MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
83
subject of these compositions was principally the glorification of the Inca, the burden hailli is perhaps all the more likely to remind Europeans of the Hebrew hallelujah. Moreover, Adair, who lived among the Indians of north America during a period of about forty years, speaks of some other words which he found used as burdens in hymns sung on solemn occasions, and which appeared to him to correspond with certain Hebrew words of a sacred import.
As regards the musical accomplishments of the Indian tribes at the present day they are far below the standard which we have found among their ancestors. A period of three hundred years of oppression has evidently had the effect of subduing the melodious expressions of happiness and contentedness which in former times appear to have been quite as prevalent with the Indians as they generally are with independent and flourishing nations. The innate talent for music evinced by those of the North American Indians who were converted to Christianity soon after the emi­gration of the puritans to New England is very favourably commented on by some old writers. In the year 1661 John Elliot published a translation of the psalms into Indian verse. The singing of these metrical psalms by the Indian converts in their places of worship appears to have been actually superior to the sacred vocal performances of their Christian brethren from Europe; for we find it described by several witnesses as " excellent " and " most ravishing."
In other parts of America the catholic priests from Spain did not neglect to turn to account the susceptibility of the Indians for music. Thus, in central America the Dominicans composed as early as in the middle of the sixteenth century a sacred poem in the Guatemalian dialect containing a narrative of the most important events recorded in the Bible. This production they sang to the natives, and to enhance the effect they accompanied the singing with musical instruments. The alluring music soon captivated the heart of a powerful cazique, who was thus induced
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III