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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320                Music of tsjs Waters.
lied upon for authentic information concerning them. He pronounces them to be gifted with a remarkably fine ear for distinguishing quarter-tones ; they are to be congratu­lated on the intelligence, that one would think must be characteristic of them, to enable them to become familiar with what seems to us such a difficult style of notation ; and yet the Maories are as much addicted to cannibalism as the natives of the Marquesas Archipelago, with the exception, of course, of those who ,have come under the influence of European civilization and Christianity.
Every circumstance in the life of a native of New Zealand has a song dedicated to the season ; thus in fishing, canoe and house-building, planting, sowing, reaping, felling timber, paddling canoes, births, marriages, and deaths, peace and war, each has its characteristic chant, accom­panied by a chorus. The chants are simple, and the musical subjects few, but the words embodying the scanty musical scores are innumerable. Poetical composition is not practised, detached sentences in prose forming the groundwork for the music, which are compositions without the attempt at finish as among Europeans, yet a step nearer to a musical piece than the chant of a recitative can be pronounced.
Many complaints are made of the ill-conduct of the American, French, and English seamen at the Bay of Islands, but, says Mr. J. S. Polack, in his " Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders," " we would inquire of those seeming philanthropists, are our ports in Great Britain kept wholly immaculate ? And will the Jack Tar of Ports­mouth repudiate his lass or his glass, or will the French matelot at Nantes or Bordeaux cease his song, and refuse to join in quaffing the rich juices afforded by the vintage of the Garonne, or will the Yankee sailor of Massachusetts, or the Bucksin of ' ole Virginny,' fail less to kick at the dispiriting measures of the select, social, temporal teeto­talers," who, he avers, would drive all sociability into " an eternal everlasting fix."

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