Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Samoan Material Culture

Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Shell trumpets of Triton and Cassis shell and the mouth flute are found in both areas. The true drum made of an upright hollowed log with shark skin stretched over the upper end is characteristic of the east and absent in the west. The eastern drum was important in the ritual connected with the page 678religious stone structures and extended from the central area to the marginal localities of the Marquesas and Hawaii. In New Zealand, where the elaborate stone structures were absent, the drum was absent also.

The wooden gong made of a hollowed log with closed ends and a narrow slit-like opening is characteristic of the western area. The history of the slotted gong in Samoa is peculiar in that the true Samoan nafa form has disappeared whilst the two larger forms present are said to have been introduced from Fiji and Tonga. The small pate form is also stated to have been introduced from Tahiti by missionaries. The small pate gong is present in the east central area. A larger well carved form known as kahara in the Cook Islands is enumerated in tradition in the list of things used in the ancient takurua ceremonies at Atia-te-Varinga, which Percy Smith located in Indonesia.

As Linton points out (19, p. 453), the nose flute is present in the eastern area but is absent in Samoa. Pan's pipes are present in Samoa as well as Tonga but are absent in the east. Though the specialized form of Jew's harp described by Linton (19, p. 408) in the Marquesas is absent in Samoa, the child's toy of a stiff piece of wood or a dry coconut leaflet midrib vibrated against the teeth was used in Samoa as well as in the eastern area.