Curiosities of Music - online book

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136                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
Bing any melody, after a single hearing. He begg­ed his two guests to prepare a work containing the elements of European harmony, and on their completion of it, he had it printed at his palace in a sumptuous manner, and as an especial honor, he had his own name added to it as their coadjutor. He now forced his musicians to learn and to play French, German and Italian music; they did so quite exactly, but most mechanically and with much unwillingness, for it was contrary to all their ideas of art or propriety. Kang-hi saw that the effort would be useless unless he used severe measures in enforcing his reform, and like a wise man he yielded and allowed his performers to return to Iheir own beloved style of music. But the spirit of reform was yet in him, and so far as he was able, he introduced many innovations and many alterations into all departments of Chinese music.
He made a proclamation saying that the old instruments though very good were quite worn out, and that as new ones were necessary, he had prepared a list of the ones required. One of these instruments, can scarcely be called a musical one, as it was simply a flag, which was to be displayed during the continuance of the musical perform­ance.
Kang-hi is spoken of with much rapture by the Jesuit missionaries, for he was not only European in his taste for music; he not only tolerated, but greatly favored Christianity, and at one time it was feared by his court, that he was about to

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