Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/349
298 [N.S., I, 1899
strictly developed out of modified repetitions of a motive as are the movements of a modern symphony," proved for him "a most delightful and fascinating occupation."
His remarkable work, cut short by his untimely death, bears abundant evidence of his thoroughness as a student; of his power to discern fundamental truths in the most meager material; of his rare gift of tonality which enabled him to exploit folk-songs with an ability never exceeded; of his soundness of judgment and his fairness of statement. He has made possible a study of the evolution of music along lines that correlate with those which have lifted the desultory observations on man into the science of Anthropology.
Alice C. Fletcher.
Probably everyone, at the first hearing of Indian music, is impressed with the difference between it and our own. That is my own experience, and is also the experience of all other white people I have known who have come in contact with Indian singing. The impression made is that of a crude, barbaric attempt at music which seems to have very little in common with our own. We do not at once discover what this music means to the Indian; we do not see that the savage strains express, to those who make them, any of those emotions we are accustomed to associate with music. In the case of some of the wilder and more savage tribes, the sounds we hear bear so much greater resemblance to the yelps and howls of wild beasts that we may be impressed with the feeling that these people, when they are singing at least, have more in common with the lower animals than with us.
In the case of many who make no attempt to go below the surface, this impression persists. I have met not only uneducated frontiersmen, but even cultivated people, who seemed unable to get rid of the impression that Indians have no music worthy of the name; that is, no music which is intelligible to us as expressing emotions which are common to the race. I have even known this opinion to be publicly expressed by men distinguished in one or another department of science, and even in music.
There are also many who seem to get the impression that Indian music differs essentially and fundamentally from our own,