MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS                       63
youth, and considered second only to the supreme being—a young man was sacrificed who, in preparation for the ceremony, had been instructed in the art of playing the flute. Twenty days before his death four young girls, named after the principal goddesses, were given to him as companions; and when the hour arrived in which he was to be sacrificed he observed the established symbolical rite of breaking a flute on each of the steps, as he ascended the temple.
Again, at the public ceremonies which took place on the accession of a prince to the throne the new monarch addressed a prayer to the god, in which occurred the following allegorical expression :—" I am thy flute; reveal to me thy will j breathe into me thy breath like into a flute, as thou hast done to my prede­cessors on the throne. As thou hast opened their eyes, their ears, and their mouth to utter what is good, so likewise do to me. I resign myself entirely to thy guidance." Similar sentences occur in the orations addressed to the monarch. In reading them one can hardly fail to be reminded of Hamlet's reflections addressed to Guildenstern, when the servile courtier expresses his inability to " govern the ventages" of the pipe and to make the instru­ment " discourse most eloquent music," which the prince bids him to do.
M. de Castelnau in his " Expedition dans l'Amerique" gives among the illustrations of objects discovered in ancient Peruvian tombs a flute made of a human bone. It has four finger-holes at its upper surface and appears to have been blown into at one end. Two bone-flutes, in appearance similar to the engraving given by M. de Castelnau, which have been disinterred at Truxillo are deposited in the British museum. They are about six inches in length, and each is provided with five finger-holes. One of these has all the holes at its upper side, and one of the holes is considerably smaller than the rest. The specimen which we engrave (p. 64) is ornamented with some simple designs in black.
The other has four holes at its upper side and one underneath,
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