Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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248                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
they sing slowly, and afterwards quickly for aboui a quarter of an hour. Sometimes they form a semi-circle, assume a bending position, and sing in a subdued tone of voice, a soft air, which is soon followed again by a loud and vehement declamation.
It is a singular fact that some of the races most addicted to cannibalism are also much addicted tc music. We have seen this already in the case of the New Zealanders; it will be fully as apparent with the most cannibalistic race of the globe,—the Fiji Islanders. "With them, music teaching is a remunerative art, and any one who has composed a new song or dance, can earn a large quantity of goods by teaching it. Their musical instruments are poor and few; they consist of pipes, flutes, drums, and trumpets. The trumpets are merely conch shells, blown through an aperture in the side.
The flutes are nose-flutes, played by putting the aperture under one nostril, closing the other with the thumb of the left hand, and blowing. The pipes are a species of pandean pipes made of bamboo.
The dances are very carefully got up, and more resemble military movements than dances, the similitude being increased by the martial array of the dancers, who are all dressed as if for war, their faces painted with scarlet, their bodies powdered black, and their best clubs or spears in their hands. They execute intricate manoeuvres, marching in various figures, wheeling, halting,

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