Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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144                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
5. The great tao-kou, which is still used to give the signal for the commencement of a song, is about one foot in length and diameter. 6. The little tao-kou, a cross between a drum and a baby's rattle, is about seven inches long, mounted upon a stick, and through the centre of its case a string is passed; at each end of this string are knots; when this drum is played, the performer twirls it about rapidly, the knots fly against the skin, and produce a sort of rattle or drumming. This drum is used to show the completion of a verse or divis­ion of any musical composition. It is also used in funeral processions and at commemorative ceremonies.* 7. The ya-kou, a small drum which is filled with rice grains. The skin of this drum is not only tanned but is boiled afterwards in pure water. The sound of this instrument is soft and pleasant. 8. The po-sou is a drum of cylindrical shape, and is placed upon a small table; it is play­ed sitting; in all other respects it is like the ya-kou.
These are the eight varieties of drums known to the Chinese; many of them are still in use; there are also some varieties of military drums which do not differ much from the preceding.
It is customary to cover not only the case, but the faces and sticks of the drums with paintings.
Drums are used in China to give the hour at night, to announce persons desiring audience, at some palaces, and for many other purposes as well as for music. The Chinese also sometimes muffle their drums (in all religious ceremonies which
Figure 7, pi. 2, Amiot

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