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flute. An instrument of the flute family the use of which has become somewhat obsolete, is the tche. This is different from all other flutes, and is now but little played in China. The embouchure is exactly in the middle, both ends are stopped, and on each side of the embouchure are three holes. It was considered the most difficult of all flutes to play.
The calabash is a gourd of pumpkin shape, but somewhat smaller. In the instrument which we are about to describe, we shall see that the cala­bash (called pao by the Chinese) really emits no sound, but serves only as an air reservoir for one of the most wonderful instruments of ancient times. The cheng, which is the only instrument in which the calabash is used, is in fact a portable organ, and when we consider that this intricate instrument was invented about four thousand years ago, we are lost in astonishment that the invention did not lead to greater results; yet the Chinese have frequently, in other sciences as well, advanced to the threshold of great discoveries.
We will not detail to the reader, all the legends, symbols, and mythology attached to the cheng; suf­fice it to say that animal, mineral and vegetable nature is represented by it, and that to each part of it is appended some mystical meaning. The gourd is pierced and cleaned, and an aperture made for the air to enter, then the ends of from thirteen to twenty-four pipes of bamboo are inserted into an

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