Subject:      musical instruments indicating transoceanic contact?
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/08/01
Message-ID:   <5rssre$e50$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology,

Ross Clark ([22] wrote:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
: > J.R. Pelmont ([23] wrote:

: > : One of us recorded the
: > : concert. Years after I still remember this and our big surprise. But I
: > : considered ever since it was a mere coincidence. These two parts of the
: > : world are about 10,000 english miles apart !
: >
: > Well, Jean, this may not be a coincidence after all... Studies of musical
: > instruments on both sides of the Pacific have been done, and many
: > similarities were found.
: Interesting -- reference please?

Dear Ross,

I have now tried to look up the references for the transpacific parallels
in musical instruments, as well as in musical styles. These references
seem abundant, but most of the research in this area was done and
published early in this century. There are classic studies looking at this
by such scholars as Nordenskiold, and Rivet for example. Since then, the
interest in this seemed to have waned somewhat. The instruments that are
most often considered are panpipes, special kinds of drums, and shell

In any case, here's some material that was published relatively recently.

Mason J. Alden, THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION OF PERU, Penguin, 1968, talks
about panpipes. He finds "astonishing similarities" in this area between
Peru and ancient China. (pp. 21-24) [Are you listening, Domingo?]

Joseph Needham and Lu, in their TRANS-PACIFIC ECHOES (1985), talk about
the parallelism between Aztec _teponaztli_ drums or wooden gongs, and the
_mu yu_ of Chinese and Japanese temples. They also observe that the
richness of ancient Chinese orchestras in percussion instruments (raspers
and rattles) recalls Mexico (pp. 27-28). Of course this is one very useful
and now classic volume that considers plenty of related material, and
contains abundant further references.

But the best recent source on this subject is an unpublished
(unfortunately) Ph.D. thesis at City University of New York [are you
listening, Paul Gans?] by Roselle Tekiner, THE PANPIPE AS INDICATOR OF
CULTURE CONTACT, 1974. She considers every aspect of this matter in
detail, using criteria formulated by Paul Tolstoy. She demonstrates the
likelihood of relationship between panpipes of the Pacific and S. America
based on their musical characteristics.

Just one more small piece of the general picture of historical
relationships that are now emerging from obscurity...

Best regards,


Yuri Kuchinsky   | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
     -=-         | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
 in Toronto      | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
 ----- my webpage is for now at: [24] -----

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