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This is an excerpt from a longer article, available at Project Gutenberg. I’ve included only the ten-page Music and Poetry section, along with a few illustrations that were printed on other pages but seem to belong here. The official date of the article is 1884-85 although it was not physically printed until 1888.

Orthography is explained early in the article. Boas’s own spellings are based on Kleinschmidt, but with q in place of ĸ (kra). Long vowels are rarely marked, while short vowels are sometimes shown by doubling the following consonant. Words are often written with nasalized finals: n for t sometimes, ng for k almost always, irn (only) for iq. Medial q is usually written χ (chi), representing the fricative pronunciation: “Eχaluin” and similar.

Modern (ICI) forms should be deducible from Boas’s versions:

arlum pissinga (Boas) = arluup pisinga (ICI) = ᐊᕐᓘᑉ ᐱᓯᖓ

Note however that most of the songs were collected by people other than Boas, and he didn’t try to regularize their spelling.

All sound files are in midi format. Depending on your browser, they will either play as-is or will need to be downloaded to your computer. Most browsers will offer two “Music” links; use the one that works best for you.


Contents

Music

399

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION—BUREAU OF ETHNOLOGY.


THE CENTRAL ESKIMO.

BY

DR. FRANZ BOAS

401

CONTENTS.


Page.
Poetry and music 648
Merrymaking among the Tornit 649
The lemming’s song 649
Arlum pissinga (the killer’s song) 650
I. Summer song 653
II. The returning hunter 653
III. Song of the Tornit 653
IV. Song of the Inuit traveling to Nettilling 653
V. Oχaitoq’s song 654
VI. Utitiaq’s song 654
VII. Song 654
VIII. Song 654
IX. Song of the Tornit 654
X. The fox and the woman 655
XI. The raven’s song 655
XII. Song of a Padlimio 655
XIII. Ititaujang’s song 655
XIV. Playing at ball 656
XV. Playing at ball 657
XVI-XIX. Extracts 657–658
405

ILLUSTRATIONS.


531. Diagram showing interior of qaggi or singing house among eastern tribes

532. Plan of Hudson Bay qaggi or singing house

533. Kilaut or drum

 
see caption

Fig. 531. Diagram showing interior of qaggi or singing house among eastern tribes.

648

POETRY AND MUSIC.

Among the arts of the Eskimo poetry and music are by far the most prominent. The tales which have been related are only a small part of their stock of traditions. Besides the contents their form also is very interesting, as most of them have been handed down in unchanged form and their narration demands a great deal of art. Many traditions are told in a very abridged form, the substance being supposed to be known. A specimen of this kind is the Sedna tradition (p. 604). All these tales must be considered recitatives, many of them beginning with a musical phrase and continuing as a rhythmic recitation, others being recited in rhythmic phrases throughout. Other traditions are told in a more detailed and prosaic manner, songs or recitations, however, being sometimes included. Ititaujang, for instance, in traveling into the country looking for his wife, sings the song No. XIII, and in the Kalopaling tradition the boy, on seeing the two Inuit coming, sings:

Inung-- maqong-- tikitong-- aipa-- kapiteling aipa-- mirqosailing

Inung maqong tikitong aipa kapiteling aipa mirqosailing

649

Some Eskimo are very good narrators and understand how to express the feelings of the different persons by modulations of the voice. In addition, as a number of tales are really onomatopoetic, an artistic effect is produced. The way of reciting is always similar to the one above described by notes (p. 648).

Besides these tales, which may be called poetic prose, there are real poems of a very marked rhythm, which are not sung but recited. The following are examples:

MERRYMAKING AMONG THE TORNIT.

Pika pikagning mingepignirming qijepignirming sukadla. aq! aq!

Pika pikagning mingepignirming qijepignirming sukadla. aq! aq!

The Eskimo reciting this song jump up and down and to the right and left with their legs bent and their hands hanging down, the palms touching each other. In crying aq! aq! they jump as high as possible.

THE LEMMING’S SONG.

music

Ikergnapigen, ikergnapigen sirdnaturenain

aχe-eroqturenain nakusungming aukturenain

pijungmadjangilatit qialungnuaralungnan

 
see caption

Fig. 532. Plan of Hudson Bay qaggi or singing house. (From Hall II, p. 220.)

Besides these old songs and tales there are a great number of new ones, and, indeed, almost every man has his own tune and his own song. A few of these become great favorites among the Eskimo and are sung like our popular songs. The summer song (No. I) and “The returning hunter” (No. II) may be most frequently heard. As to the contents of the songs, they treat of almost everything imaginable: of the beauty of summer; of thoughts and feelings of the composer on any occasion, for instance, when watching a seal, when angry with somebody, &c.; or they tell of an important event, as of a long journey. Satiric songs are great favorites.

650

The form of both old and new songs is very strict, they being divided into verses of different length, alternating regularly. I give here some examples:

ARLUM PISSINGA (the killer’s song).

music

Qiangalo taitoχalunga qolaralo taitoχalunga

Qiangalogalo qolaralogalo aisinaiisi

senilearaluqdjuara maliksiaqtuaqtugo

uvanaleunen audlatsiapiata kingodnidlaqdjuagung

qangatirgakulung uaijuvara.

The “killer” of the song title is a killer whale (arluk, gen. arluup or arlum).

I. The killer’s song:

(1) Qiangalo taitoχalunga,

Qolaralo taitoχalunga

Qiangalogalo

Qolaralogalo

Aisinaisi.*

(2) Senilearaluqdjuara

Maliksiaqtuaqtugo.

Uvanaleunen

Audlatsiapiata

Kingodnidlaqdjuagung

(3) Qangatirgakulung uaijuvara.

II. Summer song:

Aja.

(1) Ajaja adlenaipa.

Adlenaitariva silekdjua una aujaratarame

Ajaja, Ajaja!

Aja!

(2) Ajaja adlenaipa

Adlenaitariva silekdjua una tektorotikelektlune.

Ajaja, Ajaja.

Aja!

(3) Ajaja nipituovokpan!

Nipituovokpan kouvodlalimokoa nunatine aujadle

Ajaja, Ajaja

Aja!

&c.

III. Utitiaq’s song:

Aja!

(1) Adlenaipunganema adlenait.

Adlenaipunganema

Adlenaipunganema adlenait,

Aja!

651

(2) Sikuqdjualimena adlenait.

Atoqpoqtaromena

Tanerangitu adlenait.

Aja!

&c.

IV. Kadlu’s song:

(1) Odlaqē´, odlaqē´, odlaqē´.

Odlaqē´ saranga tutaranga atujang una ajajaja.

Odlaqē´ atedlirlungai aχigirn qodlusuaning aχiatungitunga ajaja.

Nettiulunga iχatijetingirn pinassousirdlunirn pinasuatautlirpadlirunirn.

(2) Odlaqē´, odlaqē´, odlaqē´.

Odlaqē´ saranga tutaranga atujang una ajajaja.

Odlaqē´ atedlirlungai aχigirn qodlusuaning aχiatungitunga ajaja.

Ugjurutlarunirn iχatijitingirn pinassousirdlunirn pinasuatautlirpadlirnunirn.

(3) ....&c.

Some of these verses contain only a single word, the rhythm being brought about by the chorus aja, amna aja, &c. I add two examples of this kind:

V. Song in the language of the Angakut:

Ajarpaija taitlaniqdjuaq ajarpe aitarpik ajijaija.

Ajarpaija ataqdjuaq ajarpe aitarpik ajijaija.

Ajarpaija mingeriaqdjuaq ajarpe aitarpik ajijaija.

VI. Oχaitoq’s song:

Aja.

(1) Tavunga tavunga tavunga tavunga

Tavunga tavunga tavunga tavunga tavungadlo tavunga

Aja.

(2) Pissutaramaima tavunga tavunga.

Pissutaramaima tavunga tavunga tavungadlo tavunga, &c.

 
see caption

Fig. 533.
Kilaut
or drum.

The rhythm of the songs will best be understood by examining the melodies. Every long syllable may be replaced by two or even three short ones; other short syllables appear as unaccented parts before the accented part of a measure; in short, the rhythmic adaptation of the words to the melody is very arbitrary and interchanges frequently occur, so that it is impossible to speak of metric feet. At the same time this furnishes distinct proof that the musical rhythm is the decisive element in determining the form. The rhythmic arrangement of the words is regulated with considerable exactness by the quantity of the syllables, and not by the accent. While, for instance, in speaking, it would be “palirtu´gun,” in song No. IV it is “palir´tugun´,” and in No. I “tekto´roti´kelek´tlune,” instead of “tektorotikelektlu´ne,” &c. Such displacements of the accent, however, are avoided if possible, and in the best and most popular songs they hardly appear at all.

The numbers refer to the songs printed below, so “No. I” is the Summer Song, No. II above. But the quoted word “tektorotikelektlune” occurs only in the first version.

The construction of the songs corresponds entirely with that of the music, inasmuch as every melody and every rhythmically spoken song is made up of musical, that is, rhythmic, phrases which are divided by cæsuræ. Repetitions of the same phrases are very frequent. 652 The adaptation of the melodies to our divisions of time and measure is also somewhat arbitrary, as they frequently consist of a mixture of three and four part phrases. It is for this reason that I have noted down some songs without any division into bars or measures and in those cases have only marked the accented syllables.

Among the twenty melodies and rhythmic poems we find ten of binary measures, five of triple measures, and six of mixed ones. Of the whole number, nine begin on the full bar, eleven on the arsis.

The melodies move within the following range: In a fifth (No. III), one; in a minor sixth (Nos. VII, IXX), three; in a major sixth (Nos. II, IV, XVII), three; in a seventh (Nos. XII, XIV), two; in an octave, (Nos. I, II, V, VIII, XI, XVI), six; in a minor ninth (No. VI), one; in a major ninth (No. V), one; in a tenth (No. XIII), one.

These may be divided into two very characteristic and distinct groups. The first, which would coincide with our major key, contains the following essential tones:

music notation: c d e g a

The fourth and the sixth occur seldom, and then only as subordinate tones. This key is identical with the Chinese and many of the Indian ones.

In the second group, which corresponds to our minor key, we frequently find the fourth, while the sixth only appears twice and then as a subordinate tone (in No. XV). We furthermore find the major seventh in the lower position leading back to the beginning, i.e., the key note. The essential components of this key are:

music notation: g# a b c d e

Professor R. Succo calls attention to the fact that the relation of the melodies to their key note resembles that of the Gregorian chants, especially the psalmodic ones among them.

If we, in accordance with our ideas, suppose the melody—No. XIII, for example—to begin in C major, it nevertheless does not conclude in the same key, but in E. We would say that No. XIV is written in A minor; still it ends in E. We find the same in the Gregorian chants. They also resemble the songs of the Eskimo in the retention of the same note during a large number of consecutive syllables.

On the whole the melodies, even to our musical sense, can be traced to a key note. However, changes often occur as well (see No. VI). A very striking construction appears in No. XIII, where the oft-repeated E forms a new key note, while at the conclusion the melody leaps back without any modulation to C through the peculiar interval, ḇ, c.

653
I. SUMMER SONG.

music

Aja.

Ajaja, adlenaipa, adlenaitariva silekdjua una aujaratarame.

Ajaja, Ajaja, Aja.

II. THE RETURNING HUNTER.

music

a.

Angutivun taina taunane taina,

auvasimameta avavasimameta neriopaluktunga,

hanga anga;

hanga anga agaga.

music

b.

Angutivun taina taunane taina,

auvasimameta avavasimameta neriopaluktunga;

hanga anga agaga.

III. SONG OF THE TORNIT.

music

Savu saujaqdjuin tetetlirpavun, aqtungan.

Surqarmun pilaktutu aχi lurpa, aqtungan.

IV. SONG OF THE INUIT TRAVELING TO NETTILLING.

music

Aja.

Aχagodlo palirtugun;

uangnangmun tipavunga,

ija jija ajaja.

Aja.

654
V. OXAITOQ’S SONG.

music

Aja.

Tavunga tavunga tavunga tavunga.

Tavunga tavunga tavunga tavunga tavungadlo tavunga.

Aja.

VI. UTITIAQ’S SONG.

music

Aja.

Adlenaipunganema adlenait.

Adlenaipunganema adlenaipunganema adlenait.

Aja.

VII. SONG.

song: A-ja. A-ja-ja-ja a-ja-ja-ja ...

VIII. SONG.

music

Hajajaja hajaja hajajaja hajaja

hajajaja hajaja hajajaja hajaja.

IX. SONG OF THE TORNIT.

music

Savungaja aja aja

Sama ajaja aja.

Nunataχatoq sedna,

sersertaχatoq sedna.

655
X. THE FOX AND THE WOMAN.

music

Sourme oχomejame, kangedlirpiuk tajajajaja.

Irdning nuχingnaq ujarqamoma satuaitiem

aqbiranga pirietukilaunga.

XI. THE RAVEN SINGS.

music

Aaja aja aja ajaja aja aja ajaja.

Aaja aja aja aja qilirsiutarata taunane.

Arnaqdjuqpun una qiavoqtung qitungnaqdjuago nutingmen.

XII. SONG OF A PADLIMIO.

music

Ananema Padli unguatane naunirpunga

ananega oqsomiksema qijanurpomena kijutaidle

noutlarputin kungesiening qaqoamudle

noutlarputidle aja.

XIII. ITITAUJANG’S SONG.

music

Tavungavunga pisupagasupunga pisupagasupunga

silapotuadnun tigmidjen nunanun tavungaja ijaaja.

Nutitavun okoa

quliqdjuaq una

niguviksao adjirdjangirtun

qangiqsao adjirdjangirtun

kissieni okoa oχomeangitigun

majoardlunga tavunga

imma pisutalupurmalirmijunga.

656
XIV. PLAYING AT BALL.

music

Sake-etan sungmunpingmeta naumunpingmeta

qaujarajuva udlujarajuva

amutai qimutai idlo-oma una qagiela una

idnir sorivara inung ikoa oaitiangikoa audlertouqikoa

togitjugitjuge togitjugitjuge setidle sinadle

arnarisaigneman tigmidjen arnaining tunigo

anejuidla qausirtuming ita itjamuna

majaoadlelatit ikuseka avasituko

oqsukena taotugnite akataotuktara

sugavikana kananepa iluqio gnariputit

aaiqtodlutidlo nesertodlutidlo

avatirtunggiengodlutidlo

657
XV. PLAYING AT BALL.

music

χolurpajause χolupirpajause

surivanga pangmane majoriva pangmane.

XVI. From Parry, Second Voyage, p. 542, Iglulik.

music

Amna aya aya amna ah

amna aya aya amna ah ah

etc.

The sixteenth bar is probably b flat

658
XVII. From Lyon, Private Journal, p. 135, Iglulik.

music

Pilitai, avata vat . . .

ah! hooi! ah! hooi!

According to Parry, p. 542, the fourth bar of XVII is written: music;
the eighth, music;
Lyon bar after the twelfth bar music inserted.

XVIII. From Kane, Arctic Explorations. The Second Grinnell Expedition, I, p. 383.
From Ita, Smith Sound.

music

Amna gat amnaya amna ja amnayet.

XIX. From Bessels’s Amerikanische Nordpol-Expedition, p. 372.

music

Ahjajajajajajajajaja

ahjajajajajajajajaja

ahjajajajajajajajaja ah.


Footnote

* The stanza is scanned thus:

rhythm of song