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

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CHAPTER VI.
The American Indians. If the preserved antiquities of the American Indians, dating from a period anterior to our discovery of the western hemisphere, possess an extraordinary interest because they afford trustworthy evidence of the degree of progress which the aborigines had attained in the cultivation of the arts and in their social condition before they came in contact with Europeans, it must be admitted that the ancient musical instruments of the American Indians are also worthy of examination. Several of them are constructed in a manner which, in some degree, reveals the characteristics of the musical system prevalent among the people who used the instru­ments. And although most of these interesting relics, which have been obtained from tombs and other hiding-places, may not be of great antiquity, it has been satisfactorily ascertained that they are genuine contrivances of the Indians before they were influenced by European civilization.
Some account of these relics is therefore likely to prove of interest also to the ethnologist, especially as several facts may perhaps be found of assistance in elucidating the still unsolved problem as to the probable original connection of the American with Asiatic races.
Among the instruments of the Aztecs in Mexico and of the Peruvians none have been found so frequently, and have been preserved in their former condition so unaltered, as pipes and flutes. They are generally made of pottery or of bone, substances which are unsuitable for the construction of most other instru-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III