Curiosities of Music - online book

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158                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
note, in the same manner as troupes of bell-ringers give whole pieces of music with small hand bells. Tom-toms and gongs also appear frequently in the music of the empire; these are chiefly used to keep the time of the orchestra; there is also an instrument analogous to these, which con­sists of a series of metal basins, (usually of copper) from eight to ten in number, set in a frame. The whole instrument looks not unlike a cooking range with all its utensils. These basins are struck with a mallet, and produce sounds similar to, but less harsh than the gongs. The name of this unique apparatus is yin-lo.
Singular to relate, the Chinese have in their classification of eight musical sounds, utterly omitted to make any mention of the sound of the human voice. In all their great ceremonies, such as hymns of praise to Heaven, and commem­oration of the ancestors, songs are used, but never, on these occasions are female voices allowed. In fact, the female, in music, occupies about the same position in China, as she once did in ancient Greece; the better class of respectable matrons do not study any art whatever; and the less respectable and the slaves, are allowed to perfect themselves in many arts of pleasing, among which a study of the lower branches of music, as well as a certain degree of general education is included. A slave is far more marketable with musical talents than without. But women always partici-

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