Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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192                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
ing all the chief elements of the "Javelin Dance* without tendency to cruelty. In the palace, the sons of the emperor only, were permitted to the " Dance of the Plumes."
At the epoch, when these dances were at theii zenith, the emperors had a peculiar way of show≠ing by them their approbation, or condemnation of their viceroys. "When the viceroy was pre≠sented at court, if his administration seemed good to the emperor, he was welcomed by numerous and lengthy dances; if, on the contrary his government seemed worthy of censure, the dances were both short and few.
The following were the customs observed in presenting them:óLong before the dance began, a drum was sounded " to dispel from the minds of the spectators any thoughts unsuited to the occasion." On the arrival of the performers, they took three steps forward and put themselves in an attitude, calculated to impress the beholders; a sort of tableau vivant. The entrance was always accompanied with a slow movement of the music, which gradually augmented both in speed and volume, until the finale, when the climax having been reached, the music had attained a presto movement, and the dancers retired with precipi-tatiou in order that the interest might not have time to flag.
Sometimes the dancers carried a small shield with bell attached.
The Chinese sages deeply regret the loss of these ancient dances; (for like all excellent customs

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