Curiosities of Music - online book

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CHAPTER X.
MtTSIC OF THE ROMAN EMPIRR.
Under the luxurious reign of the Caesars, music attained unusual prominence in Rome, but it was still the music of virtuosity, rather than true art. Skillful performers multiplied, while talented composers did not exist. The choruses were augmented to the utmost, their numbers exceed­ing all previous extent.* New instruments began also to appear, the sumphonia, the hydraulic organ, and others. The study of music began to be fashionable (in some at least of its branches) and the emperors themselves did not disdain to practise the art. It is a singular fact, however, that exactly those emperors who were the greatest rascals, took the greatest interest in music. Domitian founded games in honor of Jupiter, in which he introduced Kithara playing and other musical contests to amuse the populace. Helioga-balus sang, danced, played the flute, organ, and pandura, and was proficient in giving musical recitations with flute accompaniment. Caligula studied singing and dancing, and was so fond of the former, that when at the theatre, he could scarcely ever refrain from following the melodies
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