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CHINESE MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS.        163
dancers, in uniform and each holding in hand the instrument which they are to use in their evolu­tions. Near the end are placed the players of the che and kin as well as the performers on the style of drum called the po-sou, and the singers. Finally, at the lower end of the hall are seen the representations of the ancestors themselves, either in the form of portraits, or of simple tablets bearing the name of each. Before these is a table on which stand flowers and libations. Each per­former and instrument is placed in an allotted position. For example, the bell is at the south­west, the cheng at the north-west, the drum at the south-east, the flute at the north-east, and the table at the south; and this arrangement is never departed from.
When the signal announcing the approach of the emperor is heard, the singers and musicians, slowly and with great majesty, begin the hymn of honor, while the emperor, with stately and digni­fied tread, advances to the table at the south of the hall.* It is a moment of holy awe (somewhat akin to the instant when the Host is elevated in Catholic churches) for the spirits of the departed are supposed at this time to come down from Heaven to their descendants. We give here an English paraphrase of the words of part of this hymn, which we have translated from the version of Father Amiot.
• Amiot Mus. des Chinoia, p. 179.






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