Curiosities of Music - online book

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272                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
cups, pixes, chalices, crosses of brass, silver and gold, mitres, etc., figured in the religious para­phernalia employed. The Neophytes kept up a deafening, jingling clang; or, "with instruments of wood and brass, one stringed banjoes, clanking brass cymbals kept a rhythmic time, which swell­ed louder and louder as they drew near the head­quarters of the army.
" The priests (out of respect for their office) took the front position, and one of them, with a semi-ludicrous air, struck up the first note of the impromptu stanzas which were to celebrate the British conquest of Abyssinia."
"As he warmed to his theme, and his voice rose to enthusiasm, the motley assembly, at the waving of acrucifix, chimed in with chorus, which, sung with stentorian lungs, had a tremendous effect. After the chorus, six priests clad in cotton stoles headed by the sub-hierarch, took the eulogy up at a very low key, which soon, however, rose so high and shrill in a protracted continuity of sound, that one momentarily expected to hear their lungs crack, ending with a stormy chorus as before. Then, forming themselves into a circle, a hundred of them commenced a dignified sailing round their neighbors, to the right and left, their togas getting inflated with the movement, weav­ing each into another, until it might have been imagined that they had manufactured some complicated knot, on the gordian principle; but, soon taking the reverse method, they reached their former positions in time. The singing went

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