The National Music Of The World

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Music from the East.                      33
and music, with very small exception, is in every respect more rude and more shapeless than that of far more savage peoples. Perhaps the solution of such an inconsistency may be found in a fact difficult to be admitted by those who, because all the arts are kindred, expect them to be contemporary in their de­velopment. May we not have here a signal proof that music has been always a vagrant Muse, with an inde­pendent and arbitrary life of her own, and that her prosperity or the reverse can be no more predicated from the signs and tokens of any given epoch than can be the moods of the wind, ' which bloweth where it listeth.' Yet even this Chinese barbarism—(to retort upon the Celestials with their own epithet)—is proved by exceptions which, supposing them to be authentic and not fabricated, are of astonishing regularity. In the section of Carl Engel's valuable work on ' The Music of the Ancient Nations,' which deals with China, is cited (p. 145), 'The Ancient Hymn in honour of the Ancestors'; a tune in the midst of most chaotic handfuls of notes, as stately, well ordered, and susceptible of musical treatment as any Lutheran psalm, or any of those Romish hymns which replaced the crude and over-prized
Ambrosian and Gregorian chants.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III