INSTRUMENTAL July 14, 1972 - 13A Opanya Anuak Thom

01 Track 1.mp3

Recording #13A

Place of Recording: Opanya

Date of Recording: July 14, 1972


Informant: Paul Abulla

Date of Transcript: August 4, 1972; Direct conversation

1 000 Tuning process on the thom.

2 031 Instrumental with thirds in evidence. Also, octaves.

3 063 Instrumental. Repetitious patterns with emphasis on the highest tone. Very rhythmic.

4 129 Agwaga.

Information: Mentions the names of the people who were very strong at that time.

5 161 Agwaga.

Information: Instrumental. Low home tone. Repetitious.

6 207 Agwaga.

Information: Nice piece.

Text: These people always disturb me. Mentions the names of the people.

7 241 Agwaga.

Information: Song is against the lady. Notice the ending.

Text: Mentions the names of the people (RAMO means expert) short phrases with repeats.

8 308 Agwaga Instrumental.

Information: Tuning seems to be faulty. Adds voice after instrumental introduction. Voice finds the pitch not exactly matched with instrument.

Text: Mentions the names of those in fighting. Stating we must go and fight. Talks about the chief. We have to leave that village. Mentions the names of the people. Mentions the names of those killed. (Incomplete)

ANUAK Project: FIELD NOTES – July 14, 1972

Retyped: June 8, 2019

2:20 We leave Pokwo by boat traveling up stream to Opanya.

2:50 We walk through saw grass and corn fields to quickly arrive at Opanya. The Anyanya village has been deserted because the boys have been called south so we sit under a tree among the men outside the village of Opanya itself. We wait for a considerable time until the same gentleman we heard previously arrives with his thom.

3:40 He sits down and begins tuning his instrument and proceeds to break a string. These strings, held in the base of the instrument by an iron peg run upward to the cross bar at the top where they are in six masses of string which are in turn tightened by twisting around the cross stick. He spends considerable time separating the strands but then ties the whole group in a rather uncertain knot. He then concludes tuning.

His first songs are rather short today as he is complaining of being hungry. As he continues however, he sings longer songs and is later joined by the fellows sitting around. They listen with great attention and quiet. He is apparently singing old war songs known to the older men. One song he sings is religious. I wonder if this tribe uses drums in addition as the form of these songs is different than the general form of the songs, we have been hearing which have the repeated chant like part sung by the entire group. The entire group here seems to sing much more and more continuously without the chant patterns so evident.

Again, he uses a unison style with his instrument and voice with occasional extra parts for instrument. Where the pitch of his instrument wasn’t quite right, he sings properly with the voice anyway and the instrument being played flat to the voice. Tuning of the thom is done relatively from string to string, comparing relative pitches and checking one against another or against the whole pattern of notes. It is possible that the instrument is tuned upward in the sequence of songs sung. This should be check on. If this is true the relative pitches of each of the notes remains the same though the tonal base is raised.

Photos: Agfa ASA 50 CT18 color fil

6 5.6 and 4 distance 13 feet. Shot of recording of old man. 125sp

7 1.4F distance 8 ft. Closeup of man playing thom. 125sp

8 5.6 and 4F Distance 40 ft. General shot 125sp

9 2.8F distance 3.3 ft close up of man’s face. 125sp

10 5.6F distance 50-60 ft. recording area. 125sp

11 5.6F Distance 30-40 ft. telephoto men listening. 30sp

12 5.6 F sp 30 distance 26 ft. Telephoto old man watching performance.

13 8-5.6 F 30 feet view of audience.

14, 15, 16 Side and front profiles of performer. Light in question.

Several shots of area from Opanya to Pokwo far river bank with telephoto.

6:00 Conclude work for the day and return to Pokwo by 6:45 because of engine difficulty.