Curiosities of Music - online book

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.70                    CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
things penetrate to the soul? With us " they add proudly, "all is done calmly, and without precipita­tion.*"
It must be acknowledged, that the Chinese love, ind take pride in music, that is, in their own kind. In every great state ceremony, in theatres, in religion, it everywhere plays the leading role.
One of the nine tribunals which have charge of the general affairs of the empire, is charged with the care of music, rites, and ceremonies; and the mandarins of music are considered of much higher rank than the mandarins of mathematics, and have their college in the enclosure of the imperial palace.
The fondness for the art is apparent in all classes, and music is used on almost every occasion of festivity, high or low. The streets of the cities are full of peripatetic musicians, who earn their living by catering to the general public, somewhat as the organ grinders do with us.
The feast of lanterns is the greatest of all popular Chinese festivals; it takes place on the fifteenth day of the first moon, and corresponds to a New Year's feast. On this occasion every part of the immense cities of the empire glows with the light of innumerable lanterns, while fire-works and decorations are seen on all sides. In the streets are seen large Lantern Theatres, that is to say, edifices made of paper; on the inside, which is brightly illuminated, is a stage whereon actors and singers give plays and con-
•L* Fage, de- Chinois, p. 269.

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