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258                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
petitor, and the favorite instrument of the African Bosjesman now is the Jew's-harp.
They also possess a rude banjo-like instrument from which comparatively fair music could be produced, but the Bushmen are content to strum it without method, and take the music as fortune sends it. A drum completes the list of Bushman instruments; it is sometimes played with sticks and sometimes with the fist. It can be heard at a considerable distance.
In contrasting these two extremes of African races, it is singular to remark, that the superiority in music, if there be any, must be conceded to the lower race.
"We find much that is curious and worthy of note in the music of those mysterious tribes of central Africa, who have so recently become known to us through the researches of Schwein-furth, Stanley, and Baker.
Among the best known of these tribes, may be mentioned the Nyam-Xyams, a set of most invet­erate cannibals, whose very name comes from the sound of gnawing at food, and was given them on account of their man-eating propensities. Their chief musical instruments are mandolins or small harps of four strings each, drums (mostly of wood,) bells of iron, whistles and pipes. Many of these instruments are very symmetrically formed, and tastily carved, for in wood, iron, and clay design­ing the Nyam-Nyams are very expert. Schwein-furth thus describes their music,*—
•The Heart of Africa, v. 2, p. 29

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