Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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Music of the Waters.                 313
more rude and shapeless than that of far more savage peoples."1
Mr. Chorley's remark is scarcely encouraging as to the amount of pleasure we may expect to derive from a perusal of some of the musical efforts of the Chinese; however, such specimens of their water melody as are to be had I must include in a collection that has for object, not so much beauty of style, as peculiarity of conception.
In all Asiatic nations, the songs are generally of a nature which renders it almost impossible to write them down divided into bars of equal duration.
Whatever our opinion of Chinese music may be, it can­not be less flattering than theirs of ours. A very intelli­gent Chinese on hearing some music of Rameau's and other French composers, hinted politely that it was sadly devoid of meaning and expression, while the music of his own country penetrated to the innermost soul.
The common scale of the Chinese consists of only five different intervals, though I should add this is also the case with the music of many other Asiatic countries, and even in other parts of the globe. The number five appears to be an especially mysterious one with the Chinese. I give this almost national tune a place amongst the water melodies, as it is a great favourite on sea as well as on land, and it is a fair specimen of Chinese song.
Chorley's "National Music."

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