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266                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
larger than the other. The ends are then covered with two pieces of goat skin, stripped of the hair which are tightly strained, and laced together with thongs.
At the nightly orgies a fire is invariably kept burning to dry the skin, and to tighten it, when it has happened to become relaxed by the heavy dews."
A short description of the signal horns of the Bongo is also given by our musical traveller; some of them resemble fifes, and many are made of antelope horns.
Regarding the singing of the Bongo, Schwein-furth is quite descriptive and as the deductions he arrives at are very similar to those we have ascribed to primitive or natural men, we introduce the passage without alteration.*
"Difficult were the task to give any adequate description of the singing of the Bongo. It must suffice to say that it consists of a babbling recita­tive, which at one time suggests the yelling of a dog, and at another the lowing of a cow, whilst it is broken over, and again by the gabbling of a string of words which are huddled up one into another. The commencement of a measure will always be with a lively air, and every one without distinction of age or sex will begin yelling, screeching, and bellowing with all their strength; gradually the surging of voices will tone down, the rapid time will moderate, and the song be hushed into a wailing melancholy strain.
•Hmrt of Africa, t 1, D.289.






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