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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Selective studies in musical analyses of Beaver Indian Dreamer Songs : a structuralistic approach in ethnomusicology Lillos, Brian Martin


This thesis develops and utilizes an analytical approach which illuminates the structure of one genre of Beaver Indian music -- specifically, Beaver Indian dreamer songs. The analytical approach or methodology developed here derives from previous scholarship in the area of structuralist inquiries in ethnomusicology and from analytical models extracted from structuralism and correlated with music. The scope of the thesis is restricted to the structural examination of forty-five Beaver Indian dreamer songs. No other genre of Beaver Indian music is scrutinized structurally and no other North American Indian music is discussed here. The methods of investigation used in this thesis may be described as follows. Chapter I introduces the problem. Chapter II examines the development of structural studies in ethnomusicology from 1880 to 1900, from 1900 to 1930, from 1930 to 1940, from 1940 to 1954, and from 1954 to the present. Chapter III presents an overview of the central tenets and methods of structuralism by discussing structuralist ideologies, structuralist approaches towards formulating methods of inquiry, and structuralist methods. Chapter IV correlates structuralism with musical analysis. More specifically, Chapter IV reveals ideological correlations, correlations in approach, and methodological correlations between structuralism and musical analysis. Chapter V presents an overview of the music and culture of the Beaver Indians. Sub-sections within this Chapter include discussions on: previous scholarship, geographic location and general ecological conditions, history of the Beaver, music and the supernatural, uses of music, Beaver Indian musical instruments, and additional notes on the music. Chapter VI investigates the structure of Beaver Indian dreamer songs via the methodology developed in Chapter IV. The contents of this Chapter are: selected musical transcriptions, selected structural analyses, a comparative study on the structural musical genres of Beaver Indian dreamer songs, and additional musical descriptions. Chapter VII concludes the study. The significance of this thesis is threefold. First, it presents some knowledge and understanding of the structure of Beaver Indian dreamer songs. Second, it presents transcriptions of sound material hitherto unanalyzed. Third, it develops and utilizes an analytical approach for the study of musical structure in non-Western music — a technique which has not been utilized before in the analysis of any North American Indian music.

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