Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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236                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
" While the men are thus engaged, the gentler sex are busy arranging themselves in a long line, and in a sitting posture, with rugs made of possum skins, wound round their legs, and a small stick called ' mulla mulla' in each hand. A fire is lit in front of them, and tended by one of the old charmers. As the men are ready, they seat them­selves, cross-legged, like tailors, and in regular serried file, at the opposite side of the fire to the women, while one of the medicine-men takes up his position at the top of the mound, to watch the rising of the moon which is the signal for • corrob-boree.'"
All is now still; nothing disturbs the silence, save the occasional jabber of a woman or child, and even that, after a few minutes, is hushed. The blaze of the fire throws a fitful light along the batallion-like front of the black phalanx, and the hideous faces, daubed with paint and smeared with grease, show out at such a moment to any­thing but advantage. As soon as the old gentle­man who has been " taking the lunar " announces the advent of that planet, which seems to exercise as great an influence over the actions of these people, as over many of those amongst our­selves, the " corrobboree" commences.
" The women beat the little sticks together,* keeping time to a peculiar monotonous air, and
alternately appairing and disappearing, by the dim flicker of the fire­light.
* Here we see one of the earliest traits of primitive music. The uaa •f a plain, rhythmic accompaniment, without tune.

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