|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
18 MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
tally in playing, or at least nearly so. Its front bar was generally either oblique or slightly curved. The strings were tied round the bar so as to allow of their being pushed upwards or downwards. In the former case the tension of the strings increases, and the notes become therefore higher; on the other hand, if the strings are pushed lower down the pitch of the notes must become deeper. The lyre was played with a small plectrum as well as with the fingers.
The Assyrian trumpet was very similar to the Egyptian. Furthermore, we meet with three kinds of drums, of which one is especially noteworthy on account of its odd shape, somewhat resembling a sugar-loaf: with the tambourine; with two kinds of cymbals; and with bells, of which a considerable number have been found in the mound of Nimroud. These bells, which have greatly withstood the devastation of time, are but small in size, the largest of them being only 3.25 inches in height and 2.5 inches in diameter. Most of them have a hole at the top, in which probably the clapper was fastened. They are made of copper mixed with 14 per cent, of tin.
Instrumental music was used by the Assyrians and Babylonians in their religious observances. This is obvious from the sculptures, and is to some extent confirmed by the mode of worship paid by command of king Nebuchadnezzar to the golden image: " Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up." The kings appear to have maintained at their courts musical bands, whose office it was to perform secular music at certain times of the day or on fixed occasions. Of king Darius we are told that, when he had cast Daniel into the den of lions, he " went to his palace, and passed the night fasting, neither were instruments of musick brought before him;" from which we may conclude that his band was in