Navajo Indians have been using music ceremonies as a form of
healing for a long time. Musical ceremonies are used to perform many different
tasks and are for religious purposes but one that I would like to focus on is
the healing ceremonies performed by the Navajo people. They call themselves the
Diné and they are a part of the largest Native American tribe covering New
Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Most Native American ceremonies are for men
or women and are majorly based on gender but the Navajo have “co-ed” ceremonies
as well (Dr. Debra Welch).
Blessingway is another Navajo ceremony used for healing and
is most commonly used. It is used to bless and ensure good health https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Fb8J98R6k.
Dr. Debra Welch described it as a ritual that turns girls into women. But it
can also consist of the Holyway ritual which it used to restore life and health http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/ceremonials.php3
this song wasn’t a Navajo song but was used in a ceremony that would heal much
like the Blessingway and Holyway did. Also the Navajo had a crystal gazer that
would diagnose what was wrong when someone was sick. Dr. Debra Welch stated
that it was to help the older people go to the hospital and get medical help.
Dr. Debra Welch stated that an Is’win buffalo hat was used in very sacred
ceremonies to heal and that it could never touch the ground.
Today there are hospitals they go to heal but the ceremonies
are still practiced to bring everyone together and to heal the mind and like
the dance above have become more for pleasure which still helps the mind. The
Native American use the ceremonies to help keep their traditions and to heal
the mind. All of it is very scared and is not allowed to be videotaped and it
is very hard to find recordings of it. http://www.folkways.si.edu/healing-songs-of-the-american-indians/music/album/smithsonian gives a list of healing songs that have
Violins today have adopted to play in many different cultures around the world. There’s even a documentary about how cultures have learned to used the violin in there native music http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5pl7n7T3f0w#!. Of course when we think of the violin we think of the leader of a full string orchestra, the instrument that plays the melody but it is so much more then that.
In morocco the way the violin itself changes and this video saws it very well. The violin blends with the others instruments like that is where it came from. In the Andalusian classical music of Morocco, which is one of the oldest genres in Morocco the violin is played along with Arabic instrument and a singer. http://www.morocco-smart-travel.com/morocco-music.html the violin has also been introduced to other genres such as Gharnati music, Malhun music, in Berber music as a fiddle, and many more. The violin allows for 1/4 notes to be played which is perfect for the music of Morocco and that’s why it adopted so easily.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HheYadtWvEs here the violin is playing in monophony and the guy playing it is telling and showing how the violin is played in morocco which i liked a lot. He says that Moroccan and Arabic music is different but the scales are played the same. The vibrato gives the music grace notes and it is common in Arabic music to have that. Moroccan music requires quick movements with the fingers and the bow and he shows the difference between Moroccan playing and Arabic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt6Xz1iEHdo like in this video most of the videos shows violin playing in Morocco the violins are played upright like a cello on the knee. But this doesn’t effect the quality at all they are still able to play the Heterophony music and at moments the violin is heard over the others when the sings stops. Looking around in the video you can see that there are four violins being played if not more.
India has also changed the violin to fit with their music. The violin became part of India’s music in the 14th century and from there it split into Carnatic music of the south and Hindustanti music of the north. The violin allows graces notes to be played very easily and in the European world this makes it a difficult instrument to learn but in India grace notes are a good thing and the violin is perfect for it. They are used in Raags which “will specify the use of a combination of certain melakartas(scales that each of which has its own set of ornaments or grace notes) and talas(principal rhythms), and will have a simple melodic line, often from a religious or folk song” http://www.fiddlingaround.co.uk/india/index.html. Before the violin there was an instrument called a Sarangi which is played alot like a cello and this instrument was native to India. http://www.fiddlingaround.co.uk/Resources/sarangi.gif After looking at a Sarangi it is easy to see how the people of India could easily pickup the violin and introduce it into there own music.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EfQ5_6Z70E here two violins are playing in Antiphony and there are other instruments of India in the background. The music is very upbeat and the violin fits in so well with the other instruments.
In Mexico the violin in played in mostly Mariachi bands. The Mariachi bands have two or more violins playing with other instrument like the guitar, trumpet, vocals and other instruments. And all of the instrument usually play together in harmony.http://www.fiddlingaround.co.uk/mexico/mexicoframe.html There is a lot of vibrato used and grace notes and also pizzicato which is plucking the strong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGGd_YE1Qlw in this video the violin adds a beautiful smooth sound to the Mariachi band unlike the violins in Morocco and India which had a harsh timbre. But here it is very smooth and they harmonize together beautifully. There are five violins and there is an Antiphony with the vocals and singer sings and the violins reply but also something there is singing with the violins. Also I’ve noticed that in Mexico the music is played standing up for a group of people while in Morocco and India they are sitting down and it is a social thing more then a performance. The violin is very different in Mexico than it is in Morocco and India. It is played slowly and smoothly but it Morocco and in India it is faster and harsher. And in Morocco it is even played differently by sitting it on the knee upright and bowing it like a cello.
Finally the biggest influence on the violin was from Africa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-FGHoYBtjs&feature=relmfu. In Africa there was a violin like instrument called the goge that was held like a guitar and bowed. From there African influence began and we got the blues. In blues music the violin plays homophony with a guitar and a vocal line where the vocal line is the melody. It began with traveling of freed slaves and they would come together and play music which later become the blues. The violin or fiddle was one of the instrument that that had and they used it to play about lief and religion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nml87s9_oyA In this the violin has long sweet sounding bows and a lot of vibrato which produces grace notes. Grace notes are even played in the music that the violin is playing and not just in the vibrato. It has a repeating line that plays over and over again which is very different from the random sounding playing in Morocco and India. W C Handy was said to be the father of the blues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYiioG9N4nM here he sings the blues with an orchestra playing homophony with him. And in the background there are mostly violins. The violin is smooth at first but then reacts quickly to the lines he sings and then goes back to smooth long bows. The violin here isn’t there to accent the when the vocal line says but instead gives a long smooth support to it. In blues the violins repeat the lines they play a lot and in this piece they are playing the same line over and over again.
In conclusion violins can adopt to what ever culture they are in and can be changed to fit the style of music. In Morocco the violins had a harsh timbre and were playing sitting on the knee. In India the violin had a harsh timbre and many grace notes. In Mexico the violin had a smooth timbre. And in American blues the violin had a smooth timbre and repeating lines. Every place played them differently and in every place the violin fit in.
Music is mostly view as something that you listen to and that is it. But in many cultures music is more. It can be used to make a task more bearable or get a group to enjoy the working process. The Sioux American Indian people do dances that help flatten the ground. While a man in Ghana used a musical rhythm to stamp out stamps.
Here a man from Ghana is using music to help pass the time at his job. In this there is like most African music no specific rhythm there really isn’t any meter either. The rhythm changes as the stamps requires it to. The singing is really amazing though because the rhythm is random he some how is able to sing along without making it sound completely random. According to http://www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/ghana.aspx “ghanaian music continues to function as a means of creating, defining, and maintaining social identifications” in everyday life. without music they would be a very different culture because music is so much a part of who they are. http://www.sjaakvandergeest.socsci.uva.nl/pdf/anthropology_and_literature/political_meaningx.pdf stated that “it is obvious that Highlife music has many different functions in Ghanaian society” and that it is more then just expressing emotions it is also used to advertise. Many people all over Ghana use music to pass time not just the guy in the video above. It is a common thing to sing or pat out a rhythm in the work place.
Here the Sioux use a harsh timbre and a swooping range in their vocals and a steady drumming. And it is also a dance for the warrior but its more then that. The dance also has the purpose of flattening the grass. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/04/06/origins-of-the-grass-dance-26738 stated that the origins on the grass dance was to “secure an arena for a ceremony, high grasses had to be trampled down to ensure visibility”. The grass dance grew from the flatting of the grass and it began to make the process more enjoyable. This brought not just warriors into the dance but everyone and made the Sioux Grass Dance a social event. It is also rumored that the Sioux Grass Dance was used to make the ground acceptable for camp. http://www.tpt.org/powwow/mensgrass.html stated that “scouts would dance in a special way to flatten the grass and make it acceptable for a new camp or meeting site” so the group would not have to meet in the tall grass. On the plains the grass grows very high, and this made it hard for the Sioux to meet. So to solve this problem the danced around moving their feet in a way that flattened the grass. http://www.crazycrow.com/photos/native-american-grass-dance-19.php states that before pow wows could begin the grass needed to flattened so “the Grass Dancers were the ones to do this by stomping on the tall grass and placing some of it on their belts as they danced”. Even today when setting up a pow wow the grass dance is done first to flattened the grass before the pow wow begins.
So as a result music can be used for many different purposes all over the world. It can be more then just something to listen to or a way to express emotion. It can also help to pass away the time in the work place or get a daily task done in a more exciting way.
Music is an extension of our voice. It gives us another means of expressing our self, another way to speak. Music has helped people all over the world express their emotions, opinions, and views. But it is more than that, it is therapeutic. In studies, it has been proven to relieve anxiety and depression. It gives people with emotional disorders a way to let all the stress and pain out. By giving people another voice to express themselves music help relieve stress for anyone.
Even just listening to music is an expression of emotion. The choice of music is the expression, faster paced music could be anger or happy as slower paced music can express
sadness or pain. People choose music to listen to everyday and the music they
choose shows their emotions of the day. Even those who don’t play an instrument can express their emotions through music.
But what allows everyone around the world do this is the expression of emotion done by
the musicians. Musicians use flats and sharps, tempo and melody to express how
they feel. I myself do it when I play my cello. When I’m angry I tend to play
at a faster tempo with short strong bows and when I’m happy the bows is more
bouncy and even when I’m sad I change how my play and lengthen the bow to long
soft bows. All of this can be done while playing the same song. Showing how
music is an expression of emotion.