MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

The History And Development Of Musical Instruments From The Earliest Times.

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
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are most universal. Wind instruments of the flute kind,—including pipes, whistles, flutes, Pandean pipes, &c.—are also to be found almost everywhere.
Much the same is the case with wind instruments of the trumpet kind. These are often made of the horns, bones, and tusks of animals j frequently of vegetable substances and of metal. Instru­ments of percussion of definite sonorousness are chiefly met with in China, Japan, Burmah, Siam, and Java. They not unfrequently contain a series of tones produced by slabs of wood or metal, which are beaten with a sort of hammer, as our harmonicon is played.
Stringed instruments without a finger board, or any similar con­trivance which enables the performer to produce a number of different tones on one string, are generally found among nations whose musical accomplishments have emerged from the earliest state of infancy. The strings are twanged with the fingers or with a piece of wood, horn, metal, or any other suitable substance serving as a plectrum; or are made to vibrate by being beaten with a hammer, as our dulcimer. Stringed instruments provided with a finger-board on which different tones are producible on one string by the performer shortening it more or less,—as on the guitar and violin,—are met with almost exclusively among nations in a somewhat advanced stage of musical progress. Such as are played with a bow are the least common; they are, however, known to the Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, Persians, Arabs, and a few other nations, besides those of Europe and their descendants in other countries.
Wind instruments of the organ kind,—i.e., such as are con­structed of a number of tubes which can be sounded together by means of a common mouthpiece or some similar contrivance, and upon which therefore chords and combinations of chords, or harmony, can be produced,—are comparatively of rare occurrence. Some interesting specimens of them exist in China, Japan, Laos, -and Siam.
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