Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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128                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
period. Therefore in spite of the exertions of the emperor, the ancient traditions and arts could not be wholly extinguished; a spark still remained from which the torch of science and art could be re-lit.
It was this despotic emperor, however, who built the Wan-li-chang or great wall of China, therefore his influence upon the empire was not wholly exerted for evil, but rather directed towards the establishment of himself and descendants as permanent rulers of China. The rule was short however, for in 206 b. c. the Han dynasty governed the empire. The first of this family, named Kao, endeavored to repair the ravages made in the field of learning by the Tsin despots.
He caused extensive search to be made in order that the ancient pitch, division of tone, and system of modulation might be discovered. It was partially unavailing, for we learn that though music was established in all its splendor under the subsequent reign of Vow-ti, yet many writers of that era (about 140 b. c.) assert that the art of regulating the heart by means of music, was irretrievably lost, and that it only seemed to inflame the baser passions.
In fact at this time, music was chiefly aa adjunct of the theatre, and each day brought forth new comedies, concerts, or ballets. A terri­ble scandal was created in the reign of Tching-t) (an emperor who reigned shortly after) by that sovereign taking one of his beautiful corps ballet, to wife.

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