MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
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distinct notion as to their form and purport. Several of these barbarous contrivances scarcely deserve to be classed with musical instruments. This may, for instance, be said of certain musical jars or earthen vessels producing sounds, which the Peruvians constructed for their amusement. These vessels were made double; and the sounds imitated the cries of animals or birds. A, similar contrivance of the Indians in Chili, preserved in the museum at Santiago, is described by the traveller S. S. Hill as follows:—" It consists of two earthen vessels in the form of our india-rubber bottles, but somewhat larger, with a flat tube from four to six inches in length, uniting their necks near the top and slightly curved upwards, and with a small hole on the upper side one third of the length of the tube from one side of the necks. To produce the sounds the bottles were filled with water and suspended to the bough of a tree, or to a beam, by a string attached to the middle of the curved tube, and then swung backwards and forwards in such a manner as to cause each end to be alternately the highest and lowest, so that the water might pass backwards and forwards from one bottle to the other through the tube between them. By this means soothing sounds were produced which, it is said, were employed to lull to repose the drowsy chiefs who usually slept away the hottest hours of the day. In the meantime, as the bottles were porous, the water within them diminished by evaporation, and the sound died gradually away."
As regards instruments of percussion, a kind of drum deserves special notice on account of the ingenuity evinced in its construc­tion. The Mexicans called it teponaztli. They generally made it of a single block of very hard wood, somewhat oblong square in shape, which they hollowed, leaving at each end a solid piece about three or four inches in thickness, and at its upper side a kind of sound-board about a quarter of an inch in thickness. In this sound-board, if it may be called so, they made three incisions; namely, two running parallel some distance lengthwise of the
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