An ethnomusicological study of the Huli of the Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Pugh-Kitingan, Jacqueline. (1982). An ethnomusicological study of the Huli of the Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea PhD Thesis, School of Music, The University of Queensland.

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Author Pugh-Kitingan, Jacqueline.
Thesis Title An ethnomusicological study of the Huli of the Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
School, Centre or Institute School of Music
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1982
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Total pages 3 v.
Language eng
Subjects 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Formatted abstract
The Huli are one of the major Highland groups in Papua New Guinea. They perform a wide variety of musical genres, most of which are solo and are based on language. Huli instrumental music, especially that of the gáwa (double-stringed musical bow) and híriyùla (jaw's harp), involves the articulation of poetry.

The aim of this thesis is to examine Huli music in terms of Huli culture and ideas, as well as from an analytical viewpoint, thus arriving at an understanding of its intrinsic nature. After a brief introduction outlining the Huli situation regarding recent outside influences and research, the text falls into three parts.

In Part One, the ethnographic context of Huli music is discussed. Chapter 2 considers the place of music in Huli life, society and culture, while Chapter 3 explores Huli ideas about the cosmos and oral history for clues to the origins of musical genres. The roles of music and dance in major Huli rituals are examined in Chapter 4.

Part Two begins with an explanation of some important Huli musical concepts. It then analyzes specific examples of the major musical genres, explaining further ethnosemantic concepts where applicable. The examples discussed in Chapters 6 to 16 are transcribed in Volume 2 and recorded on the tapes in the supplement.

Conclusions arising from this study are summarized in Part Three. It appears that since language is the basis of most genres, including most instrumental music, speech-tone is the main determinant of melodic contour. Where linguistic articulation in instrumental music is not feasible, the Huli imitate yodelling—a form of communication which they believe is the precursor of human speech. Four basic pitch arrangements or tuning systems are employed in Huli music, the major third being the most outstanding interval. Huli musical performances also display a range of textures and forms.

Finally it is shown that certain instrumental types and practices, such as language articulation, found amongst the Huli also characterize other related groups. These features may be typical of all cultures of the West-Central language family, to which Huli belongs.
Keyword Music -- Papua New Guinea -- Huli Region

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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