Concept

Māori music

Summary
Traditional Māori music, or pūoro Māori, is composed or performed by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and includes a wide variety of folk music styles, often integrated with poetry and dance. In addition to these traditions and musical heritage, since the 19th-century European colonisation of New Zealand Māori musicians and performers have adopted and interpreted many of the imported Western musical styles. Contemporary rock and roll, soul, reggae, and hip hop all feature a variety of notable Māori performers. Songs (waiata) are sung solo, in unison, or at the octave. Types of songs include lullabies (oriori), love songs (waiata aroha), and laments (waiata tangi). Traditionally all formal speeches are followed by a waiata sung by the speaker and their group of supporters. Some of the smaller wind instruments are also sung into, and the sound of the poi (raupo ball swung on the end of a flax cord) provides a rhythmic accompaniment to waiata poi. Captain Cook, who visited the New Zealand archipelago in the late-18th century, reported that the Māori sang a song in "semitones". Others reported that the Māori had no vocal music at all, or sang discordantly. In fact, the ancient chants, or mōteatea, to which Cook was referring, are microtonal and repeat a single melodic line, generally centred on one note, falling away at the end of the last line. It was a bad omen for a song to be interrupted, so singers would perform in subgroups to allow each subgroup to breathe without interrupting the flow of the chant. Mervyn McLean, in "Traditional Songs of the Maori", first notated the microtonality in a significant number of mōteatea in 1975. Ngā Mōteatea, collected by Sir Āpirana Ngata (1874-1950), is an important collection of traditional song lyrics. Karanga (Māori culture) A karanga is a formal, ceremonial call and response at the start of a pōwhiri (welcome ceremony) and is common on a marae. Karanga are carried out almost exclusively by women and in the Māori language.
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