AMIS 2022: Apache Fiddles—Tradition, Forced Assimilation, Commerce, and Museums

The American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) promotes better understanding of all aspects of the history, design, construction, restoration, and usage of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods. In June 2022, their annual meeting was held at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.

Apache Fiddles: Tradition, Forced Assimilation, Commerce, and Museums
Ken Moore

Ken Moore is Curator Emeritus of Musical Instruments, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He pioneered museological and programmatic approaches to interpreting and presenting non-Western musical instruments, contributed to or supervised more than 25 special exhibitions, 500 performances, 15 publications, numerous videos, recordings, and broadcasts. He has served many organizations including acting as President, CIMCIM, Board Member, American Association of Museums; Board of Governors, AMIS; Council Member, SEM; Board Member, Society for Asian Music.

At the end of the nineteenth century, many ethnographic and art museums acquired examples of the Tsii`edo`a`tl (Apache Fiddle), a one- or occasionally two-stringed, bowed zither produced for personal entertainment by Western Apache bands from San Carlos and White Mountain in Arizona. Fourteen single-stringed instruments representing four styles are at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Collected during the final years of the Apache-United States conflict and the establishment of federally funded Indian Industrial Schools, these examples bear witness to social and cultural pressures placed on Native American communities. This paper employs the tsii`edo`a`tl to explore continuity and change activated by population displacement and systematic reculturalization and attempts to document an impending vanishing culture and the commercialization of tradition.

Watch more videos from the 2022 AMIS Conference here.