Curiosities of Music - online book

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embrace that faith. The real secret of his intimacy with the Catholic missionaries, seems to have been only a great desire on his part, to acquire new information.
He was greatly interested in the mechanism of a clavichord, which the fathers brought with them to China, and ordered two of his musicians to take lessons from them, upon the instrument; the pupils made very little progress, as they were rather unwilling students.
It was not only in the emperor's court, at this epoch, that European music began to be known; many persons throughout all the empire, sought to pave the way to Imperial favor by studying the new art. The method of Father Pereira had been sent into each province by the emperor, and the ancient Li were for a time eclipsed by the Do,re, mi, etc., of the "western barbarians." It might have been a permanent reform, but for the fact that the Chinese had always been accustomed to associate their music in a peculiar manner, with virtue and morality ; each tone represented some moral precept, each species of the eight varieties of sound represented to their mind some high thought or noble virtue; it was this association of ideas, which evoked the eulogies of Confucius, and it was this time-honored custom which pre­vented European music from obtaining any foot­hold among them. "When, a short time after, Amiot endeavored to ingratiate himself with the Mandarins by means of his music, he failed utterly, through the same cause.

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