The music of shamanistic rite as a language system (on the example of Samoyed languages) Cover Image

Музыка шаманского обряда как языковая система (на примере самодийских языков)
The music of shamanistic rite as a language system (on the example of Samoyed languages)

Author(s): Oksana Eduardovna Dobzhanskaya
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Институт языкознания Российской академии наук

Summary/Abstract: Shaman Music is conditioned by ritual functions and goals, all elements of shaman music (such as melody, rhythm, tempo, key etc.) are dependent on ritual purposes. The main features of Samoyed shaman music are the following: 1. Shaman singing is accompanied by the drum, which is the main ritual shaman’s attribute. 2. Shaman singing is a type collective responsorial singing: the solo part (performed by the shaman) alternates with the ensemble (or chorus) part, performed by the shaman’s helpers. 3. The basis of the shaman texts is 8-syllable verses. It is contrasted to 6-syllables verses, which were associated with secular genres of Samoyed music. 4. This 8-syllable pattern is materialized in the rhythm of shaman songs through certain rhythmical formulas. 5. Each shaman melody is a tune of the shaman’s helper-spirit, who has animal-like form. That is why the onomatopoeic sounds play a very important role in the musical composition of shaman rituals – the sounds of voices of a reindeer, a swan, a goose, a loom, a bear, a wolf are available to hear on recordings. 6. The musical form of shaman ritual is like a medley (or like beaded melodies of shaman’s helper-spirits). The musical form doesn’t have any fixed structure, it depends on the purpose and the plot of the ritual. Present research is based on author’s field materials of 1980-1990s and also on published and archive sources.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 01 (1)
  • Page Range: 31-42
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Russian