The Historical Background of Accompanying

  • Kurt Adler


Accompanying is almost as old as mankind. We may assume that the cave man, when he discovered his voice, used it to terrorize his enemies by yelling, and employed softer vocal colors to woo his spouse. Soon, however, he learned that he could be more terrifying to his foes if he underlined his stentorian outbursts by beating out rhythms on some such percussive object as a hollowed-out tree trunk. In more tender moments, his cave woman may have tried to follow his singing by blowing into a dried animal bone, or may even have collected bones of deceased and devoured enemies for this purpose. Thus was the art of accompanying born, dividing itself immediately into self-accompanying and accompanying others. We may deduce this development by observing aborigines in the wilds of Africa and Australia, and by watching babies happily and unendingly crow and babble, at the same time swinging their rattles wildly and triumphantly.


Stringed Instrument Wind Instrument Percussion Instrument Dance Music Musical Accompaniment 
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© University of Minnesota 1965

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  • Kurt Adler

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