Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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revised. Only works on agriculture and medicine were to be spared. A large number of literary persons who had concealed part of their books were put to death; yet many continued to risk their lives to preserve the fruits of ancient culture. Books were hidden in walls of houses, in tombs, and buried in the earth, whence they were long afterward recovered. The emperor in proclaim­ing this war on literature gave as his reason that the ancient books did not suit that era, that they were a hindrance to progress, that they caused the people to neglect agriculture which was the only substantial happiness of a nation, and that they gave to the people liberty to censure the sovereign, and by consequence, fostered disobedience and rebellion. Of course in this universal persecution, music did not fare better than the other arts. All instruments were ordered to be destroyed and made over after new models. The bells which had given the standard pitch up to that time, were melted down, and many of them used for the purpose of founding colossal statues to deck the entrance of the imperial palace. But, according to La Fage,* it was much easier for the musicians to evade the emperor's decree,and save their instruments, than for the literati to save their precious books. There were few instruments and they were less rigorously sought after, and it was an easy matter to conceal bells or the kings (musical stones) by burying them in the earth whence they could be exhumed intact at any later
• P. 63. Mui. des ChinoU.

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