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Music from the South. gy
worship; when the improvisatori and drolls who rode in the Thespian cart, with their mother-wit and mother poetry, struck out a new entertainment and gave to the common folk a festival of their own, as some equivalent for the costly spectacles which the liberal and opulent bespoke for their palaces. Since that time, however, the street-songs of Italy, with some few exceptions, have always more or less partaken of the theatrical style; have always been, more or less, an exhibition of trained art. The instruments have remained comparatively uncouth and simple, but the vocalists have been in the greatest request who could reproduce the favourite stage-tune of the hour and the favourite style of stage execution. What may be called, then, characteristic or irregular music, such as to this day flourishes pure and simple in other districts, has in Italy faded into a monotonous and characterless tepidness—with some exceptions, I repeat, now to be specified.
The most remarkable of these, as to form, may be referred to the Bay of Naples and the lagoons of Venice, where the humour of the people has kept alive something distinct and suggestive, owing nothing to church or palace. The first of these to be mentioned brings us once again to the dance,