Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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The musicians were not held in any respect, and were not allowed to change their occupation, but were obliged to transmit it from father to son and were also probably compelled to live in a cer­tain quarter of the cities wherein they dwelt.*
Of course there were celebrated singers and performers, and also leaders of the chants, and royal singers, who were exceptions to the fore­going rule, but according to Diodorus Siculus, the Egyptians not only considered music a useless art, but even a hurtful one, as it enervated the soul and made man effeminate. Yet for all this there are found among ancient sculptures many representations of singers and musicians evidently belonging to the higher classes, though we cannot but believe that these exceptions only prove the rule, and even to-day music is considered a sensu­ous and rather unmanly art, by Eastern nations.
Among the most ancient songs of Egypt there seem to have been little refrains sung by the work­ing classes while at labor; there is here not con­jecture but absolute certainty, for the words of part of one of these songs are preserved, on an ancient picture of threshers of grain, oxen, etc.; the threshers sing, according to Champollion's learned deciphering,
" Thresh for yourselves, oh oxen, Thresh for yourselves; Measures for your masters, Measures for yourselves."
In a grotto at El bersheh there is also a paintirg of the transportation of a colossal statue from the
* Cnampollion.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III