest about the history and background of the song. If essential information was left out it was an elicited by question and answer dialogue at the end of the song. It was thought best for the announcements to be in Maori (even though this necessitated later translation) since performers were naturally most fluent and most at home in their own language. Had they been required to announce the songs in English less information might have been obtained. In addition, the impromptu speech about the song at the beginning of the performance puts the performers at ease - since it is very much in the usual tradition - and enables the investigator to be as unobtrusive as possible. Too many questions can upset the performers.
Date January 1958
CreatorsMcLean, Mervyn, n/a
PublisherUniversity of Otago. Department of Music, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts
Source SetsAustraliasian Digital Theses Program
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rights, Copyright Mervyn McLean

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