Curiosities of Music - online book

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60
CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
boiling water." This would make the origin of the phrase " a tempest in a teapot," over two-thousand years old.
Sometimes all Athens was divided into cliques for this or that flute player; and the price paid for flutes were appalling, some being sold as high as three thousand dollars, many flute-makers becom­ing immensely wealthy.
It received a slight check however, when Alci­biades, about 409 B. c., declined to play it, alleging as a reason, that it spoilt the shape of the mouth. Alcibiades stood at the head of the fashion as well as of the state, and after such a dictum the beau monde of Athens laid aside the flute; but some ingenious flute maker took alarm, and invented a mouth-piece which obviated the difficulty, and which Alcibiades found more to his taste, on which it resumed its place in popular favor.
In Sparta it led the chorus, and was the military instrument, but the Spartans disdained to make it a study, and only felt bound, at this era, to discrimi­nate between good and bad music.
In some Ionian cities, the human victims were led to the sacrifice, or to their execution to the 60und of flutes; and this dead march (called the Nome of Kradias) was said to be peculiarly depressing.
Plutarch makes a warm defence of the flute, against the criticisms of Plato and Aristotle. " The flute " he says " cannot be spared from the banquet, leads the hymns to the gods, and with its rich and full tones spreads peace and tranquillity






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