Omaha Indian Music

Historic Recordings From The Fletcher/La Flesche Collection

Essays, Acknowledgements, Technical Note, and Bibliography released with the Omaha Indian Music: Historic Recordings from the Fletcher/La Flesche Collection LP, 1985
Omaha Indian Music
Omaha Song Today

Reproduced from Dorothy Sara Lee and Maria La Vigna, eds. Omaha Indian Music: Historical Recordings from the Fletcher/La Flesche Collection. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1985

The four-inch wax cylinders heard on this album were rerecorded onto magnetic tape using a modified Edison Home Phonograph. The machine accepted styluses varying in size to accommodate the different size and condition of each cylinder. Because the revolutions per minute at which these field recordings were made often changed from day to day, sometimes from cylinder to cylinder, the technician rerecording them decided an appropriate speed for each cut considering the industry norm for cylinders of this type and period, the distortion level audible at different speeds, and the characteristics of the music itself. This determination of speed depended in part, therefore, on the "ear" of the technician, and cannot be regarded as absolutely accurate. The technical demands of the phonograph also directly affected the performances. Listeners should keep in mind that the performers on this record directed their voices into a horn and were asked not to move about or make extreme changes in the volume of their singing, even though both may have been the custom. They may also have been asked to shorten or change long songs to fit within the three-minute time limit of the cylinders.

Other problems surfaced during the final filtering of the cylinders. Removing surface noise revealed fluctuations in speed and pitch, and accentuated skips, sudden starts, and abrupt endings which were either flaws in the original cylinders, or the results of deterioration over time. Filtering also aggravated certain distortions of sound, such as harmonics or overmodulation. Despite these technical difficulties, the vitality and timelessness of the performances shine through.

Erika Brady
May 1984

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Song 1 Omaha
Song 2 Omaha
Song 3 Omaha
Song 4 Omaha
Song 5 Omaha
Song 6 Omaha
Song 7 Omaha
Song 8 Omaha
Song 9 Omaha
Song 10 Omaha
Song 11 Omaha
Song 12 Omaha
Song 13 Omaha
Song 14 Omaha
Song 15 Omaha
Song 16 Omaha
Song 17 Omaha
Song 18 Omaha
Song 19 Omaha
Song 20 Omaha
Song 22 Omaha
Song 21 Omaha
Song 23 Omaha
Song 24 Omaha
Song 25 Omaha
Song 26 Omaha
Song 27 Omaha
Song 28 Omaha
Song 29 Omaha
Song 30 Omaha
Song 31 Omaha
Song 32 Omaha
Song 33 Omaha
Song 34 Omaha
Song 35 Omaha
Song 36 Omaha
Song 37 Omaha
Song 38 Omaha
Song 39 Omaha
Song 40 Omaha
Song 41 Omaha
Song 42 Omaha
Song 43 Omaha
Song 44 Omaha