Music pervades all nature. It is coeval with the creation. There is nothing in nature that arouses our attention or affects our feelings so quickly as a sound. The murmuring of water, the sighs of the zephyrs, the whispers of the evening breeze, the roar of the storms, the chirpings of the birds, the cries of the animals, the hum of distant multitudes and the concussion of sonorous bodies, excite in our minds feelings of pleasure, pain or fear and contain in them the germs of music. A musical sound is a noise, no doubt, but every noise is not a musical sound. There is a marked difference between the two. Noise is a confused combination of sounds resulting from the concussion of non-elastic bodies; musical sound is a pure harmonious effect, produced from a simple elastic body, such as the tone of a bell. It files further and is heard at a greater distance than a noise. The musical instruments played at a gathering may be heard at a distance of a mile, but the noise made by the people at the gathering, however overpowering it may be on the spot, is scarcely audible at a similar distance. Sound (Sanskrit, Nada) has been described as either inarticulate (Dhanyatmaka) or articulate (Varnatmaka). Instrumental music is considered inarticulate and vocal music articulate. By the curious structure of the vocal organs, man is capable of making a greater variety of tones than any other animal and has at his disposal the power of giving expression to every emotion. The human voice, in its tone and accent, is undoubtedly the purest and most sonorous of any which distinguishes the vocal animals.
In this book furnish an account of the music of various nations, civilized or uncivilized, on the ace of the habitable globe. It must be acknowledged, however, that his treatise does not pretend to be exhaustive, nor are the descriptions characterized by a uniformity of system in the manipulation of the subject. Specimens of the songs of different nations have been given in this book, not only because Music and Poetry are, according to Sanskrit lore, presided over by one and the same deity, Sarasvati, and are, therefore, intimately connected with each other, but also because an acquaintance with the spirit of a nation's songs facilitates the understanding of the spirit of its music and poetry which are but the outward expression of the inner workings of a nation's heart.
A few facts concerning Hindu music are given a place in the Appendix. To enter into details of the kind in the body of the work would be going beyond its general scope.
My acknowledgments are pre-eminently due to the authors of the several valuable works from which I have gleaned the materials for this compilation. They have been alluded to in some portion or other of the book. Including editors of Encyclopaedias, Musical Dictionaries and Gazetteers, and publishers of general history and geography I take this opportunity of tendering my grateful thanks.
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