Curiosities of Music - online book

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96
CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
of stone, and in the most thorough manner; there is however one notable exception to the rule. In the reign of Tiberius an amphitheatre erected by Atilius at Fidense, fell in during a gladiatorial contest, and twenty thousand persons lost their lives.*
The music of the stage, tended rather tu virtuosity than to real beauty, the natural result being, that while Rome possessed many skillful performers, she had no musical composers of eminence.f The names of the composers of music to the comedies of Terence and Plautus are still extant, but they seem to have enjoyed no special renown.
Quintilian speaks of the weak and womanish music of the stage, and Martial in satirizing the GaJitanian female singers which were so much sought for in the later days of ancient Rome, says, that it was the surest sign of a fashionable dandy, to hear a young man trilling out the latest Gadita-nian ditties.
Many of the theatrical performers and singers were slaves, who were bought for the purpose, and the most stringent and cruel measures were laken to prevent them from ruining their voices by any kind of debauchery. Theatrical factions also existed for this or that singer, in which at times, many lives were lost.t Laws were after­wards enacted, to guard against such riots.
• Tacitna Bit. IV.
t Qeraert. Mas. de 1'ant. p. 58.
tTacituaBk 1.






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