MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
47
which they consider as the favourite instrument of Krishna. They have also the divinity Ganesa, the god of Wisdom, who is represented as a man with the head of an elephant, holding a tamboura in his hands.
It is a suggestive fact that we find among several nations in different parts of the world an ancient tradition, according to which their most popular stringed instrument was originally derived from the water.
In Hindu mythology the god Nareda invented the vina—the principal national instrument of Hindustan—which has also the name caclC-hapi, signifying a tortoise (tesludo). Moreover, nara denotes in Sanskrit water, and narada, or nareda, the giver of water. Like Nareda, Nereus and his fifty daughters, the Nereides, were much renowned for their musical accomplishments ; and Hermes (it will be remembered) made his lyre, the chelys, of a tortoise-shell. The Scandinavian god Odin, the originator of magic songs, is mentioned as the ruler of the sea, and as such he had the name of Xikarr. In the depth of the sea he played the harp with his subordinate spirits, who occasionally came up to the surface of the water to teach some favoured human being their wonderful instrument. Wainamoinen, the divine player on the Finnish kantcle (according to the Kalewala, the old national epic of the Finns) constructed his instrument of fish-bones. The Irame he made out of the bones of the pike; and the teeth of the pike he used for the tuning-pegs.
Jacob Grimm in his work on German mythology points out an old tradition, preserved in Swedish and Scotch national ballads, of a skilful harper who constructs his instrument out of the bones of a young girl drowned by a wicked woman. Her fingers he uses for the tuning screws, and her golden hair for the strings. The harper plays, and his music kills the murderess. A similar story is told in the old Icelandic national songs; and the same tradition has been preserved in the Faroe islands, as well as in Norway and Denmark.
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