MAORI PASTIMES (Evening Post, 29 June 1923)

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maori pastimes music and string games in the business of preserving records of some of the dying customs of the maori race queerly assorted appliances are used some months ago a party comprising messrs elsdon best j macdonald and j c andersen visited the gisborne district to add to their records the camera and cinematograph were powerful instruments but mr andersen armed himself particularly with a dictaphone phonograph a note-book and a piece of string perhaps if he had been allowed only one of these he would have stuck to the string and trusted to his memory to replace the others the dictaphone was for the purpose of recording maori songs the string for the learning of more of those remarkable cat cradle games which he has made a special study on wednesday at a-general neeting of the philosophical society mr andersen gave a quaint entertainment by displaying a number of the string games and releasing some of the phonographed songs the string games have become a familiar spectacle to many people in wellington but they never weary of them as displayed by mr andersen whose fingers he says have a far better memory for the intricate movements than his head has with two exceptions the songs given last night were of a gentle and melancholy type and well illustrated tho characteristics of maori music described by tho lecturerits use of very few notes with a range of only two or three tones its frequent ornamentation by waverings of quarter-tones or less i and its insistence on the importance of the words rather than the tune maori music mr andersen said had not begun to develop harmony though thre was one symptom of it in what was i called the floating voice and the maoris knew little of and cared little for harmony yet they had very good ears for music and the faculty for harmony as was shown by the rapidity and ac-curacy with which they learn our music a very interesting surprise was sprung on the audience by mr andersen play i ing the famous maori fliib koauau of which all the known specimens are in museums and which no maori is known to be able to play at all he stated that when inthe recent east coast tour tho party met a very old man who had come to meet them because ha could j play the koauau but when he arrived they found that his flute was not a genuine one but a makeshift made of gaspipe nevertheless ho could play it and his solo was recorded this record was played but there was no comparison between its tone and the line quality of the notes produced by uio lecturer from the genuine wooden instrument the koauau is quite a primitive instrument with a hole about half an inch in diameter bored straight through it across 1 the end of which the player blows there are three finger holes and tho player only has four notes at his command mr andersen said that the intervals seemed not to be true according to our idea but the lute showed that holes had been tried in various places and the conclusion he had reached was that the flutes were made so as to product as exactly as possible some tune that the maker of tho instrument had heard and wished to play


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