Curiosities of Music - online book

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150                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
the kin, the leading stringed instrument of the Chinese empire. In size, it is larger than all Eastern stringed instruments except the harp, its length being five feet, six inches. It has seven cords which are tuned as follows: —
do, re, fa, sol, la, do, re,
giving it only five tones. The pentatonic charac­ter of this instrument is observable in all Chinese music, and causes a slight resemblance between that music and the Scotch. There are several varieties of the kin. The large, medium, and small, only differ in their size, and have each seven eords, but there is a much larger instrument of the same species, which is called the che, which has twenty-five strings, and is nine feet long; it is said that in ancient days there were ches made which had fifty strings.
Both the che and kin were, in true Chinese fashion, made to convey numberless morals and symbols. The breezes of Heaven, the four sea­sons, the five elements, and the universe were all in some manner dragged into the formation of these instruments. The kin represented life, the che death, and before performing upon either, the player went through certain ceremonies to fit himself for the task, and lighted some perfumed tapers, which were kept burning throughout the performance. To perform on the kin, the Chinese held that one must be well advanced in wisdom and sagacity. Of the che, there exist four different kinds, the great, medium, small and very small;

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