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48 MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
May not the agreeable impression produced by the rhythmical flow of the waves and the soothing murmur of running water have led various nations, independently of each other, to the widespread conception that they obtained their favourite instrument of music from the water? Or is the notion traceable to a common source dating from a pre-historic age, perhaps from the early period when the Aryan race is surmised to have diffused its lore through various countries ? Or did it originate in the old belief that the world, with all its charms and delights, arose from a chaos in which water constituted the predominant element ?
Howbeit, Nareda, the giver of water, was evidently also the ruler of the clouds; and Odin had his throne in the skies. Indeed, many of the musical water-spirits appear to have been originally considered as rain deities. Their music may therefore be regarded as derived from the clouds rather than from the sea. In shoit, the traditions respecting spirits and water are not in contradiction to the opinion of the ancient Hindus that music is of heavenly origin, but rather tend to support it.
The earliest musical instruments of the Hindus on record have, almost all of them, remained in popular use until the present day scarcely altered. Besides these, the Hindus possess several Arabic and Persian instruments which are of comparatively modern date in Hindustan : evidently having been introduced into that country scarcely a thousand years ago, at the time of the Mahomedan irruption. There is a treatise on music extant, written in Sanskrit, which contains a description of the ancient instruments. Its title is Sangita rathnakara. If, as may be hoped, it be translated by a Sanskrit scholar who is at the same time a good musician, we shall probably be enabled to ascertain more exactly which of the Hindu instruments of the present day-are of comparatively modern origin.
The vina is undoubtedly of high antiquity. It has seven wire strings, and movable frets which are generally fastened with wax. Two hollowed gourds, often tastefully ornamented, are affixed to