Music of Tahiti
This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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.
Professional dance troupes called ʻarioi were common, and they moved around the various islands and communities dancing highly sensually and erotically. In the early 19th century, however, colonial laws severely restricted these and other dances, which were considered immoral. Herman Melville celebrated one such dance (he called it the 'lori-lori') for its sensuality. They were replaced instead by genres of Christian music such as himene tarava.The word 'himene' is derived from the English word 'hymn' (Tahiti was first colonized 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 is the use of the sustained 6th chord in vocal music, though typically the 6th chord is not used in religious music. Traditional instruments include a conch-shell called the pu and a nose flute called the vivo, as well as numerous kinds of drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks and dog or shark skin.
- Smith, Barbara & Amy Stillman. "Hīmeni". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
- Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Polynesia, §II, 3: Eastern Polynesia: French Polynesia". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
- "A Brief List of Materials Dealing with the Music of Tahiti." Library of Congress. (Bibliography published 1970).
|This French Polynesia-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|