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

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6o                       MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
ments, but which are remarkably well qualified to withstand the decaying influence of time. There is, therefore, no reason to conclude from the frequent occurrence of such instruments that they were more common than other kinds of which specimens have rarely been discovered.
The Mexicans possessed a small whistle formed of baked clay, a considerable number of which have been found. Some speci­mens (of which we give engravings) are singularly grotesque in
shape, representing caricatures of the human face and figure, birds, beasts, and flowers. Some were provided at the top with a finger-hole which, when closed, altered the pitch of the sound, so that two different tones were producible on the instrument. Others had a little ball of baked clay lying loose inside the air-chamber. When the instrument was blown the current of air set the ball in a vibrating motion, thereby causing a shrill and whirr­ing sound. A similar contrivance is sometimes made use of by Englishmen for conveying signals. The Mexican whistle most likely served principally the same purpose, but it may possibly have been used also in musical entertainments. In the Russian
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III