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A Mission Record of the California Indians, by A.L. Kroeber, [1908], at

San Antonio46

Two distinct languages spoken by the Indians are known: the predominant language, that of the site of the mission, which is understood to the east, south, and north and the circumference of the west; and the less important, which those speak who are called 'beach people' (playanos), on account of having come from the bays of the ocean. These are few in number, and not only understand the predominant language but also speak it perfectly.


They were as easily married as unmarried. For the former, nothing more was required than that the suitor should ask the

p. 19

bride from her parents, and at times it sufficed that she of herself should consent to join herself to the man, though more often verbal communication or agreement (trato) preceded. Many of them did not keep their wives. Some, when their wife was pregnant or had given birth, changed their residence without taking leave, and married another. Others were married with two, three, or even more women. It is certain that there are many who have come [to the mission] from the mountains already married, and who could serve as an example to the most religious men.


There were some few who set out food for the dead.


From their native condition they still preserve a flute which is played like the dulce. It is entirely open from top to bottom, and is five palms in length. Others are not more than about three palms. It produces eight tones (puntos) perfectly. They play various tunes (tocatas), nearly all in one measure, most of them merry. These flutes have eleven [sic] stops; some more, and some less. They have another musical instrument, a string instrument, which consists of a wooden bow to which a string of sinew is bound, producing a note. They use no other instruments. In singing they raise and lower the voice to seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, and octaves. They never sing in parts, except that when many sing together some go an octave higher than the rest. Of their songs most are merry, but some are somewhat mistes in parts. In all these songs they do not make any statement (proposicion), but only use fluent words, naming birds, places of their country, and so on. 47


18:46 San Antonio is the northernmost of the two missions in Salinan territory. The missionaries there who might have contributed to this report were Pedro Cabot and Juan Bautista Sancho.

19:47 The description of the flute accords well with specimens that have been collected from Indians of other parts of California, except that it is very doubtful whether any such flute could produce eight tones or had as many as eleven stops. The California flute ordinarily has either three or four stops. The "string instrument" is the musical bow, played with the mouth as a resonance chamber, and reported also from the Maidu and Yokuts. When it is said that some sing an octave higher than others when they sing together, it is probable that women are meant. The use of disjointed words or names, many times repeated in songs, is frequent in California. On the other hand there are instances of songs containing several complete sentences, as among the Yokuts songs published in Volume II of this series.

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