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Arachne. No. 3

The Tunes

The Tunes

Maori poetry and song cannot be properly understood and memorised without a thorough knowledge of the tunes. How are these tunes to be learnt. The reason why some of the young people nowadays will not stand page 6 up and sing these songs is that they do not know the words of the songs. The words are being laid down in writing in the present collection.

Some of the tunes may be picked up by those who have an ear for music. However, the people able to sing these Maori songs are every day diminishing in number, the occasions on which they are sung are becoming fewer and a generation is growing up which is not very interested in these heirlooms of the Maori people.

The Pakeha has two means of recording the tunes of these Maori songs. First, it may be done by musical notation. The Hawaiian songs were dealt with in that way. Nobody has yet taken on this task, but maybe this will be done in the future.

The second method is by means of gramophone records. The Board of Maori Ethnology is giving this method much thought, and when this has been achieved the first of the methods mentioned, musical notation, may follow.