Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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154                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
between wood and bamboo, holding the latter in especial esteem, as being of all vegetation, the most useful to man; and they claim that nature in producing it, fitted it especially to the art of music. It is true that it required no great inven­tive faculty to extract tones from the hollow sticks of bamboo, and it is possible that music drawn from the bamboo was the earliest of the Chinese empire. One of the most famed of instruments made of this reed, is called the Koan-tsee. This is simply a set of pan's pipes, arranged according to Chinese tonality; the superior (male) tones, called yang being given to one instrument, and the inferior (female) called yn to another, so that to have a melody in any modulations per­formed, two instruments and two musicians were required. This arrangement was too awkward to last forever; finally the two instruments were united in one, and instead of being weakly bound together by cord, as were the twelve pipes of the koang-tsee, two strips of thin board held the tubes in place; the number of pipes was also increased from twelve, to sixteen, and the new instrument called the siao.*
Of course the Chinese possess flutes, as well a9 other instruments of bamboo. The yo and ty are in some respects similar to our flutes, save that they have usually but three holes, and the tones have therefore to be produced by a more skillful use of the breath than is required on the European
•There art two kind* of siao, the great and the email. The lattei baa tha same number of tubes, but pitched nn oc-.\:v higher.






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