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date: 06 May 2021


  • J. Richard Haefer


Native American language family of the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, including the Pueblo cultures of Santa Clara, San Juan, San Ildefonso, Tesuque, Pojoaque, and Nambe. Although their ceremonial life has much in common with that of the other eastern Pueblo cultures, they are separated from the others by cultural variations and language differences.

Pueblo musical culture, like that of the northwest coast, is relatively complex. The Tewa have a ceremonial terminology and taxonomy for music encompassing basic definitions of song, names of instruments, concepts about the parts of songs (such as the refrain), and instructions for performance. Tewa terminology exemplifies the complete integration of music and dance, as many terms have two meanings—one for music and one for choreography. This integration is further evidenced by the self-accompaniment of the dancers, who carry and play gourd rattles, while members of the chorus, singing to one side of the plaza, beat the deep Pueblo log drums. Most Tewa music is in duple meter. When triple meter is used the dancers frequently dance two steps and pause on the third, or subdivide the final beat of each group of three. The melodies and accompaniments of each song usually contain only two rhythmic values, but these simple rhythms are combined into complex larger structures through an infinite variety of phrase combinations. Melodies vary from monotone chants to four-or five-tone diatonic melodies, the last named being the most common. The major 2nd and 3rd and perfect 4th are the intervals most often used, while semitones are rare....

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The English Madrigal School, rev. as The English Madrigalists