Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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In describing the music of the natives of Africa, we will place in contrast the modes of the two extremes of the scale of intelligence.
The Kaffir is certainly as far in advance of the Bushman, as we are in advance of the native Indian. The Kaffir is peculiar in music; very deficient in melody, he is almost perfect in rhythm and time-keeping. He is fond of singing in com­pany, and in fact is a rather convivial person altogether. At social meals, while the food is cooking, the guests often amuse themselves by singing together until the repast is in readiness. The subjects of the songs are various; love songs, and war songs being held in equal favor, but the Kaffir is always specially pleased with any song that relates to the possession of cattle; and being a cattle-owning people, they have many songs celebrating their favorite subject.
Many of the Kaffir's musical effects would seem most ludicrous to us. Sudden contrasts, have, to him, a special attraction, and it is not unusual to hear him give the highest squeaks of falsetto, and the deepest bass grunts, alternately.

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