Curiosities of Music - online book

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CHAPTER XL
HI8TORY OF CHINESE MUSIC.*
In Brande's dictionary of arts and sciences, under the head of "Chinese music," the whole fabric of Chinese music is swept away in one short sentence, at the close of which, the compiler curtly says, — "We ought, perhaps to apologize for saying so much of it."
No right minded and just reader will echo so flippant an opinion; a nation which more than four thousand years ago, had studied music as an abstract science and which understood the laws of musical proportion centuries before Pythagoras was born, certainly deserves more than a passing notice from the musical historian, no matter how barbarous its present music may seem.
The Chinese life and character, while apparent­ly full of fancy, is in reality quite emptily rational and pragmatic. In all the scientific facts relating to music, the Chinese made early and thorough investigations, but in that inventive inspiration which is the soul of art, they seem to have been deficient. They possess a very full account of their music both of modern and ancient days.
* In the early historical part of toil article, we baTe mainly followed the date* used by La Fag*






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