What culture used songs as a currency?
#104009. Asked by unclerick. (Mar 20 09 11:04 PM)
Native North Americans|
Hand games have always been the principal form of gambling among native North American peoples; almost always songs accompanied them. Typically, two sides bet against each other. The moccasin game (makzinataadiwin) was the principal form of gambling among the Ojibway and other Algonquian speakers.
The songs were common currency, and on some reservations a team might use two singers simultaneously, one seated on each side of the hider.
I believe Midget's reference uses the words "common currency" to mean the songs were universally known among the tribe. I don't see any kind of economic activity involved.|
Here's the phrase in its context on that page:
"Because the games were so popular and lasted continuously for so long-often days at a time-singers would wear out their voices and have to be replaced. The songs were common currency, and on some reservations a team might use two singers simultaneously, one seated on each side of the hider."
And here's a definition:
used to say that something is used by a lot of people or accepted by everyone:
Words like 'spliff' and 'blunt' have become common currency."
There is an English, or possibly American, idiom, "for a song," that means something was obtained cheaply.
"for a song
Fig. cheaply. (As if the singing of a song were payment. *Typically: buy something ~; get something ~; pick up someone ~.) No one else wanted it, so I picked it up for a song. I could buy this house for a song, because it's so ugly."
This perhaps has its roots in the "culture" of poverty during the Industrial Revolution in England.
"sing for one's supper
Work for one's pay or reward, as in Entertaining visiting scientists is part of the job; you know I have to sing for my supper. This metaphoric term alludes to wandering minstrels who performed in taverns and were paid with a meal. First recorded in 1609, it gained currency with the familiar nursery rhyme, 'Little Tommy Tucker, sings for his supper' (c. 1744)."
My last two answers above were quite facetious. |
By definition, songs cannot be used as a currency, unless some nation's currency has ever been called "song" in any language, which is altogether possible. I have not been able to find one.
Musical songs could be used in a barter economy.
"Barter is a type of trade in which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods and/or services, without the use of money."
"A currency is a unit of exchange, facilitating the transfer of goods and/or services. It is coins and paper bills used as money."
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