On the Frontiers of Ethnomusicology

 
 

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

Feb. 11, 1911: Among the items at the Southwest Museum is a flute, made of a human bone, that was discovered while excavating Native American graves on Santa Catalina Island.  The flute was something of a rarity, The Times said, because it had six finger holes rather than three.

The museum asked various musicians to try playing the flute, but none was successful. Museum curator Hector Alliot (d. 1919) decided that "as the flute had been played by a people whose minds were as children's compared with the minds of the modern man, he would find the person to make the flute speak among the children."

Clifford Elliott Martindale was able to make a sound on the flute. “Suddenly a long, weird sound like a wail arose throughout the museum. It hung and quavered and then died away as Martindale gasped for more breath," The Times said. 

[No matter how many years I have spent looking at old newspapers, I am still amazed at some of the complete rubbish that was presented as scientific inquiry, particularly in the field of anthropology and archeology—lrh].

 

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

  Feb. 16, 1919, Hector Alliot  

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1911, classical music, Music, Obituaries. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to On the Frontiers of Ethnomusicology

  1. Native Angeleno says:

    Reminds of the 18th century scientific inquirer who financed the isolated silent care of very young children in the expectation the speech they would reveal of their own volition would automatically kick in as ancient Hebrew.
    Needless to say…

    Like

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