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ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MUSIC.                  19
quarry, and here also while one hundred and sev­enty-two men are laboring at the ropes, one is perched upon the statue and is giving the time of a refrain, which all are to sing.
The custom of singing while at work still exists in Egypt, as, for example, sailors sing a particular song when starting on a voyage, another when there is danger of a collision, another when the danger is past.
Music was a chief portion of the Egyptian fu­neral ceremonies, and on the walls of nearly all the tombs of ancient days, are found paintings of the funeral ceremonies; the greater part of what is known of their instruments comes from this source; the best singers and players were en­gaged for the purpose by the richer classes, and sang mournful chants, being similar to the pro­fessional mourners at present found in the East. The music was probably chiefly melodic, or one-voiced, though this subject has some ambiguity attached to it, our only guide as to their music being the representations in the tombs, etc., as not a scrap of actual music has been left to us; but when we consider the furious controversy about, and the different interpretations of the fragments of Greek music which time has left us, this may be an advantage rather than otherwise. There is one painting* left, which seems to confirm the idea that the Egyptians knew something of Ihe effect of harmony. This painting represents two

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