chapter  2
21 Pages

The Cantometrics Experim

OUR study began with the perception that there are powerful stylistic models shaping the majority of song performances in large regions of the world. Once a listener has heard Negro African, Indian, Oriental, Australian, or Polynesian songs he will seldom fail to recognize the style on a second en­ counter. Scholars know that melodies and song themes wander freely within several enormous regions, past language and culture barriers, without losing their essential form. However, when the Pygmies hoot "My Darling Clemen­ tine," when the Cherokee Indians chant "Rock of Ages," when the Kentucky mountaineer moans the Negro blues, or when Beethoven sets Scots bagpipe tunes for the symphony orchestra-when, that is, a tune moves from one style region to another, it is often distorted out of recognition by the new per­ formance framework. Within these regions, despite many fascinating areal and cultural differences, song styles remain fundamentally similar and are so perceived by the people of the region.