World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Music of Tahiti

Article Id: WHEBN0000921601
Reproduction Date:

Title: Music of Tahiti  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Music of the Cook Islands, Fakanau, Music of Tuvalu, Music of Samoa, Music of Niue
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Music of Tahiti

Vivo (nose flute) player
A Tahitian ukulele, or Tahitian banjo.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the music of Tahiti was dominated by festivals called heiva. Dancing was a vital part of Tahitian life then, and dances were used to celebrate, pray and mark almost every occasion of life. Examples include the men's ʻōteʻa dance and the couple's 'upaʻupa.

Professional dance troupes called ʻarioi were common, and they moved around the various islands and communities dancing highly sensually and erotically. In the early 19th century, however, colonial laws severely restricted these and other dances, which were considered immoral. Herman Melville celebrated one such dance (he called it the 'lori-lori') for its sensuality. They were replaced instead by genres of Christian music such as himene tarava.The word 'himene' is derived from the English word 'hymn' (Tahiti was first colonized by the English).[1] Likewise, the harmonies and tune characteristics / 'strophe patterns' of much of the music of Polynesia is western in style and derived originally from missionary influence via hymns and other church music.

One unique quality of Polynesian music is the use of the sustained 6th chord in vocal music, though typically the 6th chord is not used in religious music. Traditional instruments include a conch-shell called the pu and a nose flute called the vivo, as well as numerous kinds of drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks and dog or shark skin.


  1. ^ Smith, Barbara and Amy Stillman. "Hīmeni", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 9 February 2008), (subscription access).

External links

  • "A Brief List of Materials Dealing with the Music of Tahiti." Library of Congress. (Bibliography published 1970).
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.