[Mihalic] singsing kaur
Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies
ipngs at global.net.pg
Tue Jan 31 16:48:48 EST 2006
Replying to a couple questions reaised by Stuart and Thomas:
1. Origin of TP "kaur". Ross (1992:374) notes similar terms used for "kind
of large bamboo" in Tolai, Ramoaaina (Duke of York), Label, Patpatar, and
Barok languages (the last three in New Ireland), therefore suggesting it
would be impossible to attribute the TP term to any one language. For TP
"taur", while noting similar terms in some of these languages and others, he
suggests it probably comes from Ramoaaina (p. 371). NSMore generally, Osmond
& Ross (1992:106-8) give evidence for Proto Malayo-Polynesian *tambuRi(q)
and Proto Oceanic *tapuRi(q) for the former, and Proto Austronesian *qaurR
and Proto Oceanic *kauR for the latter.
2. The description I offered of a "singsing kaur" was specific because I've
only ever heard it applied to precisely that ensemble. I don't think it
would be used otherwise.
3. I've also only heard the term used on Bougainville, but I assume it is
also used in Buka, where such ensembles also exist. Certainly these
ensembles begin in the North Solomons region. Further to the south in the
Solomon Islands, ensembles of panpipes are found, of course, but without the
use of the different types of end-blown trumpets. So, "singsing kaur" has
pretty much become a symbol of NSP (along with bamboo bands, but that's
4. While I'd certainly agree with Thomas that shell trumpets are "fairly
universal" in COASTAL PNG, the same cannot be said for panpipes (contrary to
McLean 1994). They are found in many parts of the country (coastal and
inland), but without a continuous distribution, and in many different forms
and ensemble combinations. Whether there might be a relation between the
ancestral forms of "kaur" and "taur", I'll leave to the linguists.
1994 Diffusion of Musical Instruments and Their Relation to
Language Migrations in New Guinea. Kulele: Occasional Papers on Pacific
Music and Dance, 1. Boroko: National Research Institute.
Osmond, Meredith, & Malcolm Ross
1998 "Household Artefacts." In The Lexicon of Proto Oceanic: The
Culture and Environment of Ancestral Oceanic Society; Vol. 1: Material
Culture, ed. Malcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley, & Meredith Osmond, pp. 67-114.
Pacific Linguistics, C-152. Canberra: Australian National University.
1992 "The Sources of Austronesian Lexical Items in Tok Pisin." In
The Language Game: Papers in Memory of Donald C. Laycock, ed. Tom Dutton,
Malcolm Ross, & Darrell Tryon, pp. 361-84. Pacific Linguistics, C 110.
Canberra: Australian National University.
From: Stuart Robinson [mailto:Stuart.Robinson at mpi.nl]
Sent: Tuesday, 31 January 2006 13:22
To: Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies
Cc: mihalic at anu.edu.au
Subject: RE: [Mihalic] singsing kaur
> Both terms should get there eventually, I hope. "Singsing kaur" is not
> in Mihalic's dictionary and actually that is the only context in which
> I've ever heard "kaur" used. As for a definition of "singsing kaur",
> I'd suggest something like:
So maybe "kaur" doesn't exist independently. Does anyone have any idea where
it comes from? Incidentally, I've heard two variants of the term
there: "singsing kaur" and "singsing kaul".
> music/dance from North Solomons Province consisting of singing
> accompanied by an ensemble of double-row bamboo panpipes, end-blown
> bamboo trumpets tied together in raft form, and end-blown wooden
> trumpets--all instruments restricted to North Solomons. Wooden trumpet
> players dance in a circle moving clockwise, while singers and other
> instrumentalists dance around them in the opposite direction.
That's a fair characterization of what I understand by the term. But is it
really that specific?
> Has anyone heard this term used to refer to any music/dance from
> outside of North Solomons?
My experience with the term is limited to Bougainville.
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