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HISTORY OF CHINESE MUSIC.             119
took up his abode on a high mountain, near which was a large growth of bamboos. Ling-lun took a bamboo, which he cut between two knots; he removed the pith, and blowing in the tube, a sound resulted which was of the exact pitch of the human voice when in its normal state. Not far off was the source of the IToang-ho, and Ling-lun found that the tone of his tube was similar to the sound given by the waters of that river in bubbling from the earth; thus was discovered the first Lu, (or Li) the fundamental tone.
Ling-lun was pursuing his investigations further, when the Foang-hoang appeared with its mate and perched upon a neighboring tree. The male bird sang in six different tones, while the female also used six, but different from the preceding. The first note of the mystical Foang-hoang, was precisely in unison with the reed which Ling-lun had cut from the bamboo.
On ascertaining this, the fable continues, Ling-lun cut twelve pieces of bamboo and pitched them according to the notes of the two songsters; he found by alternating the sounds of the male with the female bird, that he had a chromatic scale. The six tones of the male were called the li-yang (masculine tones) the other six li-yn (feminine tones), and throughout all Chinese music, the distinction between the male and female tones of the scale still exists. This was the first Chinese discovery of the proportions of sound, the first step in the science of Acoustics, and though covered over with fable and allegory, it really






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