Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
HISTORY OF CHINESE MUSIC.              118
Their musical history teems with facts, and anecdotes, dating back far beyond every other nation except the Egyptian. Their literatme contains a vast number of treatises and comments on the musical art, many of which are, however, couched in very mystical and ambiguous language. In the Imperial library at Pekin, there are four hundred and eighty-two books on this subject exclusively.*
The invention of music, is ascribed by the Chinese to supernatural beings.
The emperor Chi-hoang-che, who reigned in the time of the spirits, is said to have invented the rules of pronunciation, the written characters of the Chinese language, and finally music.f A mythological character named Tong-how compos­ed the earliest songs.
Kai-tien-chi, the ninth emperor of this spiritual dynasty, is credited with many of the earliest songs. He also invented eight kinds of instru­ments (which will be described later) the names of which are certainly poetical enough,—
1. Love the people. 2. The black bird 3. Don't cut the trees. 4. Cultivate the eight different grains. 5. Chant the celestial doctrines. 6. Celebrate the merits of the sovereign. 7. Imitate the virtues of the earth. 8. Recall the memory of all existing things.
These names were probably given to the instru* ments from the special songs which each accom­panied
* Ambros Gescb, d. Mua. p. 20, t. L t Amlot Abrege Ckron p. 201.

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