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240                    CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
landers who as we have already mentioned, intui­tively knew of harmony before the Europeans. Many of their love, war, and religious songs have real sentiments of beauty in them, and the gift of improvising poems and songs is much prized among them. Singular to state, they (unlike all other savage races) do not use the drum in their accompaniment. The pahu (drum) is only used by them to give military signals.* Their chief instrument is the flute, which is usually made from a human thigh bone; often that of a fallen enemy. When this is the case, the instrument is more than ordinarily prized, and is worn around the neck. It is played through the nose, by placing the nostril against the aperture, and blowing; stopping the other nostril with the finger.
The native New Zealander sings in all his sports and labours, and in spite of his penchant for human flesh, is of a light and joyous tempera­ment. Every incident of war, chase or love is commemorated by an extemporized song. Some­times these songs live for generations after their signification has passed away; and thus it is, that in many of the songs of this people, words are found, of which, neither the singers nor audience understand the meaning. One song (WHaka) is accompanied with much mimicry; when giving this, the performers sit down in a circle, throw off their ipper mats, and sing in concert, making meanwhile the wildest of gestures, and turning up their ey*.s so that only their whites are visible.
• Meinicke, Inseln des Stillen Oceans, T. I, p. 329.






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