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AFRICAN MUSIC.
259
" They have an instinctive love of art. Music rejoices their very soul. The harmonies they elicit from their favorite instrument, the mandolin, seem almost to thrill through the chords of their inmost nature. The prolonged duration of some of their musical productions is very surprising." Piaggia has remarked that he believed a " Nyam-Nyam would go on playing all day and all night, without thinking to leave off either to eat or to drink," and although quite aware of the vora­cious propensitiee of the people, it seems very probable that he was right.
One favorite instrument there is, which is some­thing between a harp and a mandolin. It resem­bles the former in the vertical arrangement of its strings, whilst in common with the mandolin, it has a sounding-board, a neck, and screws for tightening the strings.
The sounding board is constructed on strict acoustic principles. It has two apertures; it is carved out of wood, and on the upper side it is covered with a piece of skin; the strings are tightly stretched by means of pegs, and are some­times made of fine threads of bast, and sometimes of the wiry hairs from the tail of the giraffe.
The music is very monotonous and it is difficult to distinguish any melody in it. It invariably is an accompaniment to a moaning kind of recitative which is rendered with a decided nasal intona­tion.
" I have not unfrequently seen friends marching about arm in arm, wrapt in the mutual enjoyment






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