Curiosities of Music - online book

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152                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
made for that purpose in the side of the instru­ment, the hammer is agitated, and swaying from side to side, produces a sort of tattoo on both sides of the box. This scarcely can be called music for it is doubtful if the sound is even rhythmic; but it is not the sound alone which captivates the Chinese ear, the symbol attached to it moves the Chinese heart, for the sages assure us that this clatter represents (in some mysterious way) the advantages of the social intercourse of men, and the mutual benefits of society. The tchu is placed at the north-east of the other instru­ments and is played at the commencement of a composition.
The ou is an image of a sleeping tiger, and is a symbol of the power which man has over all other creatures. It is placed at the north-west of the other instruments, and is played at the close of a piece of music. Along the back of this image is a row of pegs; when the instrument is well play­ed, six tones can be extracted from these wooden pegs, but usually the performance is ended by the player running the stick, by which the pegs are struck, swiftly along the whole row, and finishing with a couple of blows upon the tiger's head. This is repeated three times as finale.
The tchung-tou cannot really be classed among musical instruments, since they are only the wooden plates upon which music was sometimes written; their moral is obvious; they bring back to memory the great invention of communication by means of written characters. But they also






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