Te Puoro Maori

July 29th 2015
Te Puoro Maori is the traditional music of the Maori.

Te Pūoro Māori (literally "Māori music") is the traditional music of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand. Prior to European contact, Māori music was sung in microtones - a song could have a musical interval as little as that of a minor third but with more than the four notes of the European system within that range. However, missionary influence during European contact led the traditional music to be gradually harmonized during the 19th and 20th centuries. Another unique quality of Māori traditional singing is hōtu - a voice that sounds like a heart beating, or sobbing without tears. The latter technique is probably best exemplified by Ana Hato, singer active in the first half of the 20th century who together with Deane Waretini pioneered a modernized Māori song genre accompanied by chorus and piano but which nonetheless retained traditional harmonies and vocal teamwork.

Songs (waiata) are divided into either lullabies (oriori), love songs (waitata aroha) or laments (waiata tangi), either sung solo or in unison. Song music also usually accompanied poetry, dance or served social functions during gatherings, and so did ceremonial calls (karanga). This approach also survives today through the "action song" (waiata-a-ringa) created by Apirana Ngata in the early 20th century, in which symbolic dancing synchronizes with the singing.

Although before European influence Māori music was mostly sung, there was a tradition of wind, percussion and whirled instruments such as various types of flutes, wooden trumpets, percussion instruments and bullroarers, known by the collective term taonga pūoro. During the early 20th century, performers began to accompany themselves with the piano or violin, and with the guitar from the mid 20th century onward.

Except taken from Rate My Music


Additional Reading and Resources:

Māori composers - ngā kaitito waiata

Te Reo Music on the Airwaves at NZ On Screen

Ana Hato at Audio Culture

Dr Richard Nunns - Nga taonga puoro, traditional Maori musical instruments 

The Waiata Māori Music Awards 

Songs In Māori from NZ Folksongs

Māori music on Wikipedia

1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand entry on Māori music

Traditional Maori-Music From New-Zealand By Moniek Darge



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