Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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116                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
Tcho-yung, a successor of the preceding emperor, is said once to have listened to the songs of the birds, while the empire was in a state of profound peace, and their singing caused him to invent a music which penetrated every where, speaking to the intelligence, calming the passions of the heart, causing perfect equilibrium in the emotions, facilitating and improving the use of all the senses, and prolonging the life of man.
The name of this music was Tsie-ven—" Tem­perance and mercy."
This beautiful legend of the birds, seems almost Greek in its poetry, but there exists yet another mythological bird in the Chinese tales, which is extraordinarily like the Egyptian Phoenix. The Foang-hoang was a bird whose nest and abiding-place was wrapt up in mystery; it appeared in China only at the birth of a good ruler, and its coming was always a happy presage to the nation. The Chinese mythology, so far as it relates to music, is evidently a traditional history, and poetically relates actual occurrences, showing that, in all probability, their music existed, and was highly esteemed in pre-historic times.
The authentic history of Chinese music may be said to begin with Fo-hi, the first of the Ty dynasty, and the founder of the Chinese empire. He reigned about 2950 b. c* All good qualities seem to have been united in this beneficent ruler; in all ways he sought to benefit his race.
* Chinese annals claim that their empire was founded 80,000 or 100,000 years a. o. Fo-hi'a reign la fixed by some at about 2,250 b. o.

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