Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
246                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
At all Javanese fetes, music is played, and every native is expected to entertain such wander­ing musicians as apply to him. A refusal is apt to cost dearly, as the irate musicians stone the dwell­ing of the obdurate one.*
M. Scherzer, connected with the Austrian Round-the-world expedition in 1857 (in the frigate Novara), was not highly delighted with the Javanese pantomime dancing and music ;f he says:
" Conversation was carried on with difficulty, for an incessant and stupefying noise was kept up with the gammelong, or orchestra of bells. Bayaderes, very scantily clothed, and excessive­ly ugly, executed sentimental and religious dances of a most tedious description.
Stiff, slow, and thin, these damsels jumped like forks, with motions as graceful as those of old semaphores. The governor was kind enough to explain to us, that the dance was meant to repre­sent the touching history of four sisters, who, lost in the forest, implored from the divinity the return of their mother.
This was followed by another choregraphic entertainment, a dance of eight warriors, accom­panied by the perpetual gammelong. The same delectable music, delighted the ears of those who were without in the court-yard. Hideous masks, on foot and on horseback, circulated there amidst the crowd; a Mussulman priest was also howling
•De Backer, L'Archipel Indien, p. 207.
t Quoted in Alnsworth, Round the World, p. 246

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