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AFRICAN MUSIC.
257
tion, he jump3 up and continues as at first. When utterly exhausted, he retires among the spectators and unfastening his leg-rattles, hands them to the next dancer. The music to this odd performance is not in unison; the dancer sings one air, the spectators another, and the drum gives a species of " ground bass " to the whole.
While engaged in this interesting occupation of shaking one les:, the Bushman is completely oblivious of all other considerations, as if he were entranced. Discordant as the music seems to us when annotated by the travellers who have heard it, yet these same authorities are almost unani­mous in declaring that the effect is extremely pleasant.
The most peculiar instrument of the Bushmen, is the goura, which is shaped like a bow, but has at one end of the string, a piece of quill inserted; this quill is blown upon in the same manner that we use a jew's-harp. Women play upon this instrument, but hold it perpendicularly, and do not breathe upon it, but strike it with a stick, and then catch it up, quickly to their ear, to listen to the tones. When thus played, it is called, ajoum-joum.
All the airs played upon this primitive instru­ment seem to come by chance rather than skill, and the performer never seems able to play the same tune twice. But the same or better music could be drawn from a much more compact and portable instrument; therefore the goura has now been almost superseded by a European coni-17






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