MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
74
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
it shows distinctly both the upper and under side of the instru­ment, is here inserted.
The largest kind of Mexican teponaztli appears to have been generally of a cylindrical shape. Clavigero gives a drawing of such an instrument. Drums, also, constructed of skin or parch­ment in combination with wood were not unknown to the Indians. Of this description was, for instance, the huchuetl of the Aztecs in Mexico, which consisted, according to Clavigero, of a wooden cylinder somewhat above three feet in height, curiously carved and painted and covered at the top with carefully prepared deer-skin. And, what appears the most remarkable, the parch­ment (we are told) could be tightened or slackened by means of cords in nearly the same way as with our own drum. The hiuhuetl was not beaten with drumsticks but merely struck with the fingers, and much dexterity was required to strike it in the proper manner. Oviedo states that the Indians in Cuba had drums which were stretched with human skin. And Bernal Diaz relates that when he was with Cortes in Mexico they ascended together the Teocalli (" House of God"), a large temple in which human sacrifices were offered by the aborigines; and there the Spanish visitors saw a large drum which was made, Diaz tells us, with skins of great serpents. This " hellish instrument," as he calls it, produced, when struck, a doleful sound which was so loud that it could be heard at a distance of two leagues.
The name of the Peruvian drum was hucmca: they had also an instrument of percussion, called chhilchiles, which appears to have been a sort of tambourine.
The rattle was likewise popular with the Indians before the discovery of America. The Mexicans called it ajaccixtli. In construction it was similar to the rattle at the present day com­monly used by the Indians. It was oval or round in shape, and appears to have been usually made of a gourd into which holes were pierced, and to which a wooden handle was affixed. A number of little pebbles were enclosed in the hollowed gourd.
Previous Contents Next
>






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III