Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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harpers at one side and three flute players at the other, while between them are two singers, one of whom seems to be following with his voice the melody of the harpers, while the other sings with the flutes; this seems to intimate that the Egyptians possessed, at least two-voiced harmony.
Chappell, in his admirable History of Music, says that it is mathematically impossible, that all of the instruments represented in their paintings should have been played in unison.
The music of Egypt was for a long time regu­lated by the Government, that is all innovations were punishable by law; probably this referred only to religious music, and did not affect popu­lar music.
In all ages there seem to have been two dis­tinct schools of music, the scientific, and popular. There is no doubt that while the early European theorists held that only consecutive fifths and fourths were musical, the populace had a less forced and more beautiful style, and it is more than probable that in Egypt the popular music was totally different from the sacred.
All the songs appear to have been accompanied by a clapping of hands, and therefore the rhythm was probably strongly marked. The effect of this clapping of hands is by no means unpleasant, and is still used by the negroes of America in some 6ongs and dances, and among various barbarous nations. It seems curious to think, that in wit­nessing these lively dances, one may be beholding a counterpart of the enjoyments of four thousand

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