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to give length or added euphony. We also note a desire for rhyming, since vocables similar in sound frequently occur at the end of each musical phrase.
It would lead into too many details to present the various devices discernible in this aboriginal mate­rial by which the Indian sought euphony and meas­ure. Nor can it be easily illustrated how words of many different languages were bent by elisions or stretched by vocables, that they might conform to the musical phrase. There is abundant evidence that the ear, accustomed to the pleasure of the rythmic cadence of the song, was beginning to demand a corresponding metrical use of words in expressing the poetic thought involved in the dra­matic story which gave birth to the music.
The art of poetry is here in its infancy, giving even less sign of its future development than music, which had already acquired the outline of that form which has since crystallised into the art of music. Notwithstanding, we find that words were chosen for their descriptive power, and that they were made rythmical to fit the melody. Like the swelling buds on the bare branch, which hint the approach of summer's wealth, so these little vocables and rythmic devices whisper the coming of the poets.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III