Curiosities of Music - online book

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256                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
twisted hair, and a hollow gourd attached at the centre of the wood to give resonance. A ring is passed along the string, to raise or lower the tone, which is produced by striking the cord with a short stick, or plectrum. The bow is about five feet long, and exactly resembles the usual weapon, which however is not used in war by the Kaffirs.
Although the resources of this instrument are so extremely limited, the musicians of this people are content to sit for hours, listening to its monot­onous sound.
Let us now turn to the degraded black brother of the foregoing race, the Bushman. His amuse­ments are two;—singing and dancing.
The dance of the Bushman is to European eyes a most uninteresting one; as there is scarcely any motion or gesture at all in it, save that which is made by one leg. Standing on one foot, the performer shakes the other, (to which a string of rattles, made from the ears of the spring-bok are attached) occasionally giving his body a twist, and singing vigorously all the while, changing the foot, however, from time to time.
The spectators keep the rhythm by a constant and regular clapping of hands and a monotonous singing.
A water-drum, which is merely a wooden bowl, into which a little water has been poured, and over which a skin is tightly drawn, is struck regularly in time with the movements of the dancer; the latter when partially exhausted, falls upon the floor, but still singing and kicking in time with the music; after a short rest of this descrip-






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