Music of the Cook Islands

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The music of the Cook Islands is diverse. Christian music is extremely popular. Imene tuki is a form of unaccompanied vocal music known for a uniquely Polynesian drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, as well as staccato rhythmic outbursts of nonsensical syllables (tuki). The word 'imene' is derived from the English word 'hymn' (see Tahitian: 'himene' - Tahiti was first colonised by the English). Likewise the harmonies and tune characteristics / 'strophe patterns' of much of the music of Polynesia is western in style and derived originally from missionary influence via hymns and other church music. One unique quality of Polynesian music (it has become almost a cliché) is the use of the sustained 6th chord in vocal music, though typically the 6th chord is not used in religious music. Traditional songs and hymns are referred to as imene metua (lit. hymn of the parent/ancestor).

Cook Islands state in the South Pacific Ocean

The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (92.7 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) of ocean.

Christian music music with Christian theme

Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world.

An Imene tuki "hymn of grunts" is a traditional hymn of the Cook Islands. It is unaccompanied singing noted for a drop in pitch at the end of phrases, and rhythmic nonsensical syllables, comparable to Scat singing. Similar nonsense syllables and improvisations are found in Tahitian Himene tarava.

Traditional dance is the most prominent art form of the Cook Islands. Each island has its own unique dances that are taught to all children, and each island is home to several annual competitions. Traditional dances are generally accompanied by the drumming of the pate. [1]

The Cook Islands drumming style is well-known internationally, but is often misidentified as an example of Tahitian music. [1] This is most uncommon as the Cook Islands have a strong connection to their Tahitian ancestry.

Music of Tahiti

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the music of Tahiti was dominated by festivals called heiva. Dancing was a vital part of Tahitian life then, and dances were used to celebrate, pray and mark almost every occasion of life. Examples include the men's ʻōteʻa dance and the couple's 'upaʻupa.

Harmony-singing church music and a wide variety of hymns and wedding and funeral music are found throughout the Cook Islands. There is much variation across the region, and each island has its own traditional songs. [2]

Harmony aspect of music

In music, harmony considers the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by hearing. Usually, this means simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitches, or chords.

Hymn type of song specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer

A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.

Wedding ceremony where people are united in marriage

A wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of marriage vows by the couple, presentation of a gift, and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or celebrant. Special wedding garments are often worn, and the ceremony is sometimes followed by a wedding reception. Music, poetry, prayers or readings from religious texts or literature are also commonly incorporated into the ceremony, as well as superstitious customs originating in Ancient Rome.

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Polyphony

In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is, generally speaking, the way that melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called homophony.

Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachian region. The genre derives its name from the band Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English, Irish, and Scottish ballads and dance tunes, and by traditional African-American blues and jazz. The Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe characterized the genre as: "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound."

Music of Tonga refers to music derived from the island Tonga in the islands of Polynesia. Music of Tonga today generally falls under the category of traditional music that has withstood the test of time, or into one of the two opposing genres of religious and secular music. Tongan music can be either very emotional and somewhat modern with instrumental makeup including modern brass instruments, or conversely can be very primitive and consist of only drums and voices. In this way, Tongan music is very diverse despite the fact that it is contained to a fairly small island, which means that the different cultures and styles co-exist on the small land mass together without blending.

The music of French Polynesia came to the forefront of the world music scene in 1992, with the release of The Tahitian Choir's recordings of unaccompanied vocal Christian music called himene tārava, recorded by French musicologist Pascal Nabet-Meyer. This form of singing is common in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, and is distinguished by a unique drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, which is a characteristic formed by several different voices; it is also accompanied by steady grunting of staccato, nonsensical syllables.

Music of Greenland overview of music traditions in Greenland

The music of Greenland is a mixture of two primary strands, Inuit and Danish, mixed with influences from the United States and United Kingdom.

Hula Polynesian dance

Hula is a Polynesian dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The hula dramatizes or portrays the words of the oli or mele in a visual dance form.

Music of Madagascar

The highly diverse and distinctive music of Madagascar has been shaped by the musical traditions of Southeast Asia, Africa, Arabia, England, France and the United States as successive waves of settlers have made the island their home. Traditional instruments reflect these widespread origins: the mandoliny and kabosy owe their existence to the introduction of the guitar by early Arab or European seafarers, the ubiquitous djembe originated in mainland Africa and the valiha—the bamboo tube zither considered the national instrument of Madagascar—directly evolved from an earlier form of zither carried with the first Austronesian settlers on their outrigger canoes.

Rhythm section group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and beat for the rest of the band

A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band.

Music of Samoa

Traditional Samoan musical instruments included a fala, which is a rolled-up mat beaten with sticks. It is an idiophone which often accompanied choral singing. Another idiophone, a soundingboard, sometimes accompanied the solo recitation of poetry. A conch shell was blown for signaling. Amusement for small groups and individuals in private was afforded by a jaw harp, a raft panpipe, and a nose-blown flute.

Music of Tuvalu

The traditional music of Tuvalu consists of dances, including fatele, fakanau and fakaseasea. The influence of the Samoan missionaries sent to Tuvalu by the London Missionary Society from the 1860s resulted in the suppression of songs about the traditional religions or magic and many songs were lost. As the influence of the missionaries diminished in the 20th century the traditional dances were revived and the siva dance tradition from Samoa also became popular. The fatele, in its modern form, is performed at community events and to celebrate leaders and other prominent individuals.

Pate (instrument)

The Pātē is a Samoan percussion instrument of Tahitian origin, named after the Samoan word for "beat" or "clap" "pulse". It is one of many Samoan log drum variants and is of the slit drum family, and therefore is also of the idiophone percussion family. It is made from a hollowed-out log, usually of Miro wood and produces a distinctive and loud sound. Different sizes of log drums offer different pitches and volumes, as well as striking the log drum in the middle or near the ends.

Imene reo metua: a Cook Islands / Rarotongan term; : they are formal traditional songs with tune and harmony, which are distinguished from the imene tuki style of the Cook Islands which are less formal, often grunted verses with nonsense syllables included for rhythmic effect.

Himene are formal choral Tahitian songs, often of religious nature. Himene is a Tahitian term derived from the English word hymn. The first Western explorer to visit the Society Islands / Tahiti was Wallace, who claimed them for England. The first colonisers and missionaries to the native people were thus English Protestants. Himene are based in verse and harmonic structure on Protestant hymns. 'Words have never succeeded in conveying the impression made by this music. Some have said that it was like an ocean wave coming in with growing strength as the voices increased in intensity, breaking and rolling and bounding and then the dying down and disappearing in a long, sustained note. The women's voices carried the melody while the men provided a deep, rhythmic counterpoint, one of them with a great voice sometimes throwing out cries and appeals. All the people rocked back and forth as they sang, many with their eyes shut, entirely lost in the music.' from The Island Churches of the South Pacific by Charles W. Forman. Orbis Books, 1982.

Vocal harmony

Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music in which a consonant note or notes are simultaneously sung as a main melody in a predominantly homophonic texture. Vocal harmonies are used in many subgenres of European art music, including Classical choral music and opera and in the popular styles from many Western cultures ranging from folk songs and musical theater pieces to rock ballads. In the simplest style of vocal harmony, the main vocal melody is supported by a single backup vocal line, either at a pitch which is above or below the main vocal line, often in thirds or sixths which fit in with the chord progression used in the song. In more complex vocal harmony arrangements, different backup singers may sing two or even three other notes at the same time as each of the main melody notes, mostly with consonant, pleasing-sounding thirds, sixths, and fifths.

Tahitian drumming

Tahitian drumming is a style of drumming native to Tahiti and French Polynesia. Tahitian drumming and dance have become symbols of Polynesian heiva to the western world. Heiva is the Tahitian term for entertainment. This authentic performance symbolizes the past and present state of social hierarchies within the community and the island. There has been a significant amount of change to Tahitian drum dancing within the past fifty years. These changes have come from many different aspects of Polynesian society. However, many of them stem from the broader outreach of this tradition to the rest of the world. This music has served as inspiration for many other styles across the globe, especially in other areas of the Pacific.

Culture of the Cook Islands

The culture of the Cook Islands reflects the traditions of its fifteen islands as a Polynesian island country, spread over 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is in free association with New Zealand. Its traditions are based on the influences of those who settled the islands over several centuries. Polynesian people from Tahiti settled in the Cook Islands in the 6th century. The Portuguese captain, Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, made the first recorded European landing in the islands in the early 17th century, and well over a hundred years later, in the 18th century, the British navigator, Captain James Cook arrived, giving the islands their current name. Missionaries developed a written language, bringing schools and Christianity to the Cook Islands in the early 19th century. Cook Islands Māori, also known as Māori Kūki 'Āirani or Rarotongan, is the country's official language.

Fatele

The fatele is a traditional dance song of Tuvalu. Dancing songs are the most common type of traditional Tuvaluan song, with other tradition dance styles including fakanau and fakaseasea.

Topatangi is a band based in Rapa Nui, whose style is a balanced mixture of folk, country, Mexican rancheras and pop-rock, all of which seem to be musical influences that appear to coexist in Rapa Nui.

References

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.