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Songs of lament

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Title:
Songs of lament voices of sorrow
Creator:
Young, Flora A
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
99 leaves : ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Elegiac poetry ( lcsh )
Laments ( lcsh )
Music -- Social aspects ( lcsh )
Folk songs -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Elegiac poetry ( fast )
Folk songs ( fast )
Laments ( fast )
Music -- Social aspects ( fast )
Genre:
Criticism, interpretation, etc. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Criticism, interpretation, etc ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 95-99).
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Flora A. Young.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
45117891 ( OCLC )
ocm45117891
Classification:
LD1190.L58 2000m .Y68 ( lcc )

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Full Text
SONGS OF LAMENT: VOICES OF SORROW
by
Flora A. Young
B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
2000


This thesis for the Master of Humanities
degree by
Flora A. Young
has been approved
by
Date
Mitchell Aboulafia


Young, Flora A. (MH, University of Colorado at Denver)
Songs of Lament: Voices of Sorrow
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Barbara J. Walkosz
ABSTRACT
The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the
universal features of songs of lament including music elements and the
historical stimulus of tragedy. The focus will be on the situational,
substantive and stylistic elements, and the organizing principle
surrounding songs of lament and the universality of music as a viable
communication tool which contains a wealth of information about the
internal struggles and hopes of humankind.
Music, a feature of everyday life, represents a multiplicity of
thoughts and constructs from differing cultures. The purpose or function
of songs of lament is an emotional release during death, crisis or tragedy
oftentimes ending in a glimpse of hope in the future. This paper will
seek to survey the similarities of songs of lament from the African
American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. When the
situational, substantive and stylistic elements are broadly considered and
applied, the universality of songs of lament are organized in a
recognizable agency of communication.
The scope of this thesis will include the history of the cultures in
the study as they relate to the formation of songs of lament, the nature of
oral tradition, cross-cultural values and beliefs, and music as
communication with the application of concepts and techniques of music
theory. The structure and style of music will help explain the universal
elements of songs of lament. The universality of language symbols and
m


imagery combined with musical styles and techniques has increased the
globalization of this artifact. Specific songs of lament were examined
from the four cultural groups, utilizing a genre analysis to draw
conclusions about the universality and similarities encapsulated in songs
of lament. Emphasis in researching this paper has been on the
universality of songs of lament across cultures; the situational,
substantive and style characteristics of diverse cultures through music
and poetics.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis.
I recommend its publication.
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to the memory of my grandmother, Trudie
Mae Harris and my mentor, Blanche James.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
My thanks to my advisor, Barbara J. Walkosz, for her patience, listening
ears, ideas, and a great deal of encouragement to me throughout the life
of this project. She has provided me with the impetus and spirited
immersion in this area to complete this task. I also wish to thank my
teachers and the staff of the Humanities Department for their support and
understanding. I am grateful to Myra Bookman for her input and
enthusiasm. With me throughout this entire project has been the
voices of those who have endured trials and tribulations and yet found
strength in hopemy husband, John Young; my children, Michael, Tony,
and Teresa; my mother, Pauline Jones, and the unsung heroes whose
hopes sang on the edge of eternity.


CONTENTS
Tables.................................... ix
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND............ 1
Purpose of the Study................ 1
Scope of the Study.................. 2
Arrangement of the Thesis........... 8
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............... 9
History of the People as it Relates
to Songs of Lament.................. 9
African American................... 10
Vietnamese......................... 17
Native American.................... 23
Roma (Gypsy)....................... 29
Summary............................ 34
Culture and Music....................... 35
Cross-Cultural Values and Beliefs.. 35
vii


Summary............................ 40
Music as Communication: Oral Tradition
and Storytellers................... 41
Summary............................ 47
Music Theory: Concepts and Techniques
Applicable to Songs of Lament. 48
Summary............................ 52
3. METHOD OF RESEARCH........................ 54
Genre Analysis: Substantive and Stylistic Elements 54
Summary............................ 61
Substantive Elements............... 62
Summary............................ 74
Music: Examination of the Stylistic
Elements .......................... 75
The Organizing Principle........... 85
4. CONCLUSION OF STUDY....................... 87
BIBLIOGRAPHY....................................... 95
Mil


TABLES
Table
3.1 Substantive Characteristics......................... 73
3.2 Stylistic Elements.................................. 83
3.3 Universal Substantive and Stylistic Elements.........85
IX


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Like the sea, it flows within us, speaking for our soul.
-Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis
Purpose of the Study
The purpose or function of songs of lament is to provide an
emotional release during death, crisis, or tragedy oftentimes culminating
in a glimpse of hope in the future. Songs of lament are found in a
number of music genres such as the blues, folktunes, spirituals, chants,
art songs, and funeral dirges. This paper will discuss the universal
features of songs of lament including: tragic stimulus, oral tradition,
language codes, music elements or structure, form, style characteristics,
and instrumentation. Many genres of music exist within our diverse
world. Even though there are different forms of design and
implementation of music between cultures, some songs still relay the
same storiesstories of trials, tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for
a better day. The focus of this study will be on songs of lament and the
universality of music as a viable communication tool that contains a
wealth of information about the internal struggles and hopes of
humankind across cultures.
(


The arts, in many instances, have become the vehicle or medium
of representation for many things including emotional expression.
Music, a feature of everyday life, represents a multiplicity of emotions,
thoughts, and constructs from differing points of view. Acting as a safe
haven to those who find themselves in the interstices of life, it often
offers an illusion of reality.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this thesis will include the history of the cultures in
the study as they relate to the songs of lament, the nature of oral tradition
and the intercultural communicative aspects of music. The history of a
culture can be illuminated in its songs of lament. These songs illustrate
the fortitude and strength of a diversity of people who have refused to
relinquish their souls or spirits to the clutches of adversity, struggle,
tragedy, or sorrow. This thesis will investigate the role and
cross-cultural nature of songs of lament in African American,
Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures.
The transplantation of people to various places moves cultures and
their musical traditions around the world-dotting the landscape of
humanity with diverse cultures. Yet, they can bond and communicate
with other cultures through a common source, the peoples music. Songs
of lament are an intercultural communication vehicle of suffering and
transformation which have been transmitted by a variety of storytellers.
2


Oral tradition is an important element in a study of songs of
lament which exist in many of the worlds societies and cultures.
Transmitted orally or aurally, they are taught through performance or
learned by hearing. The structure of the song consists of various parts
and is seen and understood in similar tunes through the process of oral
tradition and communal re-recreation. The unpredictability of oral
tradition causes different elements to be changed by each culture and
reiteration of the song.
First, the thesis will examine applicable literature that conveys the
history of the people in the African American, Vietnamese, Native
American, and Roma cultures as it relates to songs of lament. To
understand a culture, one must understand its history. The tragic
stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life. Significant
historical tragedies suffered by these groups cement the universality of
suffering and highlight songs of lament as mechanisms that protected the
formidable existence of their intangible spirits.
Following the explication of cross-cultural values and beliefs, the
thesis will examine the intersection of culture and music. The African
American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures have
significant connections to other cultures. Songs of lament are a good
barometer of the beliefs, values, and norms contained in cultural
patterns. These groups have belief and value systems closely tied to
spiritual realms. The spiritual beliefs of these cultures have had a


significant impact on the spirituality portrayed in many of their songs of
lament.
In spite of the similarities and differences, shared meanings can be
discerned from the lyrics and musical style characteristics relayed in
songs of lament. Encounters of differences and biases from other
cultures have affected each of these groups through the obvious use of
stereotypes mid social categorizing. Consequently, shared meanings can
be viewed in musical themes and messages that communicate similar
social and individual circumstances. These shared meanings are
evidenced by the extensive musical repertoires available through oral
tradition and storytelling. Extensive musical repertoires are available
through oral tradition and storytellingrecanting traditions, past family
experiences, kinship ties, and customs through the song and its message.
Consequently, the thesis will examine the structure and style of
music which will help explain the universal elements of songs of lament.
An examination of music theory, concepts and techniques employed in
songs of lament further an understanding and grasp of these vehicles of
communication. Even though songs of lament are created in diverse
cultures, the songs all contain a myriad of similar musical elements such
as melodic development and other musical idioms. Many of these
melodies have been able to retain their validity and value. Melody is an
ordered succession of single tones so similar as to constitute a musical
entity. A good melody retains its validity and value despite changing
4


idioms. Idioms include the melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, color, and
structural complexities of musical form.
In addition to the nature of the music, the language and situational
characteristics of songs of lament will also be examined. The
universality of language symbols and codes combined with various
musical styles and techniques has increased the globalization of songs of
lament. Specific songs of lament will be examined from the African
American, Vietnamese, Native Americans, and Roma (Gypsy) peoples
to show their similarities and complexities. The differing genres of
songs of lament contain primal elements of music theory. Consequently,
recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, and techniques
of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the thoughts of
humankind through a systematic, understandable agency.
The thesis will examine the method of research employed to
determine the universal qualities of songs of lament across cultures. The
universality of songs of lament can be viewed through a genre analysis of
applicable songs of lament from the African American, Vietnamese,
Native American, and Roma cultures. The genre analysis functions as a
lens to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring
situations pertinent to songs of lament. The meanings of songs of lament
are social realities that reflect beliefs, attitudes, and values of these four
cultures. By utilizing the elements or ingredients that universalize songs
of lament from various past-oriented cultures, and a contemporary genre,
5


one is able to establish an awareness of overall similarities and
differences. The uniqueness of songs of lament are viewed through three
elements: situational requirements, substantive and stylistic
characteristics, and the organizing principle. Analyzation of songs of
lament, utilizing the genre analysis, include an observation of similarities
in response to particular situations; a collection of songs of lament
occurring in similar situations; an analysis of songs of lament to ascertain
if they share substantive and stylistic characteristics, and formulation of
the organizing principle of songs of lament. Genre analysis is applicable
for the study of songs of lament as it gives an overall view of the general
categoiy through the unmasking of specific similarities. Specific
similarities are illuminated in the use of language tools as a substantive
element in the poetics of songs of lament.
Language tools are used as a safety valve and a shared
communication technique in rituals, ceremonies, and everyday life. Not
only were common interpretations utilized, but because of atrocities
committed upon marginalized cultures by the dominant culture, coded
messages were applied as a safety valve. Language codes kept
outsiders from understanding the correct meanings, thereby employing
the code as a safety valve. The transmission of songs of lament is an
incorporation of symbols of hope and renewal for emotional release and
catharsis. Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an
6


understandable meaning of intended effects or specific utterances
through general knowledge among these cultures.
This thesis will examine the music elements in musical artifacts of
the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures
which are the stylistic elements. The analysis of the musical structures
of the songs of lament is an important tool in which to relay the stylistic
similarities of this genre. Through comparisons of style characteristics
within the melodies and rhythms of each culture and applicable artifacts,
universal commonalities within the global music community can be
identified. The examination will focus on specific substantive and
stylistic characteristics of each of the four cultures songs of lament to
identify the general similarities. A wide range of identifiable
embellishment is used in African American, Vietnamese, Native
American, and Roma music including: accents, triplets, chromaticism,
and altered chords. Other style characteristics of these cultural artifacts
are highlighted, including instrumentation.
The conclusion of this examination of songs of lament will digest
the universality of songs of lament. Even though there are different
forms of design and implementation of poetics and music between
cultures, some songs still relay the same situational stories of trials,
tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for the future. Encapsulated in
melodies that sojourn from the hills of Eastern and Western Europe to
the mountains of Virginia and valleys of Vietnam, songs of lament
7


resound in the crocheted diadems and knitted crescendos of a promised
land of freedom, hope, and encouragement. The cultures discussed in
this study know the ache of struggle and tragedytheir existence
includes sorrow. Music is a viable understandable agency of
communication which contains a wealth of information about the internal
struggles, outward manifestations, and hopes of humankind.
Arrangement of the Thesis
The thesis will be arranged to detail the review of applicable
literature, the methods of research, the conclusion of the study, and a
bibliography. The central research question of the thesis will be to
discover what common elements exist in songs of lament across cultures.
The conclusion of the study will answer pertinent issues, such as: the
need for songs of lament to continue; the viability of songs of lament to
bring evil to the surface; the inherent strength in songs of lament; the
political value, political praxis, or social action of songs of lament, and
the emotional and cathartic value of songs of lament.
8


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
Look not upon me, because I am black, because the
sun hath looked upon me ..
The Song of Songs I, 56.
History of the People as It Relates
to Songs of Lament
To understand a culture, one must understand its history. A
poignant history of crisis and the reflection of social conditions are
illuminated in songs of lament. The past and the present actions of
humanity can be selectively viewed in these songs. Songs of lament can
also be viewed as a tool to inform, reform, and transform present
ideologies. History can act as a salve or balm to assist in the healing of
emotional woundspromoting psychological and social well-being, and
radiating possibility. Songs of lament illustrate the fortitude and strength
of a diversity of people who have refused to give their souls or spirits to
the malignant and sometimes relentless clutches of adversity, struggle,
tragedy or sorrow.
The tragic stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life.
The African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma are
examples of ethnicities which have endured a myriad of lamentable
9


experiences. Yet, they continued to exude strength in the midst of lifes
turbulent storms. Cultural bonds, such as music, remained their balm in
Gilead; sunshine after the rain. This chapter will highlight significant
historical tragedies suffered by these groups that cement the universality
of suffering and mechanisms that protected the formidable existence of
their intangible spirits. These are not pleasant, feel-good recountings,
but they are significant vehicles of lifes milieu of experience. Countless
similarities of treatment permeate the landscape of humankinds
confrontations within itself as it refuses to abort those things waiting to
live in the womb of potentiality.
African American
The voices of lamentation of African Americans are iUuminated
through the event of human bondage in North America. African
Americans were forced into slavery in the New World and were the
recipients of the loss of freedom and dignity. James Weldon Johnson
and Rosamond Johnson relate the beginning of Americas association to
humankinds subjugation in 1619 (12) as twenty African natives were
brought to Jamestown by wooden vessels of disgrace, slave ships. This
incident began African slave trade in the American Colonies. Slaves
were stolen away to a place far from home and brought to the New
World in slave ships. While no one can give a definitive number to
those who were stolen away to the New World, however, Wyatt Tee
10


Walker details that there were by a conservative estimate, upward of
fourteen million Africans imported into the Atlantic slave trade (12).
Many were outside of the embrace of loved ones on floating prisons that
left no visible trails to lead back home. J. S. Buckingham in American,
Historical, Statistic, and Descriptive states that sometimes captives on
slave ships jumped overboard and tried to swim back home (42).
There was much weeping and wailing as all that was normal was no
more. Placed below decks in unsanitary environments, the captives were
given a poor quality of food, and subjected to disease-ridden conditions.
Historical evidence is revealed in A People & A Nation: A History of
the United States regarding the treatment of slaves (cargo) packed like
sardines and chained (Norton, et al. 41).
A People & A Nation: A History of the United States further
details the location of most slavery abductions as West Africa as it states
that most of the unwilling black migrants to North America came from
West Africa, which the Europeans called Guinea (10). These pilgrims
had a homeland, yet they were tom away from their families. Bought
and sold in a land where the economy (280) was based on slave labor,
their cultural roots would continue to live on within their spirits even
though they were considered as chattel in a foreign land. This book
illuminates the vigorous slave economy from 1800 to 1860 in the South
and states that an estimated 2 million persons were sold between 1820
and 1860 to satisfy the need for slave labor (280). The hungry and
11


greedy pockets of the South were fed by the tragedy and despair of a
physically captive people.
Mary Beth Norton, et al.s historical narrative explicitly details the
abusive treatment and life of poverty, toil, heartbreak, physical cruelty,
and coercion experienced by the black slaves. Mistreatments included
burnings, mutilations, torture, murders, rape, and family separations.
The slave owner could sell family members to other plantations
--dividing their main source of support, the family. Most slaves (289)
had plain food (commeal, fat pork, molasses, greens, and sweet
potatoes), plain clothing, and lived in sparsely furnished one-room
cabins. They worked from sun to sun and lived in substandard
housing. The floors in the cabins were dirt, and they slept on straw
mattresses. Norton et al. states that crowding and lack of sanitation
fostered the spread of infection and contagious diseases (290). Many
of these one-room cabins contained more than one family, and the
substandard living conditions and unsanitary surroundings also fostered
other adversities.
The mistreatment of blacks festered bitterness, suspicion, and
resentment toward whites. Through the manifold sufferings, a common
enemy bound the diverse African tribes together, and they were able to
find release and an inward resolution to the outward afflictions of this
strange land. An individuals life was considered to be a valuable object
to West Africans (276). Strength was breathed into these wounded
12


souls through the strong kinship, cultural and folklore systems derived
from their African heritage. Another vehicle utilized by the black slaves
was Christianity. Many adopted forms of Christianity (293) and the
belief that God would end their bondage. Miles Mark Fisher in his
book, Negro Slave Songs in the United States, states that Negro slaves
sometimes accepted Christianity because Jesus was declared to be a
guarantee against all hurt, harm or danger (70). Jesus was symbolic of
the epitome of a hero who could rescue them from their nefarious plight.
He embodied the possibility and potentiality of freedom through his
examples as an earthly hero. Hope for freedom was supplanted in the
embodiment of someone who endured estrangement and mistreatment,
and crossed over into freedom outside of human restriction. Yet, no
specific evidence exists that presents the slaves as wholeheartedly
believing all that the white slave owners Christianity purported to be
truth thus leaving their own culture behind.
The slaves were wise enough to harness their beliefs within secret
meetings, secret language codes, and the walls of their cabins. A
People & A Nation: A History of the United States confirms this
concept as it reports that often they expressed one feeling to whites,
another within their Own race and culture (293). Although the slaves
sang like their masters when they attended services with them (Southern
215), reports of slaves singing their own sacred music independently is
recorded in the 1750s. The slaves learned to disguise their truth from
13


the dominant culture and pretended to be, feel, and say what was
expected.
Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean in their book, American
Cultural Studies, relay that despite the slave owners emphasis on
worship under white supervision and control that one of the most
striking themes in the slave experience was the way in which the slaves
themselves succeeded in developing their own distinctive religious
beliefs and practices ..(116). The way they practiced their own
religious beliefs and practices empowered them to withstand die sorrow
of subjugation. Consequently, removed from the physical presence of
their common enemy, they were free to express, affirm, and validate
their earnest desires. A People & A Nation: A History of the I Jnited
States conveys that the great majority of American slaves retained their
mental independence and self-respect despite their bondage (292).
Their belief systems, self-respect, and quest for freedom were directly
tied to their mental states.
Spirituals were bom on the slave ships and plantations in the midst
of the turmoil and human servitude. Arthur C. Jones defines the term
spiritual to refer to folksongs composed in slavery whose content was
manifestly religious or philosophical, frequently containing material
drawn from the Bible (9). These songs became emblems and
structures for existence in an alien land and held the remnants of a rich
cultural heritage. The creation of the spiritual was necessary, enabling
14


the slave to more adequately adjust to the conditions of the New World.
The thread of freedom is woven throughout the spiritual as a ray of
hopean inspiration in an unjust world. The slaves would gather in their
meager quarters and sing short scraps of affirmations, pledges or
prayers. These groups of songs became known as camp meeting
spirituals as they emphasized scriptural passages and praise to God. As
religious songs of lament, the camp spirituals spoke of the slaves
relationship to God, their position on earth, the difficulties that had
befallen them, and provided an outlet for the slaves feelings about
oppression, discrimination, and the struggle to survive. The African
American spiritual was birthed from the ravages of slavery in the United
States and is synonymous with slavery. Enslaved Africans established
as a first priority the use of songs as a means of combating the
potentially destructive internal psychological damage that could be
inflicted by the experience of prolonged enslavement. Arthur C. Jones in
his book, Wade in the Water: the Wisdom of the Spirituals, states that
music and dance have always been defining elements of African
culture, including the time period of the slave trade (1). Many
spirituals were employed as a weapon and a defense mechanism against
the atrocities of slavery.
In order to have an appreciation for and an understanding of
African American slavery in the United States, it is necessary to grasp
the significance of the spiritual. The spiritual enveloped not only the
15


struggles of slavery, but all aspects of daily life such as work,
community, and religion. A cultural anchor, it linked the slaves to their
ancestral bonds and hopes and dreams of freedoma repository of
culture, history, values, and beliefs.
A glimpse into the beginning of African American culture conveys
an intense struggle for freedom. Despite insurmountable odds, the
peoples voices and inner strengths endured through strong kinship,
values, beliefs, and cultural unifications. Even though African American
slaves came from diverse backgrounds and a number of different tribes,
their similarities and common enemy caused them to unite in a common
cause. The spirituals became a common voice for the tragedy, despair,
and sorrow of a valiant people.
Slavery endured within the New World for over two hundred
years, and the African American slave culture dramatically changed
when Congress banned the importation of slaves. Consequently, the
constant influx of African culture ceased, and African Americans had to
rely upon oral tradition and storytelling to perpetuate the continuation of
African characteristics in the spirituals. Slavery, a system managed by
indifference, succumbed to the struggle for freedom, inclusion and
equality, and the spiritual evolved into other forms of music, such as the
blues, jazz, and gospel.
Vietnamese
16


The voices of lamentation of the Vietnamese people have also
been synthesized across barriers for generations connected by rituals and
tradition. The strong, ritualistic traditions of the Vietnamese people are
exemplified by the songs of lament used in funeral ceremonies and daily
life. Patterns that were woven into the Vietnamese sense of self
remained a part of the tapestry of the inner life of their vibrant culture as
the Vietnamese people were transplanted and influenced by other
cultures. Through wars, policies of assimilation, famine, political
policies, and missionary influences, the Vietnamese have faced adversity
in their search for freedom and quest to retain the essence of their rich
culture. A culture in constant transition, it is important to note that the
Vietnamese War with America was not the only war for freedom fought
by these courageous people.
In order to understand the complexities of the Vietnamese culture,
an explication of cultural and historical background is essential.
Archeological information exhibits a portrait of the Bronze Age Culture
under the Hung Kings (2879258 BC). The Kingdom of Au Lac
covered Kwangtung Province in Southern China and northern Vietnam
between 257 and 111 BC. The area was conquered in 111 BC by
Chinese generals who named the area Nam Viet (Nguyen and
Campbell 19).
The Han dynasty rose to power in China, and the Nam-Viet were
driven southward and conquered in the locale of the present day
17


Vietnam. Even though the Vietnamese accepted certain aspects and
influences of the Chinese civilization (the use of the three-stringed guitar,
mouth-organ, cham rice drum, and the five-tone scale), they treasured
their own essence, their own identity, and their own uniqueness
(especially at the village level). While the Chinese applied a process of
Sinification (deliberate policy of assimilation) on the Vietnamese people,
initially in the cities (Duiker 165), the villagers were often left to
themselves. Sar Desai states that the villagers continued to worship
village genies, ancestors, mountains, and rivers in rites that predated the
advent of Chinese culture (43).
In fact, the influence of the Indian culture is still evident in the
funeral traditions of the Vietnamese. Indian beliefs and cultural
practices, including Buddhism, were disseminated into the cultural fabric
of the Vietnamese people by traders and merchants in Vietnam during
the first century B.C. The Buddhist believe the soul vacates the body on
the forty-ninth day. On the forty-ninth day following a persons death,
the Vietnamese use music to celebrate the souls departure. The funeral
rituals aim is to pay tribute to the individual who had served their family
and society, as well as communicate between the living and dead.
Providing a corridor for grief, lamenting through verbal communication
with the dead is extremely significant and ritualistic in Vietnam.
Missionaries introduced French, Portuguese, and Spanish cultures
into Vietnam in the late 1500s, and even though the Vietnamese people
18


had endured occupation by these countries, most notably France and
Spain, they still retained a distinct, effervescent Vietnamese culture. The
traditional songs of lament and instrumental music provided a powerful
link to their heritage. Attempts to remold and reorient the peasantry met
with much resistance. For example, the revolutionary doctrinal
glorification of France encountered the strength and tenacity of resistant
traditional habits, prejudices, and rituals at the village gate.
Consequently, famine and war resulted causing insurmountable pain,
despair, and tragedy within the Vietnamese culture.
Resistance against assimilation of the dominance of the Chinese
and French cultures could be viewed in traditional cultural arenas and are
expounded upon by Pham Quynh as he states that the true spirit of a
people ... popular folksongs and poetry. Mothers singing children to
sleep, wives mourning husbands ... the natural language of a people,
from the bottom of their hearts (Quynh 280). The Vietnamese resisted
the rapacious tax collectors (Marr 156), colonial traditions, and foreign
invaders. William J. Duiker states that from the beginning, there was
little question that the primary objectives of French colonial policy in
Indochina were economic (30). Avarice drove the French to try to
absorb a small, fragile country.
Duiker expounds further on French commercial interests as he
states that the main purpose of colonialism was simply to register
economic gain... (30). These policies led to greedy landowners,
19


sharecropping techniques, and the economic brutalization of the rural
Vietnamese citizenry. Greed outweighed the civilizing mission of the
French for the more pragmatic objective of exploiting the economic
resources of the colonial territories for the benefit of the home country
(31). Consequently, famine was the result of economic greed and fueled
the villagers subsequent revolt against French colonial policies. The
frustrated villagers could not keep up rice production for the tax
collectors and landowners and still provide food for the meager survival
of their families.
Pre-Vietnam War history records that a large famine occurred in
1945. This famine caused the deaths of more than one million
Vietnamese (Marr 234). The magnitude of deceased victims explained
the burial of people in mass graves without the possibility of an
individual interment. Bodies were found in fields, homes, and along the
deserted roadsidesdiscarded victims of greed. In a culture where
burial of the dead is a necessary component of ancestral worship, famine
and war disrupted tradition leaving wandering souls, fragmented
heritage, and unrelieved grief. Lady Borton describes the plight of
wandering souls as she parallels words from Call to Wandering Souls
to the plight of the Vietnamese people. The words are a timeless
caption of those lost in death without a proper burial as they nudge
humankind to
Pity them, the souls of the lost thousands ..
20


They are the ones for whom no incense bums.
Desolate, they wander night after night.
Nguyen Du 1765-1820 (14)
The social prohibition of funeral music during the Vietnam War is
another example of how the Vietnamese people were deprived of their
sacred burial rituals from burying their dead. The scarcity of formal
burials for thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and the lack of information
regarding their graves or death days caused much grief. For example,
the utter devastation caused by bombing from American forces using the
B-52 is one poignant explanation for the lack of graves or even bodies in
certain areas because the bombing left no remains to be buried. Another
explanation is that the viciousness and mass burials of thousands of
innocent Vietnamese villagers rendered proper burials impossible. My
Lai stands as a horrific reminder of the ravages and brutality of wars
mayhem upon the innocent.
My Lai, a village in Quangngai province, was located along the
coast of South Vietnam. The book, Light at the End of the Tunnel: A
Vietnam War Anthology, edited by Andrew J. Rotter relays the killing of
innocent Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers. In an essay, The
Killing Begins, Michael Bilton and Kevin Sin describe the havoc aid
deranged behavior (255) that seeped into the village of My Lai in
March of 1968. Bamboo huts, shelters, and small dwellings containing
the elderly, women, and children were senselessly riddled with bullets
and savagely shelled by American soldiers from Charlie Company.
21


Unarmed farmers were stabbed with bayonets and Vietnamese detainees
were shot, thrown into wells and M-26 grenades lobbed in after them.
Bilton and Sin state that women and children were pushed into bunkers
and grenades thrown in after them (255). Women were sexually
assaulted while guns were held at their childs head.
Mayhem ensued as the platoons had gone berserk and American
soldiers shot, stabbed, clubbed or buried alive men, women, and
children. Stanley Kamow in Vietnam: A History, states that three
hundred Vietnamese civilians were slaughtered at My Lai. (31).
Bombed and terrorized during the War, thousands of Vietnamese
soldiers and civilians were not afforded the opportunity to be buried
individually.
A fragmented country mourned for its dead. The villagers learned
to hide in the bunkers for safety from the mortar attacks, yet the bunkers
were no longer safe. Songs of lament were sung by the Vietnamese
people as they comforted themselves in dark holes beneath the ground.
In spite of the wars impact, certain time-held traditions continued-
religious ceremonies and singing. Borton relays that a common melody
sung in the bunkers by the children states Mother, you try to teach me
... maybe tomorrow Ill wake to victory and Fathers return (149).
Songs of lament were important implements of the Vietnamese
cultural tradition during daily life, including famine and war. A way to
honor the dead, celebrate life, and communicate with ancestors, music is
22


an integral part of the Vietnamese people. Songs of lament enable the
Vietnamese people to bridge tragedy to life. After the Vietnam War, the
young men were disseminated by their families to acquire the
complexities of the funeral music traditions from the older generations of
musicians to keep the traditions alive.
The Chinese, Indian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Americans
have had a significant impact upon Vietnamese cultural traditions and
language. The melodic Vietnamese language fuses Cambodian, Thai,
and Chinese characteristics in its various voice inflections. However, the
uniqueness of Vietnamese culture can still be heard in songs of lament
about their ancestors, mountains, and rivers. A wealth of knowledge
exists in a culture that has been overlooked as simple, unassuming, and
passive. Its songs of lament encapsulate the effects of greed,
traditionalism, and struggle.
Native American
Native Americans have a rich, extensive history in the Americas
which embodies a resilience and strength that enabled them to survive
alienation in their own country. The forerunners of the Native American
population, Paleo-Indians, arrived in the Americas more than thirty
thousand years ago. This study will focus on the importance of land and
nature, the spread of white settlement, the brutalities and abuses
23


experienced by the Native Americans, and the use of songs of lament as
a source of power and provision.
A common thread among the various Native American tribes was
their integration with nature. Land was an important resource and a
cradle of reverence to the Native American people. Neil Campbell and
Alasdair Kean state that for Native Americans, the land is sacred,
bound up in an intricate web of meaning with all living things, including
humankind (128). In the Native American culture, the rights to use the
land for hunting or fishing could be transferred, not sold, to others. The
loss of territory to the advancing settlers disrupted customary Native
American ways of life. Clashes between the Native Americans and the
settlers ensued as more and more settler migrations onto fertile Native
American land occurred. The colonists increasingly encroached on
Native American lands and attempted to convert them to Christianity.
The polytheistic religious beliefs of the Native Americans involved a
multitude of gods (Norton et al. 6-7) and was frowned upon by the
settlers. In the book, American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities, Devon
A. Mihesuah reveals that in the late 1880s, Indian religious ceremonies
were outlawed in the United States (67). Vine Deloria states that
many Sioux embraced Christianity when their traditional social
institutions and the practice of their own religion were prohibited them
(216). However, Christianity did not replace their beliefs and practices.
24


The encroachment on Native American lands and upon their
spirituality caused a number of questionable treaties to be signed
between the Euro-American settlers and Native American tribes.
Consequently, a power struggle over American sovereignty ensued. A
Peopl e & A Nation: A History of the United States conveys that after
the Revolutionary War, the United States took the treaties as final
confirmation of its sovereignty over the Indian territories and authorized
white settlers to move onto the land (175). The desire for more land
and the white settlers belief in their superiority caused much strife and
hardship for the Native Americans.
The United States not only utilized African Americans in a slave
trade, but also the Native Americans. An historical account of the
Native American slave trade is portrayed in A People & A Nation: A
Histoiy of the United States as it states the abuses of slave trade led to
the most destructive Indian war in Carolina (57). The Yamasee War
pitted the Creek-Yamasee and a number of other tribes against the
English colonists through raids on the South Carolina mainland because
of the overwhelming atrocities of the white traders. In South Carolina in
1715, white traders abused the Native Americanscheating them
economically, sexually assaulting the women, and selling friendly
tribesmen into slavery. The Creeks and Yamasees lost to the formidable
weaponry and reinforcements of the white settlers causing their
25


relocation to the western or southern frontiers. The expansion of the
United States came at the expense of countless Native Americans.
The consequences of an uprooted peoples relocation to an alien
environment which caused heartache, suffering, and tragedy are evident
in such events as the horrors of the Trail of Tears and the Massacre at
Sand Creek. The Trail of Tears began after the Removal Act of 1830
and entailed a gruesome forced march to death and suffering. The long,
cold march was made even more difficult by shortages of wagons,
horses, blankets, and food. James West Davidson, et al. states in Nation
of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic that of the
15,000 who traveled this Trail of Tears, approximately one-quarter died
along the way of exposure, disease, and exhaustion (394). The
voluntary removal ended up as mandatory as the Cherokees were
marched to Oklahoma under military escort.
The Native Americans were forced to leave their sacred lands and
homes which had spiritual significance because their ancestors were
buried there. Cherokee homes were burned and looted (Roethler 149),
gravesites pillaged, and diseases and illnesses caused deaths in the
hundreds. Consequently, sorrow and despair became the constant
companion of an uprooted people who were forced to relocate to an
alien environment.
The Massacre at Sand Creek occurred on November 29,1864 in
Colorado. The five Cheyenne clans and ten lodges of Arapaho were
26


already devastated by whooping cough and diarrhea in 1863 (Mendoza
65) when tragedy struck again. Mendoza states that on that wintry day,
like devils bom from hell, the Third Colorado Cavalry, commanded by
Colonel George L. Shoup, commenced the wholesale slaughter and
mutilation of men, women and children (99). The Cavalrys desire for
vain glory colored the swords of destruction at Sand Creek as Patrick
Mendoza empathizes that between the first light and the dawn .. .
charged his army down... put the village to the sword and in blood, his
glory found (91).
Mendoza details the weeping, wailing, and carnagereplete with
sorrow and pain. No one was spared from the horrible brutalities as
cries of mercy went unheeded and the wounded were even scalped. In
the midst of brutality and the slaughtering of one hundred thirty-three
Cheyenne and Arapaho, a song of lament is uttered to the Supreme
Being who ruled the universe. As unarmed White Antelope mourned his
people and sang the Cheyenne Death song, nothing lives long, only the
earth and the mountains, (97) Mendoza records that White Antelope
was shot down (97), killed, scalped, and mutilated. This brutal act
removed respect and tolerance and replaced these ideals with sorrow.
The intolerance of humankind by the settlers resulted in labeling,
stereotyping, brutal massacres, and revolts. Devon A. Mihesuah details
how the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (67) stands out as a stark example of the
consequences wrought from the intolerance, as the Native Americans
27


were labeled as uncivilized and heathenish. The purposeful destroying
of Native American artifacts, and the killing and physical torture of
Native American religious leaders, disease, alcohol, malnutrition, and
trading patterns disrupted Native American traditional ways of life. The
Native American culture was almost decimated in North America. Even
in the midst of what would seem to be insurmountable odds, this
historical accounting declares that the survival of Indian life in the face
of such conditions reflected the resilience and strengths of the Indians
culture (334).
Songs of sorrow were an important vessel of communication and a
source of strength between the Native Americans and the spirits to
obtain divine help while in adversity or grief. Vine Deloria states that
when a son had fallen in battle this lament was used by the Dakota Sioux
to communicate to the spirits:
My son, you went off
For a little while
You are staying away too long! (168)
In Native American culture, the medicine man was the spiritual
leader of the group who would pray for the help of the spirits and sing
and dance (179). He would be summoned if diseases of the mind, body
or spirit were suspected. When he arrived, he would bring his drum and
medicine ball. He would lament the affects of sickness, death, bad luck,
grief, and seek provision from the spirits.
28


Native American rituals use songs in the deployment of various
ceremonies. Their songs of lament express celebration using rhythmic
chants and emotional releases. These songs convey feelings of great
elation or unbearable sorrow. The rich Native American heritage
includes songs for ceremony, secular war, powwow, lullabies, and
funeral dirges. Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean state that as long as
the stories of Native Americans continues the native peoples retain their
traditions, history and identity ... which in turn constitutes their sense of
self (50). Songs of lament were used by the chiefs, the warriors, the
women and the children as a source of strength, provision, and
communication to the spirits in times of struggle. These songs remain
resilient today.
Roma
The Roma or Gypsies have also suffered a history of frequent
persecutions as they existed on the ragged edge of many cultures. This
study will show the inalterable character of their traditions and culture
despite the influences of other civilizations. As they were forced to
move from place to place, the Roma listened to their own inner voices,
giving them validity and affirmation, as love of freedom and nature
emanated from this countryless people. Bound by unflattering
stereotypes and disdain, they find solace and a divine apothecary of
relief in their musical traditions. The Roma are the inheritors of a culture
29


of musical innovations and musical impulses inherent in the composers
vision of love of a person, place, or thing.
An abundance of persecutions have plagued these nomadic-styled
people as they moved throughout the corridors of Europe. Similarities to
the enslavement of African Americans, Native Americans, and the
Vietnamese, can be viewed through the lens of injustice meted out to the
Roma. In the book, The Destiny of Europes Gypsies, Donald Kenrick
and Grattan Puxon state that the status of the Roma was similar in
every respect to that of Negro slaves on the plantations in the southern
United States (32).
The Roma or Romani are more commonly called Gypsies. A
people without a homeland and distributed around the globe, their rich
history resounded in the countries of France, the Balkans, Roumania,
Russia, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Britain, Spain, India, and
Hungary. Geographically, they have an abundant history in the Middle
East and Europe after being dispersed from India into ancient lands of
Persia, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Turkey.
Jean-Paul Cle'bert describes the enslavement of the Roma in his
book, The Gypsies. He states that in 14th century Roumania the
Gypsies belonged body and chattels to the great lords, the hospidars or
war chiefs and the Voivodes or landowners, both of whom had rights of
life and death (68). Inhuman conditions plagued these brown-skinned
30


people as they were flogged naked, received no wages and were given
small portions of com porridge for nourishment.
Many times laws were passed to keep others in subjection and
under the control of the dominant culture. The lives of the Roma were
degraded as they were exhibited on platforms at slave markets. Cle'bert
states that in Roumania the constitutional statutes of Moldavia and
Walachia defined the status of the slave: he was not a man but a person
who, with his patrimony and family, was dependent on another (69).
As slaves, they slept in unwarmed huts and survived in almost
concentration-camp facilities (69). Considered chattel, inhumane
punishments from some of the slave owners were harsh and severe as
iron hooks were fixed in their necks to punish them and prevent them
from sleeping (68). The Gypsy slaves were punished for fleeing,
rebelling, refusing to obey, or because they were considered to be of
impure blood. Also, marriage to non-Gypsies was prohibited and strictly
enforced as they were not allowed to many outside of their established
societal position. Justice, or the lack there of, was meted out by the
slave masters.
Slavery of the Roma also occurred in Hungary where they were
hanged, beaten, and beheaded. In the 15th century the Roma arrived in
Germany and called themselves pilgrims. (75). The terminology is
appropriate for a people who are alienated and traveling through a
foreign land. These poor pilgrims of sorrow slept in unwarmed huts and
31


learned to survive on the barest of necessities. Wretched as their lives
were, their situation became infinitely worse in Germany after 1933.
In the post-war Weimar Republic of Germany, Nazi idealism and
economic conditions formed the reconstruction of European societys
attitude toward social responsibility and integration. After Adolph Hitler
came to power in 1933, he rejected anyone or any concept that did not
accommodate his profane criteria of purity. The social consequence of
fascism was the denial of free thought which was pivotal to the plight of
the Roma in Germany. The Roma were marched to their deaths by
detachments of Nazi soldiers before the Jewish holocaust. Cle'bert
states that in the racialist world of the National Socialists, the Gypsies
and the Jews had the sad privilege of again being in the limehghf (205).
The limelight of being considered an impure ethnic group caused the
growing internment of Roma after 1939. More than 400,000 Roma lost
their lives in the gas chambers at Auschwitz (208). Donald Kenrick and
Grattan Puxon convey that by the end of the war about three-quarters of
the Gypsies living in Germany had perished (94).
Cle'bert details that the tortures began in 1940 with massive
deportations from Poland and ended in 1945 when all Gypsies who
were in concentration camps were gassed (208). Dysfunctional
censorship enveloped the Weimar Republic and individualism was
unacceptable. The map of Europe had been rewritten after World War
II, but the lives of the Roma remained laden with struggle. Songs of
32


lament freed the hearts of those whom the Nazis had tried to reduce to
the equivalent of animals. Martin Block states that their music
produces in them a feeling of romantic exaltation which temporarily
obscures the suffering and hatred in the midst of which they live,
affording them glimpses of a piece of mind which they have long ceased
to enjoy (220). There were strident social and political consequences
associated with being Roma.
The Roma were caught in the interstices of war, politics, and
social and cultural hegemonies. They never truly assimilated to the static
position of other traditional cultural safehavens. They tenaciously held
onto their culture despite public scorn, ridicule, and disdain. Music was
closely tied to their life and identity. Its unconditional importance is
declared as Martin Block states, music is to them the expression of then-
life, it belongs to their life, it is Gypsy life itself (224). The
intangibleness of songs of lament could not be displaced from the
consciousness of Gypsy life.
The culture of the Roma has emerged bruised, but in tact. Their
inner experiences and heritage were their foundations of reality as they
survived periods of political, emotional, and economic upheavals.
Cle'bert sums up the plight of the Roma as he states that all kinds of
real Gypsies, by whatever name they may be known, are united in the
same love of freedom, in their eternal flight from the bonds of
civilization. . (xix). The Roma do not have a land they can claim as
33


their homeland, but their music is an integral part of their identity, a part
of their soul, and a symbol of freedom. They learned to accept the good
and evil sides of life and could heartily sing songs of lament describing
their veneration for their earthly attachments. In the book, the Gypsies.
this concept is portrayed in a song of lament by Wlisocki that reads
... I play a song on my violin, and silence hunger and grief... my
violin has two pals who eat my very marrow, Love and Hunger theyre
called and accompany me, a musician... (Cle'bert 113).
Summary
Tragedy is the usher that helped the African American,
Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cross the bridge to
exceptional. Tragedy reshapes, reconfigures, and places segments of
humankind on another level. Music covers the aches and travail of the
wounded soul. Songs of lament soothe the ravaged cells of humankinds
sorrow. Its voice speaks in the high-rises, the urban dwellings, in
crowded inner cities, and the rural plains of cracked lives. Each of these
groups are representative of voices of sorrow who have cried out in the
wilderness of struggle and drawn strength from their culture to resist
their conditions. Culture is a force that is larger than the power of
human bondage, war and genocide, and has upheld these groups to
maintain defiance against outside duress and inward frustration. The
melodies of songs of lament are the seeds; the hope is the harvest of
34


expectation. The rain of struggle wets the seed, disturbing the rhythm of
adversity, and releasing the hope of resolution. Whether they were
pilgrims, aliens or wandering souls, their voices resound in a universal
message of hope despite tragedy.
The next section will examine the intersection of culture and
music. Cross-cultural values and beliefs permeate the landscape of
universality in songs of lament. Music is an important communication
tool, evidenced by its continuing use in oral tradition and by storytellers.
Consequently, numerous musical concepts and techniques are applicable
to songs of lament.
Culture and Music
Cross-Cultural Values and Beliefs
The African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma
cultures have had significant connections to other cultures. Lustig and
Koester define cross-cultural as the study of a particular idea or concept
within many cultures (61). This study will utilize cross-cultural
communication as a vehicle to compare the similarities, differences, and
shared meanings amid people from the same culture to those from
separate cultures. Songs of lament are a good barometer of the beliefs,
values, and norms contained in cultural patterns. Menuhin and Davis
state that human beings universally assign values and symbols to their
beliefs or codes of behavior (48). Similarities can be viewed among
35


past-oriented cultures; however differences between these cultures and
the dominant culture are manifested in the cultural biases of the dominant
culture: social categorizing, ethnocentrism, stereotypes, prejudice,
discrimination, and racism. Cultural biases, negative attitudes, and faulty
character assertions exist because of the varied histories and experiences
of the marginalized group. In spite of the similarities and differences,
shared meanings can be discerned from the musical messages and style
characteristics relayed in songs of lament.
While not everyone may be religious or spiritually inclined, there
are key points of relevance in these areas that pertain to the universality
and similarity of songs of lament because for many people, the spiritual
or religious realm embodies core belief systems. In this realm, people
find codes and rituals that assist them in lifenatural points of
connection between those involved and their situations. Menuhin and
Davis state that every ritual we share calls for its own music: birth,
marriage, death, the planting and the harvest, the changing of seasons,
the coming of spring and fertility, the sufferings of illness and the
recovery of health (5). These groups, African American, Native
American, Vietnamese, and Roma have belief and value systems closely
tied to a spiritual realm. Lustig and Koester state that beliefs, values,
and norms are the ingredients of cultural patterns ... ideas that people
assume to be true about the world .. the desired characteristics of a
culture (105).
36


Spiritual beliefs bring groups of similarly-minded people together
into a social support system. These social gatherings include the
performance of music during rituals and ceremonies. The sense of
spirituality may be infused into respect or love for the value and work of
others or some tangible object. In regards to world orientation Lustig
and Koester state that cultural patterns also tell people how to locate
themselves in relation to the spiritual world, nature, and other living
things (98). Living in harmony with nature, the world, and other living
things is a past-oriented cultural pattern of the Native American, African
American, Roma, and Vietnamese heritage. The Native Americans
fought long and hard to stay on the lands they nurtured and respected,
and their belief system contains a respect for communal lands, tribalism,
and sacredness of the earth. Even though the Roma have no homeland,
they have learned to co-exist with nature and the environment.
Likewise, the African American and Vietnamese cultures include rich
heritages and beliefs associated with their homelands. The spiritual
beliefs of these cultures have had a significant impact on the spirituality
portrayed in many of their songs of lament.
Songs of lament provide a universal corridor for grief. Death
represents a rupture in the social and universal balance, because the
body is physically removed from these arenas. Funeral rituals are an
important element and pattern of each of these cultures. The rituals aim
is to pay tribute to the individual and communicate between the world of
37


the living and the world of the dead. This communication is manifest in
different forms: visual (costumes, statues or floral arrangements),
olfactory (incense), invocations, lamentations, singing, and instrumental
music.
While death rituals are common to these cultures, another
similarity which greatly impacted their lives and histories, was the greed
and human degradation associated with the quest for material
possessions by outside groups. The malignant grasp of greed caused
numerous trials and tribulations, and their songs of lament moved beyond
the death ritual to help them grieve the suffering brought about by others.
Faced with tragedies brought about by others, the value of
self-direction is another significant cultural pattern manifested by each of
these groups. Creativity, independence, and freedom are representative
characteristics of this cultural pattern. These characteristics are evident
in songs of lament that portray the desire to escape from the abuse of
colonization, slavery, and other forms of political restraint.
Encounters of differences and biases from other cultures have
affected each of these groups through the obvious use of stereotypes and
social categorizing. The Euro-Americans applied negative, faulty, and
inflexible perceptions toward the Native Americans and African
Americans. The French practiced biased attitudes against the
Vietnamese, and the Nazis employed twisted hatred against the Roma.
These people were treated unequally solely because of their membership
38


in a specific ethnic group, and each group used music as a source of
encouragement and strength in the face of persecution.
Consequently, shared meanings can be viewed in musical themes
and messages surrounding similar social and individual circumstances.
Musical elements of improvisation, use of percussion instruments,
dissonance, and the inflection of speech and music remain inseparable.
Even though there are differences in the tone or pitch employed by these
cultures, songs of lament contain universal thematic and musical
presentations. These are evidenced by the extensive musical repertoires
available through oral tradition and storytelling.
Lustig and Koester convey that past-oriented cultures place a
primary emphasis on tradition and the wisdom passed down from older
generations ( 223). The elders are considered to be links, storehouses
or gatekeepers to knowledge and wisdom. Each of these cultural groups
value tradition and respects customs and ideas that are inherent in ones
culture. Oral tradition and storytelling are specific examples of a
reverence for traditions, past family experiences, kinship ties, and tribal
customs. Songs of lament play an important role in African American,
Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma cultures. They are used for
transmission of knowledge, values, and celebration, and communicate to
humankind about the divine and worldly experiences of life.
39


Summary
Cross-cultural values and beliefs are an exemplary vehicle of
communication illuminated by values and symbols in songs of lament.
Shared meanings can be discerned from the musical messages and style
characteristics relayed by songs of lament. Spiritual codes and rituals
are closely tied to the belief and value systems of the African American,
Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma peoples. The spiritual beliefs
of these cultures, whether infused into respect or love for the value and
work of others or some tangible object, have had a significant impact on
the spirituality portrayed in many of their songs of lament.
Death rituals provide a universal corridor for grief through the
avenues of visual, olfactory, invocations, lamentations, singing, and
instrumental music. Death rituals, greed, human degradation, the value
of self-direction, and encounters of difference and biases from other
cultures are similarities exemplified by these four groups in their songs
of lament. Consequently, shared meanings can be viewed in musical
themes and messages surrounding similar social and individual
circumstances.
Extensive musical repertoires are available through oral tradition
and storytellingrecanting traditions, past family experiences, kinship
ties, and customs through song. The next section will discuss the
intersection of oral tradition and music as communication.
40


Music as Communication: Oral Tradition
and Storytelling
A people without a knowledge of their history is like
a tree without roots. (West Africa) (Goss and Goss 67)
Replication is a vital part of oral tradition whereby the message of
the song is rehearsed over and over again, under the tutelage of past
generations beliefs and values. This study will emphasize the
importance and conjunction of oral history, storytelling, and music as
central communication modes with people used as agencies of cultural
disbursal. The value of the culture has been inculcated in time, each
culture a sovereign entity. Through these aforementioned methods, there
was consideration or a broader concern for future generations. As time
evolved, griots, unknown bards, and storytellers relayed music,
memories, and the history of past generations. The transmission of
traditions are not always inclusive of outsiders and some rituals and
codes are kept within the culture or group.
African American musical traditions were passed along by griots,
storytellers, and unknown bards. In The Music of Man. Menuhin states
that the role of the griot is more than that of an entertainer ... his job is
to renew the memories and emotions of past generations (107). Griots
relayed the oral diary of daily life within the context of the culture and
time periods. Recitation of the familial or national history of Africa was
detailed by singers who acted as repositories of culture, history, and
41


values. Miles Mark Fisher states that these singers could be
professional storytellers, magicians, gossipmongers or musicians (1).
He conveys that among the Wolofs, a Sudanese tribe, bands of singers
recited family and national history to the accompaniment of musical
instruments (1).
Preservation of the laws, customs, and historical records of the
culture were transported mouth to mouth by living encyclopedias (2).
These living encyclopedias possessed songs for all of lifes predicaments
and had the ability to improvise and create impromptu songs. African
and African American songs were also passed down orally from parents
to children at home or during social gatherings. Consequently, festivals
were a gathering place for African American slaves to listen to tales and
songs of old Africa. Oral tradition was a significant factor in the survival
and cultural awareness of the shared attachments within the African
American identity.
Essentially, griots and storytellers were human documents who
had considerable impact upon the African American cultural tapestry.
The repetitious quality of the phraseology may be attributed to the singer
and past generations of oral tradition. Linda Goss and Clay Goss relay
that many of the stories of life mirrored daily events and were sung by
griots retelling the story of those who have come before . .
reinvigorating the essential wisdoms for the life of the human community
42


and its future (23). The roots of African American songs of lament are
deeply imbedded in the bedrock of African culture.
In Native American culture, the memory of stoiytellers and oral
tradition are also used to express the continuities of life. Mihesuah
states that all tribes have a strong oral tradition (38). Neil Campbell
and Alasdair Kean state that as long as the stories survive and are
passed on, the native peoples retain their traditions, history and identity,
reminding them of their roots in the land .. their sense of self (50).
Again, the identity of the self is perpetuated through past histories and
traditions. The culture and history inform each generation of significant
information needed to grasp an intrinsic sense of self identity and
uniqueness. Their languages, dances, and stories of their ancestors are
kept intact through oral tradition.
Communication with the spirits is extremely important in the
Native American culture as healing is dependent upon the spirits, good
or evil. Vision experiences by healers enabled them to predict future
events and assess present situations or difficulties. The healers,
medicine men, would sing and pray to numerous spirits during
ceremonies, rituals, and social activities. Consequently, the ancient
culture retained its strength and die peoples devotion through traditional
songs and dances of their lineage performed at various functions. The
oral traditions of the Five Civilized Tribes in the 1800s survived in the
form of fables and legends about man and beast, deities, and witches
43


and other forces of evil (Readers Digest 81). The Readers Digest
Americas Fascinatingjndian Heritage stresses that contemporary
Indians have also taken a renewed interest in their ancient healing arts,
their songs, dances, and stories (396). The familial roots continue to
nourish and illuminate the role of oral tradition in the Native American
experience.
While griots voiced African American traditions and medicine
men chanted to Native American spirits, the Vietnamese literati
remained a vital part of village life. Similar to African American and
Native American storytellers, David Marr states that their roles were
those of local purveyors of wisdom, ritual... story recitations,
folk-singing, and composition of verses (141). The preservation of
Vietnamese cultural traditions and histories allowed information to be
passed along through the corridors of oral tradition and written text.
Oral tradition was utilized in religious ceremonies and other
ancestral-oriented rituals.
The Vietnamese literati communicated outside the village with the
educated elite and their less fortunate countrymen (141), thus enabling
the Vietnamese singing traditions to permeate many regions of Vietnam
society. Vietnamese folk music has remained unchanged for centuries
and is ancestor driven. According to Phong Nguyen, the term
traditional implies the convergence of folk and art music (12).
Everyone is encouraged to sing in the Vietnamese culture. The true
44


spirit of the Vietnamese people is evoked in popular folk songs and
poetry which, as artistic forms, are a natural language emitted from the
depths of their hearts. This culture which contains a wealth of
knowledge, has been overlooked and stereotyped as simple, unassuming
and passive. Oral traditions have kept the musical heritage vibrant
through multiple adversities--the roots stretching from the village level
and interacting with all segments of society.
Similarly, the transmission of Roma tradition is accomplished
through oral communication. Roma or Gypsy language is not written
and their rituals are not disclosed to non-Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca states
that it is a serious self-preserving code among Gypsies that their
customs, and even particular words, should not be made known to
outsiders (54). The transmission of oral traditions and storytelling is
disbursed in closed group encounters. Jean-Paul Cle'bert details that
the transmission is more willingly made by means of stories, songs,
recitations, or intoned psalms in the evening, around the campfire
(133).
The Roma have a lengthy history of rich cultural traditions.
Unfortunately, many of their traditions are not performed or discussed
outside of Roma control. The roots of their heart-rending music
encompasses recreational (dance music, entertainment) and songs of
lament. The Romas have given themselves permission to have an
identity without sharing their codes and language with outsiders, sharing
45


a nostalgia for improvised storytelling, and short simple folksongs.
(Fonseca 4). In Gypsy tradition, Fonseca describes their song poems as
mostly faceless, highly stylized distillations of collective experience
(5). The roots of their culture are embedded in gloom and tragedy as
they yearn for a home that is not there.
As evidenced in the discussion above, oral tradition and
storytelling encompass introspection (a looking-in at the beliefs and
values) and retrospection (a recounting of life stories after significant
events or incidents) as valuable tools of condensation. The seed of
culture is germinated or rooted in the soil of oral tradition through
majestic language and heart-stirring musical strains. This seed could not
survive in the shallow soil of rocky resistance~the roots must be planted
in fertile hearts and minds, nurtured by the continuation of cultural
traditions. The ideologies and oral traditions transfuse the cultural roots
with the foundational values, beliefs, and strengths that are the bedrocks
of the culture. The fragile roots of later generations would succumb to
assimilation without the deeply embedded cultural traditions. Oral
traditions, therefore, are solidified and conditioned by the ideologies and
thoughts of their pertinent culture.
The disbursal of songs of lament articulate and exemplify oral
traditions and storytelling in human form. The soil of identity is fitted for
fruitfulness as humanity becomes the recipient of an essence that
represses prejudices and impossibilities with strength gathered from past
46


generations, the roots. There are occasions on which it is imperative that
an individual share their inner struggles and history--to become a pilgrim
on a path where the ground has been tended and tilled with tender,
loving care.
Oral traditions and storytelling are significant vehicles of
communication that utilize music as a tool of transmittance. Oral
tradition will not always express itself in exactly the same manner or to
the same degree because the world contains a diverse population.
Musical characteristics of improvisation and individuality are employed
in songs of lament to accentuate differing degrees of struggle and
dissonance. Musical embellishments are able to capture the spirit and
soul of persons entering into the future experience, penetrating
personality, character, and conduct. Oral tradition and storytelling are
not musical elements, but they are significant vehicles of communication
that apply music and its message as instruments of thoughts and actions
bringing repose, producing healing, and binding up wounds of struggle.
Voices of oral tradition are tools of self-preservation communicated by
music symbols in a creative intercultural, cross-cultural interaction.
Summary
Replication is a vital part of oral tradition, storytelling, and the
values of the culture. Griots, unknown bards, literati, medicine men, and
storytellers relayed music, memories, and the history of past generations.


Musical traditions were passed along by living encyclopedias and
human documents, and are a significant factor in the survival and
cultural awareness of the shared attachments within the African
American, Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma cultural identities.
The roots of each of these past-oriented cultures songs of lament are
deeply imbedded in their sense of self.
Oral tradition encompasses introspection and retrospection as
valuable tools of condensation. The seed of culture is germinated or
rooted in the soil of oral tradition through poetics and musical strains.
Hence, oral tradition and storytelling are notable vehicles of
communication that apply music as an instrument of thoughts and
actions, self-preservation, and cross-cultural interaction. The next
section will discuss how music theory can inform our understanding of
songs of lament.
Music Theory: Concepts and Techniques
Applicable to Songs of Lament
An examination of music theory, concepts and techniques
employed in songs of lament further an understanding and grasp of these
vehicles of communication. The differing genres of songs of lament all
contain primal elements of music theory. Most songs of lament are
simple melodies that have retained their validity and value. Joseph Brye
states that a melody is a succession of single tones perceived by the
48


mind as a unity (Brye 7). A melody is so connected as to establish a
musical entity. Leon Stein conveys that an individual musical tune is
correct in relation to the rhythmic, harmonic, and intervallic
determinants (Stein 259) of a particular style. The unified blending of
the parts constitutes the whole or the melody. All of the segments work
harmoniously in conjunction with each other and join their separate
elements to form a cohesiveness in a musical system.
However, although a melody is composed following the principles
and accepting the implied presumptions of a particular style, a good
melody continues its effectiveness despite changing idiosyncrasies of
style (melody, harmony, structure, and color). This self-sufficient form
is determined by the environment in which the song was written. For
example, a chant is an example of a single-line melody or one sound. A
single melodic line is also called monophonic or monodic when it is
unaccompanied. For example, monodic melodies found in songs of
lament were used by the Roma.
Songs of sorrow can contain modified melodies or heterophony.
Joseph Machlis defines heterophony as a polyphony in which each line
functions as a practically independent entity (554). Heterophony is an
important style characteristic of Vietnamese and African American
music styles. The melody line is modified by the adding or omission of
certain notes in a section of the melody.
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The melody line is the soulthe very essence or spirit of the
composition. The personal characteristics of the composer are revealed
in this unit of the song. Songs of lament give voice to the composers
identity as the composer reaches the listener with the meaning through
the melodic lines intensity and final resolution at the end of the song. In
many instances, for example, the listener is given an impression of crisis
met and overcome through the phrasing and final release of the melodic
progression.
The impression of crisis is explained through dissonancean
urgency to move to a release of tension. Dissonance is the perceived
restlessness and tension in music, and dissonance can add a sense of
suspense, conflict, harshness, and unpleasantness to the ear of the
listener. Joseph Brye, a professor of Music, defines dissonance as a
sound which is unstable, more active, and which needs to resolve to a
consonant interval (21). Songs of lament convey conflictual
relationships embellished by the lack of stability in lifes circumstances.
While the melody is the soul of the song, rhythm is the heartbeat.
Joseph Machlis states that it is referred to as the controlled movement
of music in time (20). The rhythm shapes, molds and binds the melody
and the notes. It consists of everything pertaining to the duration
attributes of musical sounds. Without rhythm, there is no melody; there
is no music. It supplies the necessary elements for life within musicthe
50


very breath of the composition. Within rhythm is contained a vital
element of songs of lament-syncopation.
Joseph Machlis states that syncopation is a deliberate upsetting
of the normal accent (20). Syncopation causes a shift from the strong
beat to the weak beat or pulse. Syncopated rhythms are found in all
songs of lament whether they are chants or the blues. Many times,
percussion instruments are used to highlight the syncopated beats in
music. The accompaniment of instruments lends color and expression to
the text. Leon Stein defines color as the particular quality or timbre of
a tone resulting from the number, vibration rate, and relative intensity of
its harmonics or overtones (257).
Most songs of lament of the Native Americans, Roma,
Vietnamese, and African Americans utilize accompaniment.
Accompaniment many times consisted of the employment of one or a
variety of stringed instruments, drums, piano, foot tapping or
handclapping. Instrumentation or accompaniment assists the vocal
composition as the instruments are utilized to play in the background and
accentuate the rhythm.
Vocal forms of songs were sometimes called strophic (194). Even
though strophic does not indicate a particular pattern (177), Stein
defines a strophic song as one in which the same melody and the same
pattern is used for successive stanzas, as in a hymn or folk song (177).
One form or musical structure of a vocal song is the a capella
51


presentation. Leon Stein defines a capella as a song without
accompaniment (179). There are a number of funeral dirges, chants,
and African American spirituals that are sung a capella.
Vocal songs may also be classified as syllabic or call and
response. Forms of these styles are employed by all four groups within
this study in chants. Syllabic songs use one note per syllable in a
melody. Call and response singing consists of alternations between a
leader and the chorus.
Recognizable forms, universal concepts, and techniques of music
are used in songs of lament. The longevity of music and its universal
appeal accent the employment of humankinds ability to communicate
through a systematic, understandable agency. Even though our words
may be different, our hearts may sing the same melody and employ the
same musical techniques. Yehudi Menuhi and Curtis W. Davis state that
for music to speak to us ... it needs a recognizable form corresponding
to something in our own being (Menuhin and Davis 31). Music is
used to transport the thoughts of humankind. Understanding the
application of music theory helps to make the journey meaningful and
logical.
Summary
The differing genres of songs of lament all contain primal elements
52


of music theoiy. All of the segments of the melody work harmoniously
in conjunction with each other and join their separate elements to form a
cohesiveness in a musical system. A particular style contains melody,
harmony, structure, and color, and is determined by the environment in
which the song was written. The melody line is the soulthe very
essence or spirit of the musical composition. Songs of lament give voice
to the composers identity, and the impression of crisis is explained
through the employment of dissonance.
Rhythm is the heartbeat of songs of lament because it supplies the
necessary elements for life within the music, including syncopation.
Instrumentation or accompaniment assists the vocal composition through
accentuation of the rhythm. A capella and call and response are
examples of vocal forms found in songs of lament. Consequently,
recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, and techniques
of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the thoughts of
humankind through a systematic, understandable agency. The next
section will examine methods of research which are applicable in
understanding the universality of songs of lament: a genre analysis,
language tools, and an examination of relevant songs of lament from the
African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures,
the stylistic characteristics of the music, and the organizing principle.
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CHAPTER 3
METHOD OF RESEARCH
Genre Analysis: Substantive and Stylistic Elements
The central research question posed by this thesis is to determine
the universal qualities of songs of lament across cultures. The
perspective used to study the songs of lament of the African American,
Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures is genre analysis.
Sonya Foss states that this rhetorical analysis is rooted in the
assumption that certain types of situations provoke similar needs and
expectations among audiences and thus call for particular kinds of
rhetoric (225). Genre analysis provides a lens to examine the
framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations pertinent to
songs of lament. This method is applicable because as Foss states,
genres represent conventionalized patterns for thought or structures for
meaning ... an index to the social reality in which they figure (226).
The meanings of songs of lament are social realities that reflect beliefs,
attitudes, and values of these four cultures.
A genre analysis renders a fuller picture of the evolution of
rhetoric in a culture and of the threads that unite the rhetoric of a culture
across seemingly diverse time periods and settings (227). By utilizing
the elements or ingredients that universalize songs of lament from
54


various past-oriented cultures, and a contemporary genre, one is able to
establish an awareness of overall similarities and differences. The
uniqueness of songs of lament are viewed through three elements:
situational requirements, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the
organizing principle.
The foundation of genre analysis can be traced to Aristotle.
Richard Janko asserts that Aristotle felt poetry was a representation
using rhythm, speech and melody ... represent characters, sufferings,
and actions, by means of rhythms given form (1). There are two vital
parts of tragedy, complication and solution. The poetics of songs of
lament are given form through musical melodies and rhythmic stylings.
Not only did Aristotle view the representation of rhythm, speech and
melody within tragedy, but also believed it to be a cathartic process.
Aristotle utilized the cathartic process in tragedy as a
representation of painful or destructive events, in which Janko states
tragedy arouses pity, terror and other painful emotions ... and so
stimulates these emotions as to relieve them by giving them moderate
and harmless exercise ... (xix~xx). The arousal of pity, terror, and
other emotional expression is the means to catharsis. The complications
of life are assuaged through emotional responses embedded in the lyrics
and musical components of songs of lament linked to human agency.
The songs of lament that were selected in this study to be
analyzed will furnish an initial answer to the question of whether songs
55


of lament are universal. Analyzation of songs of lament, utilizing the
genre analysis, include an observation of similarities in response to
particular situations; a collection of songs of lament occurring in similar
situations; an analysis of songs of lament to ascertain if they share
substantive and stylistic characteristics, and formulation of the
organizing principle of the songs of lament. This evaluation entails
specific songs of lament and their success in fulfilling the situational,
substantive, and stylistic characteristics of this genre. The evaluation
includes ten songs of lament from the four separate cultures in the study.
The sample includes songs from the blues, folktunes, chants, art songs,
funeral laments or dirges, and spirituals. The following songs of lament
were used in this study to ascertain the similarities of the artifact:
(The Blues)
Willow Weep For Me Words and Music by Ann Ronell
(Feather 136-139)
Oh Lordwhy did you send the darkness to me? ...
Wheres the light Im longing to see ... youve
gone and left nothing to me .. listen willow and
weep for me .. say that love has sinned ..
Bend your branches . cover me . .
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(Folktunes)
Song of the Soldiers Wife
Traditional Vietnamese (Nguyen and Campbell 76-77)
When all through earth and heaven rise dust storms,
how hard and rough, the road a woman walks ...
The Emperor, leaning on his precious sword,
at midnight calls for war and sets the day...
A Battle Lament By the Dakota Sioux
Traditional Native American folktune (Deloria 168)
My son, you went off
for a little while
You are staying away too long!
Roma folktune (No title)
Words by Wlisocki (Cle'bert 113)
I have never known my father ... I lack friends ...
You only, oh my violin, accompany me in the
world ... I play a song on my violin,
And silence hunger and grief. .
The Aftermath Words by Dimiter Golemanov
Gypsy folktune (Kenrick and Puxon 187)
The upright stone stares angrily . From within
a hidden voice tries to send out a song .. Hush,
Gypsies! Let them sleep beneath the flowers ...
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Halt, Gypsies! May all our children have their strength.
(Chants)
Words of Song by Patrick M. Mendoza (No title)
Native American (Mendoza 165)
Rising from the mists of mom... the dawns
light... The wind still sings of sorrow bom,
On the banks of the Big Sand.
(Art Songs / Opera)
Dear Husband from Songs of the Slave By Kirke Mechem
Dear Husband: Come this fall with fail. I want
to see you so much. This is the one bright hope
I have. If you do not get me. Somebody else will.
It is said that Master will sell me ... Oh that
blessed hour when I shall see you once more ...
(Funeral Lament / Dirge)
Khoc than Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North
Traditional Vietnamese
cO father, before your heavenly coffin, I beg you to
hear this expression of our feelings ... we mourn
for you ... I cry, I weep ... I curse the wicked
creator who has parted us .. Let us bum incense.
Let us bow our heads, put our hands together and
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pray that your soul here present may witness our grief.
(Spirituals)
Deep River Traditional African American
(Johnson and Johnson 100-103)
Deep river, my home is over Jordan,
Deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into
campground . That promised land, that land,
where all is peace? Walk into heaven...
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
Traditional African American (Johnson and Johnson 30-33)
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child .. .
A long ways from home . Sometimes I feel like
Im almost gone . Way up in de heabnly lan.. .
Genre analysis is applicable for the study of songs of lament as it
gives an overall view of the general categoiy through the unmasking of
specific similarities. The first element, situational requirements as Foss
describes are the perception of conditions in a situation that call forth
particular kinds of rhetorical responses (226). Consequently, in order
for the artifact to exist, certain conditions must be present. The elements
of tragedy, including struggle, sorrow, and trials and tribulations, are
prevalent themes in African American, Vietnamese, Native American,
and Roma cultures.
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The histories of the peoples in the African American, Vietnamese,
Native American, and Roma cultures as described in Chapter One are
replete with crisis reflected in individual and social conditions. The
tragic stimulus is found in everyday life, highlighted by the significant
historical tragedies suffered by these groups. Circumstances in the
history of each of these cultures created eventful rhetorical
obstaclesreasons for the disruption and disorder in the lives of these
people. The need for the tragic stimulus is paramount in the situational
context of songs of lament.
The next stage of genre analysis finds the similarities in the
artifacts (songs of lament) and their importance or unimportance to the
genre. Foss states that substantive characteristics are features of the
rhetoric chosen by the rhetor to respond to the perceived requirements of
particular situations (226). The stylistic characteristics are rhetorical
forms or features of the artifact. The combination of substantive and
stylistic elements unmask the meanings present within the artifact,
therefore the stylistic element represents this fusion.
Critical substantive and stylistic characteristics are evident in the
dynamic of these created fusions, giving meaning and validity to tragedy
or struggle. In this study, substantive characteristics will be identified
through the text/language of the songs, and stylistic characteristics will
be explored in the musical element. Traditional folk song musical
60


structures were used by diverse groups to express their situational
positions and record their experiences and histories.
The third element in this method is the organizing principle. Foss
states that it is the root term or notion that serves as an umbrella for the
various characteristic features of the rhetoric (226). The substantive
and stylistic elements are vital to the defining characteristics of this
genre.
The substantive and stylistic elements together comprise the
universal elements of songs of lament across cultures. The lyrics or
poetics, contain language codes and imagery. Songs of lament may offer
a solution that does not visibly disrupt the perceived structures of the
dominant culture, yet forcefully calling for social change through
language codes and imagery. The combination of music, rhythm, and
poetics are rudimentary to the similarity of oral tradition and storytelling.
Oral tradition and storytelling are viable vehicles of communication
through which songs of lament continue to travel. Familial roots nourish
the roles of the elements.
Summary
The genre analysis is pertinent in an analysis of the songs of
lament as it unmasks the substantive and stylistic features shared in these
artifacts. The purpose of this cross-cultural study is to examine the
framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations pertinent to
61


songs of lament to find out if they are universal. The uniqueness and
universality of songs of lament can be viewed through situational
requirements, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing
principle. The next section will examine the substantive elements of
songs of lament that envelope the lyrics and message through language.
Substantive Elements
The analysis of the lyrics provides a method to analyze the
substantive similarities of songs of lament. Specific substantive elements
of each of the four cultures songs will provide a basis for identifying
commonalities. To start, spoken and written language is used to create
messages, allowing communication with others. In songs of lament, the
lyrics, utilize various language tools to transmit the messages of
individual or collective voices. Language tools are varying techniques
and instruments of verbal and nonverbal communication that influence
the way people think and comprehend the world. An examination of
certain language tools employed in songs of lament encourage a better
understanding of the codes and imagery practiced by the African
American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures.
Language tools provide a safety valve and shared communication
techniques in rituals, ceremonies, and everyday life.
Coded messages were applied as a safety valve because of
atrocities committed upon marginalized cultures by the dominant culture,
62


while common interpretations were utilized by both the dominant and the
marginalized group. Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Koester state that
meanings are created and shared by groups of people as they participate
in the ordinary and everyday activities that form the context of common
interpretations (27). Language imagery and codes were used to
communicate an understandable meaning of the intended effects or
specific utterances found in songs of lament.
The transmission of songs of lament is an incorporation of
symbols of hope and renewal for emotional release and catharsis. The
world has been able to equate the lived experiences of pain and soulful
desolation with music and language codes. Pragmatics are a component
of all verbal codes and is defined by Lustig and Koester as the effect of
language on human perceptions and behaviors (177). A well-known
traditional spiritual, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, speaks
of soulful desolation and homea place of comfort, peace, and
security. The trial-weary soul is able to express its heartache and release
it by praying
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child ..
A long ways from home, A long ways from home.
(Johnson and Johnson 30-33)
Codes are selected components of language used according to a
particular interaction with certain individuals; a system of symbols used
in verbal and nonverbal communication. The spirituals used various
language codes to signify home: Canaan, Campground, Promised Land,
63


and Heaven (Silverman 19). Yet, the general knowledge among the
slaves conveyed the double meanings of these words to signify Africa,
the free states, Canada, or Liberia. This style of song clothes itself in the
hope for freedom in the midst of human struggle, moving the slaves from
one position to another through language codes.
Language codes kept outsiders from understanding the correct
meaning, thereby employing the code as a safety valve. The slaves
needed to convey messages to one another, and it was intended that the
outsiders would not comprehend the fullness of the codes. Another
traditional African American spiritual, Deep River, uses the Jordan
River as a code (Silverman 20) for the Ohio River, the Atlantic Ocean or
a similar body of water between the North and the South. Codes in
songs of lament can be used to exchange encouragement and information
about uprisings or flights.
Linda Goss and Clay Goss convey an example of a coded
message used in the song, Follow the Risen Lord (90). The words to
the song were changed to Follow the Drinking Gourd, (90) which
refers to the path that one can take to the North by following the Big
Dipper and its handle. A dipper, carved out of a gourd, was a
commonplace instrument used by the slaves to take a drink of water.
They were used as a symbol of freedom when hung over the doorways
of an Underground Railroad station (a station of farmhouses or other
shelters owned by abolitionists).
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Songs of lament may also contain poetics accented by vivid
imagery, with special interest placed upon metaphoric figures of speech
(summary images are used to represent or describe what is). The
language is personified, forceful and direct, and the use of rhyme was not
important. An example of this type of language imagery can be viewed
in a Vietnamese funeral lament, Khoc than, recorded in Vietnam:
Funeral Music from the North.
O father, before your heavenly coffin, I beg you to
hear this expression .. You are for us like a vast
sky and a deep sea which we will never forget...
In this phrase, the children express their long-lasting memory for the
father. Another metaphoric Vietnamese description used by Nguyen Ba
Hoc, a literatus, describes Vietnam as a grand old house left behind by
parents for their children (Marr 331). Metaphors are used to not only
describe human objects, but inanimate objects as well.
After the tragedies of the Vietnamese War, Vietnam was viewed
in songs of lament through a variety of imageries. David Marr states that
Vietnam was viewed as old and new houses (332) or in the image of
a frog at the bottom of the well, looking upward and remaining
sublimely confident (331). In an additional instance, Marr states that
another image was that of a child wandering aimlessly in a dark jungle
who suddenly hacked his way out and discovered a clear path (331).
Hope emanates from dark circumstances and breaks forth in confidence,
newness, and clear paths.
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Native American chants also contain language codes. In the
historical guide, Readers Digest Americas Fascinating Indian Heritage,
some of the Native American metaphors are detailed: metal breasts
signifies Indian police (202); raven signifies wealth, illness, death or
turmoil (308); four skeletons signifies four generations (17), and fat
moon signifies the month of April (70). The Native Americans
communicate with the spirits through songs of lament as they seek to
obtain their guidance.
The Roma also have a coded language, and nonverbal codes and
symbols are used to pass on information within the culture. However,
the veneration for the violin as the symbol for a faithful companion that
can be counted on to accompany the individual in any circumstance can
be gleaned from a folktune by Wlisocki which states
... And my loved one departed angiy;
You only, oh my violin,
Accompany me in the world ... (Cle'bert 113)
In another Roma song of lament, The Aftermath, voices from deceased
Gypsies, hidden in unknown graves, are signified as they try to send out
a song to give the children strength. Language codes and imagery are
significant communication tools used by many diverse cultures.
Songs of lament provide these diverse cultures with an
understanding of their identity, essence, and strength. The tragedy of
different time periods are viewed through the framework of songs of
66


lament. Cultural heritage is a force that is larger than the power of
human bondage, war, struggle, and genocide. Varied histories, inner
experiences, cultural heritage, and traditions perpetuates the landscape of
the identity of the self through cultural patterns. Examples are gleaned
from Dear Husband as the wife proclaims her identity as a slave
through the message. She is aware of the consequences of her husbands
absence as she proclaims, If you do not get me. Somebody else will. It
is said that Master will sell me .. (Songs of the Slave). A life that is
synonymous with wandering is encapsulated in a Roma folktune as a
Gypsy proclaims, I have never known my father, and I lack friends.
(Cle'bert 113). Moving from place to place, disallowed long-term
friendships to be established or formed. Another example is a chant
used by the Native Americans. In this song by Patrick M. Mendoza,
remembrance of an historical event (Mendoza 165) on the banks of the
Big Sand identifies the time period of this tragedy.
Cultural patterns also contains beliefs, values, and norms of the
culture. Belief systems are embodied in spiritual or religious realms
through rituals, myths, and ceremonies. The Vietnamese use the funeral
ritual to communicate with the deceased. The children of the deceased
father implore him to hear their grief as they bum incense and pray. In a
song from Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North, Khoc than, the
funeral lament declares
... Let us bum incense. Let us bow our heads,
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put our hands together and pray that your soul here
present may witness our grief.
Likewise the Native Americans speak to the spirits of warriors killed in
battle. In A Battle Lament, members of the tribe declare their lament
to the spirit of a warrior as they cry
My son, you went off for a little while
You are staying away too long! (Deloria 168)
In the same manner, African American slaves conversed with their
Lord as they sought consolation. In the African American spiritual,
Deep River, the soul that was in bondage declared, Lord, I want to
cross over into campground (Johnson and Johnson 100-103). The past
and future are connected through ancient values, beliefs, and traditions.
The third similarity is veneration for a person, place, or thing such
as the loss of freedom, land, a loved one or a beloved possession.
Willow Weep For Me is the veneration for a person who has gone and
left nothing but their memory. Ann Ronells words resound with somber
utterings as she states, Oh, Loveonce we met by the old willow tree,
now youve gone and left nothing to me, nothing but a sweet memory
(Feather 136-139). While the pains of love are expressed to a person,
the Roma folktune by Wlisocki focuses on the veneration for an
instrument. The song states, . . You only, oh my violin, accompany
me in the world . . (Cle'bert 113). The violin encapsulated security
and companionship to an otherwise lonely and tragic existence. The
veneration for a place is depicted in the song, Deep River. The
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traditional African American spiritual venerates the campground, the
promised land and heaven-symbolic images of freedom. The message
of this song states, ... my home is over Jordan ... I want to cross over
into campground ... that promised land . . (Johnson and Johnson
100-103). Because of the tragedies suffered and endured by humankind,
a yearning or veneration for some one, some place, or some thing exists.
The fourth similarity is a common enemy or evil. The common
enemy is encapsulated in harmful motivations and influences. Examples
are gleaned through the perilous effects of the hungry, greedy pockets of
slaveholders, colonialization, foreign invaders, and the political and
social restraints of the dominant culture (including a profane criteria of
purity). Songs of lament confront individual and collective experiences
of tragedy or struggle caused by a common enemy. The common enemy
in Dear Husband was the slave owner who was driven by greed. The
slave knew that if her husband did not come to redeem her, she and their
children would be sold away for money. Her frightened words state that
If you do not get me. Somebody else will. It is said that Master will
sell me (Songs of the Slave). In these instances of crisis, the people
could react in numerous ways: hatred, violence, heartbreak or longing.
Songs of lament are an alternative reaction to unjust suffering. In
Wlisocks Roma folktune, he states that my violin has two pals who eat
my very marrow, Love and Hunger theyre called and accompany me, a
musician ... (Cle'bert 113). Despised by the dominant culture, hunger
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became a constant companion to the musicians who wandered from town
to town grinding out an existence and relying on the greed of the
dominant culture. Songs of lament are necessary to combat the
repugnant clutches of unjust, harmful actions. The intolerance of
humankind resulted in cultural biases, and laws were passed by the
dominant cultures to keep people in subjection, denying free thought and
individualism. Women were subjected to mistreatment and economic
woes in Vietnam because of the dominant culture. In the folktune,
Song of the Soldiers Wife, life was hard for women left behind by
their husbands departure. Men were tom from their families by the
greedy hands of colonialization. Mistreatment, economic woes,
relocations, heartbreak, physical cruelty, coercion, greed, and intolerance
are harmful devices employed to subject individuals or groups to the rule
of the dominant culture. The thread of a common enemy or evil unites
these cultures across time periods and settings. One wife laments,
When all through earth and heaven rise dust storms, how hard and
rough, the road a woman walks! (Nguyen and Campbell 76-77).
The fifth similarity is personification of the tragic situation through
the identification with the tragedy. In Willow Weep For Me, the
darkness is sent to an individual through the pronoun, me. The victim
states, Oh Lordwhy did you send the darkness to me? (Feather
136-139). In the Roma folktune by Wlisocki, the pronoun I is utilized
as the injured party as they state I have never known my father, and I
70


lack friends ... I hear no money in my pocket, I play a song on my
violin,.. . (Cle'bert 113). In Dear Husband the wife says I want to
see you so much... If I thought I should never see you again .. .
(Songs of the Slave) Also, in the African American spiritual Sometimes
I Feel Like A Motherless Child, the individual slave conveys the
feelings of the collective spirit of those tom away from their mothers
arms as he/she states, sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
... sometimes I feel like Im almost gone .. . (Johnson and Johnson
30-33). Whether the victim was an individual or a collective agency, the
message in songs of lament encapsulated their emotions, situations, and
cultural patterns.
The next similarity is emotional release or catharsis. Foss states
when a generic form is used by a rhetor it creates expectations in the
audience members ... who expect a particular style and certain types of
content from particular types of rhetoric (233). Songs of lament
become a means for combating the potentially destructive internal
psychological damage that could be inflicted by the tragedy
experiencea common voice for the tragedy, despair, and sorrow of
downtrodden people. In the traditional African American spiritual,
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, the slave focuses on a
place outside of their situation. The song relays this aspect as it states,
sometimes I feel like Im almost gone; way up in de heabnly lan
(Johnson and Johnson 30-33). The heavenly land was an emotional
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solution to the tenacious adversity caused by humankind. In A Battle
Lament, a traditional Native American folktune by the Dakota Sioux,
the sorrowful could escape the painful separation of a loved one by
communicating to a fallen warrior in the corridor of grief. In the art
song, Dear Husband, the wife could escape to an emotional resolution
by concentrating on the future arrival of her husband. The expected
emotional release is relayed through the musical structure, musical
elements, and the poetics of the languagean emotional solution,
resolution, and corridor for grief.
Finally, the seventh similarity is hope. An intricate weaving of
values and beliefs are framed through a musical, poetic medium that
could offer an avenue of redemption, regeneration, and hope through
dangers seen and unseen. Songs of lament offer an emphasis on crisis
and redemption through the vision of the future. A message of hope
emanates that the future will be a brighter place where someone hears
and cares of ones plight. A wife conveys her hope of reunion with her
husband in the song Dear Husband as she states, I want to see you so
much. This is the one bright hope I have ... Oh that blessed hour when
I shall see you once more! (Songs of the Slave). His return would
mean that she and their children would not be sold away as the fall
descends upon them. Willow Weep For Me is a blues song that relays
the despair of unrequieted love and the hope of release in an outward
image of inward pain. The sufferer looks to the willow tree to hide their
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sorrow in its branches when the shadows fall. The message of the
wounded soul states,
Bend your branches down along the ground
and cover me, When the shadows fall, bend on
willow weep for me. (Feather 136-139)
Despite tragedy, hope bridges tragedy to life as a source of power
and provision through a musical, rhythmic, and poetic form of
communication. In a Gypsy folktune, The Aftermath, Golemanov
conveys the hope from the hidden voices of deceased Gypsies who lie in
unmarked resting places along the roadways. The wanderers must listen
intently to hear the messages of strength from the hidden voices. The
song declares Halt, Gypsies! May all our children have their strength
(Kenrick and Puxon 187). The hidden voices strength becomes
regenerated hope and a kind of existential freedom.
The following table indicates the seven substantive characteristics
that have been identified in the songs of lament under study :
Table 3.1
SUBSTANTIVE ELEMENTS
1) . Language codestools/codes
2) . Cultural patterns
3) . Veneration for a person, place, or thing
4) . A common enemy or evil stimulus that causes suffering
5) . Personalization
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Table 3.1 (cont.)
6) . Emotional release or catharsis
7) . Hope
Summary
In songs of lament, language tools are used as a safety valve and
as a means to provide shared communication techniques in rituals,
ceremonies, and everyday life. Language codes kept outsiders from
understanding the correct meaning and comprehension of the
information. Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an
understandable meaning of intended effects or specific utterances
through general knowledge among these cultures. Metaphoric figures of
speech are personified, forceful, and direct, and many represent hope
emanating from dark circumstances.
The coded message, cultural patterns, veneration for a person,
place or thing, a common enemy, personalization, emotional release or
catharsis, and hope are the foundational and substantive elements of
songs of lament. Sufficient substantive similarities were noted in this
cross-cultural study to illustrate the commonalities inherent in songs of
lament. These ingredients helped these cultures to hold on to reality,
hope, and the acceptance of life. The next section will examine songs of
lament through a genre analysis which views the stylistic elements of the
musical characteristics of songs of lament. The music elements in these


artifacts bond these songs together in a distinct unique genre. Even
though diverse cultures are discussed in this study, similarities in musical
structure, form, and style are universal implements of these artifacts.
Songs of lament musically transport the substance of the struggle into a
medium where others can experience the ambiance of tragedy.
Musics Examination of the Stylistic Elements
For music to speak to us,... it needs a
recognizable form corresponding to something in
our own being.
Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis (31)
The analysis of the musical structures of songs of lament is an
important tool with which to relay the similarities in this genre. Through
comparisons of style characteristics within the melodies and rhythms of
each culture and applicable artifacts, universal commonalities within the
global music community can be identified. Even though these songs
were composed during differing time periods, common musical threads
and instrumentations unite their purpose, power, and provision into
understandable communicable agencies. A genre analysis, therefore is
an appropriate examination method for individual study and research in
this area. The examination will focus on specific stylistic characteristics
of each of the four cultures songs of lament to identify general
similarities. In each of these four cultures, the melody line is the very
essence or spirit of the composition. It is systematic and understandable
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in a recognizable form. Similarly, rhythm, is the heartbeatit shapes,
molds, and binds the melody, lyrics, and notes. It supplies the necessary
elements for life within music, the very breath of the composition.
Music is the form of expression of songs of lament and contains
harmony, structure, color, intervailic determinants, heterophony,
dissonance, syncopation, instrumentation, and vocal forms.
First, the style characteristics of the African American spiritual
will be examined. African American spirituals contain the following
musical elements within the songs structure: call and response,
extemporaneous composition, improvisation, syncopated rhythm,
emotional shouts and moans, religious or spiritual symbolism, chants,
dissonance, strophic form, a capella or accompanied vocal compositions,
repetition of musical phrases and poetic lines, language codes and
imagery, and the prevalent use of duple meter and minor keys. The
duple meter signified that a cycle of two, four or eight beats were
employed as measurements. The use of minor keys, instead of major
keys, allowed the use of lamentable feelings and dissonance to be
portrayed through musical elementsflattened spirits used flattened
notes. Common instruments utilized by the slaves to accompany these
songs were: drums, fiddles, banjos, homemade string instruments, and
violins.
An example of these style characteristics can be found in
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. This song is written in the
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key of e minor and should be sung mournfully. The duple meter is used
because there are four beats to a measure, and there are dynamic and
tempo gradations. The dynamics change constantly as crescendos and
decrescendos are employed in almost every measure-causing softness
and loudness to permeate the landscape of the music. The tempo also
changes within the text, and the intervals move consistently with thirds,
fourths, fifths, and even octave leaps. The octave leaps uncover the
downtrodden condition to a coveted hope or anticipation.
A wide range of musical embellishments are used in African
American spirituals including: accents, triplets, chromaticism, and
altered chords. The musical embellishment anticipates the improvisatory
presentation by the vocalists or accompanists, and it relays the
dissonance within this mournful song. Repetition of the lyrics or
sequences and the musical phrasing, as well as a constant harmonic
rhythmic beat in the left hand accompaniment reveals the heavy
syncopation of the rhythm. The thematic sections and phrases are
clearly articulated conveying a strophic form (normal word and syllable
stress) in the text-setting. The song finally ends with an authentic
cadence signifying the resolution of the musical and thematic
presentations.
Like African American spirituals, Native American songs of
lament have several identifiable style characteristics which are examined
next. These characteristics include: high-pitched howls, shouts,
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improvisation, emotional variety, chants, repetition, strophic form,
high-trilling vocalizations, dissonance, minor keys, ornamentation
through embellishment, duple meter, syncopated rhythms, mythical or
spiritual themes, wide and narrow medodic ranges, language codes and
imagery, falsetto voices, and responsorial techniques. The principle
instruments are: drums, rattles, notched sticks, animal scapula bones,
fiddles, and gourds. The instruments were constructed from available
items found in the environment.
Singing is the prevalent form of musical expression for the Native
American culture. Readers Digest: Americas Fascinating Indian
Heritage reveals that a Native American song did not necessarily need
words; it needed feeling (178). In the song, A Battle Lament, a short
strophic form is used in this chant. Other characteristics include
emotional variety, high-pitched howls, dissonance, embellished
vocalization, musical resolution (cadence), and repetition. When
performed, this song is to be repeated four times. The Native American
songs of lament are short and maybe repeated or combined into
sequences or series containing brief sentences that usually refer to myths,
events or emotions. Vine Deloria, Jr. states that songs, dances, sweats,
music, drumming and ceremonies are usually not to be recorded or
videotaped (71). This practice continues even to the present time.
The third review of stylistic musical elements encompasses the
Vietnamese songs of lament. The style characteristics include:
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ornamentation, duple meter rhythms, improvisation (spontaneity),
repetition, monophonic and heterophonic structures, duple rhythms,
strophic forms, chants, a capella or instrumental compositions,
syncopated rhythms, imitation, embellished melodies, language codes or
imagery, spiritual themes, responsorial, decorative, eadential, and
melismatic. The principle instruments are: drams, strings (plucked lutes,
zithers, bowed fiddles, and hammered dulcimers), wooden clappers,
wooden or bamboo or bronze bells, flutes, oboes, and mouth organs.
It is important to note that the sung language contains linguistic
inflections which allows the music and spoken language to intertwine.
Phong Thuyet Nguyen and Patricia Shehan Campbell reiterate that the
linguistic inflection which subtlely rises and falls in pitch has given way
to vocal music that is decorative and melismatic, while instrumental
performance hints at language patterns through its modal
ornamentations (28). A spiritual link is articulated as the traditional
songs and instrumental music are a particularly powerfully spiritual link
to their ancestral and brilliant past (21). Nguyen and Campbell state
that funerals and commemoration days of the dead are ritualized with
music and songs, representing gratitude of the living toward the dead
(22). The funeral is accompanied by a band or orchestra.
An example of a Vietnamese funeral song is Khoc than. This
heterophonic song requires a band or orchestra to accompany the
vocalists. It is a long strophic form with language imagery, repetition or
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sequencing of musical phrasing, ornamentation, dynamic and tempo
gradations, and vocal embellishment. The natural voice inflections
expose the decorative, melismatic, and improvisatory qualities of this
genre. The band or orchestra utilize duple rhythms and a strong,
accentuation of the syncopated rhythm is relayed through the drums.
The stylistic characteristics of the Roma culture also are clearly
identifiable in their musical style. Isabel Fonseca states that most Gypsy
songs are wringing laments of poverty', impossible love, and, later,
yearning for a lost freedom (4). The characteristics include: magical
themes, rhythmic freedom (rhythms change constantly), rhythmic and
vocal variety, flexibility, plaintive melancholy, chromaticism, much
embellishment, imitation, short and long strophie forms, wailing,
syncopation, dissonance, ornamentation, language imagery, repetition,
duple meter, dynamic changes, responsorial sections, and cadences. The
principle instrumentations include the use of the following: violins,
cymbals, lutes, flutes, pan-pipes, bagpipes, and tambourines.
Ritual wailing is utilized at funerals, and Martin Block states that
their songs of lament produces in them a feeling of romantic exaltation
which temporarily obscures the suffering and hatred .. affording them
glimpses of a peace of mind ... (220). Because the Roma do not
worship heroes (241), their funerals are often lively ceremonies. The
Roma culture believes in magic and spells, and adopts the folk music of
the indigenous populations. Block states that their music is a blend of
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Oriental rhythm and European folk-tunes found by the gypsies in the
countries of their adoption (226).
An example of a Roma song of lament is an untitled folktune by
Wlisocki (Cle'bert 113). This song is structured in the strophic form
with much rhythmic freedom and embellishment as it imitates the
emotions through instrumental and vocal dexterity. The melody is
embroidered with ornamentation, dissonance, sequencing, repetition of
musical phrases, and syncopated rhythms. The Roma convey
syncopation through the instruments or mouth music (Fonseca 106)
that imitates the sound of drum strokes. While similarities have been
noted in the songs of the African American, Native American,
Vietnamese, and Roma cultures, there are also common elements that
can be gleaned through the review of art songs and the blues.
The next analysis examines the art song Dear Husband. It is a
long strophic form with syncopated rhythms accented by the
accompaniment instruments. This particular art song is not written in
duple meter, but there are three beats per measure. The c minor key is
utilized and dynamic and tempo gradations are used throughout the
composition through crescendos, decrescendos, and accents. Common
intervallic determinants include octave leaps, as well as thirds, fourths,
and fifths. The chordal structure is embellished, triplet rhythms are
employed, and the music rises and falls to the words of the text until it
81


resolves with an authentic cadence. This composition is surrounded by
repetition of musical phrasing, much chromaticism, and dissonance.
Art songs are found in most cultures, and the voice is usually
accompanied by instruments. Less freedom is afforded the vocalist to
improvise, yet there are musical elements utilized to give the ambiance
of independence and dexterity to the vocalist and accompanists. These
elements include the use of ornamentation, chromaticism, dissonance,
and embellishments in the emotion-laden voice, and chordal structures of
the composition. A variety of instruments can be utilized with art songs,
including an entire orchestra.
In the blues and the composition, Willow Weep For Me, the
stylistic characteristics include: embellished melodies, duple rhythms,
strong syncopated melodies, improvisation woven throughout,
interjection of asides (oh, play it, alright, etc.)--similar to a call and
response structure as the instrumentalist responds to the singers call,
falsettos, shouting, whining, moaning, growling, strophic forms,
ornamentation, dynamic and tempo gradations, cadences, dissonance,
chromaticism, and repetition. The principle instruments used are:
drums, fiddles, guitars, banjos, piano, and basses.
Willow Weep For Me is to be sung slowly. This song contains
triplets, duple meter (four beats to a measure), accentuation of the notes,
a very percussive bass line, and dynamic changes that range from soft to
very loud. It is written in the G major key and highlighted with
82


chromaticism, imitation, altered chordal embellishments, improvisation,
and changing intervals. The note drops an octave signifying the bending
down of the branches and the despair of the vocalist. The vocalist is
allowed to add asides, meanings, groanings, winnings, and other vocal
aerobics into the text. The call and response section is signified by the
vocal to instrumental response, and musical phrases are repeated.
The similar principle instruments used in songs of lament across
these cultures and time periods were drums and strings (violins, banjos,
fiddles, basses, guitars, etc.). The universal musical characteristics
contained in the melodies and rhythms of these cultures songs of lament
are: the strophic form, repetition of musical phrasing, call and response,
syncopated rhythms, embellishments, dynamic and tempo gradations,
cadences, changing intervals, harmony, and metered rhythms.
In summary', the following twelve stylistic elements and at least
three relevant examples across cultures are uncovered through the genre
analysis. These stylistic elements are listed in the following table:
Table 3.2
STYLISTIC ELEMENTS
1) . Strophic form: Willow Weep For Me, Song of the
Soldiers Wife, and A Battle Lament
2) . Repetition of musical phrasing or sequences: Willow Weep
For Me, Khoc than, and A Battle Lament
3) . Call and response or responsorial: Khoc than, A Battle
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Table 3.2 (cont.)
Lament, and Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
4) . Syncopated rhythms: Deep River, The Aftermath, and
the Native American chant by Patrick M. Mendoza (no title)
5) . Embellishment including chromaticism, ornamentation,
dissonance, melismatic, asides, improvisation, altered
chords: Dear Husband, Deep River, and the Roma
folktune by Wlisocki (no title)
6) . Dynamic gradations including crescendos, decrescendos, and
other dynamic indications: Willow Weep For Me, A
Battle Lament, and Song of the Soldiers Wife
7) . Tempo gradations: Dear Husband, Khoc than, and
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
8) . Cadences or resolutions: Deep River, The Aftermath,
and Song of the Soldiers Wife
9) . Changing intervals: Willow Weep For Me, A Battle
Lament, and The Aftermath
10) . Harmony (a capella or accompanied): Sometimes I Feel
Like A Motherless Child, The Aftermath, and Dear
Husband
11) . Metered rhythm: Khoc than, Deep River, and A
Battle Lament
12) . Musical instruments (across cultures): Khoc than, A
Battle Lament, and Deep River
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The Organizing Principle
Through the specific examination of songs of lament, the
organizing principle reveals that universal substantive and stylistic
characteristics are contained in die message, melody, and rhythm of
these artifacts. Consequently, the joining of these substantive and
stylistic elements across cultures results in the conclusion that songs of
lament are universal. The following table reveals the universal
substantive and stylistic elements in songs of lament:
Table 3.3
UNIVERSAL SUBSTANTIVE AND STYLISTIC ELEMENTS
Lyrics or poetics
Oral tradition and storytelling
History and cultural heritage
Cultural Patterns
Veneration for a person, place, or thing
A common enemy
Personalization
A catharsis or emotional release
Hope
The melody
The rhythm
Strophic form
Repetition of musical phrasing
Call and response
Syncopated rhythms
Embellishment
Dynamic gradations
Tempo gradations
Cadences or resolutions
Changing intervals
Harmony: acapella or accompanied
Metered rhythm
Common musical instruments
Examining the style characteristics of the African American,
Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma songs of lament relays the
similarities and differences of this musical genre. Even though these
songs were composed during differing time periods, common musical
characteristics and instrumentations are contained in these vessels used
85


to communicate situations of tragedy. The genre analysis is pertinent in
a survey of the musical style characteristics of songs of lament because it
uncovers the stylistic features contained within the universal language of
music.
Consequently, contemporary forms of this genre, the blues and art
songs also contain similarities of musical elements. Through the genre
analysis, it is clear that songs of lament are universal and contain
substantive and stylistic characteristics that are common and similar
through varying time periods and across cultures. The next section will
summarize this study on songs of lament and conclude the research
findings.


/-^T T A TVTrrrn A
i U A ^ H k a
v/xii u x i^IV t-
CONCLUSION OF STUDY
Lift up your eyes upon the day breaking for you. Give
birth again to the dream.
-Maya Angelou
The purpose or function of songs of lament is an emotional release
during death, crisis or tragedyoftentimes ending in a glimpse of hope in
the future. Songs of lament are found in a range of music genres such as
the blues, folktunes, spirituals, chants, art songs, and funeral dirges.
Even though there are different forms of design and implementation of
music and poetics between cultures, some songs still relay the same
situational stories of trials, tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for the
future. Suffering is a universal language, and anguish is expressed in
different ways. The cultures discussed in this study, African American,
Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma, know the ache of straggle and
tragedytheir existence includes sorrow. Music is a viable
understandable agency of communication which contains a wealth of
information about the internal struggles, outward manifestations, and
hopes of humankind.
The scope of this study illustrates the fortitude and strength of a
diversity of people signified through songs of lament. Tragedy, despair
or sorrow are not black, red, white or brownthey are colorless,
87


classless shades of sorrow. To put a color or face upon tragedy or
situate it within the realm of certain social categorizations, places
perimeters around its borders. Forms of tragedy are byproducts of life
emerging into the twilight of humankinds existence. Tragedy crosses
time periods, social structures, political configurations, and ethnic
orientations as humankind moves from one degree of life to another. As
humankind moves forward and circumnavigates the emotional, spiritual,
magical or mythological realms, songs of lament can give courage in a
crisis through the past experiences and present musical agencies of songs
of lament. The need for songs of lament will continue as long as
humankind resides on the edge of eternity.
The songs of lament in this study illuminate the poignant history of
the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures
reflecting social conditions, political manifestations, and crisis.
Everybodys voice is heard in them, thereby making them universal.
Past history is viewed as a tool to inform, reform, and transform present
ideologies. History can act as a salve or balm to assist in the healing of
emotional woundspromoting psychological and social well being;
radiating possibility, potentiality', and hope.
The tragic stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life.
Cultural bonds, such as music, remains a balm in Gilead; sunshine in the
rain of adversity. Countless similarities of abusive treatments permeate
the landscape of humankinds confrontations within itself through
88


historical evidence of economic, social and political subjugation, and
mistreatment. The voices of the downtrodden have been synthesized
across barriers for generations connected by kinship and cultural systems
exemplified in songs of lament.
Patterns and seeds of tradition were woven into the sense of self
of these groups and remained a part of the tapestry of the inner life of
their cultures as they were transplanted and influenced by other cultures.
History repeated its tempestuous narrative of people constrained to leave
their sacred lands and homes through enslavement, war, genocide, and
other avenues of consternation. Consequently, the intolerance of
humankind resulted in labeling, stereotyping, brutal massacres and
revolts of people living on the ragged edge of the dominant culture.
However, the strength and tenacity of resistant traditional cultural habits
and rituals are sewn into the fabric of songs of lament enabling people to
bridge tragedy to life. Ancestral bonds left a deposit of hope and inner
strength in cultural traditions, words of encouragement, and musical
solace for others living in a world of discomfort.
Hope radiating from songs of lament obscured the suffering and
hatred and freed the hearts of individuals caught in the interstices of war,
politics, and social and cultural hegemonies. The intangibleness of songs
of lament could not be displaced from the consciousness of the African
American, Native American, Vietnamese or Roma. Their music is an
integral part of their identity, a part of their soul and a symbol of freedom
89
4


and hope. Whether they were pilgrims, aliens or wandering souls, their
voices resound in a universal message of hope despite tragedy. The
world has been able to parallel the lived experiences of pain and soulful
desolation with music and language codes.
Songs of lament are a good barometer of the beliefs, values, and
norms contained in cultural patterns. Cross-cultural communication is a
viable tool to examine the similarities, differences and shared meanings
amid people of diverse cultures. These groups have belief and value
systems closely tied to their communication of music through social
gatherings. Spiritual codes, mythology, magic, and rituals are closely
tied to the belief and value systems of the groups in this study. Death
rituals provide a universal corridor for grief through lamentations,
singing, and instrumental music. As a result, shared meanings can be
viewed in musical themes and messages surrounding similar social,
political, and individual circumstances. Oral tradition, storytelling, and
music intersect as vehicles of knowledge, values, and celebration.
The disbursal of songs of lament articulate and exemplify oral
traditions and storytelling in human form. Griots, unknown bards,
literati, medicine men, and storytellers relayed music, memories, and the
history of past generations through musical replication and poetics. An
examination of music theory, concepts, and techniques employed in
songs of lament further an understanding and grasp of these artifacts.
Recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, language tools
90


and techniques of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the
thoughts and experiences of humankind through a systematic,
understandable frame of reference.
Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an
understandable meaning of intended effects through general knowledge
among these cultures. The method of research, a genre analysis provides
a lens to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring
situations applicable to viewing the commonalities and differences of
songs of lament. The uniqueness of songs of lament viewed through
situational, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing
principle revealed common elements vital to this genre (see table 3.3).
Sufficient similarities reveal situational, substantive, and stylistic
commonalities inherent in songs of lament. The genre analysis is
pertinent in an analysis of the songs of lament as it unmasks the
situational, substantive, and stylistic features shared in these artifacts
across cultures. Spoken and written language is used to create
messages, allowing communication with others. In songs of lament, the
lyrics utilize various language tools to transmit the messages of
individual or collective voices. Songs of lament provide diverse cultures
with an understanding of their identity, essence, and strength. Varied
histories, inner experiences, cultural heritage, and traditions perpetuates
the landscape of the identity of the self through cultural patterns.
Cultural patterns, also contains beliefs, values, and norms of the culture.
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Full Text

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SONGS OF LAMENT: VOICES OF SORRO\V by Flora A. Young B.A., Metropolitan State College ofDenver, 1993 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfil1ment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities 2000

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This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Flora A. Yollllg has been approved by Date

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Young, Flora A. (MH, University of Colorado at Denver) Songs of Lament: Voices of Sorrow Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Barbara J. Walkosz ABSTRACT The primary pwpose of this paper is to examine the universal features of songs of lament including music elements and the historical stimulus of tragedy. The focus will be on the situational, substantive and stylistic elements, and the organizing principle surrounding songs of lament and the universality of music as a viable communication tool which contains a wealth of information about the internal struggles and hopes of humankind. Music, a feature of everyday life, represents a multiplicity of thoughts and constructs from differing cultures. The pwpose or fimction of songs of lament is an emotional release during death, crisis or tragedy oftentimes ending in a glimpse of hope in the future. This paper will seek to survey the similarities of songs of lament from the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. When the situational, substantive and stylistic elements are broadly considered and applied, the universality of songs of lament are organized in a recognizable agency of communication, The scope of this thesis will include the history of the cultures in the study as they relate to the formation of songs of lament, the nature of oral tradition, cross-cultural values and beliefs, and music as communication with the application of concepts and techniques of music theory. The structure and style of music will help explain the universal elements of songs of lament. The universality of language symbols and m ;'

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imagery combined with musical styles and techniques has increased the globalization of this artifact. Specific songs of lament were examined from the four cultural groups, utilizing a genre analysis to draw conclusions about the universality and similarities encapsulated in songs of lament. Emphasis in researching this paper has been on the universality of songs of lament across cultures; the situational, substantive and style characteristics of diverse cultures through music and poetics. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed IV

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to the memory of my grandmother, Trudie Mae Harris and my mentor, Blanche James.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT My thanks to my advisor, Barbara J. W alkosz, for her patience, listening ears, ideas, and a great deal of encouragement to me throughout the life of this project. She has provided me with the impetus and spirited immersion in this area to complete this task. I also wish to thank my teachers and the staff of the Humanities Department for their support and understanding. I am grateful to Myra Bookman for her input and enthusiasm. With me throughout this entire project has been the "voices" of those who have endured trials and tribulations and yet found strength in hope--my husband, John Young; my children, Michael, Tony, and Teresa; my mother, Pauline Jones, and the unsung heroes whose hopes sang on the edge of eternity.

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CONTENTS Tables.... ....... ..... ............ .... ....... .............. . ........ . tx CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND .... ... 1 Purpose of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Scope of the Study .... ........................... : . . . 2 Arrangement of the Thesis ...... :. . . . . . . . . . . 8 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................... . 9 History of the People as it Relates to Songs of Lament ... . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 9 African American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Vietnamese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Native American . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . 23 Roma (Gypsy) ....................................... 29 Summary......... .................................... ... 34 Culture and Music . .. .. . . ... . .. . .. . .. .. . . . . . . . 35 Cross-Cultural Values and Beliefs............. 35 vn

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SllDltllat)' .................................... . ......... 40 Music as Communication: Oral Tradition and Storytellers. ...................................... 41 Summat)' .. ... . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. 4 7 Music Theory: Concepts and Techniques Applicable to Songs of Lament . . . 48 Summat)' . . . . . . .. .. .. . ... . . .. . . . . ....... .. . 52 3. METHOD OF RESEARCH ............. .................... 54 Genre Analysis: Substantive and Stylistic Elements 54 Summat)' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Substantive Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Summat)' ... .... . ... ....... .... ......... ............ 74 Music: Examination of the Stylistic Elements . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. . .. .. . . . 75 The Organizing Principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 4 CONCLUSION OF STUDY ........... .... ............. . . 87 BIBLIOGRAPHY . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 95 V1ll

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Table 3.1 3.2 3.3 TABLES Substantive Characteristics ................................... 73 Stylistic Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Universal Substantive and Stylistic Elements .......... 85 ix

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A.1\ID BACKGROUND "Like the sea, it flows within us, speaki.t'J.g for our soul." -Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis Purpose of the Study The purpose or function of songs of lament is to provide an emotional release during death, crisis, or tragedy oftentimes culminath1g in a glimpse of hope in the future. Songs of lament are found in a number of music genres such as the blues, folktunes, spirituals, chants, art songs, and funeral dirges. This paper will the universal features of songs of lament including: tragic stimulus, oral tradition, language codes, music elements or structure, form, style characteristics, and instrumentation. Many genres of music exist wiLiin our diverse world. Even though are different forms of design and implementation of music between cultures, some songs still relay the same stories--stories of trials, tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for a better day. The focus of this study will be on songs of lament and the universality of music as a viable communication tool that contains a wealth of :information about the internal struggles and hopes of humankind across cultures. 1

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The arts, in many instances, have become the vehicle or medium of representation for many things including emotional expression. Music, a feature of everyday life, represents a multiplicity of emotions, thoughts, and constructs from differing of view. Acting as a safe haven to those who fmd themselves in the interstices of life, it often offers an illusion of reality. Scope of the Study The scope of this thesis will include the history of the cultures in the study as they relate to the songs of lament, the nature of oral tradition and the intercultural communicative aspects of music. The history of a culture can be illuminated in its songs of lament. These songs illustrate the fortitude and strength of a diversity of people who have refused to relinquish their souls or spirits to the clutches of adversity, struggle, tragedy, or sorrow. This thesis will investigate the role and cross-cultural nature of songs of lament in African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. The transplantation of people to various places moves cultures and their musical traditions around the world--dotting the landscape of humanity with diverse cultures. Yet, they can bond and communicate with other cultures through a common source, the people's music. Songs of lament are an intercultural communication vehicle of suffering and transformation which have been transmitted by a variety of storytellers. 2

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Oral tradition is an important element in a study of songs of lament which exist in many of the world's societies and cultures. Transmitted orally or aurally, they are taught through performance or learned by hearing. The structure of the song consists of various parts and is seen and understood in similar tunes through the process of oral tradition and communal re-recreation. The unpredictability of oral tradition causes different elements to be changed by each culture and reiteration of the song. First, the thesis will examine applicable literature that conveys the history of the people in the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures as it relates to songs of lament. To understand a culture, one must understand its history. The tragic stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life. Significant historical tragedies suffered by these groups cement the universality of suffering and highlight songs of lament as mechanisms that protected the formidable existence of their intangible spirits. Following the explication of cross-cultural values and beliefs, the thesis will examine the intersection of culture and music. The African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures have significant connections to other cultures. Songs of lament are a good barometer of the beliefs, values, and norms contained in cultural patterns. These groups have belief and value systems closely tied to spiritual realms. The spiritual beliefs of these cultures have had a 3

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significant impact on the spirituality portrayed in many of their songs of lament. In spite of the similarities and differences, shared meanings can be discerned from the lyrics and musical style characteristics relayed in songs of lament. Encounters of differences and biases from other cultures have affected each of these groups through the obvious use of stereotypes and social categorizing. Consequently, shared meanings can be viewed in musical themes and messages that communicate similar social and individual circumstances. These shared meanings are evidenced by the extensive musical repertoires available through oral tradition and storytelling. Extensive musical repertoires are available through oral tradition and storytelling--recanting traditions, past family experiences, kinship ties, and customs through the song and its message. Consequently, the thesis will examine the structure and style of music which will help explain the universal elements of songs of lament. An examination of music theory, concepts and techniques employed in songs of lament further an understanding and grasp of these vehicles of communication. Even though songs of lament are created in diverse cultures, the songs all contain a myriad of similar musical elements such as melodic development and other musical idioms. Many of these melodies have been able to retain their validity and value. Melody is an ordered succession of single tones so similar as to constitute a musical entity. A good melody retains its validity and value despite changing 4

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idioms. Idioms include the melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, color, and structural complexities of musical form. In addition to the nature of the music, the language and situational characteristics of songs of lament will also be examined. The universality of language symbols and codes combined with various musical styles and techniques has increased the globalization of songs of lament. Specific songs of lament will be examined from the African American, Vietnamese, Native Americans, and Roma (Gypsy) peoples to show their similarities and complexities. The differing genres of songs of lament contain primal elements of music theory. Consequently, recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, and techniques of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the thoughts of humankind through a systematic, understandable agency The thesis will examine the method of research employed to determine the universal qualities of songs of lament across cultures. The universality of songs of lament can be viewed through a genre analysis of applicable songs of lament from the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. The genre analysis functions as a lens to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations pertinent to songs of lament. The meanings of songs of lament are social realities that reflect beliefs, attitudes, and values of these four cultures. By utilizing the elements or ingredients that universalize songs of lament from various past-oriented cultures, and a contemporary genre, 5

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one is able to establish an awareness of overall similarities and differences. The uniqueness of songs of lament are viewed through three elements: situational requirements, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing principle. Analyzation of songs of lament, utilizing the genre analysis, include an observation of similarities in response to particular situations; a collection of songs of lament occurring in similar situations; an analysis of songs of lament to ascertain if they share substantive and stylistic characteristics, and formulation of the organizing principle of songs of lament. Genre analysis is applicable for the study of songs of lament as it gives an overall view of the general category through the unmasking of specific similarities. Specific similarities are illuminated in the use of language tools as a substantive element in the poetics of songs of lament. Language tools are used as a safety valve and a shared communication technique in rituals, ceremonies, and everyday life. Not only were common interpretations utilized, but because of atrocities committed upon marginalized cultures by the dominant culture, coded messages were applied as a safety valve. Language codes kept "outsiders" from understanding the correct meanings, thereby employing the code as a safety valve. The transmission of songs of lament is an incorporation of symbols of hope and renewal for emotional release and catharsis. Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an 6

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-----------,.--------understandable meaning of intended effects or specific utterances through general knowledge among these cultures. This thesis will examine the music elements in musical artifacts of the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures which are the stylistic elements. The analysis of the musical structures of the songs of lament is an important tool in which to relay the stylistic similarities of this genre. Through comparisons of style characteristics within the melodies and rhythms of each culture and applicable artifacts, universal commonalities within the global music community can be identified The examination will focus on specific substantive and stylistic characteristics of each of the four culture's songs of lament to identify the general similarities. A wide range of identifiable embellishment is used in African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma music including: accents, triplets, chromaticism, and altered chords. Other style characteristics of these cultural artifacts are highlighted, including instrumentation. The conclusion of this examination of songs of lament will digest the universality of songs of lament. Even though there are different forms of design and implementation of poetics and music between cultures, some songs still relay the same situational stories of trials, tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for the future. Encapsulated in melodies that sojourn from the hills of Eastern and Western Europe to the mountains of Virginia and valleys of Vietnam, songs of lament 7

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resound in the crocheted diadems and knitted crescendos of a promised land of freedom, hope, and encouragement. The cultures discussed in this study know the ache of struggle and tragedy--their existence includes sorrow Music is a viable understandable agency of communication which contains a wealth of information about the internal struggles, outward manifestations, and hopes of humankind. Arrangement of the Thesis The thesis will be arranged to detail the review of applicable literature, the methods of research, the conclusion of the study, and a bibliography. The central research question of the thesis will be to discover what common elements exist in songs of lament across cultures. The conclusion of the study will answer pertinent issues, such as: the need for songs of lament to continue; the viability of songs of lament to bring evil to the surface; the inherent strength in songs of lament; the political value, political praxis, or social action of songs of lament, and the emotional and cathartic value of songs of lament. 8

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-----------... CHAPTER2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ani black, but comely, 0 ye daughters of Jerusalem, Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me ... The Song of Songs I, 5--6. History of the People as It Relates to Songs of Lament To understand a culture, one must understand its history. A poignant history of crisis and the.reflection of social conditions are illuminated in songs of lament. The past and the present actions of humanity can be selectively viewed in these songs. Songs of lament can also be viewed as a tool to inform, reform, and transform present ideologies. History can act as a salve or balm to assist in the healing of emotional wounds--promoting psychological and social well-being, and radiating possibility. Songs of lament illustrate the fortitude and strength of a diversity of people who have refused to give their souls or spirits to the malignant and sometimes relentless clutches of adversity, struggle, tragedy or sorrow. The tragic stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life. The African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma are examples of ethnicities which have endured a myriad of lamentable 9

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expenences. Yet, they continued to exude strength in the midst of life's turbulent storms. Cultural bonds, such as music, remained their balm in Gilead; sunshine after the rain. This chapter will highlight significant historical tragedies suffered by these groups that cement the universality of suffering and mechanisms that protected the formidable existence of their intangible spirits. These are not pleasant, feel-good recountings, but they are significant vehicles of life's milieu of experience. Countless similarities of treatment permeate the landscape of humankind's confrontations within itself as it refuses to abort those things waiting to live in the womb of potentiality. African American The voices of lamentation of African Americans are illuminated through the event of human bondage in North America. African Americans were forced into slavery in the New World and were the recipients of the loss of freedom and dignity. James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson relate the beginning of America's association to humankind's subjugation in 1619 (12) as twenty African natives were brought to Jamestown by wooden vessels of disgrace, slave ships. This incident began African slave trade in the American Colonies. Slaves were stolen away to a place far from home and brought to the New World in slave ships. While no one can give a definitive number to those who were stolen away to the New World, however, Wyatt Tee 10

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Walker details that there were by a "conservative estimate, upward of fourteen million Africans imported into the Atlantic slave trade" (12). Many were outside of the embrace of loved ones on floating prisons that left no visible trails to lead back home. J. S. Buckingham in American, Historical, Statistic, and Descriptive states that "sometimes captives on slave ships jumped overboard and tried to swim back home" ( 42). There was much weeping and wailing as all that was normal was no more. Placed below decks in unsanitary environments, the captives were given a poor quality of food, and subjected to disease-ridden conditions. Historical evidence is revealed in A People & A Nation: A History of the United States regarding the treatment of slaves (cargo) packed like sardines and chained (Norton, et al. 41 ). A People & A Nation: A History of the United States further details the location of most slavery abductions as West Africa as it states that "most of the unwilling black migrants to North America came from West Africa, which the Europeans called Guinea" (1 0). These pilgrims had a homeland, yet they were torn away from their families. Bought and sold in a land where the economy (280) was based on slave labor, their cultural roots would continue to live on within their spirits even though they were considered as chattel in a foreign land. This book illuminates the vigorous slave economy from 1800 to 1860 in the South and states that "an estimated 2 million persons were sold between 1820 and 1860 to satisfy the need for slave labor" (280). The hungry and 11

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greedy pockets of the South were fed by the tragedy and despair of a physically captive people. Mary Beth Norton, et al.' s historical narrative explicitly details the abusive treatment and life of poverty, toil, heartbreak, physical cruelty, and coercion experienced by the black slaves. Mistreatments included burnings, mutilations, torture, murders, rape, and family separations. The slave owner could sell family members to other plantations --dividing their main source of support, the family. Most slaves (289) had plain food (cornmeal, fat pork, molasses, greens, and sweet potatoes), plain clothing, and lived in sparsely furnished one-room cabins. They worked from 'sun to sun' and lived in substandard housing. The floors in the cabins dirt, and they. slept on straw mattresses. Norton et al. states that "crowding and lack of sanitation fostered the spread of infection and contagious diseases" (290). Many of these one-room cabins contained more than one family, and the substandard living conditions and unsanitary surroundings also fostered other adversities. The mistreatment of blacks festered bitterness, suspicion, and resentment toward whites. Through the manifold sufferings, a common enemy bound the diverse African tribes together, and they were able to find release and an inward resolution to the outward afflictions of this strange land. An individual's life was considered to be a valuable object to West Africans (276). Strength was breathed into these wounded 12

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souls through the strong kinship, cultural and folklore systems derived from their African heritage. Another vehicle utilized by the black slaves was Christianity. Many adopted forms of Christianity (293) and the belief that God would end their bondage. Miles Mark Fisher in his book, Negro Slave Songs in the IJnited States, states that "Negro slaves sometimes accepted Christianity because Jesus was declared to be a guarantee against all hurt, harm or danger" (70) Jesus was symbolic of the epitome of a hero who could rescue them from their nefarious plight. He embodied the possibility and potentiality of freedom through his examples as an earthly hero. Hope for freedom was supplanted in the embodiment of someone who endured estrangement and mistreatment, and crossed over into freedom outside of human restriction. Yet, no specific evidence exists that presents the slaves as wholeheartedly believing all that the white slave owner's Christianity purported to be 'truth' thus leaving their own culture behind. The slaves were wise enough to harness their beliefs within secret meetings, secret language codes, and the walls of their cabins. A People & A Nation: A History of the United States confirms this concept as it reports that "often they expressed one feeling to whites, another within their own race and culture" (293) Although the slaves sang like their masters when they attended services with them (Southern 215), reports of slaves singing their own sacred music independently is recorded in the 1750s The slaves learned to disguise their 'truth' from 13

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the dominant culture and pretended to be, feel, and say what was expected. Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean in their book, American Cultural Studies, relay that despite the slave owners' emphasis on worship under white supervision and control that "one of the most striking themes in the slave experience was the way in which the slaves themselves succeeded in developing their own distinctive religious beliefs and practices ... (116). The way they practiced their own religious beliefs and practices empowered them to "Withstand the sorrow of subjugation. Consequently, removed from the physical presence of their common enemy, they were free to express, affirm, and validate their earnest desires. A People & A Nation: A History of the United States conveys that "the great majority of American slaves retained their mental independence and self-respect despite their bondage" (292) Their belief systems, self-respect, and quest for freedom were directly tied to their mental states. Spirituals were born on the slave ships and plantations in the midst of the turmoil and human servitude. Arthur C. Jones defines the term spiritual to "refer to folksongs composed in slavery whose content was manifestly religious or philosophical, frequently containing material drawn from the Bible" (9). These songs became emblems and structures for existence in an alien land and held the remnants of a rich cultural heritage. The creation of the spiritual was necessary, enabling 14

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the slave to more adequately adjust to the conditions of the New World. The thread of freedom is woven throughout the spiritual as a ray of hope--an inspiration in an unjust world The slaves would gather in their meager quarters and sing short scraps of affirmations, pledges or prayers. These groups of songs became lmown as camp meeting spirituals as they emphasized scriptural passages and praise to God. As religious songs of lament, the camp spirituals spoke of the slaves' relationship to God, their position on earth, the difficulties that had befallen them, and provided an outlet for the slaves feelings about oppression, discrimination, and the struggle to survive. The African American spiritual was birthed from the ravages of slavery in the United States and is synonymous with slavery. Enslaved Africans established as a first priority the use of songs as a means of combating the potentially destructive internal psychological damage that could be inflicted by the experience of prolonged enslavement. Arthur C. Jones in his book, Wade in the Water: the Wisdom of the Spirituals, states that "music and dance have always beendefining elements of African culture, including the time period of the slave trade'' (1 ) Many spirituals were employed as a weapon and a defense mechanism against the atrocities of slavery. In order to have an appreciation for and an understanding of African American slavery in the United States, it is necessary to grasp the significance of the spiritual. The spiritual enveloped not only the 15

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. --------------------struggles of slavery, but all aspects of daily life such as community, and religion. A cultural anchor, it linked the slaves to their ancestral bonds and hopes and dreams of freedom--a repository of culture, history, values, and beliefs. A glimpse into the beginning of African American culture conveys an intense struggle for freedom. Despite insunnountable odds, the people's voices and inner strengths endured through strong kinship, values, beliefs, and cultural unifications. Even though African American slaves came from diverse backgrounds and a nwnber of different tribes, their similarities and common enemy caused them to unite in a common cause. The spirituals became a common voice for the tragedy, despair, and sorrow of a valiant people. Slavery endured within the New World for over two hundred years, and the African American slave culture dramatically changed when Congress banned the importation of slaves. Consequently, the constant influx of African culture ceased, and African Americans had to rely upon oral tradition and storytelling to perpetuate the continuation of African characteristics in the spirituals. Slavery, a system managed by indifference, succumbed to the struggle for freedom, inclusion and equality, and the spiritual evolved into other forms of music, such as the blues, jazz, and gospel. Vietnamese 16

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The voices of lamentation of the Vietnamese people have also been synthesized across barriers for generations connected by rituals and tradition. The strong, ritualistic traditions of the Vietnamese people are exemplified by the songs of lament used in fimeral ceremonies and daily life. Patterns that were woven into the Vietnamese sense of self remained a part of the tapestry of the inner life of their vibrant culture as the Vietnamese people were transplanted and influenced by other cultures. Through wars, policies of assimilation, famine, political policies, and missionary influences, the Vietnamese have faced adversity in their search for freedom and quest to retain the essence of their rich culture. A culture in constant transition, it is important to note that the Vietnamese War with America was not the only war for freedom fought by these courageous people. In order to understand the complexities of the Vietnamese culture, an explication of cultural and historical background is essential. Archeological information exhibits a portrait of the Bronze Age Culture under the Hung Kings (2879--258 BC). The Kingdom of Au Lac covered K wangtung Province in Southern China and northern Vietnam between 257 and 111 BC. The area was conquered in 111 BC by Chinese generals who named the area "Nam Viet" (Nguyen and Campbel119). The Han dynasty rose to power in China, and the NamViet were driven southward and conquered in the locale of the present day 17

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Vietnam. Even though the Vietnamese accepted certain aspects and influences of the Chinese civilization (the use of the three-stringed guitar, mouth-organ, cham rice drum, and the five-tone scale), they treasured their own essence, their own identity, and their own uniqueness (especially at the village level) While the Chinese applied a process of Sinification (deliberate policy of assimilation) on the Vietnamese people, initially in the cities (Duiker 165), the villagers were often left to themselves. Sar Desai states that the villagers continued "to worship village genies, ancestors, mountains, and rivers in rites that predated the advent of Chinese culture" ( 43). In fact, the influence of the Indian culture is still evident in the fimeral traditions of the Vietnamese. Indian beliefs and cultural practices, including Buddhism, were disseminated into the cultural fabric of the Vietnamese people by traders and merchants in Vietnam during the first century B.C. The Buddhist believe the soul vacates the body on the forty-ninth day. On the forty-ninth day following a person's death, the Vietnamese use music to celebrate the soul's departure. The fimeral ritual's aim is to pay tribute to the individual who had served their family and society, as well as communicate between the living and dead. Providing a corridor for grief, lamenting through verbal communication with the dead is extremely significant and ritualistic in Vietnam. Missionaries introduced French, Portuguese, and Spanish cultures into Vietnam in the late 1500s, and even though the Vietnamese people 18

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I had endured occupation by these countries, most notably France and Spain, they still retained a distinct, effervescent Vietnamese culture. The traditional songs of lament and instrumental music provided a powerful link to their heritage. Attempts to remold and reorient the peasantry met with much resistance. For example, the revolutionary doctrinal glorification of France encountered the strength and tenacity of resistant traditional habits, prejudices, and rituals at the village gate. Consequently, famine and war resulted causing insurmountable pain, despair, and tragedy within the Vietnamese culture. Resistance against assimilation of the dominance of the Chinese and French cultures could be viewed in traditional cultural arenas and are expounded upon by Pham Quynh as he states that "the true spirit of a people ... popular folksongs and poetry. Mothers singing children to sleep, wives mourning husbands ... the natural language of a people, from the bottom of their hearts" (Quynh 280). The Vietnamese resisted the 'rapacious tax collectors' (Marr 156), colonial traditions, and foreign invaders. William J. Duiker states that "from the beginning, there was little question that the primary objectives of French colonial policy in Indochina were economic'' (30). Avarice drove the French to try to absorb a small, fragile country. Duiker expounds further on French commercial interests as he states that "the main purpose of colonialism was simply to register economic gain ... (30). These policies led to greedy landowners, 19

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sharecropping techniques, and the economic brutalization of the rural Vietnamese citizenry. Greed outweighed the civilizing mission of the French for "the more pragmatic objective of exploiting the economic resources of the colonial territories for the benefit of the home country" (31). Consequently, famine was the result of economic greed and fueled the villagers' subsequent revolt against French colonial policies. The frustrated villagers could not keep up rice production for the tax collectors and landowners and still provide food for the meager survival of their families .. PreVietnam War history records that a large famine occurred in 1945. This famine caused the deaths of more than one million Vietnamese (Marr 234). The magnitude of deceased victims explained the burial of people in mass graves without the possibility of an individual interment. Bodies were found in fields, homes, and along the deserted roadsides--discarded victims of greed. In a culture where burial of the dead is a necessary component of ancestral worship, famine and war disrupted tradition leaving wandering souls, fragmented heritage, and unrelieved grief. Lady Borton describes the plight of wandering souls as she parallels words from "Call to Wandering Souls?? to the plight of the Vietnamese people. The words are a timeless caption of those lost in death without a proper burial as they nudge humankind to "Pity them, the souls of the lost thousands ... 20

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They are the ones for whom no incense bums. Desolate, they wander night after night." NguyenDu 1765-1820 (14) The social prohibition of funeral music during the Vietnam War is another example of how the Vietnamese people were deprived of their sacred burial rituals from burying their dead. The scarcity of formal burials for thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and the lack of information regarding their graves or death days caused much grief. For example, the utter devastation caused by bombing from American forces using the B-52 is one poignant explanation for the lack of graves or even bodies in certain areas because the bombing left no remains to be buried. Another explanation is that the viciousness and mass burials of thousands of innocent Vietnamese villagers rendered proper burials impossible. My Lai stands as a horrific reminder of the ravages and brutality of war's mayhem upon the innocent. My Lai, a village in Quangngai province, was located along the coast of South Vietnam. The book, Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Vietnam War Anthology, edited by Andrew J. Rotter relays the killing of innocent Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers. In an essay, "The Killing Begins'', Michael Bilton and Kevin Sin describe the havoc and 'deranged behavior' (25 5) that seeped into the village of My Lai in March of 1968. Bamboo huts, shelters, and small dwellings containing the elderly, women, and children were senselessly riddled with bullets and savagely shelled by American soldiers from Charlie Company. 21

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Unarmed farmers were stabbed with bayonets and Vietnamese detainees were shot, thrown into wells and M-26 grenades lobbed in after them. Bilton and Sin state that "women and children were pushed into bunkers and grenades thrown in after them" (255). Women were sexually assaulted while guns were held at their child's head. Mayhem ensued as the platoons had gone berserk and American soldiers shot, stabbed, clubbed or buried alive men, women, and children. Stanley Karnow in Vietnam: A History, states that "three hundred Vietnamese civilians" were slaughtered at My Lai. (31 ). Bombed and terrorized during the War, thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were not afforded the opportunity to be buried individually. A fragmented country mourned for its dead. The villagers learned to hide in the bunkers for safety from the mortar attacks, yet the bunkers were no longer safe. Songs of lament were sung by the Vietnamese people as they comforted themselves in dark holes beneath the ground. In spite of the war's impact, certain time-held traditions continuedreligious ceremonies and singing. Borton relays that a common melody sung in the bunkers by the children states "Mother, you try to teach me ... maybe tomorrow I'll wake to victory and Father's return" (149). Songs of lament were important implements of the Vietnamese cultural tradition during daily life, including famine and war. A way to honor the dead, celebrate life, and communicate with ancestors, music is 22

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an integral part of the Vietnamese people. Songs of lament enable the Vietnamese people to bridge tragedy to life. After the Vietnam War, the young men were disseminated by their families to acquire the complexities of the funeral music from the older generations of musicians to keep the traditions alive. The Chinese, Indian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Americans have had a significant impact upon Vietnamese cultural traditions and language. The melodic Vietnamese language fuses Cambodian, Thai, and Chinese characteristics in its various voice inflections. However, the uniqueness of Vietnamese culture can still be heard in songs of lament about their ancestors, mountains,and rivers. A wealth ofknowledge exists in a culture that has been overlooked as simple, unassuming, and passive. Its songs of lament encapsulate the effects of greed, traditionalism, and struggle. Native American Native Americans have a rich, extensive history in the Americas which embodies a resilience and strength that enabled them to survive alienation in their own country. The forenmners of the Native American population, PaleoIndians, arrived in the Americas more than thirty thousand years ago. This study will focus on the importance of land and nature, the spread of white settlement, the brutalities and abuses 23

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experienced by the Native Americans, and the use of songs of lament as a source of power and provision. A common thread among the various Native American tribes was their integration with nature. Land was an important resource and a cradle of reverence to the Native American people. Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean state that Native Americans, the land is sacred, bound up in an intricate web of meaning with all living things, including humankind" (128). In the Native American culture, the rights to use the land for hunting or fishing could be transferred, not sold, to others The loss of territory to the advancing settlers disrupted customary Native American ways of life. Clashes between the Native Americans and the settlers ensued as more and more settler migrations onto fertile Native American land occurred. The colonists increasingly encroached on Native American lands and attempted to convert them to Christianity. The polytheistic religious beliefs of the Native Americans involved a multitude of gods (Norton et al. 6-7) and was frowned upon by the settlers. In the book, American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities, Devon A. Mihesuah reveals that "in the late 1880s, Indian religious ceremonies were outlawed in the United States" (67). Vine Deloria states that "many Sioux embraced Christianity when their traditional social institutions and the practice of their own religion were prohibited them'' (216). However, Christianity did not replace their beliefs and practices. 24

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The encroachment on Native American lands and upon their spirituality caused a number of questionable treaties to be signed between the Euro-American settlers and Native American tribes. Consequently, a power struggle over American sovereignty ensued. A People & A Nation: A History of the United States conveys that after the Revolutionary War, "the United States took the treaties as fmal confirmation of its sovereignty over the Indian territories and authorized white settlers to move onto the land" (175). The desire for more land and the white settlers' belief in their superiority caused much strife and hardship for the Native Americans. The United States not only utilized African Americans in a slave trade, but also the Native Americans. An historical account of the Native American slave trade is portrayed in A People & A Nation: A History of the United States as it states "the abuses of slave trade led to the most destructive Indian war in Carolina" (57). The Yamasee War pitted the CreekY amasee and a number of other tribes against the English colonists through raids on the South Carolina mainland because of the overwhelming atrocities of the white traders. In South Carolina in 1715, white traders abused the Native Americans--cheating them economically, sexually assaulting the women, and selling friendly tribesmen into slavery. The Creeks and Y amasees lost to the formidable weaponry and reinforcements of the white settlers causing their 25

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relocation to the western or southern frontiers. The expansion of the United States came at the expense of countless Native Americans. The consequences of an uprooted people's relocation to an alien environment which caused heartache, suffering, and tragedy are evident in such events as the horrors of the Trail of Tears and the Massacre at Sand Creek. The Trail of Tears began after the Removal Act of 1830 and entailed a gruesome forced march to death and suffering. The long, cold march was made even more difficult by shortages of wagons, horses, blankets, and food. James West Davidson, et al. states in Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic that "of the 15,000 who traveled.this Trail of Tears, approximately one-quarter died along the way of exposure, disease, and exhaustion" (394). The voluntary removal ended up as mandatory as the Cherokees were marched to Oklahoma under military escort. The Native Americans were forced to leave their sacred lands and homes which had spiritual significance because their ancestors were buried there. Cherokee homes were burned and looted (Roethler 149), gravesites pillaged, and diseases and illnesses caused deaths in the hundreds. Consequently, sorrow and despair became the constant companion of an uprooted people who were forced to relocate to an alien environment. The Massacre at Sand Creek occurred on November 29, 1864 in Colorado. The five Cheyenne clans and ten lodges of Arapaho were 26

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already devastated by whooping cough and diarrhea in 1863 (Mendoza 65) when tragedy struck again. Mendoza states that on that wintry day, "like devils born from hell, the Third Colorado Cavalry, commanded by Colonel George L. Shoup, commenced the wholesale slaughter and mutilation of men, women and children'' (99). The Cavalry's desire for vain glory colored the swords of destruction at Sand Creek as Patrick Mendoza empathizes that "between the first light and the dawn ... charged his army down ... put the village to the sword and in blood, his glory found" (91) Mendoza details the weeping, wailing, and carnage--replete with sorrow and pain. No one was spared from the horrible brutalities as cries of mercy went unheeded and the wounded were even scalped. In the midst of brutality and the slaughtering of one hundred thirty-three Cheyenne and Arapaho, a song of lament is uttered to the Supreme Being who ruled the universe. As unarmed White Antelope mourned his people and sang the Cheyenne Death song, "nothing lives long, only the earth and the mountains," (97) Mendoza records that White Antelope was shot down (97), killed, scalped, and mutilated. This brutal act removed respect and tolerance and replaced these ideals with sorrow. The intolerance of hwnankind by the settlers resulted in labeling, stereotyping, brutal massacres, and revolts. Devon A. Mihesuah details how the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 ( 67) stands out as a stark example of the consequences wrought from the intolerance, as the Native Americans 27

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were labeled as uncivilized and heathenish. The purposeful destroying of Native American artifacts, and the killing and physical torture of Native American religious leaders, disease, alcohol, malnutrition, and trading patterns disrupted Native American traditional ways of life. The Native American culture was almost decimated in North America. Even in the midst of what would seem to be insurmountable odds, this historical accounting declares that "the survival of Indian life in the face of such conditions reflected the resilience and strengths of the Indians' culture" (334). Songs of sorrow were an important vessel of communication and a source of strength between the Native Americans and the spirits to obtain divine help while in adversity or grief. Vine Deloria states that when a son had fallen in battle this lament was used by the Dakota Sioux to communicate to the spirits: "My son, you went off For a little while You are staying away too long!" (168) In Native American culture, the medicine man was the spiritual leader of the group who would "pray for the help of the spirits and sing and dance" (179). He would be summoned if diseases of the mind, body or spirit were suspected. When he arrived, he would bring his drum and medicine ball He would lament the affects of sickness, death, bad luck, grief and seek provision from the spirits. 28

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Native American rituals use songs in the deployment of various ceremonies. Their songs of lament express celebration using rhythmic chants and emotional releases. These songs convey feelings of great elation or unbearable sorrow. The rich Native American heritage includes songs for ceremony, secular war, powwow, lullabies, and funeral dirges. Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean state that as long as the stories of Native Americans continues "the native peoples retain their traditions, history and identity ... which in tum constitutes their sense of self'' (50). Songs of lament were used by the chiefs, the warriors, the women and the children as a source of strength, provision, and communication to the spirits in times of struggle. These songs remain resilient today. Rom a The Roma or Gypsies have also suffered a history of frequent persecutions as they existed on the ragged edge of many cultures. This study will show the inalterable character of their traditions and culture despite the influences of other civilizations. As they were forced to move from place to place, the Roma listened to their own inner voices, giving them validity and affmnation, as love of freedom and nature emanated from this countryless people. Bound by unflattering stereotypes and disdain, they find solace and a divine apothecary of relief in their musical traditions. The Roma are the inheritors of a culture 29

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of musical innovations and musical impulses inherent in the composer's vision of love of a person, place, or thing. An abundance of persecutions have plagued these nomadic-styled people as they moved throughout the corridors of Europe. Similarities to the enslavement of African Americans, Native Americans, and the Vietnamese, can be viewed through the lens of injustice meted out to the Roma. In the The Destiny of Europe's Gypsies, Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon state that the status of the Roma "was similar in every respect to that of Negro slaves on the plantations in the southern United States" (32). The Roma or Romani are more commonly called Gypsies. A people without a homeland and distributed around the globe, their rich history resounded in the countries of France, the Balkans, Roumania, Russia, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Britain, Spain, India, and Hungary. Geographically, they have an abundant history in the Middle East and Europe after being dispersed from India into ancient lands of Persia, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Turkey. Jean-Paul Cle 'bert describes the enslavement of the Roma in his book, The Gypsies. He states that in 14th century Roumania "the Gypsies belonged body and chattels to the great lords, the hospidars or war chiefs and the Voivodes or landowners, both of whom had rights of life and death" (68). Inhuman conditions plagued these brown-skinned 30

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people as they were flogged naked, received no wages and were given small portions of com porridge for nourishment. Many times laws were passed to keep others in subjection and under the control of the dominant culture. The lives of the Roma were degraded as they were exhibited on platforms at slave markets. Cle 'bert states that in Roumania "the constitutional statutes of Moldavia and Walachia defined the status of the slave: he was not a man but a person who, with his patrimony and family, was dependent on another" (69). As slaves, they slept in unwarmed huts and survived in "almost concentration-camp" facilities (69). Considered chattel, inhumane punishments from some of the slave owners were harsh and severe as "iron hooks were fixed in their necks to punish them and prevent them from sleeping" (68). The Gypsy slaves were punished for fleeing, rebelling, refusing to obey, or because they were considered to be of impure blood. Also, marriage to non-Gypsies was prohibited and strictly enforced as they were not allowed to marry outside of their established societal position. Justice, or the lack there of, was meted out by the slave masters. Slavery of the Roma also occurred in Hungary where they were hanged, beaten, and beheaded. In the 15th century the Roma arrived in Germany and called themselves pilgrims. (75). The terminology is appropriate for a people who are alienated and traveling through a foreign land. These poor pilgrims of sorrow slept in unwarmed huts and 31

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learned to survive on the barest of necessities. Wretched as their lives were, their situation became infinitely worse in Germany after 1933. In the post-war Weimar Republic of Germany, Nazi idealism and economic conditions formed the reconstruction of European society's attitude toward social responsibility and integration. After Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933, he rejected anyone or any concept that did not accommodate his profane criteria of purity. The social consequence of fascism was the denial of free thought which was pivotal to the plight of the Romain Germany. The Roma were marched to their deaths by detachments of Nazi soldiers before the Jewish holocaust. Cle'bert states that "in the racialist world of the National Socialists, the Gypsies and the Jews had the sad privilege of again being in the limelighf' (205). The limelight of bejng considered an impure ethnic group caused the growing internment ofRoma after 1939. More than 400,000 Roma lost their lives in the gas chambers at Auschwitz (208). Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon convey that "by the end of the war about three-quarters of the Gypsies living in Germany had perished" (94). Cle' bert details that the tortures began in 1940 with massive deportations from Poland and ended in 1945 when "all Gypsies who were in concentration camps were gassed" (208). Dysfimctional censorship enveloped the Weimar Republic and individualism was unacceptable. The map of Europe had been rewritten after World War II, but the lives of the Roma remained laden with struggle. Songs of 32

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lament freed the hearts of those whom the Nazis had tried to reduce to the equivalent of animals. Martin Block states that their "music produces in them a feeling of romantic exaltation which temporarily obscures the suffering and hatred in the midst of which they live, affording them glimpses of a piece of mind which they have long ceased to enjoy" (220). There were strident social and political consequences associated with being Roma. The Roma were caught in the interstices of war, politics, and social and cultural hegemonies. They never truly assimilated to the static position of other traditional cultural safehavens. They tenaciously held onto their culture despite public scorn, ridicule, and disdain. Music was closely tied to their life and identity. Its unconditional importance is declared as Martin Block states, "music is to them the expression of their life, it belongs to their life, it is Gypsy life itself' (224). The intangibleness of songs of lament could not be displaced from the consciousness of Gypsy life. The culture of the Roma has emerged bruised, but in tact. Their inner experiences and heritage were their foundations of reality as they survived periods of political, emotional, and economic upheavals. Cle'bert sums up the plight of the Roma as he states that "all kinds of real Gypsies, by whatever name they may be known, are united in the same love of freedom, in their eternal flight from the bonds of civilization ... (xix). The Roma do not have a land they can claim as 33

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their homeland, but their music is an integral part of their identity, a part of their soul, and a symbol of freedom. They learned to accept the good and evil sides of life and could heartily sing songs of lament describing their veneration for their earthly attachments. In the the Gypsies, this concept is portrayed in a song of lament by Wlisocki that reads ... I play a song on my violin, and silence hunger and grief ... my violin has two pals who eat my very marrow, Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a musician ... (Cle'bert 113). Summary Tragedy is the usher that helped the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cross the bridge to exceptional. Tragedy reshapes, reconfigures, and places segments of humankind on another level. Music covers the aches and travail of the wounded soul. Songsoflament soothe the ravaged cells of humankind's sorrow. Its voice speaks in the high-rises, the urban dwellings, in crowded inner cities, and the rural plains of cracked lives. Each of these groups are representative of voices of sorrow who have cried out in the wilderness of struggle and drawn strength from their culture to resist their conditions. Culture is a force that is larger than the power of human bondage, war and genocide, and has upheld these groups to maintain defiance against outside duress and inward frustration. The melodies of songs of lament are the seeds; the hope is the harvest of 34

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expectation. The rain of struggle wets the seed, disturbing the rhythm of adversity, and releasing the hope of resolution. Whether they were pilgrims, aliens or wandering sou1s, their voices resound in a universal message of hope despite tragedy. The next section will examine the intersection of cu1ture and music. Cross-cu1tural values and beliefs permeate the landscape of universality in songs of lament. Music is an important communication tool, evidenced by its continuing use in oral tradition and by storytellers. Consequently, numerous musical concepts and techniques are applicable to songs of lament. Culture and Music Cross-Cultural Values and Beliefs The African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cu1tures have had significant connections to other cu1tures. Lustig and Koester defme cross-cu1tural as "the study of a particu1ar idea or concept within many cu1tures" (61). This study will utilize cross-cu1tural communication as a vehicle to compare the similarities, differences, and shared meanings amid people from the same cu1ture to those from separate cultures. Songs of lament are a good barometer of the beliefs, values, and norms contained in cu1tural patterns. Menuhin and Davis state that "human beings universally assign values and symbols to their beliefs or codes of behavior" ( 48). Similarities can be viewed among 35

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past-oriented cultures; however differences between these cultures and the dominant culture are manifested in the cultural biases of the dominant culture: social categorizing, ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Cultural biases, negative attitudes, and faulty character assertions exist because of the varied histories and experiences of the marginalized group. In spite of the similarities and differences, shared meanings can be discerned from the musical messages and style characteristics relayed in songs of lament. While not everyone may be religious or spiritually inclined, there are key points of relevance in these areas that pertain to the universality and similarity of songs of lament because for many people, the spiritual or religious realm embodies core belief systems. In this realm, people fmd codes and rituals that assist them in life--:natural points of connection between those involved and their situations. Menuhin and Davis state that "every ritual we share calls for its own music: birth, marriage, death, the planting and the harvest, the changing of seasons, the coming of spring and fertility, the sufferings of illness and the recovery of health'' ( 5). These groups, African American, Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma have belief and value systems closely tied to a spiritual realm. Lustig and Koester state that "beliefs, values, and norms are the ingredients of cultural patterns ... ideas that people assume to be true about the world ... the desired characteristics of a culture" (1 05). 36

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Spiritual beliefs bring groups of similarly-minded people together into a social support system. These social gatherings include the performance of music during rituals and ceremonies. The sense of spirituality may be infused into respect love for the value and work of others or some tangible object. In regards to world orientation Lustig and Koester state that "cultural patterns also tell people how to locate themselves in relation to the spiritual world, nature, and other living things" (98). Living in harmony with nature, the world, and other living things is a past-oriented cultural pattern of the Native African American, Roma, and Vietnamese heritage. The Native Americans fought long and hard to stay on the lands they nurtured and respected, and their belief system contains a respect for communal lands, tribalism, and sacredness of the earth. Even though the Roma have no homeland, they have learned to co-exist with nature and the environment. Likewise, the African American and Vietnamese cultures include rich heritages and beliefs associated with their homelands. The spiritual beliefs of these cultures have had a significant impact on the spirituality portrayed in many of their songs of lament. Songs of lament provide a universal corridor for grief. Death represents a rupture in the social and universal balance, because the body is physically removed from these arenas. Funeral rituals are an important element and pattern of each of these cultures. The ritual's aim is to pay tribute to the individual and communicate between the world of 37

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the living and the world of the dead. This communication is manifest in different forms: visual (costumes, statues or floral arrangements), olfactory (incense), invocations, lamentations, singing, and instrumental mUSlC. While death rituals are common to these cultures, another similarity which greatly impacted their lives and histories, was the greed and human degradation associated with the quest for material possessions by "outside" groups. The malignant grasp of greed caused numerous trials and tribulations, and their songs of lament moved beyond the death ritual to help them grieve the suffering brought about by others. Faced with tragedies brought about by others, the value of seif-direction is another significant cultural pattern manifested by each of these groups. Creativity, independence, and freedom are representative characteristics of this cultural pattern. These characteristics are evident in songs of lament that portray the desire to escape from the abuse of colonization, slavery, and other forms of political restraint. Encounters of differences and biases from other cultures have affected each of these groups through the obvious use of stereotypes and social categorizing. The Euro-Americans applied negative, faulty, and inflexible perceptions toward the Native Americans and African Americans. The French practiced biased attitudes against the Vietnamese, and the Nazis employed twisted hatred against the Roma. These people were treated unequally solely because of their membership 38

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in a specific ethnic group, and each group used music as a source of encouragement and strength in the face of persecution. Consequently, shared meanings can be viewed in musical themes and messages surrounding similar social and individual circumstances. Musical elements of improvisation, use of percussion instruments, dissonance, and the inflection of speech and music remain inseparable. Even though there are differences in the tone or pitch employed by these cultures, songs of lament contain universal thematic and musical presentations. These are evidenced by the extensive musical repertoires available through oral tradition and storytelling. Lustig and Koester convey that past-oriented cultures "place a primary emphasis on tradition and the wisdom passed down from older generations'' ( 223). The elders are considered to be links, storehouses or gatekeepers to knowledge and wisdom. Each of these cultural groups value tradition and respects customs and ideas that are inherent in one's culture. Oral tradition and storytelling are specific examples of a reverence for traditions, past family experiences, kinship ties, and tribal customs. Songs of lament play an important role in African American, Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma cultures. They are used for transmission of knowledge, values, and celebration, and communicate to humankind about the divine and worldly experiences of life. 39

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Summary Cross-cultural values and beliefs are an exemplary vehicle of oommunication illuminated by values and symbols in songs of lament. Shared meanings can be discerned from the musical messages and style characteristics relayed by songs of lament. Spiritual codes and rituals are closely tied to the belief and value systems of the African Native Vietnamese, and Roma peoples. The spiritual beliefs of these cultures, whether infused into respect or love for the value and work of others or some tangible object, have had a significant impact on the spirituality portrayed in many of their songs of lament. Death rituals provide a universal corridor for grief through the avenues of visual, olfactory, invocations, lamentations, singing, and instnnnental music. Death rituals, greed, human degradation, the value of self-direction, and encounters of difference and biases from other cultures are similarities exemplified by these four groups in their songs of lament. Consequently, shared meanings can be viewed in musical themes and messages surrounding similar social and individual circumstances. Extensive musical repertoires are available through oral tradition and storytelling--recanting traditions, past family experiences, kinship ties, and customs through song. The next section will discuss the intersection of oral tradition and music as communication. 40

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Music as Communication Oral Tradition and Storytelling "A people without a knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots." (West Africa) (Goss and Goss 67) Replication is a vital part of oral tradition whereby the message of the song is rehearsed over and over under the tutelage of past generations' beliefs and values. This study will emphasize the importance and conjunction of oral history, storytelling, and music as central communication modes with people used as agencies of cultural disbursal. The value of the culture has been inculcated in time, each culture a sovereign entity. Through these aforementioned methods, there was consideration or a broader concern for future generations. As time evolved, griots, unknown bards, and storytellers relayed music, memories, and the history of past generations. The transmission of traditions are not always inclusive of outsiders and some rituals and codes are kept within the culture or group. African American musical traditions were passed along by griots, storytellers, and unknown bards. In The Music of Man, Menuhin states that "the role of the griot is more than that of an entertainer ... his job is to renew the memories and emotions of past generations" (1 07). Griots relayed the oral diary of daily life within the context of the culture and time periods. Recitation of the familial or national history of Africa was detailed by singers who acted as repositories of culture, history, and 41

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values. Miles Mark Fisher states that these singers could be "professional storytellers, magicians, gossipmongers or musicians" (1 ) He conveys that "among the W olofs, a Sudanese tribe, bands of singers recited family and national history to the accompaniment of musical instruments" ( 1). Preservation of the laws, customs, and historical records of the culture were transported mouth to mouth by "living encyclopedias" (2). These living encyclopedias possessed songs for all of life's predicaments and had the ability to improvise and create impromptu songs. African and African American songs were also passed down orally from parents to children at home or during social gatherings. Consequently, festivals were a gathering place for African American slaves to listen to tales and songs of old Africa Oral tradition was a significant factor in the survival and cultural awareness of the shared attachments within the African American identity. Essentially, griots and storytellers were "human documents" who had considerable impact upon the African American cultural tapestry. The repetitious quality of the phraseology may be attributed to the singer and past generations of oral tradition. Linda Goss and Clay Goss relay that many of the stories of life mirrored daily events and were sung by griots "retelling the story of those who have come before ... reinvigorating the essential wisdoms for the life of the human community 42

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and its (23). The roots of African American songs of lament are deeply imbedded in the bedrock of African culture. In Native American culture, the memory of storytellers and oral tradition are also used to express the continuities of life. Mihesuah states that "all tribes have a strong oral tradition" (38). Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean state that "as long as the stories survive and are passed OI\ the native peoples retain their traditions, history and identity, reminding them of their roots in the land . their sense of (50). Again, the identity of the self is perpetuated through past histories and traditions. The culture and history inform each generation of significant information needed to grasp an intrinsic sense of self identity and uniqueness. Their languages, dances, and stories of their ancestors are kept intact through oral tradition. Communication with the spirits is extremely important in the Native American culture as healing is dependent upon the spirits, good or evil. Vision experiences by healers enabled them to predict future events and assess present situations or difficulties. The healers, medicine mel\ would sing and pray to numerous spirits during ceremonies, rituals, and social activities. Consequently, the ancient culture retained its strength and the s devotion through traditional songs and dances of their lineage petformed at various functions. The oral traditions of the Five Civilized Tribes in the 1800s survived in the form of "fables and legends about man and beast, deities, and witches 43

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and other forces of evir' (Reader's Digest 81). The Reader's Digest America's Fascinating Indian Heritage stresses that "contemporary Indians have also taken a renewed interest in their ancient healing arts, their songs, dances, and stories" (396). The familial roots continue to nourish and illuminate the role of oral tradition in the Native American expenence. While griots voiced African American traditions and medicine men chanted to Native American spirits, the Vietnamese literati remained a vital part of village life. Similar to African American and Native American storytellers, David Marr states that their roles were those of "local purveyors of wisdom, ritual ... story recitations, folk-singing, and composition of verses" (141). The preservation of Vietnamese cultural traditions and histories allowed information to be passed along. through the corridors of oral tradition and written text. Oral tradition was utilized in religious ceremonies and other ancestral-oriented rituals. The Vietnamese literati communicated outside the village with the educated elite and their less fortunate countrymen (141 ), thus enabling the Vietnamese singing traditions to permeate many regions of Vietnam society. Vietnamese folk music has remained unchanged for centuries and is ancestor driven. According to Phong Nguyen, "the term 'traditionar implies the convergence of folk and art music" (12). Everyone is encouraged to sing in the Vietnamese culture. The true 44

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----------. spirit of the Vietnamese people is evoked in popular folk songs and poetty as artistic forms, are a natural language emitted from the depths of their hearts. This culture which contains a wealth of knowledge, has been overlooked and stereotyped as simple, unassuming and passive. Oral traditions have kept the musical heritage vibrant through multiple adversities--the roots stretching from the village level and interacting with all segments of society. Similarly, the transmission ofRoma tradition is accomplished through oral commwlication. Roma or Gypsy language is not written and their rituals are not disclosed to non-Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca states that "it is a serious self-preserving code among Gypsies that their customs, and even particular words, should not be made known to outsiders" (54). The transmission of oral traditions and storytelling is disbursed in closed group encounters. Jean-Paul Cle'bert details that "the transmission is more willingly made by means of stories, songs, recitations, or intoned psalms in the evening, around the campfrre" (133). The Roma have a lengthy history of rich cultural traditions. Unfortunately, many of their traditions are not performed or discussed outside ofRoma control. The roots of their heart-rending music encompasses recreational (dance music, entertainment) and songs of lament. The Romas have given themselves permission to have an identity without sharing their codes and language with outsiders, sharing 45

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a nostalgia for improvised storytelling, and short simple folksongs. (Fonseca4). In Gypsy Fonseca describes their song poems as "mostly faceless, highly stylized distillations of collective experience'' ( 5). The roots of their culture are embedded in gloom and tragedy as they yearn for a home that is not there As evidenced in the discussion above, oral tradition and storytelling encompass introspection (a looking-in at the beliefs and values) and retrospection (a recounting of life stories after significant events or incidents) as valuable tools of condensation. The seed of culture is germinated or rooted in the soil of oral tradition through majestic language and heart-stirring musical strains. This seed could not survive in the shallow soil of rocky resistance--the roots must be planted in fertile hearts and minds, nurtured by the continuation of cultural traditions. The ideologies and oral traditions transfuse the cultural roots with the foundational values, beliefs, and strengths that are the bedrocks of the culture. The fragile roots of later generations would succumb to assimilation without the deeply embedded cultural traditions. Oral traditions, therefore, are solidified and conditioned by the ideologies and thoughts of their pertinent cultme. The disbursal of songs of lament articulate and exemplify oral traditions and storytelling in human form. The soil of identity is fitted for fruitfulness as humanity becomes the recipient of an essence that represses prejudices and impossibilities with strength gathered from past 46

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----------generations, the roots. There are occasions on which it is imperative that an individual share their inner struggles and histo:ry--to become a pilgrim on a path where the ground has been tended and tilled with tender, loving care. Oral traditions and storytelling are significant vehicles of communication that utilize music as a tool of transmittance. Oral tradition will not always express itself in exactly the same manner or to the same degree because the world contains a diverse population. Musical characteristics of improvisation and individuality are employed in songs of lament to accentuate differing degrees of struggle and dissonance. Musical embellishments are able to capture the spirit and soul of persons entering into the future experience, penetrating personality, character, and conduct. Oral tradition and storytelling are not musical elements, but they are significant vehicles of communication that apply music and its message as instruments of thoughts and actions bringing repose, producing healing, and binding up wounds of struggle_ Voices of oral tradition are tools of self-preservation communicated by music symbols in a creative intercultural, cross-cultural interaction Summary Replication is a vital part of oral tradition, storytelling, and the values of the culture. Griots, unknown bards, literati, medicine men, and storytellers relayed music, memories, and the histo:ry of past generations. 47

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--------. Musical traditions were passed along by "living encyclopedias" and "human documents'', and are a significant factor in the survival and cultural awareness of the shared attachments within the African Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma cultural identities. The roots of each of these past-oriented cultures' songs of lament are deeply imbedded in their sense of self. Oral tradition encompasses introspection and retrospection as valuable tools of condensation. The seed of culture is germinated or rooted in the soil of oral tradition through poetics and musical strains. Hence, oral tradition and storytelling are notable vehicles of communication that apply music as an instrument of thoughts and actions, self-preservation, and cross-cultural interaction. The next section will discuss how music theory can inform our understanding of songs of lament. Music Theory: Concepts and Techniques Applicable to Songs of Lament An examination of music theory, concepts and techniques employed in songs of lament further an understanding and grasp of these vehicles of communication. The differing genres of songs of lament all contain primal elements of music theory. Most songs of lament are simple melodies that have retained their validity and value. Joseph Brye states that "a melody is a succession of single tones perceived by the 48

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mind as a unity?? (Brye 7). A melody is so connected as to establish a musical entity. Leon Stein conveys that an individual musical tune is "correct?? in relation to the rhythmic? harmonic? and intervallic determinants (Stein 259) of a particular style. The unified blending of the parts constitutes the whole or the melody. All of the segments work harmoniously in conjunction with each other and join their separate elements to form a cohesiveness in a musical system. However? although a melody is composed following the principles and accepting the implied presumptions of a particular style, a good melody continues its effectiveness despite changing idiosyncrasies of style (melody, harmony, structure, and color). This self-sufficient form is determined by the environment in which the song was written. For example, a chant is an example of a single-line melody or one sound. A single melodic line is also called monophonic or monodic when it is unaccompanied. For example, monodic melodies found in songs of lament were used by the Roma. Songs of sorrow can contain modified melodies or heterophony. Joseph Machlis defines heterophony as "a polyphony in which each line functions as a practically independent entity" (554). Heterophony is an important style characteristic of Vietnamese and African American music styles. The melody line is modified by the adding or omission of certain notes in a section of the melody. 49

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The melody line is the soul--the very essence or spirit of the composition. The personal characteristics of the composer are revealed in this unit of the song. Songs of lament give voice to the composer's identity as the composer reaches the listener with the meaning through the melodic lines' intensity and final resolution at the end of the song. In many instances, for example, the listener is given an impression of crisis met and overcome through the phrasing and final release of the melodic progressiOn. The impression of crisis is explained through dissonance--an urgency to move to a release of tension. Dissonance is the perceived restlessness and tension in music, and dissonance can add a sense of suspense, conflict, harshness, and unpleasantness to the ear of the listener. Joseph Brye, a professor of Music, defines dissonance as "a sound which is unstable, more active, and which needs to resolve to a consonant interval'' (21 ). Songs of lament convey conflictual relationships embellished by the lack of stability in life's circumstances. While the melody is the soul of the song, rhythm is the heartbeat. Joseph Machlis states that it is referred to as "the controlled movement of music in time" (20). The rhythm shapes, molds and binds the melody and the notes. It consists of everything pertaining to the duration attributes of musical sounds. Without rhythm, there is no melody; there is no music. It supplies the necessary elements for life within music--the 50

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very breath of the composition. Within rhythm is contained a vital element of songs of lament--syncopation. Joseph Machlis states that syncopation is "a deliberate upsetting of the normal accent" (20). Syncopation causes a shift from the strong beat to the weak beat or pulse. Syncopated rhythms are found in all songs of lament whether they are chants or the blues. Many times, percussion instruments are used to highlight the syncopated beats in music. The accompaniment of instruments lends color and expression to the text. Leon Stein defines color as "the particular quality or timbre of a tone resulting from the number, vibration rate, and relative intensity of its harmonics or overtones' (257). Most songs of lament of the Native Americans, Roma, Vietnamese, and African Americans utilize accompaniment. Accompaniment many times consisted of the employment of one or a variety of stringed instruments, dnuns, piano, foot tapping or handclapping. Instrumentation or accompaniment assists the vocal composition as the instruments are utilized to play in the background and accentuate the rhythm. Vocal forms of songs were sometimes called strophic (194). Even though strophic does not indicate a "particular pattern" (177), Stein defines a strophic song as "one in which the same melody and the same pattern is used for successive stanzas, as in a hymn or folk song" (177). One form or musical structure of a vocal song is the a capella 51

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presentation. Leon Stein defines a capella as a song "without accompaniment" (179). There are a number of ftmeral and African American spirituals that are sung a capella. Vocal songs may also be classified as syllabic or call and response. Forms of these styles are employed by all four groups within this study in chants. Syllabic songs use one note per syllable in a melody. Call and response singing consists of alternations between a leader and the chorus. Recognizable universal and techniques of music are used in songs of lament. The longevity of music and its universal appeal accent the employment of s ability to communicate through a understandable agency. Even though our words may be our hearts may sing the same melody and employ the same musical techniques. Yehudi Menuhi and Curtis W. Davis state that "for music to speak to us ... it needs a recognizable form corresponding to something in our own (Menuhin and Davis 31). Music is used to transport the thoughts of humankind. Understanding the application of music theory helps to make the journey meaningful and logical. Summary The differing genres of songs of lament all contain primal elements 52

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of music theory. All of the segments of the melody work harmoniously in conjunction with each other and join their separate elements to form a cohesiveness in a musical system. A particular style contains melody, harmony structure, and color, and is determined by the environment in which the song was written. The melody line is the soul--the very essence or spirit of the musical composition. Songs of lament give voice to the composer's identity, and the impression of crisis is explained through the employment of dissonance. Rhythm is the heartbeat of songs of lament because it supplies the necessary elements for life within the music, including syncopation. Instrumentation or accompaniment assists the vocal composition through accentuation of the rhythm. A capella and call and response are examples of vocal forms found in songs of lament. Consequently, recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, and techniques of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the thoughts of humankind through a systematic, understandable agency. The next section will examine methods of research which are applicable in understanding the universality of songs of lament: a genre analysis, language tools, and an examination of relevant songs of lament from the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures, the stylistic characteristics of the music, and the organizing principle. 53

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CHAPTER3 METHOD OF RESEARCH Genre Analysis Substantive and Stylistic Elements The central research question posed by this thesis is to determine the universal qualities of songs of lament across cultures. The perspective used to study the songs of lament of the African Am Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures is genre analysis. Sonya Foss states that this rhetorical analysis is "rooted in the assumption that certain types of situations provoke similar needs and expectations among audiences and thus call for particular kinds of rhetoric" (225). Genre analysis provides a lens to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations pertinent to songs of lament. This method is applicable because as Foss states, "genres represent conventionalized patterns for thought or structures for meaning ... an index to the social reality in Which they figure" (226). The meanings of songs of lament are social realities that reflect beliefs, attitudes, and values of these four cultures. A genre analysis renders "a fuller picture of the evolution of rhetoric in a culture and of the threads that unite the rhetoric of a culture across seemingly diverse time periods and (227). By utilizing the elements or ingredients that universalize songs of lament from 54

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various past-oriented cultures, and a contemporary genre, one is able to establish an awareness of overall similarities and differences. The uniqueness of songs of lament are viewed through three elements: situational requirements, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing principle. The foundation of genre analysis can be traced to Aristotle. Richard Janko asserts that Aristotle felt poetry was "a representation using rhythm, speech and melody ... represent characters, sufferings, and actions, by means of rhythms given form" (1 ). There are two vital parts of tragedy, complication and solution. The poetics of songs of lament are given form through musical melodies and rhythmic stylings. Not only did Aristotle view the representation of rhythm, speech and melody within tragedy, but also believed it to be a cathartic process. Aristotle utilized the cathartic process in tragedy as a representation of painful or destructive events, in which Janko states "tragedy arouses pity, terror and other painful emotions . and so stimulates these emotions as to relieve them by giving them moderate and harmless exercise ... (xix--xx). The arousal of pity, terror, and other emotional expression is the means to catharsis. The complications of life are assuaged through emotional responses embedded in the lyrics and musical components of songs of lament linked to human agency. The songs of lament that were selected in this study to be analyzed will furnish an initial answer to the question of whether songs 55

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of lament are universal. Analyzation of songs of lament, utilizing the genre analysis, include an observation of similarities in response to particular situations; a collection of songs of lament occurring in similar situations; an analysis of songs of lament to ascertain if they share substantive and stylistic characteristics, and formulation of the organizing principle of the songs of lament. This evaluation entails specific songs of lament and their success in fulfi11ing the situational, substantive, and stylistic characteristics of this genre. The evaluation includes ten songs of lament from the four separate cultures in the study. The sample includes songs from the blues, folktunes, chants, art songs, funeral laments or dirges, and spirituals. The following songs of lament were used in this study to ascertain the similarities of the artifact: (The Blues) "Willow Weep For Me" Words and Music by Ann Ronell (Feather 136-139) Oh Lord--why did you send the darkness to me? ... Where's the light I'm longing to see ... you've gone and left nothing to me ... listen willow and weep for me ... say that love has sinned ... Bend your branches ... cover me ... 56

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(Folktunes) "Song of the Soldier's Wife" Traditional Vietnamese (Nguyen and Campbell76-77) When all through earth and heaven rise dust storms, how hard and rough, the road a woman walks ... The Emperor, leaning on his precious sword, at midnight calls for war and sets the day ... "A Battle Lament" By the Dakota Sioux Traditional Native American folktune (Deloria 168) My son, you went off for a little while You are staying away too long! Roma folktune (No title) Words by Wlisocki (Cle'bert 113) I have never known my father ... I lack friends ... You only, oh my violin, accompany me in the world ... I play a song on my violin, And silence hunger and grief ... "The Aftermath" Words by Dimiter Golemanov Gypsy folktune (Kenrick and Puxon 187) The upright stone stares angrily ... From within a hidden voice tries to send out a song ... Hush, Gypsies! Let them sleep beneath the flowers ... 57

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Halt, Gypsies! May all our children have their strength. (Chants) Words of Song by Patrick M. (No title) Native American (Mendoza 165) Rising from the mists of mom ... the dawn's light . The wind still sings of sorrow hom On the banks of the Big Sand. (Art Songs I Opera) "Dear Husband" from Songs of the Slave By Kirke Mechem "Dear Husband: Come this fall with fail. I want to see you so much. This is the one bright hope I have. If you do not get me. Somebody else will. It is said that Master will sell me ... Oh that blessed hour when I shall see you once more ... (Funeral Lament I Dirge) "Khoc than" Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North Traditional Vietnamese '0 father, before your heavenly coffin, I beg you to hear this expression of our feelings ... we mourn for you ... I cry, I weep ... I curse the wicked creator who has parted us ... Let us burn incense. Let us bow our heads, put our hands together and 58

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pray that your soul here present may witness our grief.' (Spirituals) "Deep River" Traditional African American (Johnson and Johnson 100-103) Deep my home is over Deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into campground ... That promised land, that land, where all is peace? Walk into heaven ... "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" Traditional African American (Johnson and Johnson 30-33) Sometimes I feel like a motherless child ... A long ways from home ... Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone ... Way up in de heab'nly Ian' ... Geme analysis is applicable for the study of songs of lament as it gives an overall view of the general category through the unmasking of specific similarities. The first element, situational requirements as Foss describes are "the perception of conditions in a situation that call forth particular kinds of rhetorical responses" (226). Consequently, in order for the artifact to exist, certain conditions must be present. The elements of tragedy, including struggle, sorrow, and trials and tribulations, are prevalent themes in African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. 59

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The histories of the peoples in the African America!\ Vietnamese, Native America!\ and Roma cultures as described in Chapter One are replete with crisis reflected in individual and social conditions. The tragic stimulus is found in everyday life, highlighted by the significant historical tragedies suffered by these groups. Circumstances in the history of each of these cultures created eventful rhetorical obstacles--reasons for the disruption and disorder in the lives of these people. The need for the tragic stimulus is paramount in the situational context of songs of lament. The next stage of genre analysis finds the similarities in the artifacts (songs of lament) and their importance or unimportance to the genre. Foss states that substantive characteristics are "features of the rhetoric chosen by the rhetor to respond to the perceived requirements of particular situations'' (226). The stylistic characteristics are rhetorical forms or features of the artifact. The combination of substantive and stylistic elements unmask the meanings present within the artifact, therefore the stylistic element represents this fusion. Critical substantive and stylistic characteristics are evident in the dynamic of these created fusions, giving meaning and validity to tragedy or struggle. In this study, substantive characteristics will be identified through the text/language of the songs, and stylistic characteristics will be explored in the musical element. Traditional folk song musical 60

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structures were used by diverse groups to express their situational positions and record their experiences and histories. The third element in this method is the organizing principle. Foss states that it "is the root term or notion that serves as an umbrella for the various characteristic features of the rhetoric'' (226). The substantive and stylistic elements are vital to the defining characteristics of this genre. The substantive and stylistic elements together comprise the universal elements of songs of lament across cultures. The lyrics or poetics, contain language codes and imagery. Songs of lament may offer a solution that does not visibly disrupt the perceived structures of the dominant culture, yet forcefully calling for social change through language codes and imagery. The combination of music, rhythm, and poetics are rudimentary to the similarity of oral tradition and storytelling. Oral tradition and storytelling are viable vehicles of communication through which songs of lament continue to travel. Familial roots nourish the roles .of the elements. Summary The genre analysis is pertinent in an analysis of the songs of lament as it unmasks the substantive and stylistic features shared in these artifacts. The purpose of this cross-cultural study is to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations pertinent to 61

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_______________ .. songs of lament to find out if they are universal. The uniqueness and universality of songs of lament can be viewed through situational requirements, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing principle. The next section will examine the substantive elements of songs of lament that envelope the lyrics and message through language. Substantive Elements The analysis of the lyrics provides a method to analyze the substantive similarities of songs of lament. Specific substantive elements of each of the four culture's songs will provide a basis for identifying commonalities. To start, spoken and written language is used to create messages, allowing communication with others. In songs of lament, the lyrics, utilize various language tools to transmit the messages of individual or collective voices: Language tools are varying techniques and instruments of verbal and nonverbal communication that influence the way people think and comprehend the world. An examination of certain language tools employed in songs of lament encourage a better understanding of the codes and imagery practiced by the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures. Language tools provide a safety valve and shared communication techniques in rituals, ceremonies, and everyday life. Coded messages were applied as a safety valve because of atrocities committed upon marginalized cultures by the dominant culture, 62

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while common interpretations were utilized by both the dominant and the marginalized group. Myron W Lustig and Jolene Koester state that "meanings are created and shared by groups of people as they participate in the ordinary and everyday activities that form the context of common interpretations" (27). Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an understandable meaning of the intended effects or specific utterances found in songs of lament. The transmission of songs of lament is an incorporation of symbols of hope and renewal for emotional release and catharsis. The world has been able to equate the lived experiences of pain and soulful desolation with music and language codes. Pragmatics are a component ofall verbal codes and is defined by Lustig and Koester as "the effect of language on human perceptions and behaviors" (177). A well-known traditional spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," speaks of soulful desolation and "home" --a place of comfort, peace, and security. The trial-weary soul is able to express its heartache and release it by praying "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child ... A long ways from home, A long ways from home." (Johnson and Johnson 30-33) Codes are selected components of language used according to a particular interaction with certain individuals; a system of symbols used in verbal and nonverbal communication The spirituals used various language codes to signify home: Canaan, Campground, Promised Land, 63

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and Heaven (Silverman 19). Yet, the general knowledge among the slaves conveyed the double meanings of these words to signify Africa, the free states, Canada, or Liberia. This style of song clothes itself in the hope for freedom in the midst of human struggle, moving the slaves from one position to another through language codes. Language codes kept from understanding the correct meaning, thereby employing the code as a safety valve. The slaves needed to convey messages to one another, and it was intended that the "outsiders" would not comprehend the fullness of the codes. Another traditional African American spiritual, "Deep River," uses the Jordan River as a code (Silverman 20) for the Ohio River, the Atlantic Ocean or a similar body of water between the North and the South. Codes in songs of lament can be used to exchange encouragement and information about upris,ings or flights. Linda Goss and Clay Goss convey an example of a coded message used in the song, "Follow the Risen Lord" (90). The words to the song were changed to "Follow the Drinking Gourd," (90) which refers to the path that one can take to the North by following the Big Dipper and its handle. A dipper, carved out of a gourd, was a commonplace instrument used by the slaves to take a drink of water. They were used as a symbol of freedom when hung over the doorways of an Underground Railroad station (a station of farmhouses or other shelters owned by abolitionists). 64

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Songs of lament may also contain poetics accented by vivid imagery, with special interest placed upon metaphoric figures of speech (summary images are used to represent or describe what is). The language is personified, forceful and direct, and the use of rhyme was not important. An example of this type of language imagery can be viewed in a Vietnamese funeral lament, "Khoc than," recorded in Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North. "0 father, before your heavenly I beg you to hear this expression ... You are for us like a vast sky and a deep sea which we will never forget ... In this phrase, the children express their long-lasting memory for the father. Another metaphoric Vietnamese description used by Nguyen Ba Hoc, a literatus, describes Vietnam as "a grand old hou8e left behind by parents for their children" (Marr 331 ). Metaphors are used to not only describe human objects, but inanimate objects as well. After the tragedies of the Vietnamese War, Vietnam was viewed in songs of lament through a variety of imageries. David Marr states that Vietnam was viewed "as old and new houses" (332) or in the image of "a frog at the bottom of the well, looking upward and remaining sublimely confident" (331 ). In an additional instance, Marr states that "another image was that of a child wandering aimlessly in a darkjWlgle who suddenly hacked his way out and discovered a clear path" (331 ). Hope emanates from dark circumstances and breaks forth in confidence, newness, and clear paths. 65

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Native American chants also contain language codes. In the historical guide, Reader's Digest America's Fascinating Indian Heritage, some of the Native American metaphors are detailed: "metal breasts" signifies Indian police (202); "raven" signifies wealth, illness, death or turmoil (308); "four skeletons" signifies four generations (17), and "fat moon" signifies the month of April (70). The Native Americans communicate with the spirits through songs of lament as they seek to obtain their guidance. The Roma also have a coded language, and nonverbal codes and symbols are used to pass on information within the culture. However, the veneration for the violin as the symbol for a faithful companion that cari be counted on to accompany the individual in any circumstance can be gleaned from a folktune by Wlisocki which states ... And my loved one departed angry; You only, oh my violin, Accompany me in the world ... (Cle'bert 113) In another Roma song of lament, "The Aftermath," voices from deceased Gypsies, hidden in unknown graves, are signified as they try to send out a song to give the children strength. Language codes and imagery are significant communication tools used by many diverse cultures. Songs of lament provide these diverse cultures with an understanding of their identity, essence, and strength. The tragedy of different time periods are viewed through the framework of songs of 66

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lament. Cultural heritage is a force that is larger than the power of human bondage, war, struggle, and genocide. Varied histories, inner experiences, cultural heritage, and traditions perpetuates the landscape of the identity of the self through cultural patterns. Examples are gleaned from "Dear Husband" as the wife proclaims her identity as a slave through the message. She is aware of the consequences of her husband's absence as she proclaims, "If you do not get me. Somebody else will. It is said that Master will sell me ... (Songs of the Slave). A life that is synonymous with wandering is encapsulated in a Roma folktune as a Gypsy proclaims, "I have never lmown my father, and I lack friends." (Cle'bert 113). Moving from place to place, disallowed long-term friendships to be established or formed. Another example is a chant used by the Native Americans. In this song by Patrick M. Mendoza, remembrance of an historical event (Mendoza 165) "on the banks of the Big Sand" identifies the time period of this tragedy. Cultural patterns also contains beliefs, values, and norms of the culture. Belief systems are embodied in spiritual or religious realms through rituals, myths, and ceremonies. The Vietnamese use the funeral ritual to communicate with the deceased. The children of the deceased father implore him to hear their grief as they bum incense and pray. In a song from Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North, "Khoc than," the funeral lament declares ... Let us bum incense. Let us bow our heads, 67

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put our hands together and pray that your soul here present may witness our grief." Likewise the Native Americans speak to the spirits of warriors killed in battle. In "A Battle members of the tribe declare their lament to the spirit of a warrior as they cry "My you went off for a little while You are staying away too long!" (Deloria 168) In the same manner, African American slaves conversed with their Lord as they sought consolation. In the African American spiritual, "Deep River," the soul that was in bondage declared, "Lord, I want to cross over into (Johnson and Johnson 100-1 03). The past and future are connected through ancient values, beliefs, and traditions. The third similarity is veneration for a place, or thing such as the loss of freedom, land, a loved one or a beloved possession "Willow Weep For Me" is the veneration for a person who has gone and left nothing but their memory. Ann Ronell's words resound with somber utterings as she states, Love--once we met by the old willow tree, now gone and left nothing to me, nothing but a sweet memory" (Feather 136-139). While the pains of love are expressed to a the Roma folkttme by Wlisocki focuses on the veneration for an instrument. The song states, ... You only, oh my violin, accompany me in the world ... '' (Cle'bert 113). The violin encapsulated security and companionship to an otherwise lonely and tragic existence. The veneration for a place is depicted in the song, "Deep River." The 68

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traditional African American spiritual venerates the campground, the promised land and heaven--symbolic images of freedom. The message of this song states, ... my home is over Jordan ... I want to cross over into campground ... that promised land . (Johnson and Johnson 100-103). Because of the tragedies suffered and endured by humankind, a yearning or veneration for some one, some place, or some thing exists. The fourth similarity is a common enemy or evil. The common enemy is encapsulated in harmful motivations and influences. Examples are gleaned through the perilous effects of the hungry, greedy pockets of slaveholders, colonialization, foreign invaders, and the political and social restraints of the dominant culture (including a profane criteria of purity). Songs of lament confront individual and collective experiences of tragedy or struggle caused by a common enemy. The common enemy in "Dear Husband" was the slave owner who was driven by greed. The slave knew that if her husband did not come to redeem her, she and their children would be sold away for money Her frightened words state that "If you do not get me. Somebody else will. It is said that Master will sell me" (Songs of the Slave). In these instances of crisis, the people could react in numerous ways: hatred, violence, heartbreak or longing. Songs of lament are an alternative reaction to unjust suffering In Wlisock' s Roma folktune, he states that "my violin has two pals who eat my very marrow, Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a musician ... (Cle'bert 113) Despised by the dominant culture, hunger 69

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became a constant companion to the musicians who wandered from town to town grinding out an existence and relying on the greed of the dominant culture. Songs of lament are necessary to combat the repugnant clutches of unjust, harmful actions. The intolerance of humankind resulted in cultural biases, and laws were passed by the dominant cultures to keep people in subjection, denying free thought and individualism. Women were subjected to mistreatment and economic woes in Vietnam because of the dominant culture. In the folktune, "Song of the Soldier's Wife," life was hard for women left behind by their husband's departure. Men were torn from their families by the greedy hands of colonialization. Mistreatment, economic woes, relocations, heartbreak, physical cruelty, coercion, greed, and intolerance are harmful devices employed to subject individuals or groups to the rule of the dominant culture. The thread of a common enemy or evil unites these cultures across time periods and settings. One wife laments, "When all through earth and heaven rise dust storms, how hard and rough, the road a woman walks!" (Nguyen and Campbell76-77). The ftfth similarity is personification of the tragic situation through the identification with the tragedy. In "Willow Weep For Me," the darkness is sent to an individual through the pronoun, "me." The victim states, "Oh Lord-why did you send the darkness to me?'' (Feather 136-139). fu the Roma folktune by Wlisocki, the pronoun "I" is utilized as the injured party as they state "I have never known my father, and I 70

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lack friends ... I hear no money in my pocket, I play a song on my violin, ... (Cle'bert 113). In "Dear the wife says "I want to see you so much ... If I thought I should never see you again ... (Songs of the Slave) Also, in the African American spiritual I Feel Like A Motherless the individual slave conveys the feelings of the collective spirit of those tom away from their mother's arms as he/she states, "sometimes I feel like a motherless child, ... sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone ... (Johnson and Johnson 30-33). Whether the victim was an individual or a collective agency, the message in songs of lament encapsulated their emotions, situations, and cultural patterns. The next similarity is emotional release or catharsis. Foss states "when a generic form is used by a rhetor it creates expectations in the audience members . who expect a particular style and certain types of content from particular types of rhetoric" (233). Songs of lament become a means for combating the potentially destructive internal psychological damage that could be inflicted by the tragedy experience--a common voice for the tragedy, despair, and sorrow of downtrodden people. In the traditional African American spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child," the slave focuses on a place outside of their situation. The song relays this aspect as it states, "sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone; way up in de Ian'" (Johnson and Johnson 30-33). The heavenly land was an emotional 71

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solution to the tenacious adversity caused by humankind. In "A Battle Lament," a traditional Native American folktune by the Dakota Sioux, the sorrowful could escape the painful separation of a loved one by commUnicating to a fallen warrior in the corridor of grief. In the art song, "Dear Husband," the wife could escape to an emotional resolution by concentrating on the future arrival of her husband. The expected emotional release is relayed through the musical structure, musical elements, and the poetics of the language--an emotional solution, resolution, and corridor for grief. Finally, the seventh similarity is hope. An intricate weaving of values and beliefs are framed through a musical, poetic medium that could offer an avenue of redemption, regeneration, and hope through dangers seen and unseen. Songs of lament offer an emphasis on crisis and redemption through the vision of the future. A message of hope emanates that the future will be a brighter place where someone hears and cares of one's plight. A wife conveys her hope of reunionwith her husband in the song "Dear Husband" as she states, "I want to see you so much. This is the one bright hope I have ... Oh that blessed hour when I shall see you once more!" (Songs of the Slave). His return would mean that she and their children would not be sold away as the "fall" descends upon them. "Willow Weep For Me'' is a blues song that relays the despair of unrequieted love and the hope of release in an outward image of inward pain. The sufferer looks to the willow tree to hide their 72

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sorrow in its branches when the shadows falL The message of the wounded soul states, "Bend your branches down along the ground and cover me, When the shadows fall, bend on willow weep for me." (Feather 136-139) Despite tragedy, hope bridges tragedy to life as a source of power and provision through a musical, rhythmic, and poetic form of communication. In a Gypsy folktune, "The Aftermath,'' Golemanov conveys the hope from the hidden voices of deceased Gypsies who lie in unmarked resting places along the roadways. The wanderers must listen intently to hear the messages of strength from the hidden voices. The declares "Halt, Gypsies! May all our children have their strength" (Kenrick and Puxon 187). The hidden voices' strength becomes regenerated hope and a kind of existential freedom. The following table indicates the seven substantive characteristics that have been identified in the songs of lament under study: Table 3.1 SUBSTANTIVE ELEMENTS 1 ) Language codes--tools/codes 2). Cultural patterns 3). Veneration for a person, place, or thing 4). A common enemy or evil stimulus that causes suffering 5). Personalization 73

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Table 3.1 (cont.) 6). Emotional release or catharsis 7). Hope Summary In songs of lament, language tools are used as a safety valve and as a means to provide shared communication techniques in rituals, ceremonies, and everyday life. Language codes kept "outsiders" from understanding the correct meaning and comprehension of the information. Language imagery and codes were used to communicate an understandable meaning of intended effects or specific utterances through generallmowledge among these cultures. Metaphoric figures of speech are personified, forceful, and direct, and many represent hope emanating from dark circumstances. The coded message, cultural patterns, veneration for a person, place or thing, a common enemy, personalization, emotional release or catharsis, and hope are the foundational and substantive elements of songs of lament. Sufficient substantive similarities were noted in this cross-cultural study to illustrate the commonalities inherent in songs of lament. These ingredients helped these cultures to hold on to reality, hope, and the acceptance of life. The next section will examine songs of lament through a genre analysis which views the stylistic elements of the musical characteristics of songs of lament. The music elements in these 74

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artifacts bond these songs together in a distinct unique genre. Even though diverse cultures are discussed in this study, similarities in musical structure, form, and style are universal implements of these artifacts. Songs of lament musically transport the substance of the struggle into a medium where others can experience the ambiance of tragedy. Music Examination of the Stylistic Elements "For music to speak to bs, ... it needs a recognizable form corresponding to something in our own being.'' --Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis (31) The analysis of the musical structures of songs of lament is an impor..ant tool with which to relay the similarities in Lllls genre. Through comparisons of style characteristics within the melodies and rhyfr..ms of each culture and applicable artifacts, universal commonalities within the global music community can be identified. Even though these songs were composed during differing time periods, common musical threads and instrumentations unite their purpose, power, and provision into understandable communicable agencies. A genre analysis, therefore is an appropriate examination method for individual study and research in this area. The examination will focus on specific stylistic characteristics of each of the four culture's songs of lament to identify general similarities. In each of these fom cultmes, the melody line is L'le very essence or spirit of the composition. It is systematic and understandable 75

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in a recognizable form. Similarly, rhythm, is the heartbeat--it shapes, molds, and binds the melody, lyrics, and notes. It supplies the necessary elements for life wifr.ID music, the verj breath of Li.e composition. Music is the form of of songs of lament and contains harmony, structure, color, intervallic determinants, heterophony, dissonance, syncopation, instrumentation, and vocal forms. First, the style characteristics of the African American spiritual will be examined. African American spirituals contain the following musical elements within the song's structure: call an.d response, extemporaneous composition, improvisation, syncopated rhythm, emotional shouts and moans, religious or spiritual symbolism, chants, dissonance, strophic form, a capella or accompanied vocal repetition of musical phrases and poetic lines, language codes and imagery, and the prevalent use of duple meter and minor keys The duple meter signified that a cycle of two, four or eig..i.t beats were employed as measurements. The use of minor keys, instead of major keys, allowed the use of lamentable feelings and dissonance to be portrayed through musical elements--flattened spirits used flattened notes. Common instruments utilized by the slaves to accompany these songs were: drums, fiddles, banjos homemade string instruments, and violins. An example of these style characteristics can be foUtJ.d in "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. ' This song is written in the 76

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key of e minor and should be SUilg mournfully. The duple meter is used because there are four beats to a measure, and there are dynamic and tempo gradations. The dynamics crumge constantly as crescendos and decrescendos are employed in aL.uost every measure--causing softness and loudness to permeate the landscape of the music. The tempo also changes within the te::\.1, &id the intervals move consistently with thirds, fourths, fifths, and even octave leaps. The octave leaps uncover the dovvntrodden condition to a coveted hope or A wide range of musical embellishments are used in African American spirituals including: accents, triplets, chromaticism, and altered chords. The musical embellishment anticipates the improvisatory presentation by the vocalists or accompanists, and it relays the dissonance within this mournful song. Repetition of the lyrics or sequences and the musical phrasing, as well as a constant harmonic rhythmic beat in the left hand accompaniment reveals the heavy syncopation of the rhythm. The thematic sections and phrases are clearly &-ticulated conveying a strophic form (normal word and syllable stress) in the te::\.1..,setting. The song finally ends with an authentic cadence signifying the resolution of the musical and thematic presentations. Like Afric&! American spirituals, Native American songs of l3.tilent have several identifiable style cl1aracteristics which are examined next. These characteristics include: high-pitched howls, shouts, 77

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emotional variety, chants, strophic form, high-trJling vocalizations, dissonance, minor keys, ornamentation through embellishment, duple meter, syncopated rhythms, mythical or spiritual themes, wide and narrow medodic ranges, language codes and imagery, falsetto voices, and responsorial techniques. The principle instruments are: <.h-ums, rattles, notched sticks, animal scapula bones, fiddles, and gourds. The instruments were constructed from available items found in the environment. Singing is the prevalent form of musical eA"}Jression for the Native American culture. Reader's Digest: America's Fascinating Indian Heritage reveals that a Native American "song did not necessarily need words; it needed feeling" (178). In the song, "A Battle Lament," a short strophic form is used i.t1 this chant. Other characteristics include emotional variety, howls, dissonance, embellished musical resolution (cadence), and repetition. When performed, this song is to be repeated four times. The Native American songs of lament are short and maybe repeated or combined into sequences or series containing brief sentences that usually refer to myths, events or emotions. Vine Deloria, Jr. states that "songs, dances, sweats, music, drumming and ceremonies are usually not to be recorded or videotaped" (71). This practice conf.anues even to the present time. The third review of stylistic musical elements encompasses the songs of lament. The style characteristics include: 78

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ornamentation, duple meter rhythms, improvisation (spontaneity), repetition, monophonic and heterophonic structures, duple rhythms, strophic forms, chants, a capella or instrumental compositions, syncopated rhytl'.lllls, imitation, embellished melodies, language codes or imagery, spiritual themes, responsorial, decorative, cadential, a..1d melismatic. The principle instruments are: drums, strings (plucked lutes, zithers, bowed fiddles, and hammered dulcimers), wooden clappers, wooden or bamboo or bronze bells, flutes, oboes, and mouth organs. -It is important to note that the sung language contains linguistic inflections which allows the music and spoken language to i..J.tertwine. Phong Thuyet Nguyen and Patricia Shehan Campbell reiterate that "the li..1guistic inflection which subtlely rises and falls in pitch has given way to vocal music that is decorative and melismatic, while instrumental performance hints at language patterns thro"Ugt;_ its modal ornamentations" (28). A spiritual link is articulated as "the traditional songs and instrumental music are a particularly powerfully spiritual link to their ancestral and brilliant past" (21). Nguyen and Campbell state that "funerals &J.d commemoration days of the dead are ritualized with music and songs, representing gratitude of the living toward the dead" (22). The funeral is accompanied by a band or orchestra. An example of a Vietnamese funeral song is "Khoc than.'' This heterophonic song requires a band or orchestra to accompany the vocalists. It is a long strophic form with language imagery, repetition or 79

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sequencing of musical phrasing, dyT...amic an.d tempo gradations, and vocal embellishment. The natural voice inflections expose the decorative, melismatic, and improvisatory qualities of this genre. The band or orchestra utilize duple rhytr..ms and a strong, accentuation of the syncopated is relayed through t.'le drums. The stylistic characteristics of the Roma culture also are clearly identifiable in their musical style. Isabel Fonseca states that most Gypsy songs are "wringing laments of poverty, impossible love, and, later, yearning for a lost freedom" ( 4). The characteristics include: magical themes, rhythmic freedom (rhythms cha.."'lge constantly), rhythmic and vocal variety, flexibility, plaintive melancholy, chromaticism, much embellishment, imitation, short and long strophic forms, wailing, syncopation, dissonance, ornamentation, language imagery, repetition, duple meter, dynamic responsorial sections, and cadences. The principle instrumentations include the use of the follo\\-ing: violins, cymbals, lutes, flutes, pan-pipes, bagpipes, and tambourines. Ritual wailing is utilized at funerals, and Ma..-tin Block states fr.tat their songs of lament "produces in them a feeling of romantic exaltation which temporarily obscures the suffering and hatred ... affording them gli..."'llpses of a peace of mind ... (220). Because Roma do not worship heroes (241 ), their funerals are often lively ceremonies The Roma culture believes in magic and spells, and adopts the folk music of the indigenous populations. Block states that their music is a "blend of 80

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Oriental rhythm and European folk-tunes found by the gypsies in the countries of their adoption" (226). An example of a Roma song of lament is an untitled foll.'tune by Wlisocki (Cle'bert 113). This song is structured in the strophic form with much rhythmic freedom and embellishment as it imitates the emotions t.lu-ough instrumental and vocal dexterity. The melody is embroidered with ornamentation, dissonance, sequencing, repetition of musical phrases, and syncopated rhythms. The Roma convey syncopation through the instruments or "mouth music" (Fonseca 1 06) that imitates the sound of drum strokes. While similarities have been noted in the songs of African American, Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma cultures, there are also common elements that can be gleaned through the review of art songs and the blues. The next analysis examines the art song "Dear Husband." It is a long strophic form with syncopated rhythms accented by the accompaniment instruments. This particular art song is not written in duple meter, but there are three beats per measure. The c minor key is utilized and dynamic and tempo gradations are used throughout the composition throug..1. crescendos, decrescendos, and accents. Common intervallic determinants include octave leaps, as well as thirds, folli.-fus, and fifths. The chordal structure is embellished, triplet rhythms are employed, and the music rises and falls to the words of the teA.i until it 81

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resolves with an authentic cadence. Tr.tis composition is surrounded by repetition of musical phrasing, much chromaticism, and dissonance. Art songs are found in most cultures, and the voice is usually accompanied by instmn1ents. Less freedom is afforded the vocalist to improvise, yet there are musical elements utilized to give the ambiance of independence and dexterity to the vocalist and accompat.Usts. These elements include the use of chromaticism, dissonance, and embellishments in the emotion-laden voice, and chordal structures of the composition. A vat--iety of instruments can be utilized -with at-t songs, includh,_g an entire orchestra. In L;e blues and the composition, "Willow Weep For Me,'' the stylistic characteristics include: embellished melodies, duple rhytt.ams, strong syncopated melodies, improvisation woven throughout, interjection of asides ("oh, play it," "alright," etc.)--similar to a call and response structure as the instrumentalist responds to the singer's call, falsettos, shouting, whining, moaning, growlli,_g, strophic forms, ornamentation, and tempo gradations, cadences, dissonat,.ce, chromaticism, and repetition. The principle instruments used are: drums, fiddles, guitars, banjos, piano, atJ.d basses. "Willow \Veep For Me" is to be sung slowly. This song contains triplets, duple meter (four beats to a measure), accentuation of the notes, a very percussive bass lli,_e, arid dynamic changes that range from soft to very loud. It is Wlitten in the G major key and highlighted with 82

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chromaticism, imitation, altered chordal embellishments, and changing intervals. The note drops an octave sigrdfjing the bending down of t.;e branches and the despair of the vocalist. The vocalist is allowed to add "asides,'' mo&!.itJ.gs, groanings, whin.it1gs, &id other vocal aerobics into the teAi. The call and response section is signified by the vocal to instrumental response, and musical phrases are repeated. The similar prlllciple instruments used in songs of lament across these cultures and time periods were drut-ns and strings (violins, b&Jjos, fiddles, basses, guitars, etc.). The universal musical characteristics contained in the melodies and rhythms of these culture's songs of lament are: the strophic form, repetition of musical phrasing, call and response, syncopated rhythms, embellishments, dynamic and tempo gradations, cadences, changing .it1tervals, ha..--m.ony, &id metered rhyfruns. In surruna.t-y, t.;e follovv:h1g twelve stylistic elements and at least t.lrree relevant examples across cultures are uncovered through t.;e genre analysis. These stylistic elements are listed in the following table: Table 3.2 STYLISTIC ELEMENTS 1). Strophic form: "Willow Weep For Me," "Song of the So1dt"e-'s vu;.c.e an ..:I "A B"tt1e T "-en" 1 1 Vll 1U 4L.1 LC1111 1L 2). Repetition of musical phrasing or sequences: "Willow Weep For Me," "K.t"'loc and "A Battle Lament" 3). Call and response or responsorial: "Kt"'loc t.;fui," "A Battle 83

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Table 3.2 (cont.) Lament," and "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" 4) Syncopated rhy-Jnns: "Deep River," "The Aftermath/' and Li.e Native American chant by Patrick M. Mendoza (no title) 5). Embellishment including cr..romaticism, ornamentation, dissonance, melismatic, "asides", improvisation, altered chords: "Dear Husband," "Deep River," and the Roma by Wlisocki (no title) 6). Dynamic gradations including crescendos, decrescendos, and other dynamic indications: "Willow Weep For Me," "A Battle Lament," and "Song of the Soldier's Wife" 7). Tempo gradations: "Dear Husband," "l
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The Organizing Principle Through the specific examination of songs of lament, the organizing principle reveals that substantive and stylistic characteristics are contained in the message, melody, and rhythm of these artifacts. Consequently, the joining of these substantive and stylistic elements across cultures results in the conclusion that songs of lament are universal. The following table the universal substantive and stylistic elements in songs of lament: Table 3.3 UNIVERSAL SUBSTANTIVE AND STYLISTIC ELEMENTS Lyrics or poetics Oral tradition and storytelling History and cultural heritage Cultural Patterns Veneration for a person, place, or thing A common enemy Personalization A catharsis or emotional release Hope The melody The rhythm Strophic form Repetition of musical phrasing Call and response Syncopated rhythms Embellishment Dynamic gradations Tempo gradations Cadences or resolutions Changing intervals Harmony: acapella or accompanied Metered rhythm Common musical instruments Exanlini..J.g t.1.e style characteristics of the Africa..1 American, Native American, Vietnamese, and Roma songs of lament relays the sirrillarities and differences of this musical genre Even though t.1.ese songs were composed during differing time periods, musical characteristics and instrumentations are contained in these vessels used 85

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to communicate situations of tragedy. The genre analysis is pertinent in a. survey of the musical style characteristics of songs of lament because it m1covers the stylistic features contained within the universal language of ffiUSlC. Consequently, contemporary forms of this genre, the blues and art songs also contain similarities of musical elements. Through the genre analysis, it is clear that songs of lament are universal and contain substantive and stylistic characteristics are common and similar through varying time periods and across cultuies. The nehi section will summarize this study on songs of lament and conclude the research findings. 86

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-------------------------------... CONCLUSION OF STIJDY "Lift up your eyes upon the day breaking for you. Give birth again to t.ti.e dream." -Maya Angelou The purpose or function of songs of lament is fui emotional release during crisis or tragedy--oftentimes enclli1g in a glimpse of hope in the future. Songs of lament are found in a range of music genres such as the blues, folktunes, spirituals, chants, art and funeral dirges. Even though there are different forms of design and implementation of music and poetics between cultures, some songs still relay the same situational stories of trials, tribulations, sorrow, lament, and hope for Li.e future. Suffering is a wliversallanguage, and anguish is expressed in different ways. The cultures discussed in ttUs study, African American, Vietnamese, Native American, fu!d Roma, know the ache of struggle fu!d existence includes sorrow. Music is a viable understandable agency of communication which contains a wealth of information about the internal struggles, outward manifestations, and hopes of humarJcind. The scope of this study illustrates the fortitude and strength of a diversity of people signified throllgli. songs of lru-uent. despair or sorrow are not black, red, white or brown--they are colorless, 87

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classless shades of sorrow. To put a color or face upon tragedy or situate it within the realm of certain social categorizations, places perimeters around its borders. Forms of tragedy are byproducts of life emerging into the twilight ofhumatikind,s existence Tragedy crosses time periods, social structures, political configurations, and ethnic orientations as humankind moves from one degree of life to another. As humankind moves forward and circumnavigates the emotional, spiritual, magical or mythological realms, songs of lament can give courage in a crisis through the past experiences and present musical agencies of songs of lament. The need for songs of lament will continue as long as humankind resides on the edge of eternity. The songs of lament in this study illuminate the poignant history of the African American, Vietnamese, Native American, and Roma cultures reflecting social conditions, political manifestations, and crisis. Everybody, s voice is heard in them, thereby making them universal. Past history is viewed as a tool to inform, reform, and transform present ideologies. History can act as a salve or balm to assist in the healing of emotional wounds--promoting psychological and social well being; radiating possibility, potentiality, and hope. The tragic stimulus in songs of lament are found in everyday life. Cultural bonds, such as music, remains a balm in Gilead; sunshine in the rain of adversity. Countless similarities of abusive treatments permeate the landscape of humankind, s confrontations \\t'ithh,_ itself through 88

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historical evidence of economic, social and political subjugation, and mistreatment. The voices of the downtrodden have been synthesized across barriers for generations connected by kinship and cultural systems exemplified in songs of lament. Patterns and seeds of tradition were woven into the sense of self of these groups and remained a part of the tapestry of the irrner life of their cultures as they were transplanted and influenced by cultures. History repeated its tempestuous narrative of people constrained to leave their sacred lands and homes through enslavement, war, genocide, and other avenues of consternation. Consequently, the intolerat,ce of humarJcind resulted in labeling, stereotyping, brutal massacres and revolts of people living on the ragged edge of the dominant culture. However, the strength and tenacity of resistant traditional cultural habits and rituals are sewn into the fabric of songs of lament enabling people to bridge tragedy to life. Ancestral bonds left a deposit of hope and inner strength in cultural traditions, words of encouragement, and musical solace for others living in a world of discomfort. Hope radiating from songs of lament obscured the sufferlllg and hatred and freed the hearts of individuals caught in the interstices of war, politics, and social and cultural hegemonies. The intangibleness of songs of lament could not be displaced from the consciousness of the African American, Native Americat, Vietnamese or Roma. Their music is an integral part of their identity, a part of their soul and a symbol of freedom 89

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and hope. Whether they were pilgrims, aliens or wandering souls, their voices resoWld in a universal message of hope despite tragedy. The world has been able to parallel the lived experiences of pain and soulful desolation with music and language codes. Songs of lament are a good barometer of the beliefs, values, and norms contained in cultural patterns. Cross-cultural communication is a viable tool to examine the similcu.-ities, differences and shared meanings atlfid people of diverse cultures. These groups have belief and value systems closely tied to their communication of music through social gatherings. Spi.t-itual codes, mythology, magic, and ritUals are closely tied to the belief and value systems of the groups in this study. Death rituals provide a universal corridor for grief throug..i.lamentations, singing, and instrumental music. As a result, shared meanings can be viewed musical themes and messages surrounding similar social, political, and individual circumstances. Oral storytellh1g, cu.J.d music intersect as vehicles of knowledge, values, and celebration. The disbursal of songs of lament cu.-ticulate and exemplify oral traditions and storytelling in human form. Griots, unknown bards literati, medicine men, and storytellers relayed music, memories, and the history of past generations through musical replication and poetics. An examination of music theory, concepts, and techniques employed in songs of lament further an and grasp of these art.tfacts. Recognizable musical forms, universal musical concepts, language tools 90

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and techniques of music are used in songs of lament to communicate the thoughts and experiences of hUI-nankind through a systematic, understandable frame of reference. Language imagery and codes were used to commlli,jcate an understandable meaning of intended effects through generallmowledge among these cultures. The method of research, a genre analysis provides a lens to examine the framework, elements, relationships, and recurring situations applicable to vie\\-ing the commonalities and differences of songs of lament. The uniqueness of songs of lament viewed through situational, substantive and stylistic characteristics, and the organizing prillciple revealed common elements vital to this genre {see table 3.3). Sufficient simil&-ities reveal situational, subst&1tive, and stylistic commonalities inherent in songs of lament. The genre analysis is pertinent in an analysis of the songs of lament as it unmasks the situational, substantive, and stylistic features shared in these artifacts across cultures. Spoken and -written language is used to create messages, allowing communication with others. In songs of lament, the lyrics utilize various language tools to transmit the messages of individual or collective voices. Songs of lament provide diverse cultures with an understanding of their identity, essence, and strength. Varied histories, inner eh']Jeriences, cultural heritage, and traditions perpetuates the landscape of the identity of the self through cultural patterns. Cultural patterns, also contains beliefs, values, and norms of culture. 91

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An intricate weaving of values and beliefs are framed through a musical, poetic medium that could offer an avenue of regeneration, and hope dangers seen and unseen. Because of the tragedies, a yearning or veneration for some one, some place, or some thing exists. Songs of lament are a..1 alternative reaction to unjust suffering caused by a common enemy or evil. The common enemy is encapsulated in hamu.+ul m<:>tivations and influences. Songs of lament also become a means for combafillg the potentially destructive internal psychological damage could be inflicted by the tragedy e)>..-perience--a common voice for the tragedy, despair, and sorrow of downtrodden people. the victim was an individual or a collective agency, the message in songs of lament encapsulated their emotions, situations, and cultural patterns through personalization. Situations of tragedy are by the substantive elements of lyrics, oral tradition and storytelling, history and cultural heritage, cultural patterns, veneration for a person, place, or thing, a common enemy, a catharsis, and hope. Even though diverse cultures are discussed the genre analysis uncovers stylistic similarities in musical structure, form, and style that are universal implements of these musical artifacts circumventing culture and ethnicity. Through compa..-isons of the stylistic characteristics of spirituals, chants, fimeral dirges, foll.'t'un.es, art songs, a..id the blues, twelve similarities were uncovered in the musical formation of the 92

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melody and rhythm The musical similarities are: the strophic form, repetition of musical phrasing, call and response, syncopated rhythms, embellishments, dynamic and tempo gradations, cadences, changing intervals, harmony, metered rhythms, &1.d music instruments across cultures. Through the specific sw-vey of the songs of lament, organizing principle reveals that universal characteristics are contai.t1.ed in the message, melody, and rhythm. Songs of lament are a classroom without walls of exclusivity, and there is presence, provision, and power contained within their borders. Their presence is heard, their provision is realized in their ability to universally communicate, &,_d their power is felt and emanated from the inside out. Specific universal images c&,_ be in the simple or long forms of songs of lament that barely utilize the notes and tones encased in a single octave of musical expression. The residues of diverse cultures loudly resound in harmonies and behaviors in songs of lament. Songs of lament confwue to follow in the footsteps and dust tracks of the downtrodden, reclair.uing cracked spaces with voices of Songs of lament provide a universal voice to hope through sorrow within the harmonic convergence of diverse stre&lls of thoug..i.t; transforming tragedy into action. The seeds of change are embodied in this musical idiom--a place to relocate humankind's sorrows into hope, walking it,_ the provision of potentiality, and standing on t.i.e promises of 93

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----------" ---future possibility. Shades of sorrow are expressed, rehearsed, and released at the intersection of the desperate and despondent in the songs of lament. Encouragement rises from the ashes of the disenchanted, disenfranchised, and despondent as songs of lament enfold the contextualization and essence of humankind's soul. 94

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BIDLIOGRAPHY Aristotle. Poetics with the Tractatus Coislinianus, reconstruction of Poetics II, and the fragments of the On Poets Trans. Richard Janko. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishit1g Company, 1987. Bilton, Michael, and Kevin Sin. My Lai The Killing Begins. 11 Light at the End of the Tunnel A Vietnam War Anthology. Ed. Andrew J. Rotter. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1999. Block, Martin. Gypsies: Their Life and Their Customs. Trans. Barbara Kuczynski and DUt1can Taylor. New York: D. Appleton-CentUt-y Company, Inc., 1939. Borton, Lady. After Sorrow: An American .Among the Vietnamese. New York: Kodansha L1temational, 1996. Boyer, Horace Clarence. How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel. Washington: Elliott & Clark PttblisriliJ.g, i 995. Brye, Joseph. Basic Principles of Music Theory New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1965. Buckingham, J. S. American, Historical, Statistic, and Descriptive. In Negro Slave Songs In The United States 1953. New York: Russell & Russell, 1968. Campbell, Neil, and Alasdair Kean. American Cultural Studies: An Introduction to American Culture New York: Routledge, 1997. Cle 'bert, Jean-Paul. The Gypsies. Trans. Charles Duff. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1963. 95

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James West, et. al. Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic. 2nd ed. Vol. 1: To 1877. New York: J\.1cGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994. Deloria, Vine, Jr. Singing for a Spirit: A Portrait of the Dakota Sioux. Sarita Fe, New Mexico: Clear Light Publishers, 1999. Duiker, William J. Revolution in Transition 2nd ed. Boulder, Colorado. Westview Press, 1995. Feather, Leonard. Forward. Billie Holiday Anthology: "Lady Day" Had A Right To Sing The Blues. Produced by John L. Haag. Ojai, California: Creative Concepts, ND. 136-139. Fisher, Miles Mark. Negro Slave Songs In The United States 1953. New York: Russell & Russell, 1968. Foss, Sonja. Rhetorical Criticism. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996. Fonseca, Isabel. Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Goss, Linda, and Clay Goss. Jump Up and Say! A Collection of Black Storytelling. New York: Touchstone, 1995. James and J. Rosamond Johnson. The Books of American Negro Spirituals The Book of American Negro Spirituals and The Second Book of Negro Spirituals. New York: Tl-. ut p 1 940 J_ .ue v lKlllg ress, J_ Jones, A-thur C. Wade in the \Vater The Wisdom of the Spirituals. NashvJle: Abingdon Press, 1993. 96

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Donald, and Grattan Puxon. The Destiny of Europe's Gypsies. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1972. Lustig, Myron W., and Jolene Koester. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 1999. Marable, Manning. Black American Politics: From the Washington Marches to Jesse Jackson. In American Cultural Studies: An Introduction to American Culture. New York: Routledge, 1997. Machlis, Joseph. The Enjoyment of Music An L1troduction to Perceptive Listening; 5th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1984. Marr, David G. Vietnamese Tradition on Triall920-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. Mendoza, Patrick M. Song of Sorrow: Massacre at Sand Creek. Denver: Willow Wind Publishing 1993. Menuhin, Yehudi, and Curtis W. Davis. The Music ofMan. New York: Methuen, 1979. Devon A. American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities. Atlanta: Clarity Press, Inc., 1996. Nguyen, Phong Thuyet, and Patricia Shehan Campbell. From Rice Paddies and Temple Yards: Traditional Music of Vietnam. 1990. nanb11rv r-T-nr ...... lA nress 199A LJ _.J,'-' VVUllU.lV.L l .l .l "1". Norton, Mary Beth, et al. A People & A Nation: A History of the United States. 3rd ed. Vol. 1: To 1877. Boston: l.V.Jfflin Company, 1990. 97

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Pham. Chu Phap. In Vietnamese Tradition Tradition on Trial 1920-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. Reader's Digest. America's Fascinating Indian Heritage: The First Americans Their Customs, Art, History, and How They Lived. Ed. James A. Maxwell. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1978. Roethler, Michael. Negro Slavery Among the Cherokee Indians 15401866 Diss. Fordham University, 1964. New York: Fordham University, 1964, 703146. Sar Desai, D. R. Vietnam: Past and Present. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1998. Silvennan, Jerry. Slave Songs. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994. Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans A History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971. Songs of the Slave. By Kirke Mechem. Dir. Daniel Grace. With Carlos Clarke and Flora Young. Temple Events Center Uptown, Denver. 20 March 1999. Stein, Leon. Structure & Style: The Study and Analysis of Musical Fonns. Secaucus, New Jersey: Summy-Birchaid Inc., 1979. Vietnam: Funeral Music from the North. CD-ROM. Musica Deo Series. Paris: Disques 1998. \Valker, Wyatt Tee Walker. Black Sacred Music and Social Change. 11 Wade in the \Vater: The Wisdom of the Spirituals Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993. 98

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West, CorneL Prophetic Pragmatism: Cultural Criticism and Political Engagement. 11 Pragmatism: A Contemporary Reader. Ed. Russell B. Goodman. New York: Routledge, 1995. West, Cornel. The Cornel West Reader. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999. 99