Contents

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p. ix

Illustrations

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pp. xi-xiv

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvii

On Takū itself, the entire project could not have occurred without the approval of Ariki Avo and the community council, and it could not have succeeded without the support and patience of the community itself. To Avo, his wife Samoa, and family, I am most grateful, not just for generous hospitality but also for the many easements into Takū life and their constant interest in the...

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Preface

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pp. xix-xxiv

Few researchers have spent extended time on Takū. William Churchill (1884) and Richard Parkinson (1885, 1896) visited briefly, as did the Hamburg Museum’s South Seas Expedition in 1910 led by Ernst Sarfert (Thilenius 1931). The American linguist Samuel H Elbert spent six weeks on Takū in 1963 studying the language; he subsequently produced a report on living conditions and a...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

This book is a musical ethnography of a Polynesian outlier, Takū, an atoll lying off the east coast of Bougainville, politically incorporated in Papua New Guinea but having more cultural affinities with the other outliers far to its southeast, all but one of which is located outside Papua New Guinea. The work arose from a request in 1994 from the island’s chief (the Ariki) and...

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1. Geography and History

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pp. 9-46

Takū, a coral atoll some 200 kilometers east of Bougainville in the political territory of Papua New Guinea (maps 1, 2), lies 157°1'12" east longitude and 4°45'12" south latitude.1 In contrast with much of the rest of Papua New Guinea, Takū is a Polynesian outlier and has cultural and historical links with a loose chain of similar atolls stretching southeast through Solomon Islands...

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2. Takū Society as the Locus for Musicking

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pp. 47-100

Singing on Takū occurs not at the level of spectacle or theater for the benefit of an audience, but as an introspective expression of the values and beliefs that allow its residents to function as a community in both domestic and ritual modes. Operating at the levels of family, patriline, and linked kindred, social clustering and the occasions for that clustering are identified...

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3. Religious Contexts of Music

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pp. 111-139

Information on Takū’s religious practices survives in both historical descriptions and contemporary usage.1 As in the past, much of daily life today is imbued with the supernatural, and this mirrors and confirms to a degree the egalitarian nature of social relations on the atoll. The two activities that occupy the greatest amount of time—the survival pursuits of gardening and...

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4. Processes of Takū Music

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pp. 140-173

Human composition is an active and conscious process. Either spontaneously or on the request of another resident, a composer (the numbers of males and females are approximately equal) starts by mānatu tonu (focusing) on a given theme, from which first the poetry and then the melody are developed. In theory, anyone is free to go to a recognized composer and suggest a particular...

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5. The Nature of Takū Song

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pp. 174-211

In earlier sections of this book I have favored the term “singing” over “song” to emphasize the social significance of the activity over the artifact, but this is not to suggest that local residents speak only in general terms about the elements that constitute a song or that there exist no aesthetic preferences. And although performances are not normally intended for any audience beyond...

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6. The Nature of Takū Dance

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pp. 212-267

As one of the expressive arts, dancing occupies a unique position. Nūnua’s statement here indicates that the nature, duration, and timing of the specific actions of dance are linked in a form of artistic dependency to the singing of the song poetry; dance constitutes an extension into the visual realm of musical elements in the aural realm. There can be no dancing without singing. At...

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Conclusion

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pp. 268-273

On a technical level, Takū’s musicking is the act of marshaling voices to sing in unison and linking dance actions to those voices in a manner that produces synchronized sequences of movement. These performance characteristics, together with an expectation of proficiency from all participating individuals, constitute a form of egalitarianism, a behavioral principle that permeates...

Notes

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pp. 275-288

Glossary of Takū Terms

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pp. 289-292

Bibliography

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pp. 293-299

Index

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pp. 301-306