Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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22
CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
alarly flutes, head the column, and a processional hymn is being sung, to which the white-robed priests keep time while marching, as they carry the sacred golden barge of the God, full of treasure of various kinds.
Here is passing along, a deputation from some far off tributary prince in the heart of ^Ethiopia, carrying presents for the king, and all around is life, bustle, and enjoyment. In some of the tem­ples music is sounding, (the temple of Osiris, at Abydos, being the only exception,) and the clang of the sistrum is often heard. Truly the life of ancient Egypt was as joyous and varied as that of more modern times.
The sistrum was, until the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt, which gave to the world the wonders of this store house of antiquity, considered the representative of Egyptian music. It was merely a short, oval hand frame which held three or four metal bars; sometimes bells were hung upon these bars, and by shaking the instrument, as a baby shakes a rattle, which it really in principle resembles, a jingling of the bars or bells was produced.
Latterly it has been thought that the sistrum was not a musical instrument at all; but, like the bell sounded at the elevation of the Host in Catholic churches, was used as a means of riveting and impressing the minds of the wor­shippers. At all events the sistrum takes no rank among Egyptian musical instruments. The harp was really the instrument on which they lavished






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