MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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a6                      MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
Besides the names ot Hebrew instruments already given there occur several others in the Old Testament, upon the real meaning of which much diversity of opinion prevails. Jobel is by some commentators classed with the trumpets, but it is by others believed to designate a loud and cheerful blast of the trumpet, used on particular occasions. If Jobcl (from which jubilare is supposed to be derived) is identical with the name Jubal, the inventor of musical instruments, it would appear that the Hebrews appreciated pre-eminently the exhilarating power of music. Sha-lisbim is supposed to denote a triangle. Nechiloth, gittitA, and machalath, which occur in the headings of some psalms, are also by commentators supposed to be musical instruments. Nechiloth i-j said to have been a flute, and gittith and machalath to have been stringed instruments, and wachol a kind of flute. Again, others maintain that the words denote peculiar modes of perform­ance or certain favourite melodies to which the psalms were directed to be sung, or chanted. According to the records of the Rabbins, the Hebrews in the time of David and Solomon pos­sessed thirty-six different musical instruments. In the Bible only about half that number are mentioned.
Most nations of antiquity ascribed the invention of their musical instruments to their gods, or to certain superhuman beings. The Hebrews attributed it to man; Jubal is mentioned in Genesis as " the father of all such as handle the harp and organ " {i.e., per­formers on stringed instruments and wind instruments). As instru­ments of percussion are almost invariably in use long before people are led to construct stringed and wind instruments it might per­haps be surmised that Jubal was not regarded as the inventor of all the Hebrew instruments, but rather as the first professional cultivator of instrumental music.
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