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the world of music 49, 2007-2

Music Archaeology: Mesoamerica

Editor: Max-Peter Baumann
Co-Editor: Jonathan P. J. Stock
Guest Editors: Arnd Adje Both and Julia L. J. Sanchez

ISSN 0043-8774
ISBN-978-3-86135-812-1-

Articles

Arnd Adje Both and Julia L. J. Sanchez:
Preface

Dale A. Olsen:
The Complementarity and Interdisciplinarity of Archaeomusicology: An Introduction to the Field and this Volume

Matthias Stöckli:
Playing Music as a Domestic Activity? Interpretations of the Finds of Sound-producing Artifacts at Aguateca, El Petén, Guatemala

Julia L. J. Sanchez:
Procession and Performance: Recreating Ritual Soundscapes among the Ancient Maya

Susan Rawcliffe:
Eight West Mexican Flutes in the Fowler Museum

Gonzalo Sánchez Santiago:
An Introduction to the Music Cultures of Ancient Oaxaca: Sound Artifacts in the Archaeological Record

Ángel Agustín Pimentel Díaz:
Music Iconography of the Codex Nuttall

Arnd Adje Both:
Aztec Music Culture

Mark Howell:
Possible Prehispanic Music Survivals in the Rab’inal Achi

 

Book Reviews (Helena Simonett, ed.)

Michelle Bigenho:
Henry Stobart, Music and the Poetics of Production in the Bolivian Andes

Ketty Wong:
Ernesto Donas and Denise Milstein, Cantando la ciudad. Lenguajes, imaginarios y mediaciones en la canción popular montevideana (1962-99)

John Dougan:
John W. Work, Lewis Wade Jones, and Samuel C. Adams, Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study 1941-42, Robert Gordon and Bruce Nemerov, eds.

Erika Eichholzer:
Anri Herbst, Meki Nzewi and Kofi Agawu (eds.), Musical Arts in Africa: Theory, Practice and Education

Jean Kidula:
Andreas Meyer, Überlieferung, Individualität und musikalische Interaktion: Neuere Formen der Ensemblemusik in Asante/Ghana

Theodore L. Konkouris:
Daniel B. Reed, Dan Ge Performance: Masks and Music in Contemporary Côte d’Ivoire

Donna A. Buchanan:
Rosemary Statelova, The Seven Sins of Chalga: Toward an Anthropology of Ethnopop Music

Edwin Seroussi:
Jane Mink Rossen and Uri Sharvit, A Fusion of Traditions: Liturgical Music in the Copenhagen Synagogue

Junko Oba:
Deborah Wong, Speak it Louder: Asian Americans Making Music

Tran Quan Hai:
Francois Picard, Lexique des musiques d’Asie orientale (Chine, Corée, Japon, Vietnam)

 

Recording Reviews (Dan Bendrups, ed.)

Oli Wilson:
Songs of the Volcano: Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman, recorded by Denis Crowdy, Tony Subam and Daniel Thomas, White Spats Music

Dan Bendrups:
White Rose: George “Toofie” Christian, produced by Denis Crowdy and annotated by Philip Hayward, Coral Music

 

Abstracts

Preface
Arnd Adje Both and Julia L. J. Sanchez
Five articles were first presented as papers at the meeting of the ICTM Music Archaeology Study Group (MASTG) at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, in April 2003 and revised and expanded for this issue. The conference was organized by Julia Sanchez, then chair of the study group. Two articles by researchers working on the prehispanic music cultures of Oaxaca were added for this topical issue.
Each contributor brings a novel perspective, based on training, area of research, and experience, creating illuminating discussion between ethnomusicologists, anthropological archaeologists, and musicians. Musical practices of the Classic Maya civilization (AD 250-900) are discussed in two papers. Matthias Stöckli, writing on the sound artifacts of Aguateca, a site of the lowland Maya region, Guatemala, takes archaeological and organological information into account, while Julia Sanchez discusses Maya processions on the basis of the iconography of preserved murals and vase depictions. Susan Rawcliffe’s paper is dedicated to the organology and acoustics of West Mexican flutes, dating from the Middle and Late Preclassic periods (1000 BC-AD 200). Examining recent finds made by archaeologists at different sites, Gonzalo Sánchez Santiago resumes the rich organological history of Oaxaca from the Preclassic times onwards. In another paper, Agustín Pimentel Díaz discusses the music iconography of the Codex Nuttall, a Mixtec picture manuscript dating from the fourteenth century. Arnd Adje Both reviews ethnohistorical accounts on the Aztec music culture, which flourished during the Late Postclassic period (AD 1325-1521). The issue concludes with Mark Howell’s discussion of a living tradition, the Rab’inal Achi performed by the contemporary Maya in highland Guatemala.

The Complementarity and Interdisciplinarity of Archaeomusicology:
An Introduction to the Field and this Volume
Dale A. Olsen

Archaeomusicology, the study of music through archaeology, is a discipline which combines archaeology and musicology. It is the science (-ology) of music and music-related aspects of archaeological cultures. In other words, it is the study of music, musical instruments, and music making from archaeological sources. This introduction to the present volume explains how the discipline of archaeomusicology is based on the coming together of many approaches by scholars with diverse backgrounds and research strategies. In spite of this diversity, all the scholars who have contributed to this issue have at least one goal in common: to understand music and musical expressions of ancient civilizations.

Playing Music as a Domestic Activity?
Interpretations of the Finds of Sound-producing Artifacts at Aguateca, El Petén, Guatemala
Matthias Stöckli

Recent excavations at Aguateca, a Maya Classic site in lowland Guatemala, not only unearthed a variety of sound-producing instruments but also revealed, thanks to the specific mode certain areas of the site were abandoned by their inhabitants, the distribution patterns of those artifacts. This in turn allowed drawing and substantiating conclusions about their original users and the contexts they were used in, particularily with regard to elite women’s music practices as part of their general household activities. Thus, the exceptional archaeological situation discovered at Aguateca broadens considerably our understanding of the uses and functions of this kind of artifacts which at most Mayan sites were found in circumstances rendering an analysis and interpretation which aim at more than the organological and acoustic facts, much more problematic.

Procession and Performance: Recreating Ritual Soundscapes among the Ancient Maya
Julia L. J. Sanchez

Processions among the ancient Maya included music, dance, costumes, and theatrical performances and took place in public spaces. This paper relates performance and space to examine public ceremonies, exploring the limits of archaeological interpretation of such ephemeral aesthetic experiences. Large public ceremonies also are used to illuminate similar practices that occurred on a smaller scale in more private contexts.

Eight West Mexican Flutes in the Fowler Museum
Susan Rawcliffe

The small selection of West Mexican flutes discussed in this article has a remarkable variety of body shape, scales, and distinctive timbres. Different types and timbres were surely associated with different uses. Although flute families usually share a characteristic timbre, potential playing techniques including the number of finger holes, and some interval similarities and pitch ranges, the actual details typically remain unique to each flute. With no fully standardized flute body shapes or mouthpieces, there can be no fully standardized scales. Possibly, with prehispanic flutes, exact pitch is a lesser value than expressiveness. Construction details enhance the capacities for pitch bending, for the manipulation of timbre through breath pressure, and perhaps for utilizing the eerie whistle tones that may emerge with very low air pressure. Expressivity may be the primary aesthetic value functioning here.

An Introduction to the Music Cultures of Ancient Oaxaca: Sound Artifacts in the Archaeological Record
Gonzalo Sánchez Santiago

This paper discusses the sound artefacts from archaeological excavations made in the present-day State of Oaxaca, Mexico. The finds reveal the rich diversity of ancient music cultures such as the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Mixe-Zoque. Based on the organological data, important aspects of the musical history of this cultural area can be reconstructed.

Music Iconography of the Codex Nuttall
Ángel Agustín Pimentel Díaz

Prehispanic picture manuscripts provide rich information on past music cultures, which otherwise may have not been preserved. To exemplify, the music iconography of the Codex Nuttall is reviewed, a manuscript belonging to the Mixtec culture, which flourished during the postclassic period of Mesoamerica, in the present-day State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Aztec Music Culture
Arnd Adje Both

This paper reviews the ethnohistoric record of the Aztec music culture that flourished during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica, AD 1325-1521. The written sources from the early colonial period suggest that among the Aztecs a differentiation was made between temple music practiced by specialized priests and court music practiced by professional musicians. Moreover, information is related on the religious concepts of sound, revealing important insights into the musical knowledge of Late Postclassic Mesoamerica. In this context, also archaeological and music iconographical data is considered.

Possible Prehispanic Music Survivals in the Rab’inal Achi
Mark Howell

The Rab’inal Achi is a K’iche’ Maya dance-play preserved in text that may have been first performed in highland Guatemala during the Postclassic era (AD 900-1524). It is still performed in Rabinal, Guatemala, and two valveless trumpets and a slit-drum produce the music used in its accompaniment. These instruments are known to be prehispanic and the music played on them for this dance-play may retain prehispanic elements. To examine this possibility, music for the Rab’inal Achi is compared to the music accompanying a dance-play introduced from Spain, the Baile de los Moros y Cristianos.

 

 

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