This paper investigates the melodic structure of Ainu songs. As a result, it concludes that the various types of Ainu songs are a complex of two melodic systems. One system consists of a variation in timbre or tone-color coming from variances in the manner of phonation, while the other is mainly composed of pitches or intervals. The recent transformation of the melodic characteristics through performance and handing down of songs to subsequent generations can be determined as a matter of change in the proportion of these two systems. The elements of the former are related to the older, more traditional singing style and similar to the music of other northern, indigenous peoples. In this older style, sensory stimulation in the throat is important for singers as one of the motives for singing, and this has formed the basic concept of Ainu singing. For this study, the author has adopted the following procedures: fieldwork, analysis of kuttomorette (a genre of songs), investigation of both old and new music materials (including sound analysis), and comparison with the preceding studies on the singing of katajjaq of the Canadian Inuit.; This fieldwork has been conducted since 1990, in order to verify each singer's recognition of traditional singing style. Explanations by the singers has made the following findings clear: 1) Some embellishments or micro movements are particular to the song, but not done improvisationally or optionally by the singer. 2) There are some melodies which have relevance to manners of phonation and their tone-colors, but not to stable pitches or intervals. 3) Rapid change of vocal register (like kobushi in Japanese) or some other sound effects produced by organs of phonation and their tone-colors are not supplementation or ornamentation for the melody, but are the basic elements to compose melodies. The author has also learned Ainu songs directly from singers to verify the singing style more concretely. Through sound analysis of recorded materials, studies have also determined that Ainu music does not consist of a peculiar scale containing microtones. At the same time, reasons for this condition have been discovered as to why many melodies sound vague or obscure from the viewpoint of scale. In order to make timbre or intonation expressive, the following sounds are frequently employed in Ainu songs: 1) Sounds whose pitches are continually changing. 2) Voiceless sounds or sounds which are full of “non-musical” noise. Therefore, stable pitches become relatively infrequent, and this is the reason why Ainu songs have sometimes given the impression of being vague, obscure, or unstable to those accustomed to music composed of stable pitches or intervals. There is a certain genre which is called kuttomorette in Ainu whose meaning is “to ring inside of the throat”. This illustrates that the throat is considered a very important organ in Ainu singing. Compared with the studies on katajjaq of the Canadian Inuit by a research group in the University of Montreal, Ainu songs show a partial resemblance with those songs. Furthermore, the author has examined their actual usage in singing. As a result, the author has reached the above conclusions on the basic concepts of Ainu singing and outlines of specific types of Ainu melodies.
This paper is a study of the basics of Vietnamese court music and is based mainly on firsthand historical materials from Vietnam dating before the latter half of the 19th century, for example Dai Viet su ky toan thu (_??__??__??__??__??__??_), Lich trieu hien chuong loai chi (_??__??__??__??__??__??_) Dai nam thuc luc (_??__??__??__??_), Dai nam hoi dien su le (_??__??__??__??__??__??_). For analysis, court music is dealt with from two aspectsgenres and organisation. Firstly the genres nha nhac (_??__??_), dai nhac (_??__??_), tieu nhac (_??__??_), te nhac (_??__??_), quan nhac (_??__??_), nu nhac (_??__??_) etc. are looked at from historical documents. The kinds of roles and characteristics which they played in the court and the actual formation of the music instruments are investigated. Secondly, the music organisations, mainly Giao phuong (_??__??_), Dong van Nha nhac thu (_??__??__??__??__??_), Tieu hau doi (_??__??__??_), Hoa thank thu (_??__??__??_), and Thanh binh thu (_??__??__??_) recorded in historical documents are examined. The kinds of roles, ritual or secular, played by the music in the court are also examined.
Yangjiagou is a rural village in north Shaanxi, which lies in the loess hills of the Yellow River Valley. The north Shaanxi (Shanbei) region is famous for its great variety of traditional folk music, and in Yangjiagou, almost the entire range of folk music genres of north Shaanxi is represented. Folk music genres transcend village boundaries so that a particular genre cannot be identified with just one village. Nevertheless, Yangjiagou village has its own song. In this report “qiyudiao (song for rain making)” is examined as the song of the village community, because its tune and text is the sole property of the villagers. Qiyu (rain making) is a folk religious activity where the villagers pray to the Longwang (dragon deity) for rain. In 1995, after an interval of 33 years, Yangjiagou carried out qiyu for three days due to a severe drought. The proceedings in qiyu can be divided generally into two parts. One is the act of villagers carrying three portable shrines on their shoulders up and down the nearby mountains. On the top of the mountains, people summon the wind and the clouds and some people run in a circle and repeatedly knock the portable shrine to the ground. The other act is where the people gather in a central space in the village and again portable shrine is knocked by some people to the ground as on the top of the mountain. Then, other people sit in a circle and sing the song for rain. In addition to these two parts, people draw water from the wells into a bottle and pour water on the portable shrines. Almost all males (those older than 4 or 5) of the village participate in these activities. The song, which is sung by the villagers throughout the qiyu act, is called, “qiyudiao” or “qiyuge”. In Yangjiagou there are two kinds of tunes and each tune is selected according to the activity. “Qiyudiao” is distributed throughout the whole district of Shanbei and there is a considerable number of variations of the tune and the text. Unlike folk songs, the particular nature of “qiyudiao” is that each village has its own version of the tune and text. Yangjiagou is no exception. Yangjiagou has two kinds of tunes, one is “Longwang” (dragon deity) and the other is “Pusa” (a Buddhist saint). A neighbouring village, Baijiagou, has three kinds of tunes for qiyudiao. Although Yangjiagou and Baijiagou lie in close proximity to each other in the same river valley, the tune, text and the name of the songs for these two villages are different (example 1, 2). Why does qiyudiao have its own tune and text in each village? One of the reasons for the variety of qiyudiao is that qiyu is conducted only by members of a village and the area they ask deities for rain is limited to that of their village. Another reason is that qiyu occurs only rarely and irregularly, and people seldom have the opportunity to hear qiyudiao from other villages. When there is no drought, people never sing qiyudiao. Although qiyudiao has not been sung by the villagers for 33 years, it has been retained in their minds. For the villagers, qiyudiao is their own song, “the song of the village”. Since the 1980s, crucial changes in social and economic policy have occurred in Yangjiagou as in other Chinese rural villages. These changes have caused villagers to disperse and, as a result, villagers have no opportunity to work or gather together for village activities. In Yangjiagou especially, the yangge (peasant dance) of the New Year festival ceased in the 1980s, and one of the miaohui (temple fair) has not been held for several years. In spite of these changes, qiyu is still enacted today in the village, and is a tangible evidence that the village community has not completely lost its coherency.