Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
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346                  MUSIC OF THE WATERS.
and a beach of sonorous sand at Eigg, and also in the Hebrides.
Specimens of sonorous sand are to be found in the island of Bornholm, Denmark; Colberg, Prussia ; and Kanai, Hawaii Islands. Old Chinese chronicles mention sonorous sand as occurring in the desert of Lob-Nor. Marco Polo narrates superstitions concerning it, and the Emperor Baber refers to a locality in Afghanistan where it is found. Careful search in literature shows that allusions to this phenomenon are scattered sparingly through writ­ings of a thousand years.
The character of the sounds obtained by friction on the beach is decidedly musical. The shrillness and lownessof note depend chiefly on the quantity of sand disturbed. By plunging both hands into the sand and bringing them together quickly, a tone is heard, the dominant note of which is B below the treble stave. By stroking the sand nearer the surface and with less force, very high notes were heard confused ; they ranged from E, fourth space treble clef, to B above the stave. By rubbing firmly and briskly a double handful of the sand, several notes on a rising scale were heard. The ear received an impression something like that formed by sliding a finger up a violin-string at the same time that the bow is drawn.
Sonorous and mute sand occur in the beach closely ad­joining, but they cannot be distinguished by the eye ; friction alone determines the difference.
The phenomenon is well worthy of investigation, and no light seems as yet to have been thrown on its cause, nor any progress made towards the solution of the mystery of the difference between mute and musical sand.
" Now lay thine ear against this golden sand, And thou shalt hear the music of the sea, Those hollow tunes it p!ays against the land,—• Is't not a rich and wondrous melody ? I have lain hours, and fancied in its tone I heard the languages of ages gone."

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