Tikopia Songs: Poetic and Musical Art of a Polynesian People of the Solomon Islands

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Sir Raymond Firth is the most distinguished living British anthropologist, and one also internationally acclaimed. His latest work forms part of one of the fullest and most professional ethnographic accounts by any anthropologist of a nonindustrial people, an account which extends over many years. This book is about the songs of a Western Pacific people, the Tikopia, who until recently lived entirely on a small remote island of the Solomons. Their songs vary from lively dance chants to mournful funeral laments. All are novel to western ears. The book provides about 100 examples in text and in translation, discusses the relationship of the songs to the social life of the people, and includes an analysis of the structure of their music by Mervyn McClean, a noted musicologist. A cassette which reproduces about 30 of the songs that appear in the book is also available.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Raymond Firth sets out to provide a detailed empirical study of the social context of Tikopia song, and this he does.... [a] sensitive treatment of Tikopia song and culture." The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology

"This is an excellent book if one appreciates reality and empiricism, written by the best author of ethnology of Polynesia, presenting us with rare, perhaps unique, Polynesian material....Firth has written another classic." Ethnohistory

"What is truly remarkable is the vivid portrayal here of Tikopia song, performance, and aesthetics in photograph, song text, translation, and description. This is fortunate for all students of the Pacific, and for the Tikopia themselves." American Anthropologist

"The commentary itself is very interesting...sensitive treatment of Tikopia song and culture..." Ellen E. Facey, The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. General: 1. The nature of Tikopia song; 2. Tikopia poetic language and imagery; 3. Funeral and mourning as musical occasions; 4. Dance and song; Part II. Musical Analysis Mervyn McLean: 5. The structure of Tikopia music; Part III. Song Texts, Translations and Commentary: 6. Dance songs of everyday life; 7. Songs of the sea and of travel; 8. Eulogies and farewells; 9. Songs of protest and criticism; 10. Songs of erotic arousal and sex antagonism; 11. Laments and funeral dirges; 12. Songs on historical and mythic themes, and of ritual quality; 13. Epilogue; Appendices; References; Index.
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