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VOL. I. 

:'t- re- ' 




J O W X F R K U E R I C K ROW BO 1' H A M. 


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VOL. I. 



(The rigid (f transhuion is reserved. J 






INTRODUCTION. ... Page xi. 





THE VOICE. Page 70. 


THE LYRE STAGE. Page 151. 



On tJie Three Stages in Central Africa, and especially 

the Lyre Stage. PAGE 185. 


On Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Vocal Mnsic. 

Page 188. 
appendix c. 

O71 Darzvins Theory of the Origin of Instriinie^ital 

Music. Page 188. 



















Music is a Dualism. It is formed of the conjunction of 
two elements — the one purely musical, the other poetical — 
the one sensuous, the other spiritual or intellectual^ — the one 
owing its origin and development to Instruments, and based 
on the mere animal delight in Sound ; the other owing its 
origin and development to Language, and based on the 
fusion of the Emotional and Intellectual sides of man's 
nature. The object which the historian of Music must set 
before him is to trace the goings on of these two elements, 
at first far apart and moving in separate orbits — to show how 
their paths gradually approached each other — how a mutual 
attraction was set up, till at last they were necessarily drawn 
into the same plane of revolution. Here is the geniture of 
a New Music. 

He must then go on to show how the union is so com- 
plete, that the Instrument can lose its original characteristics, 
and become the exponent of the Poetical and Spiritual side 
of the Art, while the Voice can in like manner be the 
interpreter of the Sensuous and merely Musical side. How 
the organs of utterance may for ever vary, but how what 
they utter never varies. How the Sensuous and Spiritual 

I Intellectual, because of its Form (beings expressed by words), Spiritual, 
because of its Matter (being the same with the Matter of Poetry). 


elements act and react upon one another. How sometimes 
one, sometimes the other is lord of the conjunction — some- 
times both are so exquisitely blended that we are tempted 
to exclaim, ' Flere at last is perfect proportion ! In this 
symmetry and harmonious play we hail the climax of 
the Art's development' But further he must proceed to ac- 
count psychologically for these epochs of preponderance 
and equilibrium. He must show why some nations are 
naturally disposed to develop the Sensuous element at the 
expense of the Spiritual, and other nations to develop the 
Spiritual at the expense of the Sensuous. And finally he 
must show how these two elements of Music answer to the 
two grand ultimate divisions of the human mind, and how 
hence two great Schools of Artists, sometimes shading off 
into one another, sometimes in direct antagonism, have ever 
existed from the first glimmerings of the Art's history in un- 
broken succession to the present time. These are the objects 
which a historian of Music must set before him, and these I 
shall attempt in the ensuing pages however imperfectly to 


I propose to commence by considering what I have 
termed the Sensuous side of the Art. Not because I 
would imply that it came into being before the Intellect- 
ual side — the case being exactly the reverse — but because, 
in all strictness, it is the more specially Musical of the two. 

Musical Instruments, though their varieties may be 
counted by hundreds, are yet readily reducible under three 
distinct types : — I. the Drum type; II. the Pipe type; III. the 
Lyre type. Under the first head fall drums, rattles, gongs, 
triangles, tam-tams, castanets, tambourines, cymbals— in a 
word, all instruments of Percussion. Under the second head 
fall flutes, hautboys, clarionets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, 
trombones, bugles— all Wind Instruments. And under 
the third head fall all Stringed Instruments, comprising the 
harp, lyre, lute, guitar, the violin (with all its varieties), the 
mandolin, dulcimers, pianos, &c., &c. Now these three types 
are representative of three distinct stages of development 
through which Prehistoric Instrumental Music has passed 
— and the stages occur in the order named. That is to say, 
the first stage in the development of Instrumental Music 
was the Drum Stage, in which Drums, and drums alone 
were used by man ; the second stage was the Pipe Stage, 
in which Pipes as well as Drums were used ; the third stage 


was the Lyre Stage, in which Lyres were added to the 
stock. And as in the Geological history of the globe, the 
Chalk is never found below the Oolite, nor the Oolite below 
the Coal, so in the Musical History of Mankind is the Lyre 
Stage never found to precede the Pipe Stage, nor the Pipe 
Stage to precede the Drum Stage. 

That this should be the order of development seems 
natural, if we consider the mechanical complexity of the 
Instruments themselves. The Drum is evidently the sim- 
plest of all ; the Pipe is more complex than the Drum ; but 
the Lyre, which consists of strings bound round pegs and 
strung on a frame, is the most complex of all. 

In keeping with this is the fact ihat savages sometimes have 
the Drum alone, but never the Pipe alone, or the Lyre alone ; 
for if they have the Pipe, they always have the Drum too ; and 
if they have the Lyre, they always have both Pipe and Drum, 

Meeting at the bottom of the ladder with the Veddahs 
of Ceylon, I the Mincopies of the Andamans',^ and the 
inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego,^ who have no musical 
instruments at all, we find the Drum to be the only musical 
instrument known among the Australians,4 the Esquimaux,^ 
and the Behring's Nations generally,^ the Samoyedes and 
the other Siberian tribes, 7 and, until a comparatively recent 
date, the Laplanders.^ 

With the Polynesian Malays 9 and the Papuans^o the Pipe 
/ ^ 

I Tennent's History of Ceylon. 2 Mouat's Andaman Islands. 

3 Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.SS. Adventure and Beagle. II. 

4 Eyre's Discoveries in Central Australia, II. pp. 228, 2. 237. 32 331. Grey's 
Journal of Two Expeditions of Discovery in N.W. and W. Australia. II. p. 305. 

5 Parry's 2nd Voyage, p. 530. Crantz, History of Greenland. I. p. 171. 

6 Whymper's Alaska, p. 143. He is speaking particularly of the Malemutes 
and Kaveaks, but his remarks apply to all the Behring's Nations. 

7 Richardson's Polar Regions, p. 335. Smith's AA^onders of Nature and Art. 
London. 1803. II. pp. 277, 264, &c. 8 That is to say until within 200 years 
ago. See Scheffer's History of Lapland. 

9 For the Society Islands, see Captain Cook's Voyages. Published by John 
Tallis, I. p. 87. For the Navigator Isles, Tui-ner. Nineteen years in Polynesia. 
p. 211. For the Friendly Iples, Cook. I. p. 427., and in the common edition, 1st 
Voyage, p. 397. See also Mariner's Tonga Islands. II. 214. 218. For the Mar- 
quesas, Melville's Life in the Marquesas, p. 185. For the Sandwich Islands, 
where, however, the Pipe is absent. Cook II. 250. And for the Maories of New 
Zealand, who are the most advanced of all, Captain Cook. I. 196. and Infra, p. — 
And cf. generally Ellis' Polynesian Researches, p. 282. sqq. Of Ellis' book 
I regret I have been under the necessit}'' of employing two separate editions in 
the_ course of this work, nor am I in a position to say to which of the two the 
various references particularly belong. 

10 For the Papuans, see Williams' Fiji and the Fijians, I. 163. Turner's 
Nineteen Years in Polynesia, p. 90, cf. Infra, p. — Jukes' Voyage of H.M.S. Fly. 
(for the Erroob Papuans), II, 176. (for the Papuans of New Guinea), I. 274, and 
plate I, 277. Cf. Rosenberg's Niev/-Guinea. p. 93. And for the Drum Form in 
the Papuan Archipelago, Shouten's Voyage in Purchas His Pilgrim^s, 1. 2. 100. 



makes its appearance, while in no single instance is the 
Drum found wanting. The same holds good of the South 
American Indians. Both Pipe and Drum are in use among 
the tribes on the Upper Amazon, ^ the Indians of the Rio 
Negro 2 and the Uaupes,^ the Tupis,4 the Omaguas ^ and 
neighbouring tribes,^ the Artaneses,7 and Yucunas,^ the 
Itatines,9 and generally the rest of the Brazilian tribes ; ^° 
the aborigines of Guiana,ii the Aymara Indians of Bolivia 
and Peru, 12 ^^g Huacho Indians of Peru,i3 the Abipones of 
Paraguay,i4 the Patagonians.^S These are all the cases I have 
examined in South America, and they all yield the same 
result — that is to say, the Pipe is nowhere to be found 
without the Drum being likewise present.^^ And what is 
true of the South American Indians is equally true of the 
North American Indians.^^ 

But where the Lyre appears, there both Pipe and Drum 
are also found as its never failing complements, as with the 
Dyaks of Borneo,^^ the Khonds.of Khondistan,i9 the Finns,2o 
the Tartars,2i the Cossacks,^^ the Turcomans,23 the Hindus,^^ 

1 Bates' Amazons, II, 20r. Wallace's Travels on the Amazon, 504. 

2 Wallace's Travels on the Amazon, 259. 3 lb. 282. 

4 Bates' Amazons, 1, 311. 5. Southey's History of Brazil, I, 89, 90. 

6 lb. 84, 95. Orellana, in his Narrative of his Expedition down the Maraiion, 
speaks of one of the tribes having 'three-stringed rebecks. '(!) But 
such a statement is of little value in presence of oveiwhelming evidence to the 
contrary, and must be classed with Orellana's other fictions, unless we imagine 
in his defence that he has been misled by the caracasha. (de qua vid. infra, p. — ) 

7 Southey I. 139. 8 lb. III. 720. 9 lb. I. 341. 10 lb. I. 206, which 
bears out Bates' general remark about the Tupis. 

11 Brett's Indian Tribes of Guiana, 320, 154, (plate). 

12 Forbes, On the Aymara Indians, in Transactions of the Ethnological 
Society, for 1869, p. 233. 13 Stevenson's Travels in South America, I. 403. 

14 Dobrizhoft'er's History of the Abipones, II, 70, 209, 217. 

15 Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.SS- Adventure and Beagle 
II, p. 162. R. Brown's Races of Mankind. Art. Patagonians. plate. Musters' 
At Home Among the Patagonians, p. 77, 16 Cf. Infra, p. — 

17 Catlin's North American Indians, I, 238, 243. Schoolcraft's History of the 
Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes in the United States, II, 514. III. 
486. Catlin even speaks about 'luteS' being found among them, but though 
he mentions 'lutes ' twice in his book (I, 142. & I, 38.), he goes into no details, 
nor even includes them in his list of N. Ameiican instruments. But to this ex- 
istence of ' lutes ' among the North American tribes Schoolcraft says No, and 
certainly his appears the more probable view, as it is the common one. 

18 Marryat's Borneo and the Indian Archipelago, pp. 84. 133 (plate). St. 
John's Life in the Forests of the Far East, I. 118. 

19 Campbell's Narrative of Thirteen Years' Service among the Wild Tribes 
of Khondistan, pp. 16. 164. 20 Pinkerton, I. 473. 

21 Mary Holderness' Notes relating to the Manners and Customs of the Criin 
Tartars, Clarke's Travels in Russia,Tartary, and Turkey, 316. New Edinbui gh 
Review, 1822. P-SiS. 

22 Atkinson's Travels on the Upper and Lower Amoor, p. 167. 

23 Chozdko's Popular Poetry of Persia, pp, 62. 419. 

24 New Edinburgh Review, 1822, p, 525. 


and the nations of History.^ 

These facts would seem to do much towards confirming 
the opinion that the Drum is the oldest, the Pipe the next, 
and the Lyre the youngest of the three. But there is another 
reason why we should adopt a chronology which assigns the 
seniority to the Drum. Archaic types are preserved in the 
amber of Religion. Remnants of antiquity remain in ritual 
long after they have disappeared from ordinary usage, and 
by turning to the ritual observances of nations we find the 
oldest forms of things and customs. This species of dem- 
onstration has before now been employed with the happiest 
results in relation to savage races,^ and 

The Evidence of Ritual 

may perhaps be questioned not in vain on the point at 
present under consideration. As far as it is possible to 
gather, the instrument of ritual among savage races 
is invariably the drum. The fetich ceremo-ny among 
the Camma negroes, which Du Chaillu mentions, is a case in 
point,3 and other instances of the use in Africa occur in the 
works of travellers. Throughout the South Sea Islands the 
Drum is the instrument of the priests.4 Catlin mentions it as 
appropriated to religious ceremony among the Assineboins,^ 
Mandans,6 Crows,7 and Sioux,^ and his assertion may be 
extended to all the North American Indians.9 It is the 
instrument of the priests in Guiana, ^° and forms an essential 
element in the ritual of the Patagonian wizards j^^ similarly 
used among the Abipones^^ ^nd other S. American tribes, ^3 
particularly the Guaycurus, at that beautiful ceremony with 
which they every morning welcome and adore the rising 
Sun.i"^ 'phe Drum is depicted on the walls of the holy places 

1 If the reader care to pursue the inquiry among those semi-civilised nations 
which meet us on the threshold of History, such as the Celts for instance, it 
will only be to iind that what is true of others is likewise true of them. For 
the three Forms among the Celts, see Jones' Welsh Bards, folio. 90. In 
ancient Scotland, lb. 75. Buchanan's History of Scotland. Lib. I. Proceedings 
of Scottish Society of Antiquaries. January, 1880. In Ireland, Jones, lb. and 
Transactions of Royal Irish Society, VIII. Antiquities, p. 11. (which proves that 
the Pipe Form was known). Africa, of which it will be noticed there has no 
mention been made, is for certain reasons reserved for separate consideration, 
and will form the subject of an Excursus at the end of this Book. 

2 By Professor Tylor in his Primitive Culture. 3 Du Chaillu's Equatorial 
Africa, p. 241. 4 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, I. 282. 5 Catlin's North 
American Indians, I. 55. 6 lb. 126. 7 lb. i8q. 8 lb. 238. 

9 De qua vide infra. 10 Purchas His Pilgrimes. IV. 1274. 

II Falkner, quoted in Surveying Voyage of H. M. SS, Adventure and Bea- 
gle. 11.262. 12 Dobrizhoffer, History of the Abipones. 11.65. 84. 278-9. 
13 De qua vide infra, 14 Southey's History of Br^tzil. I, 121, 


in the ruined temples of Copan and Palenque ; i and not 
to speak of its use in ritual among the Peruvians ^ and 
Mexicans,^ a glance at ancient nations will remind us of 
the Sistrum of the Egyptian priests, and the cymbals of the 
Assyrian and Hebrew priests. And coming down to a later 
date we shall find the case precisely the same. With the 
Greeks, for instance, the Drum, in its various forms of drumj 
tambourine, cymbal, and rattle, was regularly employed at 
the Cotytia and Bendideia of the Thracians,4 the Orphic 
rites,s by the Corybantes, Cabeiri, Idsean Dactyli, and Cur- 
etes at the rites of Cybele and the Idaean Zeus,6 and at the 
rites of Dionysus.7 

The next species of evidence I shall consider is 

The Evidence of Mythology. 
The legends of savages, as far as I have been able to 
gather any, all testify to the high antiquity of the Drum,8 
and one famous legend in such a marked degree that I 
cannot possibly omit it here. The North American Indians 
make the Drum contemporaneous with the Deluge. When 
the waters of the Deluge began to subside, they were drawn 
off into 4 Tortoises, each Tortoise receiving the waters of 
one quarter of the world. And these Tortoises, besides 
serving as reservoirs, served also as Drums for men to play 
on, by striking their backs with drumsticks. In remem- 
brance of this event, the Eeh-teeh-Kas, or Sacred Drums of 

1 Catherwood and Stephens' Travels in Central America, Chiapas, and Yu- 
catan. See the Plates. That the Pipe Form was known, and that the priests 
could have used it had they chosen, is proved from a bas-relief on a Pyramid in 
Palenque of a figure blowing a Pipe or Horn. lb. p. 353. plate I. 

2 Pedro Pizarro. Descubrimento y Conquista del Piru. MS. Garcilasso. 
Commentarios Reales. II. XXIII. p. 49. i. b. and 2. a. 

3 Kingsborough's ^Antiquities of Mexico. Clavigero, Storia antica del 
Messico. 4 Strabo. X. HI. 16. 5 lb. 6 lb. X, III.7. 11. 

7 Plutarch De Iside LXIX. p. 378. At the Dionysiac Rites the Pipe was 
also added. De qua vide infra, p — An examination of Legal formularies, which 
are also, like Religious Ceremonies, a repository of the old, would no doubt 
yield a similar result. Thus Thornton tells us in his History of China that the 
phrase, "ELeihyuen," by 'which the officers call attention in the Chinese l.iw 
courts, means literally, ' Strike the Drum '. Throughout Africa scarcely any 
legal formulary without drum-beating forming a special clause in it. At the 
paying of the hongo or tribute, the Drums beat tlie ' satisfaction ' e.g. at M' 
gonga (Spelce's Source of the Nile. p. 121.) and at Uzinza(Ib. 126. cf. also T31, 
133, 148, 149). A performance with Drums and drumsticks formed part of an 
old ceremony of swearing fealty at Karague. (lb. 244-245). In many ol ihe 
African tribes the Drum is the badge of Royalty like our Sceptre — which 
also points to the great antiquity of the form. Livingstone's Mi^sionarv 
Travels in S. Africa, p. 281. Cameron'-^ Across Africa, passim. But I Jiuve 
neither looked much into this species of evidence nor do I attach much value to it, 
8 Infra, p. 


the Medicine Mysteries, are always 4 in number, made of 
buffalo-skin sewn together in the form of a tortoise, and each 
of them filled with water. ^ 

But the Evidence of Mythology is chiefly valuable for the 
hints it gives us about the order of succession — I am now 
speaking of the mythology of civilised peoples. And it is 
singularly confirmatory of our view that whenever a definite 
sequence is alluded to in legend, or can be gathered from it 
by the comparative method, the Lyre is always made to 
follow the Pipe, and the Pipe to follow the Drum. Minerva 
invented the Flute, but afterwards threw it away because 
it distorted her features, — and took to the Lyre instead. 
When Apollo received the Lyre from Mercury, he praised 
the wonderful sound which neither gods nor men had heard 
before, y6'7'' up till then he had been contented with the anioj^ous 
sighing of the Fhite.'^ The struggle between the two instru- 
ments for supremacy is adumbrated in the legends of Apollo 
and Marsyas, and Apollo and Pan, and it is in keeping with 
our theory that in both cases the contest ended in the 
victory of the Lyre over the superannuated Pipe, Marsyas 
being flayed for his impertinence, and Midas but an ass for 
awarding the palm to Pan.3 But long before Athena's Flute 
or Apollo's Lyre was heard, Music had come into being with 
the cymbals of the Curetes, says the legend in Herodotus,^ 
and from these simple elements all Greek music, it avers, was 
subsequently derived. This is a plain enough suggestion 

} See Catlin's N. American Indians, 1,163,158,135,177. 4 is a sacred number 
with the N. American Indians (see lb. 180, 181), and this legend of the Drum- 
Tortoise is connected with the most precious arcana of a faith, for the antiquity 
of which and its many points of resemblance to the Religion of the Ancient 
Mexicans see Humboldt's Researches concerning the institutions &c., of the 
Ancient Inhabitants of America. II. n. cf. also Schoolcraft's Account of the 
lorquois Cosmogony. I. 316. 

2 ^avfiaairjv yap t-tjvSe ver](j)aTov ocrcrav a/covw, 
rjv ov TrwTTori (j)riiut ^ariinevai ovre tlv avSpwv, 

oure Tiv aOavarwv, o'i 'OAuftTrm ^(Ljuar exovaiv 

Koi jag Ijh) MovcrycTiv 'OXvinrid^^^aaiv OTrrjdog, 
rrjcn X'^P^'^ '^^ fxiXovai Kal IfupoHQ jSpojuog avXwv. 

Hymn to Mercury, 443. 

3 Calamis agrestibus insonat ille 
Barbarico que Midan delenit carmine. 

^ ^ ^ , Ovid, Metam. XL 

. 4 I cannot find the passage m Herodotus^ but my authority for the quotation 
is Dr. Burney,I. 261. 


that the Drum was the oldest form ; and the idea is kept up 
in the story in Floridus Sabinus, which makes the first music 
ever heard in the world to have been the music of the anvil. 
The passage in the Bacchae of Euripides, which alludes both 
to Drum and Pipe, will, I think, be allowed, without much 
pressing, to concede the seniority to the former.^ 

The legends of Egypt tell the same tale as those of Greece. 
Osiris invented the Flute, and Isis the Sistrum ; but it was 
the Egyptian Hermes or Thoth, a deity of later date than 
either of these, who was credited with the invention of the 
Lyre.2 And Indian legend keeps up the order of succession. 
Vishnu was the inventor of the Trumpet, and, in his avatar 
as Krishna, of the Flute, but it was Nareda, the son of Brah- 
ma, who belongs to the second generation of gods, that first 
invented the Lyre.3 

Droppings out. 

This is a thing which sometimes happens, that one of the 
Forms drops out of use. Thus we have evidence of the 
existence of the Drum Form in Lapland from time im- 
memorial ; and we know for a fact that Drums were used 
there as late as 1600.^ Yet by 1732 the Drum had died 
out so completely that Linnaeus, who travelled through 
Lapland in that year, could write, " The Laplanders know 
no musical instrument except the Lur (a sort of trumpet), 
and pipes made of the bark of the quicken tree or mountain 
ash." 5 The Bushmen of South Africa are another instance 
in point, for though Chapman asserts that they have no 
instruments but pipes and horns,^ Burchell who travelled 
at the beginning of this century testifies to the existence of 
the Drum among them at that time.7 The Muras of the 
Amazon have at the present day no instrument but the 
Horn ; 8 but the fact that they are a Tupi tribe, and that 
all the Tupi's have the Drum, seems to prove that this 
solitary exception is a case where the Drum, from some cause 
or other, has dropped out of use. The same method of 

I Euripides, Bacchae, 125. 2 See Dr Bumey, 194, 

3 Coleman's Mythology of the Hindus, pp. 7. 15. pi, 12. fig. 2, 

4 Scheffers' History of Lapland, p. 58. 5 Linnaeus' Tour in Lapland, 
II. 51. 6 Chapman's Travels into the Interior of S. Africa, i: But cf. 
Infra, p. 7 Burchell's Travels in the Interior of S. Africa, II. 87. 

8 Bates' Amazons, II. 10. 


reasoning may be applied to the Caishanas, who at the 
present day know no instrument but the Pipe.^ Only 400 
in number they are an insignificant branch of the Shumanas, 
who along with the Passes, Juris, Mauhes, and Tucunas form 
a network of intimately connected tribes. Now all these 
tribes have the Drum. It is therefore highly probable that 
the Caishanas at one time had it too.^ In the same way, 
in the teeth of the fact that both Drum and Pipe were known 
to the Celts,3 we find both instruments to have dropped out 
completely in Iceland and Shetland, and the only form 
known there three hundred years ago to be the Lyre.^ 

It will be noticed that if a dropping out occurs, it is 
always the Drum which drops out in presence of the 
Pipe, and the Pipe and Drum in presence of the Lyre. 
And since there is no instance on record of the Pipe giving 
place to the Drum, or the Lyre giving place to either of 
them, it looks much as if the Drum Stage, the Pipe Stage, 
and the Lyre Stage were three J^ro^resszve stages" of musical 

The Embryology of the Art ends with the evolution or 
introduction of the 3 forms of instrument ; but in order to 
discover what laws governed the development of the embryo, 
we may be allowed to avail ourselves of any hints which the 
history of the full-fledged Art has to offer ; and when we 
bear in mind that the strolling Pipers had spread all over 
medieval EurOpe long before the strolling fiddler was heard 
of, 5 and that the Drummers and Trumpeters formed res- 
pectable and influential guilds before the time of either ; 6 
that the history of the Modern Orchestra has proceeded on 
the same principle — regular orchestras in the i6th century 
consisting of 12 wind and percussion instruments to 2 strings, 7 
in the 17th century, of 25 wind and percussion to 19 strings,^ 

I lb. ^76. 2 If these tribes are Tupis, as I believe they are, it will lend 
additional weight to the argument. 

3 Supra p. — note. It is a known fact that the earliest colonists of Iceland were 
Celts. Peschel. Vollcerkunde. p. 28. 

4 Von Troil's Letters on Iceland in Pinkerton. I. 652. My assertion as to 
Shetland is an inference from tlie fact tliat the only word for a musical instrument 
inthe Shetland dialect isLangspel — a sort of harp. SeeEdmonstone's Glossary 
of the Orkney and Shetland dialect, p. 64. 

5 Kostlin's Geschichte der Musik I. ii. 2. 3. cf. Becker's Hausmusik in 
Deutschland. p. 18. 6 Reissman's Geschichte der Musik. II. 18. Becker lb. 

7 Breudel's Geschichte der Musik. p. 77. 8 lb. 


but by the time of Beethoven, of only 14 wind and percussion 
to 47 strings; that the history of the Composite Instruments 
tells the same tale, the Organ, the Composite Pipe, coming 
first, and attaining its full maturity, before the Piano, the 
Composite String, had well commenced its existence,^ — 
I think these hints, conjoined with the bearing of the facts 
mentioned before, will go to confirm our original position 
as to the order of the 3 Stages in the development of Pre- 
historic Music, the Drum Stage, the Pipe Stage, and the 
Lyre Stage, which, it seems to me, are to the Musician what 
the Theological, Metaphysical, and Positive Stages are to 
the Comtist, or the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages to the 
archaeologist. And what their import particularly is, it will 
be my object in the ensuing pages to show. ^ 

1 The Organ began its development in the ist century,and reached its maturity 
about the beginning of the i8tli century. The Harpsichord and Virginal in their 
very rudest form cannot be put back earlier than the middle or at the utmost 
the beginning of the i6th century. Nothing was done on the Harpsichord until 
the time of young Scarlatti and old Bach, that is till the beginning of the i8th 
century. _ The Piano, as is larown, was not till later. 

2 This may perhaps be the place to remark that I have hitherto used, and 
shall continue to use the term ' Music ' indifferently for Instrumental Music or 
Vocal Music, or in that general application which includes them both, leaving 
the reader to gather from the context which way is meant ; but, as a rulfe, I shall 
not fail to prefix a distinguishing epithet whenever there seems any danger of 



The history of savage races is a history of arrested 
developments. We have solved problems which they 
have failed to solve, vanquished difficulties which they 
have flinched at — and our development has been more 
rapid than theirs. The dawn of history in the hoary 
civilisations of Egypt and Assyria, which seems 
twilight to us, is radiance compared to their gloom. 
We stand to them hke beings of another universe. 
But there is httle doubt that before that twilight began 
to glimmer, we were plunged in darkness as deep as 
theirs, and we groped our way, like them, step for step. 
In their often ineffectual struggles to realise the beautiful 
and the good we may see enacted over again the struggles 
of our common ancestor — Man. And we cannot but 
sympathise with them in their naive efforts to realise 
these things and more especially the first ; for the good 
always contains an alloy of self-interest which the 
beautiful is virgin of. While, again, how small a 
margin is left for the aesthetic instinct in the harsh 
practical rounds of their every day life. Their rude 
tattooing, their coarse drawn figures, the knobs on 
their simple pottery, their rough carvings on their 
clubs, coarse and rude though they be, yet speak in 
high terms the unquenchable belief that Man has 
nobler powers in him than his daily life calls forth 
and separate the savage from the animal by as wide 
a gap as galaxy is from galaxy. Yet we are apt to 
undervalue and even scoff at these rude efforts after 
Art, when in reality we should view them as giant 



strides in the march of the human mind that can 
never be equalled again. For take this Art of Music. 
Roll back Symphony, Opera, Oratorio, Beethoven, 
Bach, all the great men that have lived for the 
art ; violin, dulcimer, drum, every musical instrument 
ever invented — all the kindred arts ; all the culture 
and civilisation that have grown up cheek by jowl 
with the art itself — roll back all these into primeval 
night, and leave as the only factor standing — a Man. 
Given then, a Man and the Universe. The problem 
is — How should this man proceed to the manufacture 
of Music ? Surely he would be the greatest musician 
of the world who could manage to hammer aught 
musical out of this reeking Chaos. To get at this 
substance, Sound, hidden away as it was in the womb 
of uncreated things, needed a passion for it greater 
than has since been known on earth. The savage, 
who for the first time in our world's history knocked 
two pieces of wood together and delighted himself 
with the sound, was a finer musician than the master 
of the Symphony. In that wonderful brain lay the 
potentiality of unknown celestial harmony ; all Form, 
all Melody lay in embryo there ; and though niggard 
Nature denied him the scope she has since given to 
worse men, she could not forbid him from instituting, 
as it were upon the altar of Simplicity, the great Art 
of Sound, to be bequeathed by him as a precious heirloom 
to his fellow man, till happier times should do it 

Mere Sensuous delight in Sound ^ then I take it has 
much to do with the origin of Instrumental Music. But 

I Which is a property of human nature — a fact which can best be 
proved negatively by imagining the misery of deafness, or the horrors of 
eternal silence. 


it is not the whole account of the matter by any means. 
There are many sounds in Nature that are pleasing to 
the ear of man. The twittering of birds, the rustling 
of leaves, the gurgling of brooks, have provoked the 
encomiums of poets. Yet none of these has ever so 
powerfully affected him that he has surmised the 
existence of something deeper in them than one 
hearing would suffice to disclose, and has endeavoured 
by imitating them to familiarise himself with their 
nature, so he may repeat the effect at his own will 
and pleasure in all its various shades. These sounds 
with that delicate instinct which has guided him so nicely 
through this Universe of tempting possibilities he chose 
deliberately to pass over." He heard them — with 
pleasure, it may be. But man is not a child. Mere 
pleasure may be the pursuit of the moment, but it has 
never been elaborated into a system. 

Nor could degrees of pleasure be a sufficient account of 
matter. Another factor must be added. Pleasure must 
possess some aesthetic value, There must be a secret 
there to fathom, a mystery to unravel before he would 
stoop to consecrate his glorious powers to its serious 

And there is a kind of sound which exactly possesses 
these qualities — a sound fraught with seductive 
mystery — a sound which is Nature's magic, for by it can 
dumb things speak. 

So when that strange and curious man struck together 
his two pieces of wood, he had other aims than his own 
delight — he was trying to re-create a something that 
had bewildered him, he was trying to peer with his 

I Nor do such sounds appear to possess any charm for the savage mind, 
Cf. Williams' Fiji. And even in historic times it was not till the 
sentimental phase of Latin culture set in that poets began to admire 


simple eyes into one of Nature's mightiest secrets. 
The something he was trying to re-create was 
Rhythmic Sound — on which roots the whole Art of 
Music. Instinctively he had divined the potentiality 
from among the mass of non-potentialities, and out 
of the gamut of Nature's sounds the Father of the 
Art had distinguished the ^Esthetic Sound. 

What then is the aesthetic value of Rhythmic Sound ? 
This question we can answer as little as he could. We 
can only say vaguely that it has a unifying power, that it 
is a formative principle which once enthroned as 
supreme has a tendency to subordinate all other kinds of 
sound to its influence, and being thus definiteness amidst 
flux offered a locus standi for a parley, so to speak, and 
eventually for the construction of a regular Art on its 
basis. But if wild man had not nosed it in Nature's 
labyrinth, all the aesthetic speculations of civilised man had 
never been able to divine and turn to use this indwelling 
power, which they can now so readily account for. At 
the best their logic can but ratify his guess, that 
Rhythmic Sound is the only sound in Nature that is 
valuable ; and that ah the rest of nature's sounds, 
eminently what is called Nature's Melody, as the 
warbling of birds and so on, are, for all practical 
purposes, not worth a fig.^ 

Now the discovery of this grand axiom, the starting 
point, as we may call it, of the Art of Music, we have 
loosely ascribed partly to man's unerring intuition, partly 
to a sensuous delight in mere sound, and partly to that 
tantalising mystery which pulsates in every stroke of 
Rhythmic Sound, which led man on to probe the matter 
to its very bottom to try and discover what of good or 

I By Rhythmic Sound I understand that kind of sound which produces 
its effects by variety of measure, or variety of force, not by change of 


evil lay hidden therein. This latter, as I take it, was the 
grand motive power throughout. Without it, Music had 
been the mere bagatelle of the hour. But with it, there 
was promise of something serious resulting. 

For the existence of a mystery puts the Intellect on its 
honour, so to speak, to ferret it out, and this impressment 
of the Intellect into the service immediately confers the 
Freedom of Esthetics on what otherwise would be a 
mere amusement, and raises it at once and for ever to 
the dignity of an Art. 

Now what is this mysterious differentia of Rhythmic 
sound, as we find it in Nature, which separates it so 
widely from non-Rhythmic sound of every description ? 
In one word, the innuendo of design. The dripping of 
water at regular intervals on a rock, the regular knocking 
of two boughs against one another in a wood, are of a 
totally different order of sound to the continual chirrup 
of birds or the monotonous gurgling of a brook. They 
seem to have an object in them which the latter have not. 
The savage, who as yet had not separated himself from 
nature, had not realised his own objectivity, but felt 
himself a part of the wood he walked in, of the ground he 
lay on, and was ready to concede even to inanimate 
objects under certain reservations a conditional sort of 
life — he, I say, would be little disposed, if not mentally 
unable, to try and account for such sounds by natural 
causes, but would see in them rather unreasoning objects 
uttering for once the voice of reason, would regard them 
as a quaint cabala which meant perhaps a great deal if he 
had only the wit to understand it. And when such 
sounds came unexpectedly on his ear in lonely places, in 
the midst of a forest solitude, they would make an 
irresistible appeal to his imagination, and he would attach 
still more significance to them than before. And from 
his standpoint his simple logic led him to a perfectly 


rational conclusion. For if articulate speech (/xepoTroji/ 
dvOpwTTiDv) is the badge of reason, which distinguishes the 
reasoning man from the inarticulate-speaking (infmts) and 
unreasoning child, on precisely the same grounds 
Rhythmic Sound, which is the Articulate speech of Nature, 
connotes some reason in the utterance which the chaotic 
babel of non-rhythmic sound is utterly and entirely 
destitute of. So the pother and the roar of the hurricane 
the man would listen to with dismay, but not with 
curious sympathy. But when the confused roar gave 
place to regular gusts, he would think it was the Great 
Spirit who spoke. 

Now though I am very far from saying that such an 
advanced idea was necessarily present in the mind of 
the rude savage who constructed the first rhythmic 
instrument out of his two pieces of wood, yet there was 
a confused notion of the presence of a mystery, which 
baffled his simple mind and extorted a kind of reverence. 

Now the bare possibility of surmising the existence of 
a mystery implies that nascent activity of the Intellectual 
faculties, which in course of time develops into the Search 
for the Cause (das C ausalitdtsbedurfniss) , and takes its 
place as an inseparable adjunct of human nature under 
the form of the Religious Sense. And when we 
remember the significant fact that those peoples, who are 
destitute of any religious ideas, the Veddahs, Mincopies, 
and Fuegians, are also the very ones who alone of all 
mankind are destitute of any Instrumental Music, and 
the further fact that where we find the germs of the 
religious sense appearing, as in Australia, ' there also 
we find the germs of Instrumental Music — I think we 
shall be disposed to allow that the beginnings of both go 
together, and are referable to the same origin. 

I Peschel's Volker-kunde, p. 353. 



For what man's intellect cannot explain, his imagina- 
tion is apt to extol ; and hence is generated that feeling 
of reverence for the object that so perplexes which 
speedily develops into its worship as a Fetich. And what 
more likely to command this reverence than the semi- 
rational deliveries of Rhythmic Sound? A block of wood 
shaped into the figure of a man was a marvellous mimicry 
of life truly, and worthy of all veneration. But a Drum 
was more than mimicry^t was actual speaking life, and 
according to the cunning with which it was struck might 
yield articulate language. Here was an idol better than 
the former, for it lived and spoke, and might be an 
oracle in time of trouble. Hence arose in various parts 
of the world an organised system of religion, in which the 
Drum was worshipped as a God. 

The great seat of Drum Worship was South America. 
Even at the present day it is to be found in full vitality 
in the interior of Brazil, ^ but a hundred years ago it 
could be said that ' the Drum was the only object of 
worship from the Orinoco to the La Plata.' ^ This is two 
thirds of South America, and as it is more than probable 
that Patagonia — as we shall see hereafter — should be 
added in too, this would make the area of the cult nearly 
co-equal with that of the continent. The precise form 
of the fetich, though it belongs to the genus " Drum," is 
yet strictly of the Rattle species. The Maraca, as it is 
called, is a hollow gourd, with small stones, or hard corn- 

1 Ausland, 1872, p. 684. 

2 Southey, History of Brazil I., 202. The reader who would examine 
the original authorities for this statement may turn to the works of 
Vasconcellos, De Lery, Piso, Monardes, Marcgraff, to the Noticias do 
Brazil, etc ; Into two or three of these I have looked and find Southey 's 
statement perfectly carried out. 


seeds inside it,^ generally the former, which rattle when 
it is shaken. It is fixed on a staff, which is stuck in the 
ground, and the people fall down before it and worship 
it.^ It is supposed to be able to predict the future, and 
is consulted on all occasions of importance, such as the 
celebration of festivities, or the eve of a battle ; and the 
actions of the people are regulated by the replies which 
the rattle makes. " The Brasilians have their Caraibes," 
writes an old author,^ " who travel through the villages, 
making the people believe that they have communication 
with spirits, through whose means they can not only give 
them victory against their enemies ; but also that of them 
depends the fertility or sterility of the ground. They 
have commonly a certain kind of rattles in their hand, 
which they call maraca, made with the fruit of a tree as 
big as an ostrich's egg, which they make hollow as they 
do here the bottles of the pilgrims that go to St. James. 
And having filled them with small stones they make a 
noise with them in their solemnities like the bladders of 
hogs ; and going from town to town they beguile the 
world, telling the people that their Devil is within the 
same. These maraca or rattles, well decked with fair 
feathers, they stick in the ground the staff that is through 
it, and do place them all along and in the midst of the 
houses, commanding that meat and drink be given to 
them. In such wise that these cogging mates, making 
the other poor idiots to believe, as the sacrificers of the 
idol Bel did heretofore (of Whom mention is made in the 
history of Daniel) that these gourds do eat and drink in 
the night ; every householder giving credit thereto doth 

1 p. Gumilla El Orinoco ilustrado, I, g, 91. 

2 See Hans Stade's Narrative of his captivity among the Tupinambas, 
which Southey compresses. 

3 The voyages of Mons. de Monts, Mons. du Pont Grave, and Mons. de 
Poutrincourt into La Cadia. In Earl of Oxford's Collection II, p. 862. 


not fail to set near these maraca, meal, flesh, fish, and 
drink, which service they continue by the space of fifteen 
days or three weeks ; and during that time they are so 
foolish as to perswade themselves that in sounding with 
these maraca some spirit speaketh unto them, and 
attribute divinity unto them in such sort that they would 
esteem it a great misdeed to take away the meat that is 
presented before these fair Bels ; with which meats those 
reverend Caraibes do merely fatten themselves, and so 
under false pretexts is the world deceived." ^ A tendency 
to anthropomorphism may be noticed in the offering of 
meats and drinks to the maraca, which \re sometimes 
pushed in at a slit cut in it for the purpose, to represent 
a mouth. And again in the substitution of .human hair 
for feathers as a covering for its head. ^ So with a stick 
stuck through it to represent a body and legs, we have a 
rude representation of a man. Should we then be 
justified in referring it to the same category as the 
ordinary idol ? By no means. For we have news of 
this maraca long before the anthropomorphic tendency 
set in, and it could be easily proved that the hair, and 
the mouth and the stick are but the tags and additions of 
later times, and that the original form was a simple gourd 
rattle.3 The only feasible explanation is that this strange 
race who deified it and with whom the cult lingered so 
long were from the first peculiarly, even morbidly 

1 At the same time we must not imagine for a moment that there was 
any conscious deception in the matter. " Alle Beobachter fremder 
Menschenstamme," writes Peschel (Volker Kunde, 2S0) " versichern uns 
iibereinstimmend, dass die Zauberarzte selbst zu den Betrogenen gehoren 
und fest an ihre Kiinste glauben. So Dobrizhoffer in Bezug auf die 
Abiponen (Geschichte der Abiponer, IL, gi) und Mariner (Tonga Inseln, I, 
p. 102) in Bezug auf die polynesichen Bewohner der Freundschafts- 
gruppe." 2 Hans Stade. 

3 Brett's Indian Tribes of Guiana, p. 401, Cf, also Hans Stade's 
Narrative, p. 145. " They believe in a thing like a pumpkin about the size 
of a half quart pot." 


susceptible to the mysterious influence of Rhythmic 
Sound, that their simple logic went astray in its effort to 
penetrate the cause, till at last they surrendered them- 
selves blindly to the influence, as to some higher power, 
which domineered because it nonplussed their reason.^ 

A modified form of Drum worship obtained through the 
length and breadth of Lapland as late as two hundred 
years ago ^ — so little modified, however, as to argue 
incontestably an anterior stage when the pure form of 
the cult prevailed. Though when we first get accounts 
of the Lapland sorcerers, they had ceased actually to 
worship the Drum, had already learnt that their fetich was 
something weaker than themselves, which might be 
controlled and made to do their bidding, yet the 
supernatural powers which they supposed to dwell in the 
instrument, and the excessive veneration with which they 
regarded it, clearly point to some antecedent stage not 
unlike the Maraca cult of the Brazilians. " It is always 
kept hidden in some secret place, wrapt carefully up in a 
lambskin," writes Scheffer. " It is held so sacred and 
holy that they suffer no maid that is marriageable to 
touch it ; and if they remove from place to place, they 
carry it last of all, because they believe that if any one, 
especially a maid that is marriageable, follow the same way, 
they would in three days fall into some desperate 
disease." 3 Here is a curious fact. Why the presence 

1 A subtle speculator might find the explanation in a Realistic (I am 
using the word in the medieval sense) cast of mind, which viewed Sound 
as a concrete existing entity ; and worshipped it in a convenient and 
manageable symbol under the form of the maraca. For further 
particulars about the maraca, Cf Osorio's History of the Portuguese, II, 


2 Scheffer's History of Lapland, p. 58. 

3 lb. p. 53. For another evidence of its sanctity Cf the elaborat 
directions for its construction. "It must be made either of pine, fir, or 
birch tree, which grows in such a particular place, and turns directly 
according to the Sun's course ; which is when the grain of the wood, 


of a marriageable maid should be considered to profane 
the Drum, we cannot conjecture — but that there is 
something more than chance to do with it we may rest 
assured, when we find that the same idea prevailed 
among the Brazilians — whenever the Maraca was to be 
consulted, all women being jealously excluded.' But this 
excessive veneration was but the natural consequence 
of the supernatural powers which were supposed to be 
inherent in the Drum, and which the Drum was 
suppossd to confer directly on its possessor — thus 
differing in no way from the crudest type of Fetich. 
Without his Drum the Lapland sorcerer was powerless : 
but with it, and by its aid alone, he could do all his 
wonders. He could project his soul to far distant 
countries, send it riding through the air or travelling 
under the earth, while his body lay in a trance in 
Lapland ; he could predict the future, especially could he 
foretell " what the success in hunting will be"; "if a 
tame reindeer be lost, he can tell how they may get him 
again ; " he could predict whether the net-fishing would 
be successful, or even if a sick man would recover. And 
closely connected with this vaticination as to the result 
of diseases, came the further power of being able to cure, 
or even to cause those very diseases the result of which 
he could predict, which in its turn implied a means 
of communication with spirits ; for in every corner of the 

running from the bottom to the top of the tree, winds itself from the right 
hand to the left. From this perhaps, they believe this tree very 
acceptable to the Sun, which under the image of Thor they worship with 
all imaginable devotion. The piece of wood they make it of must be of 
the root cleft asunder, and made hollow on one side, upon which they 
stretch a skin to the other side," &c., &c. lb. p. 47. 

I Southey I., 202. And before the priests approached the village, 
where a maraca ceremony was to be held, it was incumbent on the women 
to " go from house to house confessing their sins against their husbands 
and demanding forgiveness of them," lb. 


globe, illness and even death are attributed by uncivilised 
man never to natural causes, but invariably to the 
influence of evil spirits. ^ Now this means of 
communication the Drum was peculiarly supposed to 
give. Hence one of its chief uses was to " ascertain the 
pleasure of the Ghosts or Sitte what kind of sacrifice 
they want," and not only could it communicate with 
the Ghosts, but also directly with the Gods themselves, 
and eminently the two chief, Thor, and Storjunkar; 
and ascertain their pleasure in like manner. ^ 

Now compare this with what we know of the Maraca. 
The Laplanders used the Drum to find out what sacrifice 
their Gods desired. But the Brazilians, who believed 
"that their Devil dwelt in the Maraca" offered sacrifice to 
the Maraca itself. The Laplanders believed that the 
Drum put them in communication with spirits, and had 
the power to predict the future. " Once in the year " 
runs Hans Stade's narrative, " the Payes visited the 
settlement. They pretended a Spirit had come from the 
remotest parts of the world, which gave them power to 
make the Maraca answer questions and predict events." 
Particularly, if we remember, the Drum could foretell ^ 
what the success would be in hunting. And this was one 
of the fortes of the Maraca too. For, " the Tupinambas 
spoke to their rattles as oracles, and thanked them for 
having said that they should return with prey.'" 

Here are strange resemblances, not only in the general 
object of the cult, but in the pbculiar powers which were 
accredited to the Fetich. But stranger things remain 
behind. For though Lapland and South America have 
been indicated as the great seats of Drum Worship, this is 
but saying that it lingered longest there. But it was not 
confined to there by any means. For stretching in an 

I Peschel's Volkerkunde, p. 276. 2 Scheffer, 42-3. 


unbroken line along the entire extent of Northern Siberia 
to Behring's Straits, passing over into the New World, 
trending right into Greenland, and descending in full 
force through the whole of North America, interrupted 
for a moment by the ancient civilisations of Mexico and 
Yucatan, but taking up the running again at the Orinoco 
and never stopping till it gets to the very bottom of 
Patagonia, does an unbroken series of traces of the same 
idea extend, and so unmistakeable is the family 
resemblance, that if the scratchings and groovings of the 
rocks are sufficient evidence to warrant the assumption 
of a Drift Period in the Geological history of the globe, 
the constant repetition of the same phenomena through 
all the countries here enumerated would seem to warrant 
the direct conclusion that from the North Cape down to 
the Straits of Magellan, at some period or other in the 
history of mankind, an organised system of Religion 
prevailed in which the Drum was worshipped as a God/ 

Bearing in mind the magic powers of the Drum — the 
power of communicating with spirits, which must be 
strongly accented since the other powers in a manner 
flow from it ; of predicting the future, particularly the 
success in hunting ; of curing and causing diseases ; of 
projecting the spirit out of the body that it may ride 
through the air or dive beneath the earth — let us see how 

I In detail. Traces of Drum Worship are to be found among the 
Lapps (ut supra) ; the Finns (M. Regnard in Pinkerton I 178.) — who make 
the bridge over to Asia — the Yakouts in both their branches, the Batilinski 
and Khangalasski ; the Samoyedes (Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, II. 
iv. 277:); the Jakutskoi (ib.) ; the Koreki (ib. 244.) (which brings us to 
Kamstchatka) ; the Kamtschadales (Coxe's Account of the Russian Dis- 
coveries between Asia and America, p. 339) ; crossing over to North America 
by ivay of the Fox Islands (ib. note on p. 229) ; the Esquimaux (Crantz 
loc cit. infra) ; the North American Indians (Infra) ; the South American 
Indians, that is to say the Indians of Guiana (Purchas His Pilgrimes IV. 
1274), the Brazilians (Supra) the Paraguayans (Dobrizhoffer II. 73, etc.), 
the Patagonians (Infra). 


far the Drum is credited with the same properties over 
the area we have sketched out as the seat of its cult. 

" The Patagonian wizards," we are told by Falkner, 
" beat drums and rattle hide-bags full of shells or stones, 
and pretend to see into other regions under the earth."^ 
And again, " The wizard shuts himself up secluded in 
a corner of the tent. In this seclusion he has a small 
drum, one or two round calabashes or bags of dry hide 
with small sea-shells in them, and some bags with spells. 
He begins by making a strange noise with his drums ; 
after which he feigns a fit, and to struggle with the demon 
that has entered him" ^ &c. 

This is plainly the magic trance of the Laplanders 
which is repeated among the Samoyedes, with the 
genuine Lapp addition of the disappearaace of the 
wizard, 3 — and in some cases with the attainment of the 
power of prophecy as its consequence. 4 Among the 
North American Indians, also, the Jeesukawin or 
Prophetic Art ^ is attained by similar means — that is 
to say, by the agency of the Drum. " I told them 
to build the Jee — suk — aun or prophet's lodge," said 
Catherine Wabose in her narrative to Mrs. Schoolcraft, 
" and when it was finished the entire population 
assembled round it, and I went in taking only a small 
Drum. I immediately knelt down, and holding my head 
near the ground, in a position as near as may be 
prostrate, began beating my Drum, and reciting my 
songs or incantations. The lodge commenced shaking 
violently by supernatural means. This being regarded by 

I Quoted in the Narrative of the surveying voyages of H.M.S. 
Adventure and Beagle, II. 162. 2 Jb. 

3 Cf. Certain Notes of Master Richard Johnson in Pinkerton, I. 63. 

4 The Voyage of Sir Hugh Willoughby and others to the Northern 
Parts of Russia. In Pinkerton, I. 38. 

5 Schoolcraft, I. 359, 389. 


me, and by all without, as a proof of the presence of 
the Spirits I consulted, / ceased beating and singing.^' The 
narrative then goes on to say that the first question 
about which she was requested to consult the Spirits 
" was in relation to game, and where it was to be found." 
The spirit's reply apparently was so far correct that it 
procured her the reputation of a prophetess for the rest 
of her life.^ The Greenlanders, however, with whom 
the Drum is used to summon up the Torngaks or 
familiar spirits, are not so indulgent to their 
necromancers, who are required to give constant 
exhibitions of their powers, if their credit is to be 
kept up, and till the very last " if an Angekok (or 
wizard) drum ten times in vain for his Torngak; he must 
resign his office."^ 

If the Drum is used by the Greenlanders to summon 
up spirits, it is employed by the Samoyedes to drive 
them away. At a Samoyede funeral the magician 
attends and beats a drum in order to prevent the spirit 
of the deceased from troubhng his surviving relations. 3 
And to the same belief in its power to drive away 
spirits, is to be ascribed the practice of the Jakutskoi 
and Koreki sorcerers beating on the drum " in order 
to drive away distempers" ^ which is carried to its height 
among the North American Indians with whom the 
Drum is the great specific in the healing art, the 
dernier ressort when all the simples of the physician 
have failed to effect a cure. ^ The knowledge of its 
proper use (for which an elaborate ceremonial has 

1 Schoolcraft, I. 394. 

2 Crantz, History of Greenland, I. 212. 

3 Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, IV. 277. London, 1803. 

4 lb. 264, 266, Cf. Supra. 

5 Cf. the answer to the memorandum of questions, "How do they 


been devised) ' is confined to the Medawin, a guild of 
of magicians who " pervade the whole body of the 
tribes from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the 
Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean." ^ 

These are but a few instances, and some of them not 
the most telling ones that might have been selected out 
of a crowd of others. Now the question remains to be 
answered — Shall we let the matter rest here ? Shall we 
regard these facts as merely proving that a system of 
Drum Worship once extended over the two Americas 
and along the north coast of Siberia, with its western 
outpost in Lapland — and shall we let it thus sink into a 
mere ethnological enthymeme to prove that America 
was peopled by the Mongoloid nations of Northern 
Asia ? — or shall we extend our original assertion, and 
regard the worship of the Drum as a form of Fetichism 
to which the whole human race have at one time been 
enslaved. That the Drum figures conspicuously in the 
Religious ceremonies of all races of mankind as we 
have noticed in the Introductory Chapter may be taken 
to point strongly this way, and if we were to rewrite 
that paragraph here from the present point of view, 
there are many remarkable facts that might be brought 
to light. But not to weary the reader by deploying 
a phalanx of old references over again, I shall merely 
refer him to them, and shall content myself with pointing 
out the more obvious traces of this Fetichism which 
were to be found in Europe until quite recently, and 
some of which are to be met with under our very 
nose at the present day. For after the smelting of 

treat fevers," &c., Schoolcraft, II. 179. 

1 For a full description of this ceremonial see Schoolcraft I. 360, sqq. 

2 lb. p. 358. And everything which is true of the Medawin may be 
applied to the Jeesukawin (lb). 


metals was discovered, and man had conceived the idea 
of making metal drums, partly because they were more 
durable, and partly because they sounded louder; and 
after he had hit upon a plan of saving himself the 
the fatigue of beating these metal drums — by suspending 
the drumstick inside the Drum, so that it would beat 
of its own accord when the Drum was shaken — after all 
this, I say, lo ! a transformation had been effected by 
which the drumstick became a clapper, and the Drum 
became a Bell. But this transformation produced no 
abatement in the reverential awe with which he 
regarded them, and when we hear the Bells next 
Sunday we shall understand why it is that Bells are 
the peculiar instruments of CJmrches — Man still places 
them in his Temples, and rings them on his Holy, days 
without knowing that why he does so, is because his 
old savage forefathers used to worship these very 
Bells as Gods, under the form of Drums and Rattles. 

The History of the Bell is a perfect counterpart to 
the History of the Drum. And whoever cares to peer 
into the records of that era of naive credulity which 
we call the Middle Ages shall find the same superstitions, 
which were connected with the Drum, re-appearing 
in connection with the Bell. He shall read of Bells 
being thought to speak, of Bells thought to be alive, of 
Bells dressed, and arrayed with ornaments not unlike the 
Fetiches we are now considering. Maracas could 
influence the " fertility and sterility of the ground," and 
Bells were rung pro frttctibus terrcB, " to make a good 
.harvest." The Natchez used rattles to conjure the 
weather, ^ and our own forefathers hung bells in their 
churches " to break the thunderbolt and dispel the 

I Charlevoix Nouvelle France, III. 426. 


storm." \ The American and Jakutskoi medicine men 
covered their dresses with little rattles in order to spread 
the magic virtue over their persons ; ^ and the medieval 
clergy adorned their copes and tunicles with little 
bells 3 because there was something "canny" in their 
" tinkling " — the " tinnitus " was " salutifer " says the 
monkish biographer of St. Hilary of Aries. The drums 
beaten at Lapp sacrifices may show us well where the 
sacring bell of the mass has come from ; and the 
Healing drums of Koreki sorcerers appear again in the 
handbells that curates used to ring in the Visitation of 
the Sick. 


It needs but a little reflection to see that these uses 
are one and all referable to the idea that the instrument 
was, in some way or other, a medium for reaching the 
Spirits — death, disease, bad weather, all the calamities of 
life, being regarded both by the simple savage and the 
superstitious civilised man as the direct work of evil 
spirits ; and good luck, happiness, fine weather and so 
on, as the work of good ones. And in the most flagrant 
of the cases we have noticed, the means was confounded 
with the end, and the Drum was itself regarded as the 
Spirit. Which indeed, as I take it, was the original 
conception. Fetichism is the crediting inanimate 
objects with life from the observation that they possess 
certain properties, which are generally found in conjunc- 
tion with life. Now what property more likely to warrant 
the assumption than the property of Speech ? for to this 
in the end does Rhythmic Sound come. As long as the 

1 Fulgura frango, dissipo ventos, according to the common legend. 

2 Catlin's North American Indians, I. 39. Smith's Wonders of Nature 
and Art, IV. 266. 

3 Undique in capa tintinnabula, &c., says Ducange. 


cause was unknown, such would be the infalhble 
conclusion. And even after the cause was known, there 
would still be the vague idea that the instrument had at 
least half the share in producing the sound — and that its 
spontaneous production of notes was quite within the 
range of possibilities. Have not we our own legends of 
the Magic Flute, that played of its own accord, and of 

" St. Dunstan's harp that by the wall 
Upon a pin did hang-a, 
The harp itself with ly and all 
Untoucht by hand did twang-a." 

If our grandfathers and grandmothers were foolish 
enough to believe such things, how can we wonder at the 
savage? They knew too the philosophy of harps and 
flutes — but he did not even know the philosophy of the 
drum. The simplest of all instruments was a puzzle to 
him. He could not conceive how by striking it a sound 
could come unless the drum were in a manner answering 
back and giving the drummer tit for tat. Ask then this 
savage what made the drum sound, and he would have 
told you that there was a spirit inside it, and that the 
sound of the drum was the spirit speaking. That this 
was the only possible conclusion which his simple 
metaphysics could arrive at, we know from being 
informed of his opinion about that civilised drum which 
our ancestors called a Bell (cloca) and which we, without 
remembering why, call a Clock. Here was the same 
phenomenon presented to him under a different form. 
And though, by this time, these very savages understood 
all about drums, and had long ago passed the stage of 
regarding them as actual Fetiches, a mere diversity of 
outward form was sufficient to undo the results of the 
empirical education of ages, and send them all rolling 
back into their grovelling superstition again. The 
Patagonians naturally lead the van — they thought Captain 


Musters' old turnip was the habitation of a hidden Spirit.^ 
The New Zcalanders adored watches as deities.- The 
Ashiras beheved Du Chaillu's clock to be his familiar 
spirit who kept guard over his safety.^ The King of 
Karague was tremendously affected at Speke's clock — 
**his eyes rolled with every beat of the pendulum." + And 
Swift, who knew human nature whether in the guise of a 
man or a Yahoo, tells us that when the Lilliputians found 
Gulliver's watch they considered it to be " either some 
unknown animal, or the god he worshipped."" Now if it be 
objected that the wonder-working element here is the fact 
of the watch going by itself, I shall be content to find 
another argument by way of reply. At the same time I 
do not believe this objection will hold for a moment, 
and I undertake to say that these savages would still have 
continued to regard watches as gods, even after they had 
been taught to wind them up and set them] going 


In considering the esoteric spirit of the Drum Stage 
and in endeavouring to set those ideas which I conceive 
to underlie the origin of Music in as strong a light as 
possible, I have been considering them rather in the 
state of perfection which they ultimately reached, as 
Drum Worship, than in the obscure germination and 
slow development which we must imagine to have 
preceded such a climax. For the most elementary 

1 Musters' At home with the Patagonians, p. 182. 

2 Sir J. Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, p. 370. 

3 Du Chaillu, Equatorial Africa, p. 412. 

4 Speke's Source of the Nile, p. 227. For similar instances cf, 
Livingstone's Zambesi and its Tributaries, p. 109. Jukes' Voyage of 
H.M.S. Fly, I, 69. 


notions of the power of rhythm would be the first to 
spring, and these growing and clustering time after time 
would yet only after a long period be conceived with suffi- 
cient intensity to produce that system of Fetichism which 
seems to have so much of method and consistency to 
commend it to the savage mind. Equally slow must 
have been the development of the instrument itself, and 
through as long and as arduous steps must we conceive 
it to have ascended from its first rudimentary form to 
its perfection. And this will now be an interesting phase 
of the subject to turn to for consideration — the growth 
of the actual instrument from simplicity to complexity, 
apart from any side issues of Fetichism and superstition. 
As numerous and as gradual will be the steps of progress 
in this case as in that. The passage of growth will bear 
resemblance in both cases, and the steps be taken with 
equal tardiness and deliberation. But then they will be 
easier to follow. For it is no longer a question of 
unriddling quaint and dubious ideas, but of tracing 
actual objects which exist in all their varieties in 
different parts of the savage world. — -^ 

It is to Australia, which has been happity termed, 
"the Asylum for the Fauna and Flora of past ages,"' 
it is to the "poor winking New Hollanders," as Dampier 
calls them, that we must turn, if we would find the living 
resemblances to the Musical Instruments used by 
Primitive Man. In that tranquil continent, not only has 
the animal and vegetable world stagnated, but human 
life "set " early and was fossilised — and so in the present 
aborigines we may see very well what we were ages ago. 
But if ages ago in the history of man, it is only yesterday 
in the history of the globe, that we were " poor winking " 

I " Ein Asyl fur die Thier-und Pflanzentrachten der Vorzeit," 


fellows, living and acting much the same as the "poor 
winking New Hollanders " of to-day. 

Their musical instruments are all extemporised for the 
occasion — thrown away as soon as used, most of them. 
Sometimes they beat two pieces of stick together,' or 
two green branches,^ or, as the Moorunde natives, shake 
bunches of boughs.^ At other times their instruments 
are still more elementary, being simply those which 
nature has given them. The bystanders accompany the 
dances, at times, by stamping their foot on the ground,"* 
or clapping their hands ^ — a method of drumming carried 
to its aesthetic climax by the Andaman Islanders. ^ This 
same naive use of " natural instruments " is to be found 
among many tribes far in advance of the Australians in 
point of civilisation — among the distingue Makololos of 
Africa,^ among the Manganjas near Lake Nyassa,^ the 
Fijians,9 the Friendly Islanders,'" and others, and is 
highly elaborated by the Abiponian women of Paraguay, 
who " produce a loud noise at their festivals by striking 
their lips with the palms of their hands." " 

A considerable advance on the boughs and sticks was 
made when spears were used in the same way, '^ or when 
the women *' rolled their skin-cloaks tightly together into 
a hard ball and beat them upon their laps with the palms 
of their hands." '^ This, I say, is a considerable advance, 

r Eyre's Discoveries in Central Australia, II. 228. 2 lb., 237. 

3 lb., 237. 4 lb., 234. 

5 Grey's Journal of Two Expeditions of Discovery in N. W. and "W. 
Australia, II, 305. 

6 Qui inter saltandum clunes suos more tympanorum palmis et 
calcibus vicissim plaudunt. Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, V, 246. 

7 Livingstone's Missionary Travels in S. Africa, 225. 

8 Livingstone's Zambesi and its Tributaries, p. 109. 

9 William's Fiji and the Fijians, I, 144-5. '° Captain Cook, I, 427. 

11 Dobrizhoffer's History of the Abipones, II, 62, 443. The Brazilian 
women have the same practice. Purchas His Pilgrimes, IV, 1294. 

12 Eyre's Discoveries in Central Australia, II, 232. 13 lb. 22?, 231, 


for spears and cloaks are not things that would be 
thrown away the moment the performance was over ; 
but once used and found effective, the identical 
implements would be employed over and over again ; 
and by thus localising the production of the sound to 
specific generators, the first idea of such a thing as a 
definite musical instrument would gradually dawn on 
the human mind. 

These preambles, as we may call them, to the 
Instrument Proper may well be studied in the clubs of 
the New Caledonians, ' the paddles of the New 
Zealanders, ^ the clubs of the Makololos, ^ the paddles 
of the Tonga Islanders. ^ 

But a still nearer approach to the Instrument Proper 
was made when such a thing as a spear-board was 
" beaten with a short stick held in the middle." 5 For 
here the isolation of the Sound-Generator had so 
far advanced, that a Generator was employed "which 
required some practice to play it," ^ in preference to 
those ruder sound-producers which required no practice, 
for the sole reason that the sound of the spear-board 
was of a stronger or finer timbre than the sound of the 
sticks or the skin cloaks. 7 

1 Which they strike together as they are dancing,- R. Brown. Races 
of Mankind. 

2 Which they strike in good time against the sides of their canoes, Cap 
Cook, I, 196. 

3 Livingstone's Missionary Travels in S. Africa, 225. 

4 Martin's Mariner's Tonga Islands II. 216. 

5 Grey's Journal of Two Expeditions of Discovery in N.W. and W. 
Australia, II. 305. Mariner's Tonga Islands, II. 214. 6 Grey, loc. cit. 

7 "A rounded stick was held in its centre and its ends alternately 
struck against the flat board with which they throw their spears. 
Athough it appears so simple it requires some practice, and by young 
men who desire the reputation of being exquisites to play it is considered 
to be a very necessary accomplishment." Grey loc. cit. In the Tonga 
Islands the spear-board takes the form of " a loose flat piece of hard 
wood (three feet long and one and a half inches square) fastened only at 
one end upon another similar piece," 


Yet ages wore away before any such thing as extra 
resonance was seriously sought after. We find no 
actual mechanical attempt after it in Australia. But 
in the hollow inverted bowl of the Sandwich Islanders, 
which is struck by the foot, ' we first find ourselves 
in the transitional stage when man's attention had been 
called to the fact that hollowness is the first condition 
of resonance. And this idea is acted upon and wrought 
to its logical completion in the hollowed-out logs 
which serve the Samoans, ^ many of the Amazon 
tribes, 3 the Ugoma negroes, "^ and the Fijians, 5 as 
very good drums. 

The step to covering these hollowed-out logs with 
a skin head was a mighty step in the History of Music 
and needed a mighty genius to make it. Just so of 
the perfection of the Rattle — from its rude half- 
extemporised form of a bunch of hoofs, ^ of fruit-stones, ^ 
of beetles' wings, ^ of nuts, 9 of turtle-shell, ^° of hard 
seeds, " to its complete and highly elaborate form of 
a Gourd with bones, '^ pease, '^ pebbles, ^^ shells, ^5 or 
fruit seeds ^^ inside it ; or a bag of dry hide filled 
with pebbles. '^ 

1 Cap. Cook, II. 250. And to the " bowl " of the Sandwich Islanders, 
we might add the " hollowe pumpe " which Schouten saw in the Papuan 
Archipelago which was played with a piece cf stick, and was in all 
probability a bowl or something of that sort. Schouten in Purchas 
His Pilgrimes, I. 2. 100. ' 

2 Turner. 19 years in Polynesia, p. 211. 

3 Bates' Amazons, II. 207. 4 Cameron Across Africa, I. 329. 

5 Williams' Fiij, I. 163. Found also with the Friendly Islanders, 
but only as a subordinate form. Cook, I. 427. 

6 Schoolcraft, II. 514. 7 Southey's History of Brazil, III. 720. 
8 Brett's Indian Tribes of Guiana, 320. 9 Southey, III. 720. 

10 Schoolcraft, II. 514. " Brett, 320. 

12 Tylor's Early History of Mankind, p. 138. 13 lb. 

14 Cameron's Across Africa, I. 250. 15 Tylor, 138, 

16 Dobrizhoffer. History of the Abipones, II. 62. 

17 Catlin's North American Indians, I. 242. 


Simple as the discovery of such a form appears 
to us, yet so mighty an effort of intellect did it seem 
to the rude reason of the savage, that man has refused 
to believe that a being like himself was capable of 
it. It was a God, says the Guiana legend, that 
gave us our Maraca. As Arawanili was walking by 
the river side brooding over the troubles and miseries 
of humanity, a female form, the Orehu, arose from 
the stream, bearing in her hand a small branch, which 
she presented to him, desiring him to plant it, and 
afterwards gather its fruit. He did so, and the fruit 
of the tree was the calabash. A second time did 
she arise from the stream — this time with small white 
stones in her hand, which she told him to enclose in 
the gourd. He did so. He enclosed the stones in 
the gourd, and so he made the Maraca. ' 

Hence comes it that the Drum is the great Instrument 
of Savage Legend. To find out that a hollowed log 
would do to drum on was a discovery within human 
comprehension. But to get at that perfect resonance 
which a head of vellum or skin gives, to raise the 
instrument to a degree of perfection which all the 
inventive genius of man from that remote time to 
the present day has never been able to improve 
upon — this was a bound of intellect possible only 
in a deity, and the instrument itself shared the sanctity 
attached to its reputed inventor. Compare that 
beautiful Indian legend, related by Schoolcraft, ^ where 
the tired hunter lost his way in the prairie, and 
thought he heard music in the air. " He listened 
attentively and could clearly distinguish the sound, 
but nothing could be seen but a mere speck, like 
something almost out of sight. In a short time it 

I Brett's Indian Tribes of Guiana, 401. 2 1-327. 


became plainer and plainer, and the music sweeter and 
sweeter. The speck descended rapidly, and when 
it came near proved to be a car of ozier containing 
twelve beautiful girls, who each had a little drum, 
which she struck with ineffable grace." See what 
these people thought of their Drum, when they made 
it the instrument of Angels ! And the Caribs and 
Tamanacs still show the Drum of Amalivaca bedded 
in the rock, with which, Amphion-like, he brought 
order out of Chaos, and the elements into harmony 
after the devastation of the Deluge. ' 

This too is the great epoch of Drum Fetichism. 
And well it might be. For a bold guess had done 
the work that the tentative process of ages had failed 
to do. These few paragraphs which form so tiny a 
part even of this chapter, yet represent aeons of time, 
illimitable. We are now in that dark strange era 
of man's history when every single step forward meant 
a thousand backwards, when the commonplaces of 
our children were the hard wrung inductions of sages. 
But at the same time it must be remembered that in this 
dark period, which I should describe as the first great 
epoch of our Art's History, as much real advance 
took place, as much was done for the Art of Instrumental 
Miisic as has been done from ^ the Invention of the Drum 
to the present time. 

Who was the mighty genius who ushered in a new 
era, by placing new possibilities in the hands of 
Instrumental Music ? And while he thus ushered 
in a new era brought to a climax and stereotyped for 
ever the powers of the old ? We are curious to follow 
the reasonings in his mind that led him to conceive 
the necessity and to achieve the possibility of ^Esthetic 

I Brett's Indian Tribes of Guiana, p. 387. 


Resonance — far different from and far above the old 
rub-a-dub of the hollowed log. We are curious to 
v/atch him as he stretches out his piece of skin over the 
hoop, and pegs it down at the side, tightening or 
loosening till he gets the tone he wants, and perhaps 
heating the skin at the fire to tune it aright, as children 
heat their drums to-day. ^ 


" The instrument had now reached its perfection, and man 
has never been able to improve upon it since." 

Mechanical ingenuity might strike out new shapes — 
might make it churn-shaped, as the Fans - and the 
Serpa Indians ^ make it ; or hoop-shaped, that is to 
say tambourine-shaped, as the Esquimaux, + and other 
Behring's nations ; 5 might put a projecting handle 
to it for convenience of holding, as the Esquimaux 
of Greenland ; ^ or give it a fantastic shape, as the 
Papuans, who have drums shaped like hour-glasses 7 — 
Artistic genius might adorn it with devices cut on 
the barrel ^ — but the principle that the Drum must be 

1 The method of tuning universal throughout N. America, Vid. Catlin, 
also practised in Africa ; as among the Balondas. Livingstone's 
Missionary Travels, 293. 

2 Du Chaillu, p. 80. 3 Bates' Amazons, I. 311. 

4 Parry's 2nd Voyage, p. 530. 

5 Whymper's Alaska, fp. 143. The tambourine shape is the form 
that generally prevails through all the Siberian and Behring's tribes 
and is common in North America. 

6 Crantz. History of Greenland, I. 176. 

7 Jukes' Voyage of H.M.S. Fly, I. 176. "Like a very elongated 
hour-glass, made of a hollow piece of wood open at one end, with the 
skin of a lizard stretched over it." 

8 Melville's, Marquesas, p. 185. 


a hollow cylinder, with some sort of skin stretched 
over the end, has never been questioned from that 
day to this. 

" In the period that reaches from the first extemporised 
instrument to the invention of the Driim proper, as much 
was done for Instrumental Music as has been done from the 
invention of the Drum to the present time.'''' 

In the first place, Rhythm, the basis of the whole 
Musical Art, was ransacked to the very bottom, all 
its capabilities proved, all its varieties found out — and 
this was effected by the union of the Drum with 

In the second place, by the union of the Drum with 
Song, man got to know that a musical Instrument 
was not a mere idle toy, nor a mere dignified Fetich, 
but a means whereby the emotions and sentiment of 
man could be adequately expressed. 

Dancing. No sooner was the Drum Form fairly 
started than it was used as an accompaniment to 
the Dance. Alas ! to this fate must even the sacred 
Maraca submit. For whether some second Daniel 
" tooke pitch, fat, and haire, and did seethe them 
together, and made lumpes thereof; and did put them 
in the mouthe ' of 'this fair' Bel,'" and so the great 
Maraca burst asunder — or whether that incipient 
scepticism which we already saw raising its head in 
requiring that the response of the Maraca should be 
confirmed out of the mouth of sage women, and by 
the deliverances of dreams ' — I say whether it was a 
Daniel that broke the spell drastically, or a growing 
scepticism that sapped it gradually — whatever was 
the cause, certain it ' is that Southey described the 
Indians of the Amazon as worshipping the -Maraca 

I As supra Southey's Hist, of Brazil, I. 204. 


a century ago, and Mr. Bates found them bobbing it 
about quite familiarly to accompany their dances 
to-day. ' 

Now let us see what the effect of Dancing would 
be in changing the complexion of Music. In the 
first place those semi-rational utterances of Rhythmic 
Sound, which were at the best only of subjective value, 
only decipherable by the seer, and even to him a mass 
of ill-arranged hieroglyphics, with only here and 
there an abracadabra worth anything, but otherwise 
beginning in confusion and ending in confusion, or 
rather being without beginning and without end, without 
form and void — I say, when he had accompanied his ' 
first dance, he would have found to his surprise that 
he had constructed his hieroglyphics into a Paragraph, 
that, like the leaves of the Sibyl, they had taken 
definite place and order. And although the resemblance 
would end here, although the placing would give 
no clue to their meaning, still the grand fact would 
remain that he had constructed a regular Paragraph 
out of his unpromising material with a definite 
beginning and a definite end. He had forged Chaos 
into a Stanza — and although perhaps a stanza of 
nonsense verses, still a Stanza. 

So far from giving a clue to their meaning this would 
be the first step to the evisceration of mystic meaning 
altogether — the first step to the secularisation of Religion 
into Art. - The man's thoughts would be gradually 
turned from regarding his Drum as a Subjective oracle 
to the blither conception of it as a means of delivering 
an Essay in Sound to his hearers. And as to what that 

i Bates' Amazons, 282. 
This seems the place to mention the fact that the Drum of Fetichism 
and th^ Instrumental Drum differ precisely in this, that the first is the 
Solo Drum, and the second the supplied or accompanying Drum. 



Essay should consist in — that it should not be ^.^. an 
idle sporting with Rhythmic forms — he would be taught 
by the further union of the Drum with 
"^ Song, which would teach him to modify the tone when 
the sentiment was pathetic, and to increase it when the 
sentiment was passionate — to play agitato and in tempo 
rubato when the', storm of emotion swept the singer, and 
to subside into a rallentando molto when grief and feeling 
checked the utterance. Here we have orthodox musical 
terms for the first time in our history, and already we find 
that the ground principles of Form are established and 
the value of Expression fully recognised. To exhaust the 
connotation of Music we have only to add Melody and 
Harmony — and this is why I said that as much was done 
for Music by this time as has been done in all subsequent 
time to the present day. This man is as great an adept 
at Expression as any musician living ; and he under- 
stands what Form is far better than many modern 
composers. For he does not for an instant look upon it 
as an end in itself, but merely as a means to an end — as 
merely a convenient scaffolding round which he may 
raise the architecture of his ideas — as merely the Logic 
of Emotion, not for a moment as supplying the place of 
Emotion's self. 

So, when out of company of the singer, he may still 
use the Dance Form, (as indeed the singer may), but he 
fills up the naked mould with thought and emotion, and 
these are the theme of his discourse, let the Paragraph o^ 
the Stanza be of what shape it pleases. The Esquimaux 
use their Drum " to express their passions by ;" ' the Man- 
ganjas use it "to express their joy and grief — " ^ the grief 
of a savage no doubt but still the grief of a man, and 
every bit as pure and every bit as true as that which 

I Crantz. History of Greenland, I. 177. 2 Livingstone's Zambesi, 501 


mixes in the civilised emotions of ourselves. " Hear my 
Drum " cries the North American brave to his absent 
love "though you be at the uttermost parts of the earth, 
hear my Drum " ' — for he believes he can show the 
depth of his affection by the music of its beating. "Do 
you understand what my Drum says ?" ^ cries he again in 
the enthusiasm of the Wabeno, for he believes his 
Drum can utter definite thoughts. And the figures on 
the Lapland Drum-heads, hints Schoolcraft, ^ were 
originally placed there by the Laplander under the idea 
that the Drum could express them, or at least say some- 
thing about them. And all Nature is there — all the great 
things that moved his simple imagination are pictured 
there on his Drum, in loving credence that his Drum can 
tell him tales about them. The Sun, the Moon, the 
Earth, (and in symbols) the wind, fire, the other world, 
and Death. Into this last great mystery would he too 
pry, and he would have his Drum describe it to him. 

And as to the power of the Drum for expressing all 
these great thirigs let us hear how Catlin speaks of the 
North American Indians "touching their drums at times 
so lightly that the sound is almost imperceptible," ^ or 
Crantz speaking of the Greenlanders, " their peculiar soft 
or animated turns of the drum, which one cannot but 
admire." 5 When man has only one instrument at 
his disposal he makes the most of it, and gets 
everything out of it that can be got, extracting secrets 
from it that we should never give it the credit of 
possessing. He has only one instrument, but he 
is a Master of it. The lasso of the Araucanian never 
swerves a hair's breadth from its object, the boomerang 
of the Australian never misses its aim. But with 

I Schoolcraft, I. 373 2 Schoolcraft, I. 428. 

3 lb. 373. 4 Catlin, I 244. 5 Crantz, I. 177 


US who have a thousand such things at our disposal, 
the pistol shoots wide, the revolver goes off before 
its time, the gun hangs fire, the patent sword-stick 
breaks. We are bunglers at a thousand things — they 
are adepts at one. 


As if man knew instinctively how the development 
of the Art of Music ought to proceed, he kept it 
under tight rein at first, and but seldom let it out 
of the tutelage of Dancing and Song — and especially 
did he keep it to its work with the former. Rhythm, 
as we have said, had to be ransacked, all its secrets 
rifled and made capital of. And the deliberate 
invention of new Rhythms is a very difficult thing. 
The greatest modern composers are sometimes charge- 
able with monotony of Rhythm — and the hitting 
out of novelties is the prerogative of genius. If so 
now, what must it have been in those early days ? 
And as if man instinctively felt the -difficulty, he 
sent Music to school under Dancing. With justice. 
For Dancing is the Kaleidoscope of Rhythn, and can 
throw time into the strangest patterns hy accident, 
which could never be manufactured by design. The 
ttoOl o\ TToXts rjBe tokTj€<; the twinkling of the feet, is the 
prolific source whence Music has ever drawn. The 
Drummer would obviously play his drum by the 
time of this living Metronome, and the rhythms he 
would learn would be innumerable. 

So man kept Music at its work, kept it in bondage 
for a time, till the apprentice knew the craft as 
well as the master. The Music of Savage Nations is 
instinct with Rhythm, and Rhythm too of the purest and 
most perfect kind. So the Music of the Australians 


is described as " in perfect time," ' of the Manganjas 
" in perfect time," - of the Virginian Savages, " in 
excellent time," ^ and so on. 

When Music had got thus far in her development, 
next would come the natural wish to lead the dance 
rather than follow it. The obvious way to attain 
this distinction was by marking the rhythm so strongly 
that the Drum might preponderate over the noise 
of the dancers' feet, and have a little noise to itself. 
So man set himself to work to increase the resonance 
of the Drum, either by enlarging its bulk, ^ or by 
making a hole in the side, 5 or by using particular 
kinds of wood for it, *" or better still by getting a 
more resonant drum-head. So he set hirnself to 
try all sorts of things for drum-heads. Sometimes 
he tried deer-skin, 7 or goat-skin, ^ or stag-skin, ^ — 
or he would try shark skin, ^°or antelope skin, " — or 
see what the skin of a whale's tongue ^^ would do, 
or vellum, ^^ or seal's gut, ^+ — or he would try the skin 
of a buffalo's neck, '5 — or lizard skin '^ or a piece ot 
dried goat-skin. ^7 And so at last the Drum attained 
the finest resonance, got those sonorous powers which 
we hear in our orchestras to-day. 

But alas ! every blossom contains the seeds of decay. 
Man's path upwards is beset with constant dangers — 

I Eyre, II. 231. 2 Livingstone, Zambesi, 109. 

3 Master George Percy in Purchas His Pilgrimes, IV. p. 1687 
"As much regularity as a steam engine thumps on board ship," says 
Livingstone of the drumming of the Balondas. Missionary Travels, 467. 

4 Infra. 

5 As the Balonda negroes. Livingstone's Missionary Travels, 293. 

6 As the Fans. Du Chaillu, p. 80. 7 Du Chaillu, 80. 

8 lb. 9 Dobrizhoffer. History of the Abipones, II. 267. 

10 Cap. Cook, I. 87. II Livingstone. Missionary Travels, 293. 

12 Crantz. Greenland, I, 176. i3;Ib . u Whymper's Alaska, 143 

15 Catlin I. 163. 16 Jukes' Voyage of H. M.S. Fly, I. 176. 

17 Marsden's History of Sumatra, p. ifio, 



pits and snares encompass it on every hand. Those 
earnest strainings after perfection resulted only in 
leading him utterly and wholly astray from the way 
on which he had so fairly started. In his endeavours 
after resonance he had ventured too far into the domain 
of mere Noise to remain long insensible to its effects. 
He had laid himself open to the epidemic of Uproar, 
and bewildered and confused he resigned himself 
to the plague. And for a long vista of years we see 
him subdued to the mere sensuous influence of mere 
Sound without any heed to whether there was Rhythm 
or Reason in it — beating bellowing tom-toms with 
the Camma negroes, ' pounding into roaring drums 
with the Marquesans. ^ banging gigantic gourds with 
the Ujiji negroes, 3 and battering away at uncouth 
and crashing kettles with the natives of Karague. ^ 

Thus what began as an Intellectual Mystery has 
ended in mere Sensuous din and noise. 

Sic omnia fatis 
In perjus ruere ac retro sublapsa referri. 

1 Du Chaillu, p. 201. " Melville's Marquesas, p. 185. 

3 Cameron's Across Africa, I. 250. 4 Speke's Source of the Nile, p. 243, 



What is he doing the Great God Pan 

Down in the reeds by the river ? 
Spreading ruin and scattering ban, 
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat, 
And breaking the golden lilies afloat 

With the dragon-fly on the river ? 

He tore out a reed, the Great God Pan, 
From the deep cool bed of the river, 

The limpid water turbidly ran. 

And the broken lilies a-dying lay, 

And the dragon-fly had fled away, 
Ere he brought it out of the river. 

High on the shore sat the Great God Pan 

While turbidly flowed the river. 
And hacked and hewed as a great god can 
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed, 
Till there was not a sign of a leaf indeed 

To prove it fresh from the river. 

He cut it short did the Great God Pan, 

(How tairit stood in the river !) 
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man. 
Then notched the poor dry empty thing 

In holes as he sat by the river. 

" This is the way " laughed the Great God Pan, 

(Laughed while he sat by the river :) 
"The only way since gods began 
To make sweet music they could succeed." 
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed 
He blew in power by the river. 

Now though I love the Great God Pan, yet hold 
I it unfair that he should thus be paid the honour 
which by rights belongs to another. For if the Great 
God Pan made the Pipe, who made the Great 
God Pan ? Most excellent is that nobility of Man 


which can thus freely waive the honour that by right 
belongs to him. And most noble that modesty which 
thus explains away that shrewd invention, thus tacitly 
repudiates that glorious imagination to which the 
very gods themselves owe their being. 

Who was the mighty genius that first conceived 
the idea of fashioning a dumb reed into a speaking 
flute ? — We would fain know him well, Qui genus, 
unde domo, — t^oOl ol ttoAis I'^Se TOK-Tjes ; But he alas ! like 
all the greatest geniuses of the human race is lost 
to us for ever ; ' he is clean forgotten as a dead 
man, out of mind;' his very name has perished. 
Who was the sage that first scattered seed on the 
ground, and told men to wait patiently for a crop ? 
Who was the genius that for the first time in the 
history of man produced and nursed the spark of fire ? 
And the inventor of the Pipe may claim to rank with 
either of these. Yet we know very well the Epigoni I 
of these great men, and pay them sometimes more 
than sufficient • meed of honour. We acknowledge 
loudly that M. Sax has effected wonderful improvements 
in the clarionet, and we pay the highest praise to 
Bernhard the German for inventing the Modern Organ. 
But who was the inventor of the simple Pipe ? In 
a similar way, people almost deify the discoverer of 
the Steam Engine ; and they think they are doing 
a very clever thing in tracing back the Steam Engine 
to the Tea Kettle — forgetting that the Tea Kettle is 
the more wonderful invention of the two. 


The Pipe Stage speaks of a far higher intellectual 
development abroad than the Drum Stage did. Unlike 
the Drum which became out of the darkness of nothing 


we can scarcely tell how, the Pipe was made consciously 
to satisfy purely human needs. There is as little any 
question of a definite Musical Instrument however 
in this case as in that, and to get at the beginnings 
of the form, we must still tread in other fields than 
those of Art or Music. But then there is no need to 
turn to the sphere of superstition to help us. For 
in everything that concerns the Pipe there is a plain 
business-like spirit most clearly apparent, and so 
eminently rationalistic are the features that surround it 
that I seem to find signs of an intellectual Illumination 
as the concomitant of the Instrument's invention and 
development in Prehistoric Times. 

And first of all let us consider the elder bi-anch of 
the Pipe Family, that is the Horn and Trumpet species 
for there is good evidence that these saw the light 
considerably earlier than the smaller members of the 
family to whom the term Pipe is in general more 
exclusively applied ^ — let us therefore consider the 
Horn and Trumpet species ; and we shall find that 
among modern savages the use of the Horn is in 
nearly every case limited to warfare. When Orellana 
went his expedition down the Maranon, the savages 
who from time to time attacked him almost invariably 
preluded their onset by a tremendous din of horns 
and trumpets. - The Muras, who were the scourge 
of the colonists in South America, would always 
perform a wild overture on horns before commencing 
their attack. ^ The people of the Orinoco used horns 
fer a similar purpose. ^ The Samoans blow conch- 

I Infra, p. 2 Southey's History of Brazil, I. 8g, go, 95. 

3 Southey loc. cit. 4 P. Gumilla. El Orinoco Illustrado. 


shells as a prelude to the war. ^ The savages of 
Guiana commence their attacks with a screech of 
horns and trumpets. ^ 

Now this use of the Horn in warfare is plainly an 
infringement on one of the uses of the old Drum ; for the 
Drum was supposed " to give victory over enemies," and 
doubtless the Horn was used with similar intention. 
But let us notice how much more rational is the use of 
the new instrument than the old. For how was the 
Drum supposed to confer victory ? By a piece of pure 
Fetichistic superstition. It was rubbed on the thighs of 
the warriors previous to their entering battle, and this 
was supposed to endow them with irresistible strength. ^ 
But with the Horn there was no magic concerned ; for 
Gideon is not the first man in the world's history who has 
routed a host by a sudden blast of the trumpets. All 
panic is derivable from trumpet-like sound, if we may 
trust the derivation of the word which refers the first 
panic to the time when the Great God Pan put to flight 
an army of Indians by a sudden shout, just as he set the 
Titans running on another occasion, by a similar means. 4 
And Astolfo's horn in Ariosto — 

e di si orribii suono 
Ch'ovunque s'oda, fa fuggir la gente. 
Non puo trovarsi al mondo un cor si buono 
Che possa non fuggir come lo sente. 

This passage lets out the secret. For it is this orribii 
suono, this " hellishe sounde " — to borrow an elegant 
phrase from Purchas His Pilgrimes — which if dehvered 

1 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, I. 283. 

2 Engel's Musical Instruments, p. 70. 

3 Dobrizhoffer. History of the Abipones, II., 65-6. 

4 See this question particularly entered into, and from the point of 
view in the text, in Polya;nus' Stratagems. 


in sufficient volume and with sufficient suddenness will 
infallibly produce the effect that Ariosto speaks of. The 
railway whistle makes us start ; if we thought it were 
inimically delivered, we should run. 

Now though we might well hesitate to say that the 
savages looked for a result so entirely miraculous, we 
•may suppose that their horns and trumpets were 
designed to increase the terror of their onset, and contri- 
bute, to say the least of it, to scaring the foe, since we 
find them all doing their best to increase the sound of 
their horns and trumpets to unparalleled heights, and 
apparently having no other object in the manufacture of 
them than the production of " helhshe feounde." The 
ture or trumpet of the Muras has a most horrible and 
piercing tone. " The sound of the conch," writes Ellis 
©f the Conch of Samoa, " is more horrific than that of 
the Drum " — in fact he goes on to say that it is the most 
" horrific" sound he has ever heard. " The sound of the 
botutos " (trumpets) " of the Orinoco tribes," says Mr. 
Engel, " is really terrific." And what effect such 
unearthly noises could produce upon the hearers we may 
judge when we are told that even today the Spanish 
settlers cannot hear the awful trumpets of the savages 
without falling into violent agitation and terror. ' 

Once proved efficacious for scaring the foe what so 
natural that man should employ his horn as a weapon 
against his arch enemies the spirits ? And this is why the 
South African rain-makers blow a horn when they conjure 
the weather — it is to frighten away the evil spirits that 

1 Some cases are to hand where the object of the trumpeting is 
expressly stated as the above, e.g., Osorio's History of the Portuguese, I. 
365. The Portuguese themselves also used blasts of trumpets to frighten 
the people of Cochin China in an engagement and succeeded in doing so 
lb. 187. 


cause the drought, ' and the tribes of the Amazon in 
Hke manner have their Spirit Music — large trumpets in 
sets of eight, which they play for the express purpose of 
frightening away spirits. ^ 

Thus the Horn has been vested with one of the 
powers which belonged to the old Drum. But it has 
got its power in quite a different way. For while the 
magic was in the Drum from the first, the Horn has 
received its power over the Spirits as an afterthought 
and solely in consequence of certain effects having first 
been noted and observed which it produced on man. 
"There is a considerable intellectual advance to be seen 
in the reasoning which even this little syllogism implies ; 
and an emancipation from Fetichism is discernible 
generally in the footing of familiarity which man now 
takes up in relation to these spirits — in which familiarity 
we see the dawn of that Secularism which now began 
to assert itself in Life and Thought, and of which it will 
be afterwards found the Pipe family are the great 

That it was on the frightening power of the Horn and 
no other that man relied for its ability to influence the 
Spirits may I think be clearly seen from the ceremony 
which is practised by the Lamas of Thibet and which 
may be taken as a representative of similar ones among 
other peoples. At stated periods, M. Hue tells us, 4000 
Lamas assemble on the roofs of the various monasteries 
and blow trumpets and conch shells all night long. An 

1 That unfavourable weather is attributed by savages to the presence 
of spirits in the air and that the main point at issue is to frighten them 
away we may know from the old man in Guiana whom Brett found 
beating his breast and howling in order as he said to frighten the evil 
spirits and so get the weather he wanted. Brett's Indian Tribes of 
Guiana, p. 169. 2 Wallace's Amazons. 


old Lama gave him the following explanation of the 
rite : It had been estabhshed, he said, to drive away 
demons by which the country had formerly been 
infested. They had caused all kinds of maladies among 
the cattle ; corrupted the cow's milk ; disturbed the 
Lamas in their cells ; and even carried their audacity so 
far as to force themselves into the choir at the hour of 
prayer. During the night these evil spirits used to 
assemble at the bottom of the ravine and frighten 
everybody in the neighbourhood out of their wits by 
the noises they made. Till at last a learned Lama hit 
upon the idea of fighting them with their own weapons ; 
and imitated their cries with Horns and Conch Shells — 
most successfully, apparently, for Hue describes the 
uproar of the horns united with the voices of the 
Lamas as like the howling of a multitude of wild beasts. 
Since the institution of this rite the demons it may be 
remarked have entirely vanished. ^ The magic horn of 
of the South African rain-maker gets its magic on precisely 
the same terms, for the louder the sound, the more 
potent is the spell. The old rain-maker at Lobore had 
only a whistle, but when Baker gave him a German horn 
fitted with brass, " he grinned till the tears ran down his 
cheeks, and said, * I am a great sheik now. There is 
no rain-maker so great as L' " ^ To the same category 
must be referred those ceremonies which take place in 
many nations at the time of the new moon or at an 
eclipse — in either case for the same reason, and whether 
the spirits are to be frightened from the young crescent, 
or from the sick and blackened disc they have bewitched, 
trumpets will be equally efficacious. Of these the 

i Hue's Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, p. 21S. Cf also p. 39. 
3 Ismailia, II. 2. 


ceremonies of the Peruvians may be taken as good 
illustrations, of the ancient Mexicans, and of the Romans 
as described by Tacitus. 


The blasts of the Horn then " frighten " away. So be 
it. But what shall we say of that soft velvety tone that 
falls on the ear like flakes of snow on the air — I mean 
that tone which ripples from the Flute ? It was surely 
not ior frightening purposes that the Flute first learnt to 
lisp. " Frightening " I venture to sa}', was an idea that 
was never in the head of its inventor for a moment. 
And when we find the Flute or to speak more broadly the 
small form of Pipe brought into connection with the 
spirits, as it was articled to religion among the Greeks 
and Romans as the instrument par excellence of ritual, 
and in its composite form of Organ is still the only musical 
instrument allowed in churches, while plainly enough 
there must have been some potency attached to it in the 
first instance to secure it this position, it is equally plain 
that this potency did not consist in an}' assumed power 
to frighten away the evil spirits, such as brought the Horn 
into the ritual of the Lamas. If indeed it was credited 
with any point of contact with the evil spirits at all, 
which seems to say the least of it problematical, its 
power would rather be to beguile them with beauty than 
to expel them with noise. Shall we say in one word that 
it charmed them away ? This would be the only feasible 
explanation, and even this would be perhaps almost too 


refined an idea even for the Greeks and Romans — savage 
nations presenting a total blank on the question. But 
it seems to me that it is rather the opposite ; and that 
the Flute v^as used to influence the good spirits rather 
than the evil ones — its beautiful tone v^as the lure to woo 
the tassel-gentles down — like Homer's Kvta-a and Noah's 
"savoury odour" it was to secure the co-operation of the 
gods in propria persona. So sailors now-a-days whistle 
for a wind, but then it is for a favourable wind they 

And that this is the more probable explanation of the 
two will better appear when we consider the nature of 
its influence over Man ; for it is with the Flute as it was 
with the Horn — the power over the spirits is merely a 
reflection and reiteration of some antecedent observed 
power over Man. 

What then was the effect which the Flute exerted 
over man — in other words what was the origin of 
the flute ? for the most characteristic of its effects 
was probably the original one, and it is the most 
characteristic effect that we would discover. This 
also will enable us to see how the passage from the 
Drum Stage to the Pipe Stage had been brought 
about ; for plainly there must have been some very 
valid reason abroad why man should abandon beating 
drums and take to blowing in a tube instead. As to 
the Horn, it is not so diflicult to see how the Horn 
perhaps came into being. For it came in answer to 
a want, the purely practical want in warfare of 
striking terror into the foe. And there is another 
practical want which the Horn would supply ; it 
would serve the purpose, when occasion required, of 
a signal. Indeed the theory that signalling was the 
primary object of the Horn's invention, might well 
be put forward, and evidence in favour of such a 


view be found in the Signal Horn of the Papuans, ^ 
the war whistle of the North American Indians, ^ of 
th3 Mexicans, ^ and the signalling trumpets of the 
Itatines, "^ etc. But is there any purely practical 
want which the soft velvety tone of the Flute supplies ? 
That can never have been used for frightening or 
for signalling or for any purpose of the sort. And 
looking at it in its newness, looking at its origin, 
what could have induced the first man who ever did 
so to chip and trim the first reed with his knife, or 
drill the first bone, or bind the first stalks together, 
or whatever the form were which the Flute or small 
Pipe first took, what induced him to set about making 
it in the first instance ? What want had he which 
this thing could supply ? The want of a toy or 
bauble to amuse himself with ? Was it to please 
himself with the sound that he became a pipe 
manufacturer ? By no means. Toys form a very small 
element in savage economy — they are the prerogatives 
of the idlers of civilisation. Man had something else 
to do in those days than that he could afford to 
waste his time over toys. 

// Alas ! that we cannot pierce the gloom of ages to 
question the inventor himself. But since we cannot get 
at the real inventor of the Pipe let us ask the question of 
its reputed inventor. The Greeks who were nearer the 

1 Which is used for this purpose alone, "die alleen gebezigd wordt 
tot het geven van alarm-signalen," says Rosenberg. Reistochten naar de 
Geelvinkbaai of Niew Guinea, p. 93. 

2 Catlin, I. 243. 3 Southey's History of Brazil, I. 341. 

4 Who have constructed a most elaborate system of signalling, 
" Tubis, tibiisque certa inflatis ratione, ita quod volunt significant, 
ut et longe audiantur, et perinde ac si expressis vocibus loquerentur 
intelligantur. Neque tamen ab iis, qui eorum linguam norunt quoe 
significantur percipiuntur, nisi apud eos versati sint." Muratori, I. 5. 


first movements of human civilisation than \ve^ are 
assigned the invention to the Great God Pan. The heart 
of their legends is generally sound, though the body may 
be fancy work — and by adopting this method of inquiry 
we may perhaps get at what we want. Now whenever 
the great god Pan — the gayest Lothario of Olympus, 
the only one of the Gods who ever wooed Diana success- 
fully ^ — I say, whenever the great god Pan comes 
prominently forward as an actor in the human drama, 
we may be tolerably ciear as to what his motives are in 
so appearing. And if he constructed his Pan-pipe out 
of the body of the nymph Syrinx, who was changed into 
a reed, we may be tolerably certain that his views were 
not limited to playing a requiem over her grave, but that 
he had at the same time some other nymph in his eye 
who was not changed into a reed. If the metamorphosed 
Syrinx really gave him the first idea of the instrument, 
the utmost we can do is to say in the words of King 
James V. of Scotland, about a totally different event, " It/ 
began wi' a lass, and it wull end wi' a lass." 

And for my own part I have no doubt that what holds\\ 
of the Great God Pan holds equally of the savage who 
first notched or drilled a reed by the water-side, and made 
the first pipe which human ear ever heard. The Pipe 
was to be the Lover's tongue by which he might dis- 
course his passion to his mistress ; for he who through 
dearth of eloquence was unable to win his lady's favours, 
must bethink him of some other soft persuasive, and so 
the soft velvety tone breathed the passion which his dull 
tongue was unable to express. The Flute stood him 
in stead of a tongue, and so he chose by preference to 

^ 2.Pan, deus Arcadiae, captam te, Luna fefellit 

In nemora alta vocans nee tu aspernata vocantem. 


express himself. Now this is the character of the Artist, 
and for the first time in our history — for he is the Artist 
who chooses some other medium than words to express 
his feehngs by, in whom the sensuous so" far preponder- 
ates over the intellectual as to render him conscious of 
the latter's deficiency and oblige him to search for some 
more ductile, because more consentaneous medium for 
delivering his ideas — it may be he chooses colour, or 
plastic form, or sound, but painter, sculptor, musician, 

/ all three are doing the same thing and for the same 
reason — they are striving to express themselves by 
another medium than Language, because they feel 
they are not so strong in Language as they are in 
this other thing, and because their ideas transmute 
themselves more readily into plastic forms or into tones 

,' than they do into words. Thus is Art merely a 

\ Language. 

And so when social refinement had reached that point 
that man ceased to regard woman as a kind of attractive 
fawn that was to be hunted and made the property of the 
first who could catch her without any regard to what her 
feelings on the subject might be, when little by little he 
came to view her as a being with the same feelings and 
passions with himself — I say, vv^hen this stage was 
reached in the evolution of society, match-making would 
lose much of its roughness and the idea of such a thing 
as courtship would first dawn on the human mind 
Behold therefore each man conducting his courtship 
according to his lights ; and while some relied on their 
powers of language, and others on extra coats of paint 
to carry their point, the musician would question his art 
as to what it could do to persuade his fair one. And 
naturally he would first try his drum — and that the Drum 
could be sometimes successful we know well, for the 
North American Indian still uses it in the Wabeno rite 


to excite the passions of his mistress ^ — a use which is 
sanctioned by no less an authority than Petronius, whose 
opinion on such a matter ought surely to be entitled to 
every consideration. ^ But the Drum falHng behind in 
the uxorial race — if indeed it was ever freely employed 
which is more than doubtful — the /^ovo-tKos who would 
a-wooing go was put to taxing his brains for some other 
instrument which would be more efficacious, and as a 
result of long experiment he discovered the Flute. And 
in it he discovered a lure which brought the tassel-gentles 
flocking to his side as we shall see in the sequel. 

I have made decided statements here, and I shall 
proceed to prove them. The Flute is not only the 
darling instrument of those savage nations . who are 
renowned for their gallantry, but there are also cases of 
the original use of the instrument surviving in all its 
purity. Among the North American Indians we find 
what is called the Winnebago courting flute. " In the 
vicinity of the Upper Mississippi," says Catlin, " a young 
man will serenade his mistress with it for days 
together " — (they sit on a rock near the wigwam and 
blow without intermission) — " until she accedes to his 
wishes, and gives him her hand and heart." ^ " In the 
island of Formosa," says an old Dutch Voyager, "they do 
not buy their wives with moneys ; and the fathers and 
mothers are in nowise consulted. But the young man 
appeareth for many days before the hut of his sweet- 
heart, and playeth on a Flute or little Pipe, tiU she hath 
given her consent to espouse him, or told him he may 

1 See Schoolcraft. 

2 Cymbala cum crotalis, pruriginis anna, Priapo 

Ponit at adducta tympana pulsa manu. Priapea XXVII. Cf, also 
Apuleius. Metam VIII., p, 212. 

3 Catlin's North American Indians. I, 243. 


depart for she will have none of him." ' The ancient 
Peruvians had a regular love-language for the Flute, 
and so powerful an appeal could it make to the female 
heart, that there are stories of girls being drawn from 
a distance by the sound of the Flute, and throwing 
themselves into the arms of the man who played it. - 
These are some instances in point; but the fact that 
a decided penchant for the Flute and a decidedly 
amorous temperament seem to go together in the savage 
world, hints still more clearly, I think, at what the 
original use of the instrument was. The sensual 
Caishanas of the Upper Amazon spend their time in 
lying in hammocks all day long, playing Pan-pipes. ^ 
The effeminate Bamanwatos will lie for days together 
playing pipes under the shade of the trees. '^ The 
voluptuous Marquesans and Otaheitans and other 
Polynesians are expert performers on the Flute, and have 
many varieties of it. ^ While the continental Malays, 
whose temperament is almost as amorous as theirs, have 
such a passion for the instrument that not content with 
playing on it, they must bore holes in growing bamboos ; 
and so- turn them into "living ^olian flutes." ^ And 
perhaps the most significant fact of all is that the Flute 
is the instrument par excellence of the Arreois, who in 
the divided attention they pay to Love and Art, may be 
said to bestow at least a moiety of that attention on the 
former. 7 

The mere fact that the Love Call, to borrow an expres- 

1 Rechteren's Dutch East India Company's Voyages. 

2 Garcilasso de la Vega. Commentarios Reales. II, 26, 53, &c. 

3 Bates' Amazons. I, 376. 

4 Chapman's Travels into the Interior of S. Africa. I, 39. 

5 See Captain Cook. I, and infra p. 

6 Tylor's Early History of Mankind. 

7 Cap. Cook, I, Ellis' Polynesian Researches, I, 316. 


sion of Mr. Darwin's, is the only definite purpose for 
which the Flute is employed among savage races, 
outside its employment as a musical instrument — which 
is obviously a much later use, for it could never have 
owed its origin to that, nor could its invention have been 
due to any disinterested efforts on the part of man to 
develop the Art of Music — the mere fact, then, of so 
definite a purpose of employment, is sufficient to 
communicate a peculiar character to the instrument ; 
and if there were only these three instances forthcoming 
of its use as a Love Call, the Winnebago courting flute, 
the Formosa courting flute, and the Peruvian love 
flute, ^ and if they stood alone and nothing went to help 
us eke out their evidence, if there were no Marquesans, 
or Otaheitans, or Arreois in the question, and a dead 
blank through all the rest of the world, I should still have t 
no hesitation in assigning the origin of the Flute to the 1 
Love Call, because its use as such is so singular and at ' 
the same time so appropriate that it could not be an 
afterthought ; while at the same time it points to such a 
naive and primitive state of society that it could never 
have been the artificial use of a later age but must have 
been the natural growth of an early one. I will tell you 
why — As the World got older (and this holds of savages 
equally as of the civilised) as the world got older, women 
got wiser, and were no longer to be taken in by such 
baits as the tones of a paltry flute, even though there was 
true love behind it. And little by little they made it 
plain that the only Love Call that would woo them 
successfully was a much more substantial one — Money, 
or its equivalent, beads, spike-nails, oxen, or reindeer. 
And when once the genuine mercenary age had set in. 

I Since writing this chapter I have come across another instance of the 
' courting flute ' viz., among the Gila tribes of North America. Bancroft. 
Native Races of the Pacific. I, 549. 



no one in his senses would dream of starting such a 
practice, as wooing by music — if it was ever started at 
all it must have had its origin long before. A man who 
went blowing flutes about the place, when once money 
and oxen were in fashion, with the idea that he could win 
his mistress thereby, was little better than a fool. As 
indeed the lady in Aristsenetus tells him point blank to 
his face. " Why do you crack your cheeks with blowing 
your pipes under my windows ? Don't you know, you 
goose, that a flute isn't the slightest use now-a-days, 
without a reasonable supply of the ' ready ' to back it 
up." ^ Here is a change for the worse in the fair sex 
since the time when the Winnebago courting flute made 
female hearts fall in legions before it. 

This sally of Aristsenetus' makes me think, on further 

consideration, that perhaps I was a little hasty in 

assuming a dead blank throughout the world about the 

love inspiring power of the Flute ; for though his lady 

boasts of being invulnerable, she admits (as the reader 

will gather by reference to the original which I have 

quoted at the foot of the page) that there was a time 

whenthe result might have been otherwise, and when 

the Flute might have quite overcome her indifference. 

So that perhaps I was equally hasty in mahgning the fair 

sex as a body, and it may be that what I said only holds 

of some of them and not of all. At any rate, as a 

classical writer has helped us so far, let us see what 

the Greeks and Romans generally have to say on the 

matter. It may be that the Flute had not yet quite lost 

all its old powers by their time; that its power to 

I In his fourteenth letter, aAAot tov eraipiKov -tjSi] fxejj.ddT]Ka filov 
/cat apyvptii) twv vewv tov epwra SoKt/xa^w. oi'Se anAo? eraipav 
olSe TT porpeTretv dpyvptov xcupis, tl ovv ixaTrjv, & veoi 
^La.pp'qyvvT€ ras jvadov; l/x<^vcrcuvTes rij (Tvptyyi' k. t. A. 


inflame the heart was still recognised and acknowledged. 
And the first glance shows that we shall not search in 
vain. For here she comes, the Goddess of Love, her 
chariot drawn by sparrows — and Flutes play all the 
while. ^ What better stage manager could she have than 
Johannes Secundus ? He knows exactly what is wanted 
to guarantee a conquest— and so he gives her, as Cupid's 
chiefest archery, the Flute. And Aristsenetus would 
have approved his wisdom in so doing, for he himself 
elsewhere testifies to the power of flutelike sound in 
exciting the passions. ^ For which reason Plato would 
have banished flutes from his republic, 3 and for which 
reason Cleopatra retained them. 

" Her galley down the Cydnus rowed ; 

" The oars were silver, which to the tunc of flutes 

" Kept stroke." 

" And while they played," says Dryden in his 
rifacimento of the passage, 

" The hearing gave new pleasure to the sight 
" And both to thought." 

It was obviously for the same reason that flutes were 
used to accompany those monstrous orgies in the circus 
of Constantinople in which the future empress Theodora 
played the leading role -* — namely, to stimulate the 

1 Everard (Johannes Secundus) Elegies &c,, Suivies des Baisers, II, 349. 
A man that has caught the spirit of the ancients so truly (as witness his 
translation of TibuUus) that he deserves to rank among them. 

2 P. 16. in the Paris edition. Venus herself was quite fastidious about 
sounds, for no birds were admitted into Paphos without first passing a kind 
of competitive examination in singing : — 

" Quo non admittitur ales 
Ni probet ante suos Diva sub judice cantus," 

3 Plat. Rep, III. 398-9. 

4 The Byzantines were renowned for their passion for the flute from 
the earliest times, which ^Elian expressly couples as we do with amorous- 
ness — avXov jxev oiKovovTiS xaipovcn, Kal to epyov avTOts ai'Aetcr^at 

€<TT(, (Various Histories, IH,, 14). 


spectators' passions. No modest woman, thought Plato, 
could hear the Lydian Pipe with impunity. ' And that 
there was something more than mere fancy in this we 
may judge when we find Leonardo da Vinci employing 
the velvety tone of flutes as a kind of spell to get that 
pose of Mona Lisa's countenance in which a refined 
sensuahty is the ground characteristic. And the 
practical Romans thought like the visionary Plato on the 
matter — -with them "flute-player" and "courtesan" were 
synonymous terms. ^ 

The shepherds of Theocritus and Virgil, who lie 
dfeaming of love all the day long, toast their mistresses 
in carols of Pipes. " Your flute it is that has won me," 
lisps the boy in Ausonius. " And I have a pipe you can't 
resist," cries Virgil's laughing Copa. The Pipe in fact 
was a regular Love Philtre, and most apropos was its 
employment at weddings, where it was the only instru- 
ment used. 3 Where love beams the brightest and where 
it rages the wildest, at the nuptials of Lucretia and at the 
orgies of Theodora, running the whole gamut of the 
passion it was born to expound, do we find the Flute and 
Pipe in limpid luscious tones distilling love — at all times 
and in all places inseparable from it — almost part and 
parcel with it. For when Venus found Hymen, how was 
he engaged ? He was playing the flute under a plane- 

1 Plato, lb. 

2 Horace Sat. I. 2, i. Juv. Sat., III. 63. Plautus Epid., II. 2, 36. 
Most. IV., 3, 21, Stich, II. 3, 56, &c,, &c. I will add an eminently 
suggestive passage from a Greek comic poet, whose name I forget, which 
alludes to a popular superstition among the Greeks that seems effectually 
to clinch the whole question at issue : — • 

(3 Zev, KuXov y ecrrlv aTroOavetv avXov[xevov. 
TOVTOLs ev aSoti yap jxovols e^ovcTLa 
d(^poSta^€iv IcTTiv. 
? Plautus. Casina. IV., 3, Cf. also Euripides. Iphigen, in Taur., 367 


tree — " Maenalios modos tentabat," says Claudian — and 
quite contented with his lot. And when she begged him 
ever so much to go to Palladius' wedding, he wanted not 
to go. He would still be dallying with his pipes in the 
shade. For his love for them ran in his blood, you must 
know. He was the only son of Calliope and she was 
the Muse who ever played the pipe. Thus the Muse 
who played the pipe was the mother of the god of 
marriage ; and Venus must needs have him and his pipes 
or the wedding would not be complete. 

So Claudian says that the Muse who played the Pipe 
was the mother of the God of Marriage. Does he mean 
that the first use the Pipe was put to was to create 
marriage ? At any rate he hints it. And I ask is it not 
strange to find this idea occurring where it does ? — is it 
not strange that a Roman exquisite, the fastidious 
Claudian, the Gautier of the Romans, should imagine the 
same dwelling-place for love as the poor benighted 
savages of Formosa ? 

But what is almost a fancy to the refined Claudian is 
terrible earnest to rude Man. " For," says Garcilasso, " a 
Spaniard met an Indian woman in the streets of Cuzco 
one night late ; and would have taken her back to his 
lodging, but she cried out : ' For God's sake, sir, let me 
go ; for that Flute which you hear in yonder tower is 
calling me with such passion and tenderness that I 
cannot refuse the summons of him who plays it; for love 
constrains me to go thither, that I may be his wife and 
that he may be my husband.' " ^ 

I " Un Espanol topo una noche a desora en el Cuzco una Yndia que el 
conoscia, y queriendo bolueria a sua posada le disco la Yndia : Sefior, 
dexame yr donde voy, sabere que aquella flauta que eyes en aquel otero 
me llama con mucha passion y ternuia; de manera que me fuerca a yr 
alia : dexame por tu vida que no puedo dexar de yr alia, que el amor me 
llena arrastrando : para que yo sea su muger y el mi marido." Garcilasso 
Commentarios Reales, II., xxvi. 



But the Pipe can do more than express the language of 
Love ; it can express that emotion which is nearest akin 
to Love ; it can utter the language of Grief. at'Atm, alXiva 
sighs the Pipe in Moschus : and it wailed with the 
mourners at Roman funerals. But the love came first 
and the grief came second. For man must first have 
loved before he can know what grief is; and there were 
no grief if there were no love. So the Love came first 
and then came the grief — as it is in the world to-day, so 
was it in those old dark times we write of. ^ 


Mr. Darwin finds the origin of all Instrumental Music 
in the Love Call. I shall contest myself with referring 
the Flute and the Pipe to that origin. And I would here 
point out, bona pace, a fact which he misses, which is, 
that to preface love-making by an overture of Instru- 
mental Music, or to seek to move the passions of the 
female by such a means, or even to consider the wishes 
of the 'female at all in the matter implies a far higher 
degree of social refinement than we can imagine to exist 
at the early period he speaks of — for his remarks would 
apply to the most rudimentary species of the drum form. 
And we are credibly informed that the " winking New 
Hollanders," who are the living representatives of that 
early period, are notorious not only for the ardour with 

1 For the use of the Pipeas an instrument of mourning, Cf., Ovid's well- 
known, Cantabat msestis tibia funeribus, Cicero, Legg, II., 24. Statins 
Theb, v., 120. St. Isidore's remarks in his Origins, III., &c., Cf., also St. 
Matthew IV., 23, Quum venisset Jesus domum principis synagogae 
vidissetque ti bicines, &c., and for some interesting details Buxtorf's 
Lexicon to the Talmud, pp. 766, ^524. 


which they prosecute their addresses, but for the 
suddenness with which they begin them, nor is any 
instance to be found in which a prelude of instrumental 
music was thought necessary to overcome the coyness of 
the fair. 


At the same time there is this other point of difference 
between us : while he would make Instrumental Music — 
drumming namely on a tree, or a hollow substance — a 
lure universally employed by man as a Love Call, I 
regard it in the form of a Flute or Pipe (for earlier than 
that I cannot go.) — as a lure employed only by a certain 
few — and those, the guild of Artists ; for I certainly 
cannot imagine any such condition of things as men 
playing Pipes all the world over to procure wives. If it 
were to procure mates, as by Darwin's theory it would 
be, the case would be very different, and it might be 
rationally argued that when half-human man paired, he 
might contrive his pairing as some birds do, who drum 
on trees or with their wings to fascinate the female. ^ 
But though this were true of the Drum, which I do not 
admit, the Pipe Love Call implies a different state of 
things altogether — implying, as I take it, the existence of 
the Artist character in the world, for the Pipe takes some 
skill in the performance of it (which Darwin's Drum does 
not). And now for the first time in the annals of Music 
we come across Virtuosos. The first Virtuoso in the 
world's history was own brother to the Indian boy in 
Catlin, - who played a mystery-whistle, which required 
long and incessant practice to produce any sound at all— 
and played it so beautifully that the hearers were at one 

1 Vide Appendix, B. 

2 Catlin's North American Indians, I., 342. 


v^ith old Anthony Munday as to the "soul-ravishing, 
delicious sound Of instrumental music." This same 
Indian boy, I have no doubt, applied his mastery of 
technique to the Winnebago courting-flute when he went 
a-wooing ; and carried off his bride from a crowd of 
rivals. Thus in the Pipe Stage — and it is in this that its 
importance consists — not only do we find the first traces 
of the genus "Artist" ; but we findt hat Music has at last, 
as the Germans would say, "getreten ins Leben " — it has 
ceased to be a mere Fetich, a mere sound-producer, a 
mere time-marker ; and has insinuated itself into the 
Life of Man, to tell the tale of his love and of his grief, 
to be one more voice in the great choir of Human 
Expression that ascends to the stars and is our spiritual 


Directly Music began to be human, it began to be 
esoteric. The Virtuosos made it so. Had it remained 
in its simplicity, it would have had a larger audience ; 
but it would never have had great men among its 

But esotericism was a necessity on other grounds. 
If it was to accompany human life, its progress must 
be an ever growing complexity. The progress of life 
is simply the progress from simplicity to complexity. 
And the progress of Music must be the same too. 
Half a dozen words will suffice the child ; but ten 
thousand will not serve the man in whom the ages meet. 


But I warn you we must not expect too much 
from these primitive virtuosos. They were the first 


of the breed ; they had nothing to go upon, no past 
to fall back on, no pole-star to steer by except their 
own feelings of the moment. So they rang the 
changes on the few notes their pipes possessed, 
"running their fingers at random over the stops" 
as the Marquesan girls, ' or pouring a ceaseless shower 
of notes, like Pan in Lucretius, ^ hiding the monotony 
under rapidity of execution, but in any case guided 
solely by their feelings, and exhibiting their virtuosity 
only in the character of the wildest Improvisator!. ^ 

As to what their music actually was, their Syrinxes 
will tell us pretty plainly ; for while a hundred 
successions of notes might be played on a pipe with 
four or five stops, the Syrinx is naturally most often 
played from end to end, and the ordinary run of the 
melody is pretty clearly laid down when once the pipes 
have been bound together, so that one of these Syrinxes 
is to us as good as a piece of savage music, noted down 
by the savage himself, and by examining the melody 
which is made by blowing it from end to end, 
we can see clearly enough what sort of Melodic Ideal 
floated in the head of the man who made it ; for 
clearly though virtuosity might vary the strain, the 
melody of the connected pipes from one end to the 
other would always be the grand subject, the theme 
par excellence, the piece de resistance with which the 
concert was opened and closed. 

1 Melville's Marquesas, 251, 

2 Unco ssepe labro calamos percurrit hiantes 

Fistula sylvestrem ne cesset fundere Musam. The Greek KO.TavTXwv 
would express the whole of the last line and would exactly convey 
what I assume to be Pan's object in non cessare playing. 

3 Certainly not trying to give illustrations of some primitive scale, as 
Professor Traill in his Dissertation on an Ancient Peruvian Musical 
Instrument (Transactions of Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. XX. p. i, 
would seem to think they did. 


The notes of a Peruvian Syrinx : — 


The notes of a Syrinx from the Tonga Islands 

Another : — 3 




— I 1 1 1 i 1 ^ 1 — 

Another : — ^ 



-H- 1 1 1 F- 1 1 L- 


These show clearly enough what we want to know. 
And I think I am right in regarding them merely as 
waifs — specimens of the melody which delighted the 
savage mind, consisting in mere random successions 
of notes, pressed into the service of human feeling to 
utter its language artistically ; and deriving their import 
and only^ value from that — I say, I think I am right 
in so regarding them, rather than in approaching them 
with a set of a priori theories in my head, and 
endeavouring to find in these unsophisticated strains 
proofs of some primitive scale, or to distort and strangle 
them into tetrachords. s Let them go, and rank with 
garlands and glances and whatever else man voices his 
emotions by. 

I Traill, Dissertation on an ancient Peruvian Instrument. Trans- 
actions of Royal Soc. of Edinburgh, XX., Pt. i. 

a Engel's Music of the Most Ancient Nations, p. 12. 3 lb: 4 lb. 

5 Quanto praestantius esset 

viridi si margine clauderet undas 

Herba, nee ingenuum violarent marmora tophum. 


With regard to the instruments themselves, the 
Horn, I take it, is the patriarch of the group, being 
a chose d'tdilite in its origin and thus furthest removed 
from the Artistic, though at the same time we must 
remember that even the " frightening " Horn has 
a dash of the aesthetic about it, implying a rude 
appreciation of some of the secrets of the emotional 
nature in man — we might almost say, implying a study 
of it. We find the Bechuanas studying it and that 
too con amove, for " they delight in blowing their 
discordant reed trumpets," says Chapman, " and keep 
it up for the pleasure of the thing all night through." ^ 
It is almost unnecessary to remark that the fact of the 
Horn having so much Fetichism chnging to it, which 
obviously points to its existence at a time when the 
cloud of Fetichism in the world darkened the sun, is 
alone sufficient to establish its claims to the patriarchate 
of the Pipe Family. ^ 

With regard to the other forms of the Pipe, if we 
wish to determine their chronology precisely, it might 
be fairly argued that the Syrinx came first, because to 
imagine the note inseparable from the reed, and to 
think that a fresh note meant a fresh reed seems the 
most simple way of looking at the question — the 
knowledge of the effects of perforation being more 
recondite, and therefore presumably coming later. 
This is the opinion of Mr. Engel. For my own part, 
looking at things rather by what they meant than by 
what they actually were, I should be inclined to place 

1 Chapman's Travels into the Interior of S, Africa, I. 272. 

2 A claim that cannot be impugned when there is a piece of historical 
evidence to back it up; for the Abipones were well acquainted with the 
Horn when Dobrizhoffer first went among them, but had never seen 
such a thing as a Flute till he showed them one. Hist, of Abipones, 
II. 139- 


the signal-whistle with one stop next in order after 
the Horn — (why "with one stop" and what this signifies, 
I will notice further on) — and to imagine a pause at 
this whistle for some time to come. For I cannot 
see what Man would want with Pan-pipes (or a number 
of holes in his whistle) until the poetical and emotional 
elements in his character began to germinate, and 
clamoured for expression. I had much rather imagine 
that the knowledge of perforation came early in answer 
to a want — viz., the want of a signal. 

I do not intend however to go into the minutiae of 
the subject, and shall content myself with bare 
generalities — regarding the Pipe family as a crop that 
grew up together — I cannot say which stalk appeared 
first, but I know that not one appeared till the Drum 
was in every man's hands, and that they all appeared 
before such a thing as a Lyre was thought of. 

One word about the Flute before we have done. 
Strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless highly 
probable that the Flute was first played by the nose. 
This at least is the manner of playing which prevails 
in the Society Islands, ^ the Friendly Islands, ^ the 
islands of the Samoan group, ^ the Marquesas, 4 and 
generally throughout Polynesia, ^ which is par excellence 
the Home of the Flute. I will not pause to notice 
what a marvellous proof this would be of the Love 
origin of the Pipe, if the supposition could be fairly 
made out, since it would show that softness and 
sweetness were the desiderata from the. very first. 
But I will not pause to push forward this piece of 
evidence so late in the day, though I am somewhat 

I Cap. Cook, I. 45. 2 427. 3 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, I. 2S4, &g. 
4 Melville, p. 251. 5 Ellis, loc. cit. 


loth to let it go. I will only point to the fact that 
to play the Flute with the nose is certainly the most 
natural way of playing it, as a glance at any unfortunate 
who is playing the Flute with his mouth will presently 
reveal to us. That idiotic grimace into which he 
is compelled to contort his features, and because of 
which Greek sculptors were afraid to represent their 
Flute-players in flagranti delicto — that grimace means 
a highly artificial pose of the features, and we may 
be sure that anything highly artificial is not primitive. 
At the same time while, grimace and all, long practice 
is necessary before the art of blowing the flute with 
the mouth can be even tolerably acquired, it can 
be played easily at the first attempt by blowing with 
the nostril, the breath coming from thence at the 
precise angle necessary to produce the tone. 

The locus classicus for the Nose-flute is Hermann 
Melville's Marquesas, p. 251. " The nose-flute is longer 
than an ordinary fife ; is made of a beautiful scarlet 
coloured reed ; and has four or five stops with a 
large hole near one end, which latter is held just 
beneath the left nostril. The other nostril being closed 
by a peculiar movement of the muscles about the nose, 
the breath is forced into the tube, and produces a 
soft dulcet sound." ^ 

For details respecting the structure of the Pipe 
let the reader turn to Spencer's Travels in Circassia, 
Marsden's History of Sumatra, Clarke's Travels in 
Tartary, Garcilasso's Commentarios Reales, Charlevoix' 
Nouvelle France. There he shall read of Syrinxes 
made of stone, of Flutes with holes above and below, 
of Flutes with great sticks through them, of silver 

1 In other parts of Polynesia it is usual to close one nostril with 
the thumb — this screwing of the nose seems peculiar to the Marquesans, 


pipes which the Circassians play, of Horns made of 
earthenware, and greater rarities than these I can 
promise him if he will spend a little trouble in iH,e 
research. All the technical details too about the m- 
of a Flute and a Pipe and why it is they soun^t 
when you blow into them are most admirably and 
minutely treated in that interesting work, Taylor's 
Art of Flute Playing. 


There will be no objection, I hope, to us now setting 
a piece of Archeology to Music. 

Let us apply some of the results arrived at in this 
chapter to the history of Man as we read it in celts 
and arrow-heads. Let us for a moment enter the 
kitchen-middens of Musical History by the help of 
the light we have thus far gained. 


Skulls, vertebrae, sterna, scapula, radii and ulne, 
humeri, tibiae, fibulae, metacarpal bones, carpal bones, 
and metatarsal bones are our subjects now, and it 
is our office to try and breathe into these dry bones 
the breath of life — skulls, vertebrae, sterna and the 
others all lying cheek by jowl with the bones of hyenas, 
bears, reindeers, wolves, and elephants, aurochses, 
elks, and woolly-haired rhinoceroses, in caves in 
England, France, Belgium, and many other places, 
but particularly in France where most has been done 
to throw light upon them. Waifs they seem to be 
out of a shadowy past, but as we piece them together 
that past condenses and we see ghosts — the dry bones 
mere bones no longer, but solemn deputations from 


Death's House of Commons with whom it is our sacred 

' ^.uty to confer. Alas ! to this osseous Parliament 

V. . too shall be returned : we are safe of a seat there. 

,, who made a drinking-cup out of a human skull — 
,^^u have only to dig a few feet down at Newstead, 
and he shall furnish you with an excellent drinking-cup 
now. But Man will not suffer man thus to die. And 
as surely as that great man lives and will live for 
ever in the Heaven of human memory, so surely 
will man never rest till he has forced the unwilling 
past to render up all her secrets and tell him how 
he came here and. what he was thousands of centuries 
ago ; till that great day shall arrive when Pantheons, 
and Mythologies, and Creations will crumble into 
dust, and moving in the blank space behind them all 
he shall see the reflection of himself. 

I want to draw a picture of these Cave Men ; and 
particularly is it into the emotional side of their 
nature that I want to pry, for with that is our Art 
mainly concerned. We know much about them already. 
We know for instance that they fished and hunted, 
ate horse-flesh occasionally, ^ cooked their food, ^ 
sewed their clothes, ^ dressed their leather, ^ tattooed 
themselves ; s and further than this that the women 
worked embroidery, ^ the men gambled with dice, 
scored their games, 7 and probably kept reckonings. ^ 

These are the secrets we learn from flint flakes and 
choppers, scrapers, bone needles, harpoon heads, 
skewers, bodkins, and notched horn tally sticks. But 
what they teach us, as will be 'seen, refers only to the 

1 Boyd Dawkins' Cave hunting, p. 132. 

2 Boyd Dawkins Cave hunting, 340. 3 lb. 341, 4 lb. 
5 Lartet and Christy's Reliquiae Aquitanicse, p, 137. 6 lb. 136. 

7 lb. 189. 8 lb. 192-3. 


outer shell of life, and does not touch its inner 
pulsations at all. 

Now let me bring forward my flint flakes, choppers, 
scrapers, arrowheads, which consist of bone pipes or 
whistles as they are called (Alas ! that my stock should 
be limited to one species, but musical instruments 
are very perishable things, and only when made of 
some very hard and durable substance would there 
be the slightest likelihood of their surviving). Bone 
pipes, then, some with no stops, ^ others with one, - 
two, three 3 stops (this latter giving four distinct 
sounds) 4 ; one that I have seen and believe to be 
a genuine specimen with four stops — these are the 
data we have to go upon. 5 

Now without discussing the number of stops yet (for 
this as I have mentioned before is a highly important 
question, and I purposely passed it over then in order to 
reserve the discussion of it for this section) — to what 
fact does the mere existence of a Pipe of any, sort point ? 
It points to the existence of the Drum. And the 
existence of the Drum means a long period of Drum 
Fetichism which may still linger in the air even when the 
Pipe Stage has been reached, as in the case of the South 
Americans ; but even if the Cave men had got the 
better of it by the time we find them, we must inevitably 
assume an antecedent period when they may have been 
as deeply bit with it as the Laplanders or the Samoyedes 
or even these very South Americans. And what a world 
of speculation does this open up ? Did the Cave Men 

1 Either of the strict whistle form, or of the Flute form, to which 
belongs the specimen figured in the Reliquiae Aquitanicag, p. 40, pi. V. 
B. Fig. 21. made of the first Phalangeal Bone of the hind foot of a 
Reindeer, p. 44. 2 lb. p. 40, infra. 

3 Engel's Musical Instruments, p. 10. 4 lb. 

5 See also Veron's L'Esthetique, I. 5, i, &c. 


ever adore the Rattle ? Did they ever foretell the future 
by the Drum ; or drum up Torngaks from the other 
world like the Esquimaux of to-day ? There is great 
likelihood that they did. 

But what tale have the Pipes to tell on their own 
account ? First of all take the simple unstopped 
Whistles. What was the object of these? M. Lartet 
says they were used in hunting animals. But what for ? 
To call the dogs ? Dogs were not domesticated then. ' 
What else for then ? As a signal. Perhaps — but signal- 
whistles among savages generally have two notes, that is 
to say one stop. For what else then might they have been 
used ? They might have been used as Rain-Whistles — 
or rather we should say Weather- Whistles (since fine 
weather and not rain was the desideratum then) for 
this is the great purpose for which savages employ the 
unstopped Whistle. And if these Cave Men were super- 
stitious enough to hang Bears' teeth, ^ and Wolves' 
teeth, 5 and magic stones '^ round their necks as amulets, 
depend upon it they were superstitious enough to 
imagine that they could procure the weather they wanted 
by frightening away the evil spirits with a cat-call. 

As to the one-stopped whistle — that obviously enough 
was used for signalling, for so it is universally employed 
by savages — because being one-stopped it gives the 
two notes which are necessary, the first for sounding the 
advance, the second for sounding the retreat. Such is 
the war-whistle of the North American Indians, which 
Catlin describes, s of the Ancient Mexicans, and others. ^ 

But when whistles had more than one stop — in which 
case we elect to call them Pipes. What earthly use had 

1 Lubbock's Prehistoric Times. 2 Reliquiae Aquitanicas p. 46, 41. 

3 lb. lb, 

5 Catlin's North American Indians, I., 243. & lb. 


Man for a number of holes in a Pipe ? One was enough 
for signalHng, and never an instance is to be found where 
savages use more than one. What then induced him to 
go on perforating his Pipe with holes, and adding new 
notes to it ? What use had he for the many-stopped 
Pipe ? What use but one ! 

" O Venus, regina Cnidi Paphique," 
Thou too, then, wert in the Caves. And these rude 
Cave Men had elevated hist into Love. In spite of 
avalanches and deluges human nature was still a- 
thriving. " The giants fought with the Gods," says the 
Scandinavian Edda, " and while they fought men sighed 
and groaned at the mouths of their caves." Everything 
was against Man ; but still he struggled on, and lo ! his 
furrowed brow is wreathed with the flowers of sentiment, 


I will not let my fancy run away with me any further 
nor speculate how, if he had many-stopped pipes, he had 
also syrinxes, and flutes and reed pipes, all of which like 
his drums soon crumbled into dust, and nothing remained 
but the hard imperishable bone to tell his tale. This 
little bone pipe was to be his skald, and it tells his tale 
clearly enough if we will but hearken. And we may 
notice, en passant, that this bone pipe of the caves is the 
exact counterpart of the Deerskin or Winnebago courting 
flute which is in all strictness a whistle made of a small 
bone of the deer or the bone of a turkey's leg. 

It is difficult in the face of these surmises to accede 
without reluctance to the ordinary theory which sees 
the antitype of the old Cave Man in the Modern 
Esquimaux — for in that case we must assun;ie a retro- 
gression has taken place, the Esquimaux having no 
instrument but the Drum, and being totally unacquainted 


with every form of Pipe. And though the Chinese of 
Borneo might be quoted as an instance of retrogression, ' 
it is only that they construct their instruments more 
uncouthly than of yore; they have not lost the 
knowledge of any of the ground Forms. When man 
once gets hold of a piece of vital knowledge he never lets 
it go — he may neglect it, but he will not lose it. 


We have discussed the effects of the Horn and Pipe 
on man ; but if we step into that borderland between 
truth and fable, we shall find animals affected by them 
too. The Pied Piper of Hammelin, one out .of many 
who occur in Medieval legend, - eased various potentates 
of bats and gnats and the good town of Hammelin of 
its rats by playing his Pipe which the creatures followed. 
" The dog, the hare, the wolf, the lamb are much affected 
with the sound" — says old Burton; " Harts, hinds, and 
horses exceedingly delighted with it ;" bears, also, it 
seems ; and if whales are deaf to the sound of the little 
pipe, and can only be moved by the blast of a trumpet, ^ 
we must remember that blubber and pachyderm are 
marvellous non-conductors — unless it be that in 

1 R. Brown on Possible Variations in the form of Implements. In 
Lartet, p. 302. 

2 See Kostlin's Geschichte der Musik. p 68. 

3 Burton says of whales (in his Anatomy II., 2. 63, note) that they 
come and show themselves dancing at the sound of a trumpet. He 
quotes Carew of Anthony, his Survey of Cornwall, in support of his 
statement, but I may mention that neither of the two places quoted, 35, i, 
and 154, 2, say anything about whales. It is seals that Carew speaks of. 
I happen to be acquainted with the book and know that Carew does not 
mention whales once all the way through. At the same time I have no 
doubt that Burton had another passage running in his head at the time, 
and has referred it to Carew by an oversight. For the effect of Music on 
fishes in general, see Casaubon's Discourse of Credulity and Incredulity, 
where the whole subject is treated at length, "^ 


Brobdingnag any punier pipe is ineffectual, since 
elephants also, while turning up their trunks in contempt 
of flute or whistle, are powerfully moved by the sound 
of a Horn. ^ It is with the music of their pipes that the 
Indian snake-charmers fascinate the hooded snake or 
naja ; - and Chateaubriand speaks of a rattlesnake being 
fascinated in Canada by the sound of a flute. 3 Whether 
these stories are true or false, there is this much consis- 
tency about them — they all proceed on the hypothesis 
that if any effect is to be produced on animals the Pipe 
is the instrument to be employed, and not the Drum ; 
there are no instances that I know of where the Drum is 
supposed to affect animals. Yet it affects man powerfully 
enough, to judge from our last chapter. We should be 
glad to know therefore why there is no story on record 
of animals being affected by it too. The answer is 
obvious. The Drum with its Rhythmic Sound affects 
the Intellect : we have described it beginning as 
" an intellectual mystery." The Pipe whether as the 
Martial Horn or as the Love Call, affects the Senses. 
Man has this dualit}^ of Nature — an Intellectual Nature 
and a Sensuous Nature. But Animals are Monophy- 
sites — they have only a Sensuous Nature. . And though 
the Drum, as we have seen, when its dynamical value is 
i creased becomes "a sensuous stimulant,^' yet man with his 
eye rather on the original than the derived qualities of 
the instrument was right in assuming an Intellectual 
virtue to be the basis of its power. And for this reason, 
as I take it, he denied that animals could feel its 

Now if the Drum is the instrument of Rhythm, the 

1 Sandys and Forster's History of the Violin, p. 3. 

2 For a circumstantial account see Forbes' Oriental Memoirs, I., 4^. 

3 Autobiography, II., 9, 

The pipe stage. 6g 

Pipe is the instrument of Melody. Melody therefore 
appeals to the Senses : Rhythm appeals to the Intellect. 
But this is only true of Rhythm in its nakedest form — 
mere Rhythm with the least possible dynamical value ; 
for directly the Drum aspires to an accession of strength 
and thunders out the rhythms (degenerating, as we have 
seen, into thundering out mere thunder and drowning 
rhythm altogether) it becomes as Sensuous as the Pipe, 
even more so, for it awakens, one might almost say it 
exasperates the Senses into a plethora of life ; while the 
Flute and Pipe gloze and lull them. 



The first language that man spoke was not a language 
of words, but a language of gestures. It was a language 
for which the whole body was the tongue ; and all the 
resources at the command of the body, that is to say, 
gesticulation, mimicry, inarticulate cries and facial 
expression were set into motion to give adequate 
utterance to the thought that demanded exposition. 
The nod, the beck, the shrug, the wink, the frown — and 
in the case of cries, the scream of fear, the roar of rage, 
the exclamation of joy, the shout of triumph, the laugh 
of pleasure — these still remain as old landmarks to show 
us what lias been, and if we construe them aright they are 
the debris of a vast system of speech which expressed 
with a life-like reality everything which at that early 
period demanded expression. 

If a haze hung over the origin of Instrumental Music, 
the origin of Vocal Music is enveloped in a pitch black 
fog. If man was a savage when he invented the 
Drum, he sang before he was a human being— that is if 
we regard Speech as the differentia of humanity; for 
though in tracing back Instrumental Music we at last 
come to a point where it stops for good, meeting with 
tribes of men, and these the most degraded, who have 
no Instrumental Music ; in tracing back Vocal Music on 


the contrary we never come to a stop ; for the Mincopies, 
the Fuegians, the Botocudos, the Veddahs, all of them 
sing, and we can go even lower still till we get to singing 
apes, and singing gibbons, ^ and by a stretch every 
animal in creation that has a voice may be said to sing — 
for they utter their emotions by means of their voice, 
and that is what singing ultimately comes to. It will be 
seen then that singing must have a different origin 
altogether from Instrumental Music ; indeed it agrees 
with it in nothing except in the bare general fact that the 
Voice like the Instrument produces tones — and both 
producing the same thing, tones, have a tendency in the 
Universe to come together after a time, and having come 
together to influence one another. But in their origin 
(and that is what we are concerned with now) they were 
utterly and entirely distinct. The very tones agreed in 
nothing but in being tones ; for while the tones of the 
savage's instrument, his pipe for instance, were a mere 
haphazard capricious jingle, expressive in their entirety, 
certainly, of a definite frame of mind, but, taken 
severally, mere random sounds, the tones of the voice 
were each of them individually charged with meaning; 
each shade of tone meant a corresponding shade of 
thought. And while Instrumental Music was a language 
in the sense that all Art is a language, Vocal Music began 
as a language in the strictest signification of the word. 
And while the rnen who employed Instruments to express 
their emotions by were Artists, since they preferred some 
other medium than language to express themselves by, 
those who employed the Voice so were not artists, for 
they were only using the ordinary means of expression 

i Darwin's Descent of Man. p. 


which every man on the face of the earth at that time 
employed. ^ 

The first language, then, that man spoke was a language 
of gestures and cries, these gestures and cries being in 
the first instance but reflex actions, that is to say con- 
tractions, whether of the muscles that contribute to the 
production of the voice, or of other parts of our 
organism, produced by the motor nerves reflecting from 
a ganglionic centre the impressions made on the sensory 
nerves. There was a preliminary period therefore in this 
language when these gestures and cries were merely 
understood, (just as a child or a dog, says M. Veron, will 
understand the face and voice of an angry man) and not 
consciously employed as a vehicle of expression. But 
this conscious employment came at last, and the cry and 
gesture language which then grew up, rudimentary and 
inadequate as it may appear to us, yet covered the entire 
ground of human consciousness at that primitive period. 
For it enabled man to express his wants and his feelings 
perfectly, and if it came to narrative, its resources could 
be eked out by mimicry. 

But as man's sphere of experience gradually extended 
and his ideas became more complex, he began to find 
that this old body-language grew daily less and less able 
to render with due precision the thought which 
struggled for expression. At the same the very 
extension of his knowledge brought his logical and 
intellectual faculties more into play, and enabled them 
gradually to disengage themselves from the naive 
confusion of his infant mind and to assert their title to 
monopolise expression. We need not here go into the 
question of the Origin of Language. It will be sufficient if 

I For the discussion of the question of Gesture-Language, see Tyler's 
Primitive Culture, I, Chap. 5. 

fHE voiCfi. 73 

we keep in mind that it was the child of the intellect ; as 
to how particularly it arose, whether the principle of 
symbolism had already got recognition in the gesture- 
language, and was thence transferred to the word- 
language; or whether words are, so to speak, the gestures 
of the intellect, which when once it moves must be 
creative and stereotypographic — this need not concern 
us. We have only to note the consequence of the rise 
of word-language, which was this — that little by little 
it usurped the whole domain of gesture-language. 
Mimicry was the first to give way, for its role, Narration, 
was a work of far less labour when sustained by language, 
at the same time that narration, referring to what is 
passed and over, is less ruffled by the gales of- emotion, 
and therefore the most akin to the purely intellectual. 
But not only was narration to be handed over to the new 
agency henceforward : feeling and passion too were to 
take an intellectual livery : the hitherto inarticulate 
language of emotion was to be transmuted into words. 
And this tendency has reached its climax to-day when we 
word reflex sounds. ^ 

Henceforth, then, gestures and cries ceased to be 
the actual exponents of thought, and were humbled 
into being " the commentaries on the thought." - But 
there was this difference in their commenting. While 
gestures were only an occasional commentary, the cry 
or vocal sound, as we must call it now, being 
indispensable to the word, was and is a running 

I Interjections are reflex Sounds (See Steinthal's Psychologie und 
Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin, 1871, p., 376). But if you frighten a German 
he will cry "Jesus!" And a Frenchman will exclaim " Mon Dieu." 
Compare "Good Heavens!" "Dear me," &c. Pure Interjections all 
of them, yet even in these the intellect must interpose. Oaths belong to 
the same category and illustrate the same principle. 

3 Herbert Spencer's Essay on the Origin and Function of Music 
in the Westminster Review. 


commentary. What sort of a commentary ? An 
emotional and ethical one. The tone in which a word 
is uttered tells what the heart and the conscience 
think of that word. It is for this reason that it is so 
difficult to tell a good lie, without considerable practice 
in the art. And for the same reason it is so difficult 
to ape a calm delivery when we are agitated — the 
words may be the most tranquil in the dictionary, 
but it is ten to one that all their edges are ruffled 
by the tone they are spoken in. Hence, that 
words can conceal thought is only true when they 
are written words. The practised diplomatist may 
deceive inexperienced people like us; but he will be 
infallibly detected by another lying diplomatist as 
practised as himself. Bear in mind that we are all 
of us bilingual. Every word we utter has a shadowy 
companion that means as much and is understood 
every bit as well as the great bunch of vowels and 
consonants that goes with it. The fact being that we 
have inherited two languages from our ancestor, 
Man — one a tone language which, so to speak, he 
got from Nature, like all other animals; the other a 
word language which he made for himself. And the 
former as an independent mode of utterance is not 
yet obsolete, though we appeared to hint as much a 
page back. Even yet there is a great deal of feeling 
that will not go into words without a remainder, 
Oar transports, our despair, our love, our ecstasy of 
hope often refuse to be filtered through the medium 
of Language. When we talk like a petit-mattre on the 
death of some respected personage, our volubility is 
surprising ; words rise up in a ceaseless flood and 
are as rapidly rattled off the tongue. But when we 
grieve in earnest we are forced to fall back on the 
old passionate sob, the old-fashioned wail with which 

tHE VOICE. 75 

thousands of centuries ago our old barbarous forefathers 
gave voice to their woe. \ 

Still for all that, the text of the dirge is not a sob, 
but " Come away, death," or " Requiem aeternam.'' 
That is to say, for all practical purposes the two 
languages are indissolubly united, just as the artists 
in them were at first one, till by leaning to the tone 
language the one grew into a Musician, and by leaning 
to the word language the other grew into a Poet. 
For all practical purposes the tone and the word are 
knit together, and the tones will be simply the exact 
moral and emotional reflections of all good and honest 
words — of all words that are not lies. And it is because 
the Tone depends so entirely on the Word which in 
its turn depends on the Thought for its being, its 
texture, and its character, that I have ventured to call 
Vocal Music the Intellectual side of Music as opposed 
to Instrumental Music, the Sensuous Side, where the 
tone is free from such slavish dependence. And 
further it is because the Tone is so terribly fettered at 
every hack and turn by the Word to the prejudice 
of free euphony, that I have called Vocal Music the 
Unmusical Element ; in opposition to Instrumental 
which I call the Musical Element, because every 
advantage that free euphony can have is there given. 
It will be my purpose to show how in course of time 
that was developed into Vocal Music which at first 
was an integrant part of ordinary Speech. 

For all practical purposes, then, the tone and the 
word are one — the tone being the commentary on 
the word. But now let us consider what a marvellous 
weight the Subject has in the matter, and how 
sometimes in consequence the words swallow up the 
tone, and sometimes the tone swallows up the words* 
When we talk of common subjects, of subjects that 


do not interest us, the tone we use is purely mechanical 
and inexpressive. It is merely the flooring for our 
garrulous words to run on ; it has no part in them. 
This is what we term Ordinary Speech, and here the 
words swallow up the tone. But suppose we are much 
interested in what we are saying, we very soon abandon 
our mechanical tone then. In our anxiety to make 
every syllable tell, we employ every variety, every shade 
of tone ; for we are backing up our words by our feelings, 
the head by the heart. And so the old language of 
feeling is unconsciously brought into requisition, and 
we draw on it more and more as our interest or 
excitement increases. Till at last when it comes to any 
highly impassioned utterances, we are all tone. Now 
this second branch of Speech, where the tone swallows 
up the word, we may call Impassioned Speech and 
we may well contrast it with Ordinary unimpassioned 
Speech in its musical aspect. And we shall find that 
Impassioned Speech approaches as near to singing 
as Ordinary Speech recedes from it ; for to make 
the tone of no account and the mere words everything 
is as opposite to the nature of singing as could well 
be imagined, but Impassioned Speech which lays all 
the stress on the tone comes very near to the nature 
of it. And besides that, do we not raise our voices, 
under the influence of emotion, into an exalted tone ? 
and pass from high to low and from low to high, 
contrasting our shades of feeling by means of genuine 
musical intervals ? And we have a tendency to dwell 
on emphatic words — this being the italics of expression^- 
and in so dwelling on words we poise the voice on 
tones and bring out without knowing it genuine musical 
notes. Impassioned Speech indeed is wreathed in 
Music. And without going any further I may avow 
it here as Music's parent. And to state the case 


precisely I will lay down the following position about 
the origin of Vocal Music : — Vocal Music arose mediately 
from Utterance, which, when languaged, is Speech ; 
but Speech separated into the two great branches 
of Ordinary Speech and Impassioned Speech, and 
Vocal Music arose immediately from Impassioned 
Speech. ^ 

So Impassioned Speech has soared aloft as Vocal 
Music, while Unimpassioned Speech has remained 
grovelling on the earth, the vehicle of small-talk, scandal, 
gossip : the darling of tea-parties and the clubs. For be 
it observed that the moving power throughout is the 
Thought. Only when fired by Emotion, only when 
inspired by the Thought can the Voice take wings and 
become celestial. Joy, grief, love, hope, despair, 
heroism, fortitude, despite the universality of Music, will 
ever remain her favourite themes to the end, because 
they were her original ones. Moved by such feelings as 
these did primitive man first raise his rugged voice in the 
accents of passion : — 

" I wish for the speed of a bird to pounce on the 
enemy. I look to the morning star to guide my steps. 
I devote my body to battle. I take courage from the 
flight of eagles. I am willing to be numbered with the 

" It is my form and person that make me great. I 
shield myself with secret coverings. All your thoughts 

I This last clause gives Mr. Spencer's position. The earlier position 
advanced in this chapter of a language of sounds being the embryo 
of Vocal Music, and to which the expression that Vocal Music arose 
mediately from Utterance may be , taken to allude, he would not allow, 
and this is the difference between his view and Mr. Darwin's, for Mr, 
Darwin conceives Singing to have preceded Speech. 


are known to me — blush ! I could draw you hence, 
were you on a distant island. I speak to your naked 

" I am rising to seek the war path, The earth and 
sky are before me. I walk by day and night. And the 
evening star is my guide." 

Tune, and what we mean by Singing, had as yet no 
existence when words like these were first heard on the 
earth. Men were heroes before they were choristers ; 
they knew love before they knew notes. 

Did I say that Impassioned Speech had taken wings 
and flown up ? But half remains below — as noble in its 
humanity as the other in its divinity, and showing what 
the angel was while yet a man. And in the impassioned 
utterance of the orator we may see to-day what our 
Songs were thousands of years ago ; and in the pleadings 
of women we may hear them ; and in the prattle of 
children. And it is from rills like these that artists 
unconsciously draw, and keep the great truths of our 
emotions alive that otherwise had long ago been stifled in 
the loaded air we live in. 

For indeed if Song were suddenly banished neck and 
crop from the earth and all its traditions with it, we 
should be hard put to restore it again ; and should pro- 
bably remain songless till the end of time. For the 
fount of Song has been dried up in the drying up of the 
emotions which centuries of civilisation have not passed 
over our heads without accomplishing. We have not 
that plethora of feeling which could produce an embryo 
Art as the mere effusion of nature. But with primitive 
man the emotional far overtopped the intellectual ; and 
along with a far smaller stock of words at his disposal 
than we have, he had a far stronger desire to make his 
words tell. How much greater the tax therefore that 
would be put upon the tone. Hence the Australians 


have been described as " a nation of singers," ^ which 
merely means that their words are accompanied by a 
most impassioned dehvery. Hence the otherwise 
inexpHcable fact that savages can extemporise song 
after song with the greatest ease ; ^ which is but saying 
that they express their thoughts in highly impassioned 

But still for all thit Impassioned Speech is not Singing, 
and the points of difference between the two are too 
many to need enumerating. In singing we use the whole 
range of our voice ; in speaking we use only a part of it. 
When we sing we single out certain tones and keep to 
them ; when we speak we flounder about at random, 
making mincemeat of tones, and never resting for a 
moment on any of the bits. The more obvious 
differences I will not speak about, for it is quite plain 
that there is a wide distinction between the two. And 
though many of the extemporised songs (so called) of 
savages, as travellers admit, are merely pieces of 
impassioned declamation, there are quantities of well 
attested savage songs which will by no means admit of 
this explanation, and approach far more nearly to our 
own songs than many of us are aware of. The break 
between Impassioned Speech and Song is as cleanly 
made with savages as it is with us ; and if Song is the 
child of Speech it has been begotten in some far more 
primitive state than what we find the savages in of 
to-day. It behoves us then to consider what influences 

1 Grey's Journal of Two Expeditions of Discovery, II. 

2 All travellers testify to the fact, eg., the Souriquois extemporised 
many songs in praise of Mons. de Poutrincourt ; the Botocudos in praise 
of the Prince of Neu-wied ; the Fijians also, &c., &c. Cf. also Eyre's 
remark in his "Discoveries," p. 239, and particularly Grey's Journal, I, 


were at work with Primitive Man to convert Impassioned 
Speech into Song Proper. And it seems to me 
that there were certain influences at work from a 
very early period indeed. And the first and most 
important was the influence of the Story. 

For in the calm evenings and amidst the glow of 
the camp fires had it ever been man's wont to 
dedicate the thin margin of leisure which fringed his 
daily toil to ennobling his thoughts and recreating his 
spirit with hearing and reciting the deeds of the past. 
Or it might be the events of the chase that took place 
during the day, or the exploits of the war-trail, or the 
story of some old vendetta and how it was fulfilled. ' 
These things then were told round the camp fires or in 
the gloom of the caves, and little by little the Story began 
to take its place as one of the recognised forms of human 
expression. x\nd whether it were that Narrative, being as 
we have remarked the strictly Intellectual department of 
expression, would allow but little scope for the Emotional 
commentary — the inflections of the Voice — to assert 
itself; or that unity of subject in the narration would 
engender unity of vibration in the tone ; or whether, 
putting it more popularly, the wish to avoid fatiguing the 
voice were the reason, or the desire to make it carry 
further ^ — whichever we may choose as the efficient 
cause, they are all equally true explanations of the grand 
fact that now occurred, namely, that in telling the Story, 

1 For the love of story-telling which often amounts to a passion among 
savages, instances are to be found in the works of nearly all travellers. 
Du Chaillu describes the Shekianis as sitting up round their watch fires 
till two or three in the morning reciting stories; Bowdich the Fantees 
in the same manner (Mission to Ashantee, p. 449). So Bates, Eyre, and 
many others. 

2 Which is the acknowledged reason among the Australians. Grey's 
Journal, II., 253. 



men got the habit of confining the voice much to one 
note. And in the rise and development of Story-telling, 
we hail the rise of the Chant. 

Now what would be the practical effect of the Chant, 
or as we would rather say, of the practice of Intoning, on 
the behaviour of the Human Voice ? Its practical effect 
would be to correct that fluctuation and unsteadiness of 
tone, that floundering about and never settling, which is 
so essentially the characteristic of Speech. This I say 
would be gradually overcome by that habit of dwelling on 
one particular tone which was created by the exigences 
of Story-telling. And only after such a habit had been 
engrained in man for ages, would such forms as this : — 




i i i 






¥ 2 3 














1 1. 3 


ti— |i=^:if»:#^ 







-Zis — i^ — I — I — I— d 

:i=zigii=ai;jf*:jf*:xa?z±-^=l=^=7.g^— «:S«:S*:x«=: 




-^—X* ^— fii^- 




which might perhaps with greater propriety be subdivided 
into still smaller intervals, so : — 

1 1 

8 4 

i i 3 15 3 7 

8 4 8 2 8 4 8 



II. 4 1 1 3 11 

8 ¥ 8 2 8 4 8 

1 1 

8" 4 

=^= 3z^wSbiS^^SiS -3-i^^Fj=^=gg^^^ 

I Allgemenie Mus. Zeitung 1805, p. 269, 



be trimmed down into : — 

A B 

I I I I /< 



I I 



E F 







Only I say after a long apprenticeship to the Chant 
would all the enharmonic edges and tags be rubbed off, 
and the genuine Musical Note stand out in full relief — 
being, in reality, the sentence of feeling as a word is a 
Sentence of Thought. 

For just as the unit of expression in language is the 
Sentence, so in Music the unit of Expression is the 
Phrase. One word taken by itself means nothing, and 
one note means as little. The single word, being a 
meaningless thing, can never have been the starting point 
of language, nor can the single note have been the 
starting point of Music. But if each single word is really 
a decayed sentence, and was a complete sentence to 
begin with, ^ then it is a very different thing. And just 
as each word was once a sentence in language, so was 
each note in Music once a phrase. Between each of 
those things we call tones there are one hundred possible 
fractions on any of which the voice can as well poise 

I Waitz who was a Student of the Master Science and therefore not 
hampered by the Philological Dogmatic, was the first to offer this solution 
of the Origin of Language. And his views have been developed and 
confirmed by an eminent Philologist, A. Sayce, 


itself as on that particular hundred and first one which 
we have selected as the note, and all of which we run 
and scramble through backwards and forwards whenever 
we open our lips to speak. So that it seems to me that 

what we^call G #^ ^ - is the decayed or compressed 


form of the original phrase 


JL 1. 

2 2 

-t ^* < ft^r>^ 


X ^ X 3^ 

for this is how we should speak at that pitch. And I 
think that the unsteadiness in the ejaculation of this 
sentence would gradually be corrected by the influence 
of the chant till 


was consolidated or if you like until it decayed into 

Nor is this view by any means a fanciful one ; for let 
alone the natural evidence which Speech to-day furnishes 
us with, we have living testimony to this primitive form 
of Note in the Music of the Maories of New Zealand, just 
as we have living testimony to the Sentence Word in the 
dialects of North and South America. For the Maories 

I Carpenter tells us in his Physiology, p., 752, that there are one hun- 
dred possible intervals between each tone. Madame Mara could sing 
every one of them. 



are unable to sing one clear note as we do, and then 
another, passing from note to note, and making their 
phrases out of these, but each note is itself the phrase. 

Where we should chant simply ^ 

i^ H it' i# 


mai pukeMna 


And they give 

pu - ke - hi - na 



:3|— — I [- 1 1 — where we should intone it 

Ka - ko - ki - - mai 






-^ — 

^-=>=1 > |> l ^^=N-^ for 


Ke - i 

a - ku - ka - mo 






Yn — i** — ^' — ^ — 1»» : \ I S-; — I ** * : I 1 k i — ^ 

ka ke - tc ■ - i - ti Ta - 

where we should simply chant it 





Tnapeka ketei • ti Ta ■ hau 
or very likely j^ ~ 

I J. Davies oil Maori Music in ;Grey's Polynesian Mythology 


Now if we were allowed to take this Maori phrase as 
in reality one Phrase Note we might find in it the 
Musical brother to the Cherokee Sentence Word, 
Winitawtigeginaliskawhingtanawneletisesti, which although 
it means " They will now have finished their compli- 
ments to you and me " is but one single word and only 
an exaggerated type of what constantly occurs in the 
Cherokee language. But without wishing to push the 
thing to the verge of burlesque by quoting any 
exceptional instances such as these, and preferring rather 
some simple instance as the ancient Mexican Nischotshite- 
moa, " I gather flowers," or the Nahuatl Nihniktia, 
"I kill it" or the Latin Amaho, "1 am coming into 
love " {ama fio) or the Greek 8tSoj/xt " there is a giving 
by me," as an illustration, I wish to put forward the 
theory that the Note in Music has had the same history 

as the Word in Language and that F H ^"^ 

were first heard in the world as 

U 11^ 1— — I I— ^ and 


j-J- V ^- gJ- ^- 

by which I intend to represent the unsteadiness of tone 
in which the Voice began to attach itself to the central 
pivot. And these scrambles or jumbles of sound were 
as good musical phrases as any that delight us to-day, 
and were the natural form in which the Voice showed 
itself before it had been trained to a strict and true 
intonation by the long continued influence of the Chant. 
Which is but another way of saying that the Phrase 
gradually lost its meaning as a phrase and faded into the 
Note, as the Sentence Word lost its meaning as a 


sentence and faded into the Root ; and henceforth Roots 
themselves had to be combined into new Sentences and 
Notes to be combined into new Phrases. And this is an 
account of the Osteology of Song. 

But there is no need to jump the period of transition 
which I have now alluded to, for we can follow the 
process of change step by step. And first of all, men 
were contented with One Note. The Spoken Phrase at 
the normal pitch of the Speaking Voice would of itself 
easily shake down into this one note under the influence 
of the Chant, and for a time there is no reason why one 
note should not have Vbeen completely sufficient. A long 
time indeed must have elapsed before tone itself could get 
to be looked on as a subject for objective treatment, and 
until that time came, one note, which admitted all the 
expression and all the varieties of inflection of the spoken 
phrase and was indeed precisely the same, barring a 
greater steadiness of intonation, was quite capable of 
meeting all the demands which the broad and simple 
emotions of man at that time laid upon music. In this 
way it came to pass that the first Musical Note which 
was ever heard in the world was G, ' and for a very long 
time indeed the whole musical art lay in embryo in that 
note. At the present day the songs of savages are nearly 
all at this pitch, that is to say, with G for the key note, 
and those savages who have only one note in their music 
always have G for that one note. The living illustrations 
of the primitive period we are now speaking of are those 

1 Gardiner, however, who is the patriarch of all such speculations, 
would have preferred F. He conceived F to be the normal note of 
the human voice, and for the following reason : he used to go into the 
gallery of the Stock Exchange and listen to the hum of the voices 
beneath him, and he always found that the hum after some little time 
" amalgamated perceptibly " into one long-drawn note which was always 
F (Music of Nature, p. 250). 


people who are generally looked upon as in the lowest 
stage of human development, the inhabitants of Tierra del 
Fuego. Their Singing is almost indistinguishable from 
ordinary Declamation, and both are on one note, 

G, the men sing Q and the women 

j^ ^ an octave higher than the men. ^ Yet 


although the Fuegians receive great praise for the 
correctness with which they intone their note, ^ it is 
plain that there is a remarkable unsteadiness sometimes, 
but it is such an unsteadiness as may be taken as a fair 
proof of an anterior stage when their G was not a note 
but a Phrase. For one of their songs is 

Yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah yah mass 


scoo nah yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah 

which if it were accurately written, we might judge on 

the analogy of the Maori songs would be 


Z5r ._^ ^ i^i^r r ^r- i:e=^-g= r-^-r-r-^^r-r— 

Yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah yah mass scoo nah 

yah mass scoo nah yah mass 

I: Drayton is somewhat vague in this particular, for after mentioning 
G as the note of declamation, he elsewhere prefers G sharp, in which 
indeed he writes their song (Wilkes' United States Exploring Expedition, 
I. 152. 

" When the chief made an harangue, he spoke in G natural, and did 
not vary his voice more than a semitone.'' lb. 

3 This is Mr. Drayton's notation, lb. p. 125. 



that is to say, a swaying of the voice about the note G, 
rather than the actual intonation, of the semitone, 
G, G sharp. ^ 

But there is one song of the Fuegians in which they 
get beyond their one note and its attendant semitones or 
demitones and that is ths following : — 

-^ tf» r 

^ t^i» g: 


Ha ma la 

ma la 

Ha ma la 

Ha ma la 

^-^ r . f. f. f \f r f r r t 

la la la la la la la la la la 

So that we must admit that even the Fuegians are 
getting beyond the One Note period in Music, and we 
must find the rest of our evidence about that period in 
Survivals among the songs of other savages who are 
at a much higher stage of musical development. And I 
think the following song of the Feegee Islanders may 
serve as a very good illustration of the One Note 
Period : — 

((*3: ^ r r 

^ ^ ^ ^ 


'W ft * it ^ ^ \ 


^ ^ ^ i 
^ ^ ^ ^ 

--bg-feii i 1 1 

\ ^-^-^-4 \ 

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ p 


which is amoebaean, for two singers answer one another 
in it. 

Or this snatch of an Esquimaux song, 

t At any rate they were able to imitate the enharmonic interva 
that were produced on a violin string by the finger being slid down it. 

2 Wilkes' United States Explaining Expedition. I., 125, 

3 Wilkes, III,, 189. 



: W~W~W ^ 

:£g=l '^ ^ k^ 

* ^ ^ 

V V ^ \/- 

Ah am - na a - ya A - ya am - na Ah 






"y ^ -1*-^- 

'^ ' ^ \ ^ \^-- 

Am - na a - ya 

Or a similar passage in a medicine song of the North 
American Indians, 

-^ -^ --^ --^ -^ -g^ -^ -^ 

And in another medicine song, the constantly repeated 


or the very developed phrase in a song of the Australians, 
which is quite half the whole song 

Ear-ra-bu-la bar-ra-ma man-gi-ne wey en-gii-na bar-ra-bu-la bar-ra-ma 

Such passages as this I say, which are of constant 
occurence in savage songs, taken along with the abundant 
testimony of travellers to the monotonous character of all 
savage singing, for Bowdich who gives us some very 
tuneful specimens of Ashantee and Fantee song says that 
on the whole their singing is not to be distinguished from 

I Parry's Voyages, IL I have a theory about this song, viz., that the 
other notes which occur in the course of it are rather to be considered 
the natural falling of the voice from pitch; and I imagine it ought to be 
considered in its entirety as virtually a One Note song. 

3 Wilkes' United States Exploring Expedition, IV., 399. 

3 V/ilkes, IV., 399. 4 Quoted in Engel's National Music, p. 26. 


monotonous recitative, ' and Williams says of the Fijians 
that their singing is all on one note, ^ and Wilkes of the 
Samoans and Sandwich Islanders in like manner, Sagard 
of the Aoutmoins, ^ and Cook of the New Zealanders, ^ 
so that it seems to me that in the few specimens of 
savage song which we have to work on we have only the 
melodious snatches that caught the ear, while the great 
mass of unmelodious song is unhappily unreported — but 
without going into this question I say that the frequent 
one note phrases, and these one note songs, together with 
the natural genesis that we must assume of song from 
Declamation, seem to me to go far to bear out the idea 
that the history of Vocal Music commenced with a One 
Note Period of which the modern Fuegians are "as near as 
possible the living examples. 

Now the practical effect of Chanting on Impassioned 

Speech would be ever more and more to isolate the tone 

from the words ; and the struggling into being of the One 

Note would bring the isolation clearly before men's 

minds. So that we may expect that the next step would 

be to treat the Tone objectively, to make it the subject 

matter of Art. Men would get to enjoy the sound of 

Jtself and study to give it variety. And while this object 

would be first secured by variety of rhythm, to which I 

shall presently allude at some length, the tendency 

would undoubtedly be set on foot which would ultimately 

result in the addition of another note to the compass of 

the Chant. A One Note Period would be succeeded by a 

Two Note Period. And of this Two Note Period we 

have some admirable examples. 

1 Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee, p. 364. 
3 Williams' Fiji and the Fijians, I., 163. 

3 Un bruit fort bas comme vous diriez le murmure de cetix qui 
barbotent leurs heurs. 

4 "A low and plaintive monotonous chaunt." 


I have already alluded to the Two Note song of the 
Fuegians whom we found on the verge of the Two Note 
Period, but here is perhaps a better illustration. 

A Song of the Brazilians. 

This is the song that De Lery heard them singing when 
he looked through the top of the tent and saw them 
sacrificing to the Maraca. There were 500 or 600 men 
singing it, and he describes the sound as of indescribable 
sweetness ^ 

The song of the African slaves in Rio is another 


n)j.<^^rj.^'jrj.^^r j_._^j =g: 

And a song or rather the greater part of a song of the 
Samoans: — 


. ^ ^ 

l ^^i -f i l /l ^i ! i ! \ ■ \ ^ ^- 

/>V> f> 



* a> P' 

s — ^- 

A » i* ^ *- * -w \' 

\9ji r ! , 1 ; ; 1 1 ,' 1 1 1 ; f 1 



y /* ' 

1 1 

{> U* L<< U' l> L<i 

If these people can be content nowadays with two 
notes in their songs, we may see that there is nothing 
improbable in the assumption that there was a period 

1 J'en demeuray tout ravi ; mais aussi toutes les fois qu'il m'en 
souvient, le coeur m'en tressaillant il me semble que je les aye encores a 
mes oreilles. De Lery's Histoire de TAmerique, ch. i6. 

2 Wilkes' United States Exploring Expedition, I., 53. 

3 Wilkes' II., 134. 



and probably a very long period in the history of 
Primitive Man when the whole resources of Vocal Music 
consisted of two notes. For it is by these slow steps 
that things are made. And no one who knows from what 
patient and humble beginnings those bright and glorious 
things we enjoy have struggled up, will refuse to go with 
me in my endeavour to piece Music together bit by bit. 

After a Period of Two Notes then, there came a period 
of Three Notes. One more note was added to the 
compass of the Chant, and as was natural it was the next 
note above. And now there was the prospect of many 
melodious changes being rung. For the feeling for 
melody came later than that of rhythm and was making 
itself felt now. In the One Note Period the variety, if 
much were attempted, could only be gained by rhythmic 
means, and in this particular there may have been much 
attempted. In the Two Note Period also the same 
means would principally be employed. But when Three 
Notes came to be used, there was the temptation to gain 
the variety by the Melody, and at the same time there 
was the Melodic geist abroad; of which the Three Notes 
were themselves the result. 

I am not making any reservations when I speak of 
Melody. It was probably in emulation of a certain 
Canadian Song that Rousseau was tempted to write his 
Melody on Three Notes. And though the savage songs 
which I shall now quote cannot be expected to appeal 
very strongly to our ear, the marvellous difference 
between these and the Two Note ones on the last page 
will be at once apparent ; and it will also be plain what a 
complete reformation the mere addition of one note to 
the existing two would work in the art of Music. For in 
addition to the scope it would give to Melody to assert 
itself, three notes would form a Scale, which I take in 
the meanwhile may be described very well by Burnouf's 


definition of a literary form, ce qui a un commence- 
ment, tin milieti, et une fin ^ which applied to music 
would mean that the melody by progressing from its base 
to its extremity through some intermediate sound is 
enabled to make a distinct fall to its base again, and so 
secure that symmetry of outline and repose at the end of 
the song, which the ear soon gets to require — although 
this definition may have to be modified perhaps hereafter 
in order to admit two notes to the honour of a scale. 

Now since I have at last got to the question of the 
Scale, and the Scale as we understand it is to Music what 
the sum total of its Roots is to a language, and at the 
same time it is very important for students of Music to 
see how those roots we use to-day and call the scale have 
been got together, I will take the liberty to write my 
instances henceforward in the scale of C, in order to make 
this point clear. I will transpose all the songs into the 
scale of C- — for it is a mere question of pitch that makes 
them written by travellers in any other — and it will be 
principally from G or F that I shall have to transpose, 
so that C may well stand as the probable equivalent of G 
or F, only for the benefit of using a common standard 
and also of employing the simplest and typical notation, 
the equivalent will often have to be put for the reality. 

For by taking an ideal pitch such as C and reducing all 
songs to it we shall be able to compare the occurrence of 
the Semitones in each, which is a most important thing ; 
and we can talk more freely and lucidly of the Semitone 
between E and F, and B and C, than if we had to alter 
our wording every time and speak now of the semitone 
between B and C, and E and F sharp, and in the next 
breath of the semitones between A and B flat and E and 
F, which would mean the same but appear different, and 

I Burnouf's Essai sur le Veda, p., 71, 


this would be most confusing. So we will take C as our 
ideal pitch, and, whatever the key actually be, we will let 
C stand for its first note, D for its second, E for its third, 
and so on, for if we were to follow the notation of 
travellers as I say who write the tunes at the exact pitch 
they were sung in, we should be encumbered with a 
ceaseless complication of Modern scales such as E, four 
sharps, G flat, six flats, &c., which we could never see light 
through. So whether the songs were in A flat or G flat 
or E flat or whatever they are, we will consider them all 
in the colourless scale of C. I will however always add in 
a note at the foot of the page from what Tonic the tune 
is reduced. 

- The Melodiousness then that is introduced into Music 
by the addition of a third note, that is of E, to the existing 
C and D, will be at once apparent when I quote some of 
the songs of savages which may serve as illustrations of 
the Three Note Period, among which I shall endeavour 
to exhibit some specimens from tribes who have at the 
present day no more than three notes to bless themselves 

And as the first specimen I will take a song of the 
negroes in South America whose music is characterised 
by this peculiarity, that " the notes seldom vary above 
a 3rd from the key." ' 

-■ yan a a Pa - ra can - tar sen 

1 In the extended version of this song in Wilkes, however, there is an F, 

2 Reduced from G, 


Part of a celebrated Feegee song 


^g^zrj^ .^ — ^N-^ — S. =^=^H — h — ^— ^-H-^ — M^=^ 

to - a ku - la ka tau- si - ta - ka - re se - in-kun-dra 



-a^—^ — w- 



^ — ^— ^ — ^ 


sa - lu sa - lu ni vu - thu ma - ke - ve va - ke 

A song of the Amhara Nubians who as far as I have been 
able to find never exceed the three note compass in their 
songs : — 










— I — I — 1«^ — j- 

J -S- 

^- ^ j*^ v -^-9:^^ 



The same remark applies to the Gonga Nubians. 
Another Nubian song : — 

O - ya A - ly - meh, - ya Se - li - neh, 


-9 — ^— » — » 

ra A - ly - meh, 

va Se - li 


A song of the Samoans :- 

1 Reduced from F. (Wilkes III., 245). 

2 Reismann's Geschichte der Musik, I. Reduced from G. 

3 Ambros Geschichte der Musik, I., 11. Reduced from G, 



(A whoop.) 

q»,__i s N S =:]*i=iK — ^: 

^ -g. ^. —. 

^ ^ a-4- 

^ ■i . ~>r~ls ~ >~l>~1 vzqi: 

^rT;^rTi^ ^ J J. J 


— 1».=>=I!»^ 

This last song will let us into the secret how the Three 
Note Scale would become extended. The whoop it is 
true does nothing definite towards extending the scale, for 
it simply raises the voice an octave, and then the scale 

would merely repeat itself ^^=p!zig~^ 

But it will 

afford us a suggestion towards explaining the next step 
which occurred in the History of Vocal Music, for strange 
to say the next phase of development which the scale 
passed through was not as we might imagine the 

addition to 


of the next note above. 

- c ^— gy 

, but the superposition of a new and smaller 

scale of TviO notes 

3 — -^r- on the old scale. 




And of this we have positive evidence, 

1 Wilkes, II., 134, 



not merely from the songs of savages, but from the 
musical systems of the civilised nations of antiquity, in 
all of which without exception there are obvious traces of 
a well defined Scale of Five Notes 




though many of them had grown out of it in practice 
at the time we first come across them. Now this 
scale of Five notes is plainly not one scale but two 
scales side by side. And I shall henceforth describe it 

as such. I shall call the scale, 3£ ^zzg |~ , the 

Great Scale, and the scale, Ji. — ^z::^^ , the Little 

Scale. And I shall say that the next step in the 
History of Vocal Music after the evolution of the 
Three Notes or Great Scale was the superposition of 
Two N^ew Notes or the Little Scale at an interval above. 
Now how are we to explain this peculiar fact — why was 
there an interval left between the two ? As to why G or 
the 5th above the tonic of the old scale should naturally 
be selected as the starting point of the new one is not so 
difficult to see. For the 5th is the great interval we use 
in speaking. Whenever we emphasise a word forcibly 
or speak in the accents of passion — and this is when we 
particularly make the voice bound from the ordinary rut 
of two or three contiguous notes which it generally 
travels in — I say, when we take an interval at all in our 
speaking we almost invariably take a 5th. In extreme 
cases, which would be the civilised parallel to the Samoan 


war whoop, we take an 8ve. But it is generally the 5th, 
or the 5th ten times as often as any other. So that why 
the Voice when it got to move with freedom away from 
the sterotyped compass of 3 notes should naturally 
ascend to the 5th, or to put it otherwise, why the Little 
Scale should begin at the 5th above the tonic of the old 
one, is as I say not so difficult to see. But why there 
should be any beginning at all, why the two new notes 
should not have been joined on to the E, as the E was to 
the D, and the D to the C, why there should be an actual 
break between the New Scale and the Old, is difficult to 
see. And it seems to me that the real explanation is 
this, that though it seem a break to us it was in reality 
no break at all ; that the ear had got so dulled to the 
appreciation of minute intervals under the influence of 
the steady-going monotone of the Chant, and the Voice 
itself so incapable of taking them for the same reason, 
that the step from E to G seemed no larger to the ear 
than the step from D to E ; and that if we would write 
the Five Notes in their true notation we mUvSt write them 
thus : — 


S f J J^3 


and then if the question were of joining on this series to 
another series an octave higher, the same remarks which 
apply to the E and G would apply to the A and the new 
C thus : — 



This is a way of explaining that curious phenonomon, 
the Five Note Scale, though as it is only a theory I shall 


prefer not to press it, but shall continue to regard the Five 
Note Scale as in reality two scales existing side by side, the 

Great Scale — — i — and the Little Scale _^ ! i 

And I shall go on to give them each their characters. 
I shall call the Great Scale the Declamatory Scale, and 
the Little Scale the Emotional Scale ; for I think that 
when the Voice was only rhetorically declaiming it 
would confine itself naturally to the normal reciting note 
of the Human Voice and the two notes above it, which 
though I am representing them here as C D E would in 

Normal Reciting 

reality be ^°*^ 




Konnal Reciting 
_ note. 


for the women. And only when under the influence of 
occasional emotion would it soar up to ^ ~ — or 


So that we may apply yet another termin- 

ology to our two Scales, and call the Great Scale the 
Ordinary Scale, and the Little Scale the Occasional Scale, 
which whether it is entirely true or not, is at any rate an 
offer at the truth, for we may be sure that as little in 
Music as in anything else has any spice of random got 


an entry. Every stitch of man's fair vesture teems with 
meaning. Each note in the gamut he has had a reason 

Now I have said that traces of the Five Note Scale are 
to be met with in the Music of all the civilised nations of 
antiquity. Some of these are only expiring traces as we 
may imagine, as in the case of the ancient Egyptians 
where there is very little evidence of its existence, for 
they were at a high pitch of musical development when 
we first find them. In the case of the Assyrians the 
evidence is thicker, although they too had long passed the 
Five Note stage when we first come across them. But 
in the case of other ancient nations the records of whose 
music are better preserved than theirs the testimony is 
clear enough. The most ancient scale of the Greeks, the 
scale of Olympus and Terpander, consisted only of five 
notes. ^ The ancient forms of all the Modes, about 
which we are most explicitly informed, were nearly all of 
five notes with a break in the middle. ^ The Music of 
the Ancient Hindus is in an excellent state of preservation 
and affords many instances of the Five note scale. The 
modes Velavali, Hindola, Malavastri, Gandi Dhanyasi, 
&c., are all Five note. Then there are the Basques of 
Musical History, a nation living in the heart of Modern 
Europe and preserving in their music the most authentic 
traces of the Five note scale — I mean the Scotch. About 
these people and how it is they have preserved the old 
scale longer than the rest of the civilised world I shall 

t Mr. Engel founds his presumption that the Assyrians had only five 
notes in their music on the following reasons : — A pipe found at Babylon 
whose notes he conceives a direct suggestion of a five note scale (see 
infra, Note on an ancient Assyrian Musical Instrument) ; the number of 
strings in the dulcimers, ten, which he holds as making the two octaves, 
five notes in each. 

2 That is the scale of Olympus, cf. infra, p. 3 Infra, p. 


have a word to say further on. But the best evidence 
to th e Five note scale is that afforded by the Chinese, who 
at the present day use no other. And the same remark 
appHes to the Indo-Chinese likewise. So that it seems 
we have plenty of proof of the existence of a primitive 
form of Musical Scale among mankind, which consisted 
of a group of three tones and a group of two tones 
separated from one another by the interval of a tone and 

a half, as it may be written jH5 — il=ij=:^ gi — c^ 

which in one word is the modern diatonic scale with the 
fourth and seventh omitted. And how this peculiar 
scale arose, and how it is really two scales side by side, I 
have endeavoured to show. 

Now it has always struck me that considering who those 
nations are that have not risen above the Five note scale to 
the present day, I mean the Chinese and Indo-Chinese — 
for I will as little take my Basques into account when I 
am generalising broadly like this, as a philologist would take 
his Basques if he were generalising on the raison d'etre of 
Incorporating Languages — so I say it has always struck 
me that considering who the Chinese and Indo-Chinese 
are, there must be some mysterious connection between 
the Five Note Scale and Monosyllabism. And I have 
thought that the same " want " which prevents the 
Chinese and Indo-Chinese combining their Monosyllabic 
roots into a genuine two syllable word also prevents 
them combining those sets of musical roots, the Great 
Scale and the Little Scale, into a genuine Diatonic 
Scale as other nations have done, by the insertion of a 
fourth and seventh, but instead of that they allow the 
two Scales to remain isolated from one another. And 


SO we may dub their music with the same name that 
Philologists apply to their Language, and say it is an 
Isolating Music. 

For to strike parallels between Music and Language is 
not merely admissible but seems in a manner to be 
obligatory on us. And perhaps when we do so we are 
not merely striking parallels but unearthing secret 
connections. When we find for instance a highly 
civilised nation like the Chinese content for ever with 
five notes in their scale, and on the other hand a 
primitive uncivilised people such as the Australians are, 
already in possession of the full Seven Note diatonic 
scale such as we use to-day; and turning to the languages 
of these two peoples find the Chinese language so 
bare and naked as we know it, destitute of 
all inflections, of all verbal structure, and indeed 
of all distinction between substantive and verb at all, 
but the Australian language, in utter contrast to this, 
in a most highly inflectional condition, ' possessing 
ten cases for its substantives, three numbers, singular, 
dual, and plural, with a verb as rich in tenses as the 
Latin, having terminations for the dual too, and three 
genders for the third person, and having in addition 
to the active and passive, reflective, reciprocal, 
determinative, and continuative forms — I say, what 
can we do with such a surprising comparison as this 
before us than assume an a priori Poverty in the 
invention and combination of sounds on the part of 
the Chinese, and a proportionate fertility on the part 
of the Australians — Phonetic Poverty and Phonetic 
Wealth we might call it — and this shining through 

1 I am taking the dialect of the most degraded of the Australian 
tribes, the inhabitants of King George's Sound, for my illustration. - 

164 History of music. 

would affect the production of Musical Sound as much 
as of Linguistic Sound, and this would be why the 
Chinese had only a broken scale of Five notes and 
the Australians a complete scale of Seven. I might 
quote the Itelmes of Kamstchatka as another set off 
against the Chinese, and the Polysynthetic uncivilised 
races are another good example, all of whom have a 
richer scale than the Chinese, and what will be plain, 
a much richer language. But on the other hand it 
might be argued that the Chinese language has attained 
its present position by the influence of Phonetic decay, 
and that perhaps their scale has become degraded in 
the same way — that if Polysynthesis is the beginning 
of language, then the earlier we go, not the later we 
travel, we may expect to find the scales the richer, and 
that indeed the history of the Note, which first appeared 
as a rich cluster of small intervals and was afterwards 
degraded into the naked note, would make in the same 
direction. And so the oldest kind of scale would be 
the Enharmonic scale of Speech, and this would next 
pare down to the Seven note Diatonic Scale, and 
after that would come the Five note scale which is really 
the youngest of all, as Monosyllabism in Speech has 
been compared to a battered old peak that has borne 
the storms of ages and has had all its edges and angles 
worn away by the weather. But it seems to me that 
the evidence for such a view would be weak in the 
meantime, and would have to be strained very much 
to force such a view. So that in the meantime the 
History of Music is not ripe for such a theory. And 
although I have taken cuttings from it in speaking of 
the Evolution of the Note, I shall not carry it any 
further than that ; but adopting Whitney's view of the 
Evolution of Language, that Monosyllabism is the 
earliest accessible form in which language appears, I 


shall treat the Five note scale in the same way, and 
regard it as essentially older and more primitive than 
the Seven note scale, to which indeed all the positive 
evidence we have seems to point. And I shall carry 
on Whitney's view in all its strictness, and as he 
says that all Language passes through three stages, the 
first, Monosyllabic, or Isolating we will call it, the 
second, Agglutinative, and the third. Inflectional, so will 
I say that all Music passes through three similar 
stages in its evolution of the Scale, the first, Isolating, 

z^iiziizl: j .^. g;l~ where the Great Scale and 

the Little Scale remain isolated from one another, as is 
found in the most ancient music of the nations of 
antiquity, the music also of many savages, and of the 
Chinese; and that the next stage is the Agglutinative 
Stage when these two scales are agglutinated by the 
msertion of the fourth 

, 1 ! 1 -H- 

1 1 —4 y^ &- 

-C>— — ^^^ 

and that last of all comes the Inflectional Stage 


when by the insertion of the seventh the scale is 
enabled to pass naturally to the 8ve above, and to 
modulate to a new scale on the keynote of its fifth. 

And that this is the real history of the scale all evidence 
tends to show, for all the songs of savages fall easily 
into these three great groups — Isolating, Agglutinative, 
and Inflectional. But what may well astonish us is to 



find that the first which we should expect to contain the 
largest stock on the contrary contains the smallest, 
and that if we want examples of the Isolating Scale 
we must go to the primitive Music of civilised races, 
not to modern savages. For the Isolating Scale is as 
rare with them as monosyllabism is, both having been 
lightly passed through perhaps as merely Transitional 
Epochs — and though Philology has not yet explained 
her part of the question, we may speculate as to ours, 
that since they are both the same sign of difficulty or 
poverty of expression, which is the constant concomitant 
of power of action, ^ those men who raised themselves 
by toil and action to civilisation suffered from this 
difficulty, but those who were content to dispense with 
that toil and remain little above the state they began 
in, excelled in copiousness of words no less than they 
did in poverty of deeds. 

But what specimens there are of the Isolating Scale 
in savage music these we will now give. (And the 
Indians of Guiana, the Fullah negroes, some tribes 
in the Soudan, and also some few of the Hudson's 
Bay tribes whose names I cannot certainly give and 
merely speak of them from hearsay are all we can 
refer to the Isolating Stage ^) : — 

() S # . J I K i N ! I ,> J ^ '^ > 

-d N- 



kv TToXijxoi dyopy 8e t dfieivoves hen Kal aAAoi 
2 Fetis notices this fact about the Fullah negroes and those that 
follow, that they have only five notes in their scale. Histoire de la 
Musique. With regard to the Indians of Guiana I have noticed it myself. 



Xhis is a very good example of the Isolating Stage. ' 
Here is a song from the Soudan : — 


N N 

l\) N ' ^ ^ 


S N 




And let us notice how large the intervals are to what 
we have been hitherto accustomed to ; and this, I take 
it, is a characteristic of the Isolating Stage, which also 
is the characteristic of the Music of the Chinese. 

Here is a song of the Fijians, and though the 
Fijians themselves are in the Agglutinative Stage, this 
song is here given because it seems so obvious a survival 
of that earlier stage of Isolation : 

Vi - na - ka vi - na-ka vi - na - ka vi - na-ka 

For the same reason we may write down this other 
Isolating Melody, which is a Fetich Hymn of the 
Fantees : — 



~ i r*~^ 



A - fi nai - e pwae - e gnorwoora a - fi nai - e pwae - e 

y IS ? fr ft Is 

/f S>S!>!^1^. I».r- 

r > 

^ ' d * ^ ^ 

1*1 > ^ K n k. IS IS ' ~ 

v-.| ; 

• • •ill 

J - r J ^ ^ ^ 


• ^ • 

-J- * • - J- ^ J- -J^- 

gnonvoora a • fi nai - e pwae-e gnor-woo-ra morbce gnor-woora 

I The rest of the music from which this is selected is however 
Agglutinative. Not so however with the next instance. Wilkes I., 53. 
- Ambros. Geschichte der Musik, p. 11. 

3 Wilke's United States Exploring Expedition, III., 56. 

4 Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee, p. 364. 



And this Fetich Hymn is particularly interesting to us. 
For the ordinary music of the Fantees is in the 
Inflectional Stage — it has the ordinar}^ seven notes in 
its scale. But the Fetich music uses only the five 
notes of the Isolating Scale. Now if we have been 
right before in considering Religion as the repository 
of the old, we might well argue that in the case of the 
Fantees we have ocular demonstration of the develop- 
ment of the Musical scale, and that their Fetich 
Music preserves the form in which all their music 
once was cast. 

These are the few examples we have been able to 
gather of the Isolating Scale among Savage Nations. 
But of the Agglutmative Scale on the contrary there 
are numerous examples, for it divides the honours with 
the Inflectional Scale as the common scale of savage 
nations. In the Agglutinative Stage, then, are the 
Bushmen, the Esquimaux, the Fiji Islanders, the 
Samoans, the Friendly Islanders, most of the North 
American Indians, the Brazilian tribes, the Laplanders.^ 
All these nations then make use of but six notes 


-^ — cJ . 

and I will go on to give some specimens of their Music. 

But before doing so it will be well to take into 
account the influence of Dancing on Song. For we 
have considered the influence of the Chant in turning 

t That is to say gathering from the very few specimens I have been 
able to see of Lapp Miisic, e.g., in Jones' Musical Curiosities and 
elsewhere. The references in the other cases will be taken up as we 
meet them. The doubtful one in the list is the Exquimaux. Though 
most of their songs are strictly six note, and all have the six note feel, 
there is one in Parry in which the seventh is used and I am not certain 
if I have not seen another. 


Speech into Song, but all this while there has been 
this other influence at work, and we have not yet taken 
any account of it. And yet its effects have been very 
marked indeed. For perhaps more strongly noticeable 
than the steadiness of the notes in all these specimens 
of primitive Song is the Rhythmic character which 
they all possess, and which would of itself be sufficient 
to separate them from all Declamatory Speech. Now 
this Rhythmic character is due to the influence of 
Dancing". For men singing when they were dancing 
would naturally accommodate their song or their speech 
to the beats of their feet. And so accommodating 
them they would bring two species of Rhythm to 
bear upon their song. For in every Dance there are 
two kinds of Rhythmic movement — there is the Rhythm 
of the Steps and there is the Rhythm of the Motions, 
Foot Rhythm and Figure Rhythm we may term them. 
And we will first speak of Foot Rhythm. 

That gay flinging about the feet, which we call 
Dancing, and which differs from walking and running 
in being so gloriously objectless, for we walk to reach 
a certain place and we run to get there the faster, 
but in dancing we take all the trouble for nothing— 
so Dancing being as I say a frolic of the body or the 
wanton enjoyment of motion, expresses itself by a certain 
movement of the feet which is peculiarly its own, and 
must have been natural to it from the very first. The 
step and the stride belong to the Walk ; but the property 
of the Dance is the Skip. 

Now since the Skip consists of a heavy beat of the 
foot followed by a light one, let us see how this would 
affect the Voice. The Voice would be thrown in the 
fetters of an artificial emphasis, for it would emphasise 
the syllable on which the heavy beat of the foot 
occurred and leave unemphasised the syllable of the 


light one. And this it would do despite itself; and 
since it would naturally sing one syllable to each beat 
of the foot, a swing of alternate light and heavy 
syllables would be the natural form into which the Voice 
would fall whenever it joined company with the dance. 
So a chant melody like this : — 

q==1=4— q: 

-— 1 — ^ 1 — m — ^ ^ — ^ — • 1 — ^ 1 — m — ^ 1 — ^ 1— 

S ^ S J, 4 • J. J # 


would under the influence of the dance become 



E^-j — p^i r — 1»-^ r I — fi-^ — ^z-j-zK^: 



But besides the Skip, which I take to be the general 
and typical motion in Dancing, there are other motions 
which would come quite as natural and are perhaps 
equally primitive, though they seem all more or less to 
be derived from the Skip. There is the Shuffle, which I 
take to be skipping without moving from the place. For 
when we shuffle we make the same alternation of long 
and short that we do in skipping, but with this difference 
that we do not move from the place, and this further 
difference that the short and long are both delivered by 
the same foot, for first one foot throws off a short or hght 
beat with the ball of the foot and then a long or heavy 
one with the whole sole on the ground, and then the 
other in like manner, so that the rhythm is precisely the 
same as in skipping, only in shuffling the light beat seems 
naturally to come first of the two, but in skipping the 


heavy beat, for starting in skipping with the weight of 
the body on the foot that leads, and skipping straight 
along, we naturally keep the weight of the body on the 
same foot all the time, and thus the leading foot will 
always give the heavy beat while the second foot will give 
the supplementary short one. But in shuffling and 
performing both beats with the same foot, it is impossible 
to perform the heavy beat first, as we may well know by 
trying ; but the light beat must come first and then the 
heavy. So that if we may express the rhythm of the 
skip by_ x^, we must express the rhythm of the shuffle by 
^_. And what shall we say of the Trip, which is the 
Moving Shuffle, for in the Trip each foot makes a short 
and long, and still the body moves, going straight along 
as it does in skipping ? And then there is what we may 
call the Double Skip, which gives quite a new rhythm, 
for it is a development of the Skip and consists in Right 
heavy, left light, right heavy ; Left heavy, right light, left 
heavy, which we may express thus_^^_, and which 
though perhaps somewhat complex in the describing 
comes as natural to a dancer as a stride to a walker. 
Indeed all these steps are what our own children use as 
soon as they have learnt to walk and run, and are there- 
fore easy and natural and without doubt almost as 
primitive as walking itself. 

So thus far we have four rhythmic movements of the 
feet — the Skip, the Shuffle, the Trip, and the Double 
Skip, and these give three rhythms : _ v^ , \j _, and _ v^ _ . 
And it should seem that the Trip, though naturally giving 
the v/_of the Shuffle, may also be performed with the 
heavy beat first, like the Skip is, but this is not so 
naturally done, and therefore we will retain the Trip in 
the sense of the Moving Shufile y^ _only, which was the 
first sense we took it in. 

Now let us take our ideal Melody again that we have 


set to the company of skipping, and set it now to the 
company of Shuffling or Tripping, ^_, and it is plain 

that instead of ^=ZT=j^Z3zz^:d:r— i^— F^^*^^^ &c. 
it will become 


■J. ^ -J. * S ^. 4 



or setting it to the Double skip which we must be allowed 
to write \ I P* zl~ it will become : — 

^ — I ^ I 1 > \ I J ! ! nJ'— ^ — M ^ 


Now these are the three forms of rhythm that have 
naturally grown out of a simple set of notes by applying 
these different modes of stepping to them. But it is 
plain we have not yet considered the full influence of the 
dance on these notes if we content ourselves with this. 
For besides the steps that the feet make in the dance 
there are the motions of the body in it to be taken into 
account, that is to say, besides Foot Rhythm there is also 
Figure Rhythm to be considered which plays its part in 
all these motions of stepping, that is to say except in the 
case of the Shuffle where the body remains at rest ; but 
then the Trip is the Moving Shuffle and gives the same 
rhythm, and so the Shuffle Step in the person of the Trip 
becomes amenable to the influence of Figure Rhythm 
like all the rest, and this it remains for us to take notice 



And what is the influence of Figure Rhythm or what 
does it do to warp these forms of notes into outhnes 
more famihar to our eye than those they now appear in ? 
And singhng out the Skipping form of dance as the 
simplest one to show its influence in, let us follow a 
dancer skipping, and we shall easily see how the develop- 
ment of Song proceeded. For after he has skipped 
forward for some distance in any given direction, he 
suddenly pauses and skips away in the other, he goes 
backwards and forwards, now to one side now to another, 
the fact being that the weight of the body resting on the 
foot which leads the skip, he is obhged to make these 
frequent changes in order to ease it ; so he keeps up an 
alternation of right foot leading, left foot leading, and 
thus he really skips in sets of skips without knowing he 
does so. Now at the end of each set there is a step lost, 
for except by missing a step there could be no change of 
feet. So each set is marked off from the other by a 
pause, and it will be plain what effect this will have on 
the song the man is singing. For it will produce in it a 
rhythm outside a rhythm, so that a man skipping to that 
song in sets of four skips at a time would convert 


-^— ^- 



-*— 5I: 

-^-^ — *- 









and whether the Voice ran on instead of pausing, and 

^^"^ ^EE^ ^°^ =: ^== — 1-^=f^ for 

— h— &c., in any case the melody would be 

cleanly divided into sets or groups of notes every bit as 
much, for the first of each group being the first skip of a 
new set would have a stronger emphasis than all the 
others that followed, for the foot would be fresher when 
it struck it. And so the man would have divided his 
song into bars, and his words he would have divided into 
lines. This is how verse beeran. 


Now had I represented 

=3i.E= ==1:==z =-^=1— ^"^ 1 

by -=3=3=' =z1=_t ^— n- and ^— ^— 


it would have been an equally good representation, and 
perhaps more historically correct. For names are some- 
times the best conservators of the traditions of the past. 
And as the term "feet" in poetry shows us clearly enough 
the source whence verse has sprung, so the term " rest " 
in music speaks equally plainly of short moments of 
repose in the hurry of the dance. 

But a consideration of the double skip _ w _ and a 
comparison of it with the skip _ \j , makes me think 
that perhaps we can improve our account of " bars " and 
" lines." For the motion of the double skip is of so 
pronounced a rhythm and so perfect in itself that each 
skip makes a bar without more ado. I mean each 
double skip is cleanly marked off from the other by a 
new direction of the body and also by the very strong 



accent on the first step of it, so that we are almost obhged 
to bar the double skip thus : — 





^= — I ^ 





And the pause we will express by this double bar ; and 
then we will proceed by single bars again till we come to 
the next pause which would be expressed again by a 
double bar. Now it is questionable whether even the 
simple single Skip would not be all the better for this 
method of treatment, and whether we should not more 
truly have expressed in the modern phraseology that 
last piece of music on the preceding page if we had 

and then the Feet would have given the Bars, but the 
Figures the Double Bars ; and this would be all the 
more apposite because we are early brought face to face 
in the music of savages with repetitions of groups of 
notes for which we must assume some such origin as 
this, that is assume them to be the notes of one Figure ; 
so that if we used single bars to express these groups or 
figures by, we should introduce the confusion of many 
single bars of unequal length, and at the same time we 
should leave unremarked the regular beating of the feet 
which went on all the time. For it is plain that the 
Figures, or the intermediate parts between each pause. 


might be protracted to any length at pleasure. But the 
feet would probably beat all through as they began. So 
we agree that double bars shall express the former and 
single ones the latter. And we will lay it down that 
Figure Rhythm is the origin of lines in poetry and double 
bars in music, and that Foot Rhythm is the origin of feet 
in poetry and single bars in music. 

By the help of these considerations we can now explain 
how forms of music which we find among savages at a 
comparatively high stage of musical development have 
arisen. For let us suppose the following words as our 
subject matter : — 

A te i china te looa se le te i nei fangooa miawi felow tow gi 
Tonga a we ia sawfoona se rooa te lo fa sa sei saw i foona te le te i 
nei neaove. 

And assume that the ordinary declamation of the 
human voice would render them in the following 
tones : — 

with the ordinary accents and emphases of pronunciation 
which in my ignorance of the language I am unable to 
reproduce. These then are the tones of nature, but by 
the influence of the dance, see what a marvellous change 
is introduced ! For let lis imagine these words declaimed 



by men who are dancing, and the motion of whose feet 
is the double skip, and we shall get the following : — 


I 1st Figure. 

S , t^ —i^- 

A te i chi - na te loo - a se le te i ne - i fan 

I 2nd Figure 

- goo - a mi - aw - i fe - low tow - gi Ton 

A we 


i - a saAV - foo - na se r.oo - a te lo fa sa se - i 

3rd Figure. 

-P-s — =1^ 



• tf d - 

— I ^ 

saw i foo - na te le te i ne - i 

I 4th Figure. 




-1 — h- 

-d — ■»- 

saw i foo - na te le te i ne - i 

j 5tii Figure. 




saw i foo - na te le te i ne - i 


i 6th Figure. 





q^=^q I w- 

\ 1—; 1 h 

-tf—^ — •- 

1 — i-T-g-F- 

saw i foo - na te le te i ne - a - - ve. 

which is precisely the form in which the song turns up iii 
the Friendly Islands. ^ 

I Mariner's Tonga Islands, II., 339. Reduced from G. 


Meanwhile the words have shaken down into Knes : — 

A te i china te looa se le te i nei fangooa miawi felow tow gi Tonga 
A we ia sawfoona se rooa te lo fa sa sei 

Saw i foona te le te i nei 

Saw i foona te le te i nei 

Saw i foona te le te i nei 
Saw i foona te le te i neaove. 

Let us then ask has not the dance affected speech in a 
very marked manner, and has not its influence been more 
telling than that of the Chant, for the Chant merely laid 
down a musical plane for the voice to travel on, and then 
left it to follow pretty much its own bent ? But the dance 
has introduced a lot of artificial elements whose tendency 
would be to gain in complexity every day and ever more 
and more to deflect Song from that primitive form in 
which it left the bosom of Speech. Now I have not 
considered the influence of Dancing before now, 
because its influence first begins to show strongly in 
the Stage we are at present examining, viz., the 
Agglutinative Stage ; for it is plain, as long as there were 
only two or three notes in the compass of the scale, the 
voice would have had little opportunity to receive more 
than a passing influence from the Dance — indeed, the 
rhythmic peculiarites of the songs of that period might 
almost, though not entirely, be set down to the rhythm 
of phrases and sentences, the accents and quantities of 
words, etc. But after the Voice ceased to be tethered so 
completely to the monotony of the Chant, or in other 
words when the Isolating and still more the Agglutinative 
Stage was reached, not only would the Voice feel the 
influence of dancing much more keenly, but it would be 
able to respond to it. For this is what the Dance does — 
it sets up India rubber buffers between which the Voice 
bounds, and it sets it on springs and makes it springy, 
but not until a reasonable compass of Notes was reached, 
such as five or six, would the Voice be able to spring and 



bound. This is why I have reserved considering the 
influence of the Dance till the Agglutinative Stage. 

Now then when we turn to the Agglutinative Stage 
itself from this digression upon Dancing we may expect 
to hear much more melody in our Music than we heard 
before. And this song of the Friendly Islanders that we 
have just quoted is a good instance of this Melodiousness 
of Agglutinative Music, for there is far more melody in 
it than in anything we have hitherto considered. But in 
other respects it is not a good example of the 
Agglutinative Stage, for it makes use of that new note, 
the fourth, much more freely than Agglutinative Songs 
generally do. For we generally find the fourth but 
slightly used, treated that is as a passing note, a mere 
bridge from the Great Scale to the Little. And this is 
natural when we remember that the fourth seems to have 
come into being precisely for this purpose. 

For let us take another illustration of the Agglutinative 
Stage, for instance, and see how the fourth is used there. 




Au ti 


Tarn- bu tang- ane A 


to - a ku - la 

ka - tan-ffi, 



An - clra tha 

- la 


-0 * ^ 

ti - ke kau ng - ai tan -gi kou-mi - bau tu 


J r -! — \- 


-f 1 


/ • u i 

1 . . 1 

1 IL. 

1 1. , k 

1 r* 

r ^ 1 > 1 s 

** p 

S ^ 




a 'J 

_; ' * 

, s s ^ .^ 

^ a ^ 

* -^ * * 

S tt 




Se - ni-kun -dia - vi - sa- lu sa 

I Reduced from F. Wilkes' United States' Exploring Expedition, III.; 
245. For the excellent collection of music in that book we have to thank 
a member of the expedition named Mr. Drayton. 



It is not paused on once. And in this it is scarcely 
touched throughout the song : — 

-» \- 




Or take that song of the Hurons which Rousseau quotes, 




^-J-J - 



Ca-ni-de jou - ve ca - ni-de jou - ve He he he he he 



ra heu 

on CO be. 

in all of which the fourth is used as an unemphasised 
passing note, a mere hyphen, so to speak, to connect 
the Great Scale with the Little. But when we find it 
played upon so forcibly as in that song of the Friendly 
Islanders : — • 


-1^ . S S i -ah—^ 



shall we say that this is a sign of the Agglutinative Stage 
drawing to a close, when we find the fourth constituting 
an integrant part of the scale aud used as freely as 
any other note in it, and that everything is now ready 
for the next step in the development which consists in 

bridging over the 





to the 

8ve above by the insertion of 


the seventh ? 

1 lb. i8g. Reduced from G. 

2 Rousseau's Dictionary 




I think so. For one of the most striking features of 
the Inflectional Stage is the stress that is laid on this 
very fourth. And besides, there is another feature of the 
Inflectional Stage still more remarkable, which we may 
take as naturally flowing from the prominence to the 
fourth, and this is, that that interval which we call the 
Tritone, and which has since become unpleasant to the 

ear of man 



^ \ — ^ — is in the first blush of 

Inflectionahsm emphasised to a great degree. So that in 
one point of view we may regard the Inflectional Stage 
as a reaction in favour of harshness and force against 
the weakness and sweetness of the Agglutinative Stage, 
for we may well imagine that one cause of the persistency 
of the Agglutinative Stage among some peoples is the 
reluctance to imagine this grating interval as a factor of 
every-day Song, or perhaps an inability to hit it, which is 
even now difficult to hit. 

Let us take this song of the Australians as an iflustra- 
tion of the sahent points of Inflectionahsm : 



-^ — ^—fSLZz:^. 

-! i^l^ :: 



- ff tf" 


and besides the Tritone, how they dwell on the fourth 

I Wilkes III., 190. Reduced from A 


Or this other song of the same people : — 

#-' ' ^' 


In the Music of the Ashantees who are Hkewise in the 
Inflectional Stage we have perpetual passages like this : — 



:^=^^^-=±=.-^-- &,c, 


But not to pursue this strange feature of early 
Inflectionalism any further, I will go on to enumerate 
the peoples who are in the Inflectional Stage at present. 
In the Inflectional Stage are the Hottentots, the 
Ashantees, the Fantees, the Kaffirs, the Mozambique 
Negroes, the Goree Negroes, all the- tribes on the West 
Coast of Africa without exception, and indeed most of 
the African tribes seem to be in the Inflectional Stage. 
But outside Africa there are not many — the Australians, 
the Chiquitos of the Andes, the tribes of the Rio Negro, 

1 lb. 189. Reduced from D. 

2 lb. Reduced from G. Mr. Drayton says that this last song is 
perhaps not quite genuine. 



the Itelmes of Kamstchatka, and in a very peculiar 
way, as I have remarked before, the Maories of New 
Zealand. ^ 

It will be plain how much greater freedom the addition 
of this extra note will give for the influence of the dance 
to assert itself, for the Voice can now roam unconfined 
through the whole of its compass ; and accordingly we 
get in the Inflectional Stage most profuse illustrations 
of dance melodies from the simple skip to the most 
complicate threading of the feet. And first I will quote 
a Skip Song of the Austrahans which is otherwise 
remarkable, for the melody is simply that of the Diatonic 
Scale descending, so that we might describe it as a 
mere wild revelry in the wealth of sound. It seems like 
one of those songs that they sing in their mimic battles, 
for two lines of men with spears in rest come dancing 
up towards one another and then retreating. And I 
think this is one of these songs, and that the step they 
use is the simple skip _w, which occurs here in its 
inverted form w _ 

A -bang a-bang a -bang a-bang a -bang a-bang a-bang a-bang a 

> [^ K |»ti 






y— t" — b*^— ^ 

•^ jJ ^ <^~ 



gum-be - ry jab jin gun re - lab gum-be-ry jab jin gun re-lah 
bang a-bang a - bang a- bang a - bang a- bang a - bang a- bang a 

1 These exhaust the specimens of savage music that I have been able 
to find in the books of voyagers. A more extended catalogue may be 
made when further materials are accessible to the general student, or the 
interest of voyagers enlisted to chronicle specimens of savage music which 
many have hitherto heard without reporting. 

2. Wilkes, II., 190. 



This song was obtained from a native who had faced a 
a journey of many hundreds of miles over scrub and 
desert in order to teach it to a friendly tribe. 

The following is an old Ashantee air and the measure 
is the Double Skip, which becomes irregular towards the 
end, and is also somewhat irregular throughout : 

-1^ — hi — y^ ^ — 1-3 

^ ^ 


r ^ 




- ^ # 

-?« — 9>- 


-r— r- 



ii»»— V- 


>p ^ 




- L*» >* 




«•+' — ^^ H^ ^^ ^ ?^ ^ 1^ b^ !a* fc»< tw> 1^— 


VE^-^— ^— ^— ^— ^— ^- ->— gi— pi g g g^ 

**" >^ k ^-f 

or hsten to the musical Hottentots : 

Rhythm. Double Skip. 2 notes to a step. 


1 Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee, p., 364. 

2 Engel's National Music, p., 155. Reduced from F. 



Here is an equally pleasing song of the Goree negroes :- 
Rhythm. Double Skip. Irregular. 




But as a rule we must not expect such regularity in all 
cases. The measures often become mixed, as in this 
song of the Hottentots which is a compound of Skip and 
Double Skip. 

Double Skip. , / v 1 

^^ W — \ -m \J (—1) I 





2nd Figure. 

H 1- 

3rd Figure. 

Skip. I 







4th Figure. Quite irregular. 
Perhaps Double Skip. 



Perhaps Skip inverted. 





:^— ^ 

For, as I take it, when certain sets of Rhythm, which 
were in the first instance but the reflection of the natural 
movements of the feet, became established as regular 



T Engel's National Music, p., 249, 


musical forms, fancy would do its best to throw them 
into new patterns in order to produce variety. For we 
must bear in mind that the melodies we have here 
are not the melodies as they sprang like Cadmus' soldiers 
from the earth. For those would die as quick a death. 
But instead of that they are the melodies which invention 
has formed on a recognised rh3'thmic framework, which 
it has often taken the liberty to tamper with. Now this 
deliberate thinking out of tunes is one of the most 
remarkable of the many artificial results which come in 
the train of dancing. Tune itself is a highly artificial 
thing, since natural speech is entirely removed from it. 
But the deliberate coining of tunes is more artificial still. 
And yet it would of necessity result from the union of 
Dancing with Speech. For the regular pauses of the 
dance and the tripping of the measure would very soon 
render extemporisation out of the question, and men 
would have to build their words before-hand if there was 
to be any sense in what they sang. And it is hard if the 
tones the words were to be said in did not receive alike 
attention. Or perhaps the tones would simply remain 
in the mind from the constant repetition of rhythmic 

But where there was no rhythm in the matter, there 
would be no premeditation of words, and tunes would be 
longer in coming, and they would form themselves rather 
than be consciously formed — or putting it generally, 
through the absence of rhythm the Voice would pursue a 
far more natural though perhaps more homely develop- 
ment. And this is how men would tell the Story which 
we agreed was the progenitor of the Chant. 

Shall we then be justified in calhng the Story the Prose 
of Music in contrast to the Dance which we will call the 
Verse ? And shall we not say that such melodies as 
this :— 



jg=i * ^ -\ ^ >, m ^ m 



— m- m- — < 


ich e . . e wa 



it m 

ich e . 

wa - - ich wa - - ich 





2^u. i_«s — e — — « — 9 — K — 49 — '^ I a> — «=^ — — ^~^ — —^- 

Chon ga-ta rou ni ge-na ma-ni you ma-ni ma gon- da ma - li 


cJ • .^. .^. ^. .J — Y _ 

-g— 5- 

gone clchol le do dchol le do Kri schna HI am - i dam 



p r-" r^ ^ _p_p=:::i 

— ' ^— - — \~ 

A - gith mat - te Ah - wiih Tu - pa - ja 


— . 4 



^-^~z^-^ . ' <^ ^ ^ . 

■ -9- -9- -^- -a- -9- ■ 


*ti 1 1 — I 


-•- -«- -#- -•- 


"S S a 

S ^ S 



"^ ^" 


i^- -^- _^- _i: 



-I ^- 

g< <^ .J. -J- ' ^ ^ V -^- 

1^- -^ -api- -a^ 


_i — I — I- 


. ^— ^. _i _^. '.J- .J. _J- _^'.J. V -J- -4- 

1 Wilkes v., 117. 3 Jones' Musical Curiosities. 

3 Foster's Reise um die Erde, II., 478, 

4 Parry's Second Voyage, Reduced from B flat. 




F F r> 



















I say, shall we not set down such melodies as these as 
Musical Prose in contrast to those tripping highly 
rhythmic melodies we considered a page or two ago, 
which we will call Musical Verse ? For although there 
is a certain amount of rhythm in this Musical Prose, 
it is very feeble and at the same time devoid of that 
typical measure _ \j the Skip, which we said was the 
infallible characteristic of the Dance. So that we may 
lay it down that Music has its Prose and Verse as 
language has : and that the Prose is the outcome of 
the Chant, and the Verse is the outcome of the Dance. 

And since the Skip is essentially triple in character 
(for whether we write the bar 

\^ — 

I - h J 

in each case we have a triple measure) it is plain that 
the absence of triple time will be one of the marks of 
Musical Prose. But Common Time will be a sign of it, 
or better still no time at all, for the Chant in its purest 
form is wholly arrhythmic, being derived as we have seen 
from Speech and the Story, where no rhythm exerts its 
force but only that loose and feeble time of breath marks 
and syllabic quantity, which compared to dancing 
rhythm does not deserve the name of time at all. And 

I La Perouse. Voyages, II., 209, 

The Voice 


there seems no doubt indeed that many of the Chant 
Songs of Savages owe what rhythmic character they 
have to the reporters' hands through which they have 
reached us, who being compelled to adopt the notation of 
Modern Music with its bars, rests, etc., have given them 
a rhythmic colouring when perhaps they least deserved 
it. And there is no doubt that if many of the savage 
songs in Common Time were unbarred, we should be 
nearer the form in which they were sung by their authors. 
For take such a specimen of Musical Prose as the 
following Chant from the Soudan : 





-fe^-h - 

n^— J: 





1 — — h^ 1 




», — K — ^s — ^ ^ — 

_^— ^—^ 



-N N N 











-I 1 r^ — I hrf — 9B- 


j- ^,->- 












^-^-^ L^^_M -iiz 


JL Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee, p. 449. 


History of music. 


■^ZZJ^-^ * _J ! L 




-ft — s- 

-->< — N- 




r—f—^ - 

- ^ \ ^ ^ 

s^ — ^ 

ft ft r r 


> < ^ i^ - 


-> — pi^ 


-^ ^ '^ 



-> — h — ^s- 


> ft ft 


ft ft ft 

_m — ^^ — S- 

J ^ J ^-^-~S- 


- ^ f ^ 

-* — ^- 

--1 1 ^— , 

y tf - 


-*— ^ 

Here is the form to which much savage music might well 
be reduced, as some of those specimens we gave a page 
back by unbarring would become 

The Malabar Song. 



A h 

-^— :a: 

-^— i: 

The North American Indian Song. 

all very nearly as amorphous as the Soudan Chant. But 
where despite the unbarring a Rhythm clearly remains, 
as in that song of the Esquimaux, 



THE Voice. 


which, however much we uubar it still gives the clear 
rhythmic phrases 



tr- ^ S^^S ^.J.V-^- V -J -nJ-V -:^--^-;Jr.ii: 

—^ "^ — 

I say, we must describe a specimen like this as the Chant 
modified by the influence of the Slow Dance, for the 
Slow Dance is near akin to the Walk, and we walk by 
Spondees. So to this influence must we attribute that 
feeble Rhythm we call Common Time. 

Now then in contrast to these specimens of Musical 
Prose we will here exhibit a pronounced specimen of 
Musical Verse, and we shall find it as proceeding from a 
different origin of a totally different character ; for the 
Prose as we said is the outcome of the Chant, but the 
Verse, of the Dance. And this is a song of the Friendly 
Islanders that we shall give, and it is the flower of Savage 

Friendly Islanders' Song. 




0' 1» 



Lang - i my lang - i ee tow lang - i my laiig - i ee 





^ — ^' ^ W- 



-Ft-i — I — I — I — p- 

tow lang - i my Lang - i ee tow lang - i my laag - i 









tel-le tel - le oo - too Saw - i mi - e tel - le tel - le oo -too 



- V-^8— > 




tel - le tel - le oo-too saw - i mi 


And by contrast to those artless utterances of the Chant 
that we gave a moment back, there is something artificial 
in this. But if artificial how beautiful ! What plasticity of 
form is here ! What a graceful toying with notes and 
building up or arranging this pretty picture in sound ! 

Do not then these point to totally different origins, or 
can we suppose the same parentage to this gem of artful 
melody and to that wild Chaos of notes which formed 
the Soudan Chant ? I think no better examples could be 
taken to show the secret constitution of Song, and how 
two elements have been at work to produce it from time 
immemorial, sometimes influencing one another, but more 
often in direct antagonism, each pulHng different ways, 
and ending by producing within Song itself two well 
defined and contrasted orders of Music which we have 
styled Musical Prose and Musical Verse, the first the 
work of the Chant, the second of the Dance. And this is 
how the Chant and the Dance influenced one another. 
For first the Chant laid down a musical plane for the 
Voice to travel on, and then Dancing which had been 
gyrating in other regions in company with mere undis- 
ciplined Speech came gradually creeping up to the 
musical plane and at last began to gyrate on it for good. 
This is how steady musical notes got entrance into the 
Dance. And then the Dance could insinuate its influence 
into the Chant, when it passed Common Time into the 
Chant from the Slow Dance. But these are two 
instances of contact for a thousand of opposition. For it 
is plain they could never have worked together, since 
from their simple forms of Dance and Story how different 
they are ! The Dance, frolicked in the sunlight on the 
open plain ; the Story, told in the evening in the glimmer 
of the camp-fires ; the Dance, the gay and blithesome 
side of life, the Story, rather its serious and reflective 
side ; the Dance, the mere discharge of animal spirits, 


the Story, the careful labour of the memory and an appeal 
to the imagination ; in the Dance the Senses only 
concerned, in the Story, the Intellect ; the Dance the 
work of the body, the Story the work of the mind. And 
to bring out the play of these two forces is what makes 
the history of Vocal Music so hard to hit. For there is 
no question of stages of development in the matter, as 
we cannot speak of a Dance Stage when the Dance was 
all in all, followed by a Chant Stage when the Story 
supplanted the Dance. There could never have been 
chronological predominances, but one influence must 
always have predominated with some peoples and the 
other influence must have predominated with other 
peoples. And then in the Dance peoples Speech would 
every day be more and more deflected from its natural 
form to a highly artificial one, not only from .the daily 
multiplying influence of rhythm, but also from the certain 
constraint which the company of the Dance lays upon 
the singer in confining him to hilarious and festive 
subjects and teaching him to regard his singing as an 
amusement rather than the earnest utterance of his 
words. He would be taking a holiday in Sound, and at 
the bottom of his nature there would be a large fond of 
joy in mere sensuous sound to help him. In the excite- 
ment of the Dance, too, his voice would jump and skip 
and bound, and little by little what was at first the 
merest indefensible freaks would get to pass as sterling 
coin. These few hints will suffice to show how Im- 
passioned Speech would be deflected from its original 
form by the influence of Dancing. 

But the influence of the Story would be the very 
reverse of this. For by always moving in the tones of 
Speech it preserved the original and natural use of the 
Voice, whose virtue it is on all occasions to make the 
sound dependent on the sense, to treat the tone merely 


as the commentary on a thought, and thus it secured 
the enthronement of the true Vocal Element in the 
world of music, without which steadier and chastener 
music were a mere jingle of idle sounds. 

Thus the Voice in its association with the Dance has 
little more than an Instrumental import. Not so the 
Voice in its connection with the Story. There, all evil 
influences, if we may so term them, were absent. There 
was neither the wild gyration, nor the stamping, nor the 
holiday making : there was no metre to make the voice 
unnaturally buoyant, no feet to make it springy, no lines 
to dock off the sound into symmetrical bits, but the 
Voice ran on as long as the thought carried it, and the 
sentence might go to what lengths it pleased. Then there 
was the intellectual interest, the desire to enthrall the 
attention, the inspiration which attention gives, the 
waves of sympathy which swept the audience, the 
heightening of the picture, the intensifying the passion — 
all things were there to aid the Thought and nothing 
to aid the Sensuous Sound ; for the sound was of no 
further moment than that it emphasised and drove the 
thought home ; and each tone was as unpremeditated 
as each word. All these things there were, but above 
all there was the Spiritual groundwork which enabled 
such things to be. 

iEsthetically, then, the result of the Story was to 
preserve Nature in Art. And how well the preservation 
was effected we have an instance under our eyes which 
will teach us. For what we call the Minor is but an 
artistic embalming of the language of Grief. As we may 
presently see ourselves. For Grief is an actual nervous 
prostration, and it deadens all that elasticity which it is 
the property of Joy to give. When a man grieves, his 
voice does not rise so buoyantly as usual — it droops like 
the spirits do — it is sluggish and weary and shirks the 


pleasant trouble of free exertion. So it speaks short of 
its usual intervals, and in declaiming it will do the same. 
And it seems to me that this failure of the Voice, though 
showing through all the intervals of the Scale, would be 
likely most to show in the highest note of it, for there it 
is that the effort lies. And so, if this be true, the Great 

Scale would be sung ^ 1 |~T~i~~ instead of 

and the Little Scale ^=^-55::z 

_^ . Then that song of the 


Samoans, if it be a dirge, we shall have got its secret. 

„ I 

^=^==j=q==1 — I — I i — ^ — I J I 1 — I — r-=^iiqz=qi: '' 


-^*-ii^--g-;i;-^:T^r;g --J - V -d - -^ -j^-^r^-i^-g-' 

But if it be not a dirge, we still might well imagine that 
a strain of melancholy in the character will have a 
similar effect in subduing the vigour of the voice ; and 
we will look for such an ingredient not among those gay 
professors of the Dance, for what affinity has the Dance 
with melancholy or sorrow ? but rather among those 
solemn-tempered men to whom is due the develop- 

i Wilkes, II., 13^. 


ment of the Chant. And we may conclude we 
are on no idle quest when we find the most careful 
of travellers telling us that in Samoa all the intervals 
of ordinary speech are Minor, and all their songs 
but one or two we know are in the Minor mode. But 
when he was among the Friendly Islanders, he did 
not even hear a minor interval in their speaking — they 
spoke so blithely — and he says that their voices are most 
musical and melodious, and that they have not a minor 
song in the Islands. So that we may well imagine 
perhaps a radical opposition of characters, and we may 
suggest that the Dancing peoples are utterly opposed to 
that sentimental melancholy of expression which we call 
the Minor, but that the Chant peoples are naturally 
inclined to it. And indeed it might be well urged that the 
Chant of itself, without any arriere pensee for particularity 
of character, would insensibly incline to the Minor. For 
it either constrains or it indulges the Voice, say which 
you will, to a certain indolence, and so the free expan- 
sion which the Dance woos to is never attained ; and the 
intervals are from the first more open to abbreviation. 
I myself, in the limited observations I have made, have 
found th'at all the minor songs of savages, with but one 
or two exceptions, belong to the chant form exclusively, 
that is to say they are in ordinary common time or no 
time, and are destitute of the Skip _ w which is the 
infallible token of the Dance. But the Minor is much 
rarer with savages than the Major. As civilisation 
advances we may find that it gets to be somewhat more 
common, perhaps because those things which feed the 
Minor become more common. For we have more 
sorrows now. 

I have mentioned the Samoans, but the Brazilians, and 
especially I think the Tupinambas will furnish us with a 
e:ood illustration of a Music that has set for the Minor, 


Here are some of their songs : — 


Ha-lo- et ho ho he he ha ha ha-lo-et ho ho he 



E - svis - Ba hau e - grio; - na he he hu hu ho ho 




'-^ <' J d" 

e - oricr . 11a ha hau hau. 

_| 1 1 ^_J ^=1: 

Ta- me - i - a al - le - lu - i - a a don ve - ni hau hau h^ he. 

The Brazilians are in the Agglutinative Stage of the 
Scale, so that if we had further specimens of their music, 
although we should discover whether they flattened the 
sixth as they flattened the third, we should have no 
chance of seeing how they treated the seventh. And 
this will be an interesting point to inquire about, whether 
the seventh remains in its original form as a natural, or 

I The Voyages of Mons. de Monts, Mons du Pont Grave, and Mons. de 
Poutrincourt into La Cadia. In the Earl of Oxford's collection, Vol, II., 
861. I mentioned above that there was one exception to the universal 
Major of the Friendly Islanders, and strange to say the exception is a 
song almost identical with this first one of the Brazilians, running as 
follows : — 







Foster's Reise um die Erde, I., 429. So that we may well admire that 
a song which occurs in the heart of South America should turn up again 
in a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. The last of these three 
Brazilian Songs has also a curious history, for the occurence of the word 
" Alleluia " in it gave to some curious theories that the Brazilians were 
one of the ten lost tribes of Israel. &c, 



whether it too is flattened like the sixth, in other words 
whether the savage Minor is our Harmonic Minor Scale 


-^^_ J:vJq p g 

or whether it is the Melodic Minor 

I V 

•J S- ^ "^ ^ • 

But to find this we must turn to some tribe that is in 
the Inflectional Stage of the Scale, so turning to a tribe 
of North American Indians who are in that stage let 
us see how the case stands with them. And we shall find 
that both forms are in use, for here they are both used 
in the same song 



•-b:=j=| 1 — lJ = 

And so it should seem that while the sixth and third were 
always depressed, the seventh was left an open note and 
varied according to the mood of the singer. The natural 


was the blither 
wording ; •_but this 


is a musical sigh. 

En^el's National Music, p. 140, 




Now if the Story or Chant is the exponent of the 
Intellectual or Spiritual element in Vocal Music as it 
appears so entirely to be, that is to say the element 
which lays the stress on the thought to the prejudice 
or neglect of the sound, then is the Dance equally the 
exponent of the Sensuous or merely Musical element — 
which spends all its delight on the sound to the 
corresponding forgetfulness - of the thought. And here 
we see repeated within one division of our art, that is 
to say, within the province of the Voice alone, the same 
antithesis which we formerly accentuated in the complete - 
Art at large. For regarding Music from the first as a 
Dualism we found it was composed of the conjunction 
of two elements, the one purely musical, the other v 
poetical, the one sensuous, the other spiritual, the one 
owing its origin and development to Instruments and 
based on the mere animal delight in Sound ; the 
other owing its origin and development to Language, 
and based on the satisfaction of the Intellectual faculties 
in man. But now having regarded one of these two 
great elements in detail, we find a similar antagonism 
and a similar duality making itself felt again in the 
constitution of this component likewise, and keeping 
up a petty reflection of what occurs in broader forms in 
the art at large. 


Since the texture of Vocal Music has yielded so curious 
a result, it will be well to consider if its antagonist, 
Instrumental Music, is similarly constituted, or whether 
on the contrary it forms all one piece with no play of 
conflicting parts within it. And taking two savage races 
whose Vocal Music has set for Chant and Dance 
respectively, let us see what is their attitude to Instru- 
mental Music, for surely if the latter is constituted on 
similar lines of opposition, it will show its peculiarities 
in the wake of the former. If ever a race — speaking 
broadly for there are a few exceptions — could be said 
to have developed a unique style of Song it is the 
Polynesian race of the Pacific, and particularly in their 
leading tribes of Marquesans, Friendly Islanders, and 
Otaheitans, whom we may take as representatives of the 
rest — whose music is described on all hands as most 
melodious and even symmetrical, and instinct with 
rhythm, ' founded on the dance, built on the dance, 
and indeed as dancers these people have no rivals in 
the savage world. - The Otaheitan dancers Captain 
Cook describes with rapture, and can find no parallel 
to them but the best performers on the most courtly 
stages of Europe. -^ Similar accounts also come to us 
of other Polynesians no less than these we are selecting 
as our examples. Now let us see how the Instrumental 
music of these nations is characterised. And first, 
Polynesia is the Home of the Flute.J Here, as nowhere 
else, does savage flute-playing attain perfection. And 
the flute and drum are now used to accompany the 

r Capt. Cook, I., 98. Ellis' Polynesian Researches, IV., 282. Cook 
I., 87. Hermann Melville's Marquesas, &c. 

2 The best proof of this assertion lies in the fact of the dance having 
developed into the drama among these nations alone in the savage world. 

3 Cook, I. The exceptions to the above national character seem to be 
the Samoans and the Maories, the latter especially. 



dances; ' and now it is the solo Flute we read of — 
the scarlet reed flute of the Marquesans, played by 
voluptuous girls in their delightful valleys, whose fingers 
" run at random over the stops and charm the ear with 
wild melody" " — the pan pipes of the Friendly Islanders 
that breathe such delightful music the merest stranger 
is charmed to listen to their strains ^ — the flutes and 
pipes that mix their sounds with the licentious revelries 
of the Otaheitans. ^ The drum too is in the highest 
favour with these people and is developed to a most 
sensuous instrument. (In the Marquesas we read of 
mammoth drums, fifteen feet in height, 5] whose sound 
resembles thunder,] and with two rows of these playing in 
their midst from morning till night the people will lie 
feasting under the trees for days together, as at the 
Feast of Calabashes 'which the traveller Melville 
describes. ^(In the Friendly Islands the drums are so 
enormous that it takes two or three men to move one of 
them from its place, j^ And the great drums of Otaheite 
and other of the South Sea Islands that stand eight foot 
high ^ and whose roar is heard echoing through the 
valleys for miles, have often been described by travellers ^. 
Such accounts as these come to us of Polynesian Music. 
The people seem to delight in intoxicating their ear 
with sound, and whether it is the bellowing of their 
drums, or the luscious strains of their pipes, they are 
only open to sensuous effects in their music ; for what 
we have now said completes the picture of it. 

lb. 2 Melville's Marquesas, p. 251. 

3 Mariner's Tonga Islands, I., 330. 

4 See Captain Cook's account of the timorodee dance 

5 Melville's Life in the Marquesas, p. 185. 6 b. 

7 Cook, II., 113. 8 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, I., 282. 

9 Ellis (loc. cit.) describes the terror which the sound of these gigantic 
drums awakened in the breasts of the inhabitants. 


Let US now turn to another race, the Papuans, — in 
general character as opposite to the Polynesians as night 
is to day ; for they are far less licentious, ' far more 
intellectual, ^ " the only savages," says Pickering, " that 
can give a reason," eminently superstitious and imagina- 
tive, 3 and generally of that cast of character which we 
understand when we speak of spirituality of character. 
And their Song is as pronounced for the Chant as the 
Polynesians' for the Dance. It is often rough and wild, 
and much built on the Story, for story tellers are an 
institution among the Papuans. ^ And for the form of it, 
among the Feejee Papuans, says Williams, " the metre 
or the rhythm is scarcely ever secured." ^ " Noch maat 
noch harmonic kan men opmerken," writes Rosenberg 
of the New Guinea Papuans, ^ " There is neither metre 
nor melody in their songs." And of other Papuans, 
as of the New Caledonians, ^ the Solomon Islanders, 
&c., ^ the accounts that reach us are similar. Turning 
now to the Instrumental Music of these people, the 
first thing that strikes us about it is the positive aversion 
to mere noise. In the Pellew Islands they have a 
substitute for the drum which is an amazing one. 
"They hold tassels of split plantain leaves in their 
hands," writes Keate, " which they clash at certain 
intervals. And with this modest music they are always 
content." 9 In many parts of New Guinea the Drum 

I Finsch's Neu Guinea, p. loi. Jukes' Voyage of H.M.S. Fly, II., 
247. For the contrast to the licentiousness of the Polynesians, Jukes, 
lb, 246. 2 Cf., Wallace's remarks in his Malay Archipelago, 

3 Williams' Fiji and the Fijians, I., 239, &c. 

4 Waitz. Authropologie, VI. 

5 Williams' Fiji and the Fijians, I., 114. 

6 Rosenberg. Reistochten naar de Geelvinkbaai of Niew, Guinea, p. 
93., where the word " harmonie " is used in the popular sense of 

' pleasing musical effect." 7 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, II. 

s lb. 9 Keate's Pellew Islands, p. 117. 

Pipe races and lvre races. 143 

has fallen into disuse altogether, and the only instrument 
employed is the conch-shell ' which is merely used for 
purposes of signalling. The same remark applies to 
Tanna in the New Hebrides. During all his stay there 
Turner saw no instrument but the conch-shell. In 
Feejee this characteristic comes out no less strongly. 
There the Drum is refined into a most delicate and 
peculiar form. It is a form peculiar to Fiji, " is called 
the Ihara and is made of the single joint of the 
Bamboo." " In the centre a long aperture is made from 
one joint to the other." - " And they elicit clear notes 
by striking it with a short stick." ^ As contrasted with 
this refinement on the Drum, their Drums proper are of 
the simplest construction and greatly deficient in 
resonance, being merely "logs hollowed like a trough" ; 
nor are they much used except to mark the time for the 
rowers, and at the straining of the yaqona — a religious 
ceremony. '^ 

Turning now to the rest of their instruments how do 
we find them ? The Fijians resemble the Polynesians 
in possessing the Pipe, the Flute, the Pan Pipe, s the 
Conch-Shell. But they have one instrument which the 
Polynesians have not — " a little Jew's harp ^ which they 

1 " Het eenige muziek-instrument det men ziet is de in deze gewesten 
partien slom gebruikelijke trompet, wit een tritonschelp vervaardigd." 
Rosenberg, Nievv Guinea, p. 93. 

2 Brown, Races of mankind, II. 32. 3 Williams' Fiji, I. 163. 

4 But in all other religious ceremonies they are replaced by the conch 
(Williams, I. 133), which en passant is likewise the case at Samoa in the 
Navigators' where there is an infusion of Papuan elements which con- 
sidering its proximity to Fiji is highly suggestive. The resemblances of 
their vocal music have been already noticed^and in their Instrumental it 
is still more remarkable. Not only havfe the Samoans the conch of 
religion, also hollowed bamboos which are another Fijian instrument 
(Turner, Nineteen years in Polynesia, p. 211), but even the Ihara (Ellis, 
Polynesian Researches, I. 284), which must be regarded as a direct 
importation from Fiji seeing that the Samoans alone of all Polynesian 
Malays possess it. 5 Dumont d' Urville, Voyage de 1' Astrolabe. 

6 Williams' Fiji, I. 163. 


twang with their fingers " — in other words a Rudimen- 
tary Lyre. The Polynesians are still in the Pipe Stage, 
the Papuans are pressing on to the Lyre Stage. And this 
is the radical difference between them. 

What then is this Lyre Stage to which the Papuans 
are pressing on? It is the stage at which the Voice can 
be used to accompany the instrument, and hence its 
natural appearance among these professors of the Chant. 
For in their aversion to mere sensuous sound they give 
the preference to the plain spoken utterances of the 
Voice, and have learnt to fashion an instrument which 
the Voice can domineer. For this is the raison d'etre of 
the Lyre, to be an instrument of accompaniment, and 
in fashioning such an instrument they have contrived to 
tame the excesses of mere instrumental music and teach 
it reasonable utterance. And we may well take the 
Lyre as the type of such an attitude to Instrumental 
Music, for in its very nature it is a mere handmaid to the 
words of the singer, and the Sensuous Sound as repre- 
sented on the Lyre is in complete subjection and merely 
the accompaniment or "commentary" on the thoughts 
and words of the Chant or Song. Shall we then do 
well to Tiescribe the Papuans as a "Lyre Race" since 
this typical instrument, the Lyre, means so much, and is 
found with them ? ^ and shall we on the other hand 

I If it seem somewhat arbitrary to describe the Papuans' as a Lyre Race, 
among whom only one solitary instance of the Lyre form is to be found, 
viz., in the highly rudimentary Lyre of Fiji, we must seek our justification 
in the fact, that in considering savage races we are considering arrested 
developments. And we must judge these developments exclusively by 
their tendency — not by what they are, but by what they signify. And just 
as the occurrence of one Bronze implement among a thousand Stone 
ones — provided its authenticity be fully attested — clearly warrants us in 
referring them one and all to the Bronze age ; so does the occurrence of 
the most rudimentary Lyre form among a heap of pipes , and drums 
justify us in regarding the owners as essentially a Lyre Race, provided its 
authenticity be fully attested, provided we have no ground, that is to say, 
for suspecting it to be an importation. 


describe the Polynesians as a " Pipe Race," since the 
Pipe is the type of the purely Sensuous element in 
Instrumental Music, where mere sound alone is present, 
which may jingle and wanton as wildly as it may, for no 
curb or chastening fetter is there to restrain it ? I think 
so, and let us add to each division what characteristics in 
the remainder of the Music go with each, for with the 
Lyre there go the Chant, the Voice ; and with the Pipe 
there go the Dance, the Drum, the Instrument. Now it 
will be obvious what will be the general characteristics of 
the style of music which each represent, and they will be 
two styles in as complete opposition to one another as 
can well be imagined. For if the Pipe is the instrument 
of melody, the Drum is the instrument of Rhythm, and 
Rhythm is further accentuated by the companionship of 
the Dance, which is invariably associated with these two 
instruments, so that to captivate by Melody, to please or 
even to intoxicate by Rhythm, and to heighten and exalt 
the mere musical sound with a royal contempt for 
anything higher in the Art, will be the main features of 
the music of our Pipe Race. But with the Lyre Race 
the contrary will be the case, the Rhythm will be weak , 
the Form will be loose — the nature of the Lyre militates 
against Rhythmic accent — and there is no Dance to 
woo to Rhythm either, while the Voice being all in all 
and contemning the sensuous aids of Music, will seek only 
to express in simplicity and truth the emotions and 
passions of poetry and the heart. Such will be the 
characteristics of these two rival races. And now 
turning from this obscure nook in the Pacific to the 
world at large, we shall still find Pipe Races and Lyre 
Races. Allowing this division, I say, that we have here 
made, to spread itself over mankind at large, we shall 
have no difficulty in discovering contrasted styles or 
forms of art, reposing on similar principles of contrast 



and obviously flowing from the same original source. 
Although the absence or presence of an instrument can 
be no guide in judging of civilisation where all instru- 
ments are known, yet its indigenous invention or 
extrinsic importation will be a very good sign, for all 
men do not appear to rise necessarily to the Lyre Stage, 
and still more will be the character of the musics we 
compare, for they show where other evidence is wanting 
the things we want to know, Thus, for instance, taking 
the Mediterranean Races — Semites, Hamites, and Indo- 
Europeans — and placing them on one side, and the 
Mongoloid races — the Chinese, Malays, and Mongols — 
on the other, we shall again observe a similar contrast to 
that we have just examined between our representative 
savages. For the Lyre is par excellence the instrument of 
the former — so much so that speaking within the limits 
of history we may say there was never a time with them 
when the Lyre was not. While the Pipe is equally 
the instrument of the latter, for while we have an 
historical account of the first introduction of the 
. Lyre into China, the majority of the Malays and 
all the Northern Mongols are ignorant of its existence 
even yet, and are still in the Pipe Stage. But letting 
alone the mere absence or presence of the actual instru- 
ment, as I say, the character of the two Musics point 
unmistakeably the same way. The conception of Music 
by these two races has always been something entirely 
different. With the Mediterranean races, Music has 
been the handmaid of Poetry, and kept in subordina- 
tion to Language. With the Mongoloid races. Music 
was divorced from Poetry ; and instruments, provided 
only they made a pretty jingle or a good stirring noise, 
allowed to run into what excesses they pleased. The 
Home of the Lyre was the Zone of the founders of 
Religions and of the fathers of Epic Poetry. The Home 


of the Pipe was with the discoverers of macadamisation 
and tablet printing, the inventors of gunpowder and the 
compass, who amused themselves with pipe and drum 
after the business of the day was over. 

Such things do we find in the world at large, and 
passing from races to nations we might discover the same, 
for the division is a flexible one and admits of free 
application. And just as the geographers map out the 
world into Wine Countries and Beer Countries, or Oil 
Countries and Butter Countries, so might we well divide 
the races of the world into Pipe Races and Lyre Races, 
and view the History of Music as the conflict and 
antagonism between two great styles — the one beset with 
the chacteristics that flow from the Pipe, the Drum, 
the Dance, the Instrument— the other with those which 
proceed from the Harp, the Lyre, the Chant, the Voice, 
Nor does one develop into the other, nor is one necessarily 
a higher level than the other, but they exist side by 
side in the world with a great gulf between. With the 
invention of the Pipe the growth of Instrumental 
Music seems with some peoples to stand still, and the 
characteristics of the Art gathered in this stage of 
development remain uniltered to the end. If they 
receive the Lyre in time to come as an imported product 
from others, they may use it indeed, but it never takes 
root in the music. While with the Lyre Races that 
stage is early reached, and its characteristics diffused 
through the music in like manner. 

Thus then may we look upon the Musics of mankind, 
and as we shall find the case to stand at the zenith of 
civilisation, so have we found it to be with the savage. 
And to what cause shall we ascribe such antagonism, or 
how make it a valid one, unless we dive beneath the 
sheet of tissue which music spreads for us to walk on, 
and recognise in this opposition of styles the play of two 


great forces upon men, the Sensuous and the Spiritual, 
and their effects, indeed, are better seen in other and 
perhaps higher things than music ; but since they shine 
through all those manifestations of energy that together 
make up life, they are seen in our art no less than 
elsewhere. And these playing upon men, I say, or mani- 
festing themselves through men, have constituted from 
the first two grand varieties each reposing on a totally 
different characteral groundwork. And these varieties 
we may study now in races, now in nations, now in 
individuals, for they pass by imperceptible modifications 
and degrees from larger circles to smaller ones and so on 
to the units that make up man. And there is the 
Sensuous Music which is the music of Melody and 
Rhythm, the music of the Pipe and the Dance ; and there 
is the Spiritual Music, which is the music of Feeling and 
Emotion, the Music of the Chant and the Lyre. 

And to consider that these musical features of diverse 
character do not go alone, let us turn for a moment to 
our typical savages again, and we shall find that the 
Sensuous Polynesians, which are the Sensuous Pipe Race, 
excel in all the concomitants of sensuous character — ^ 
being as sensual in their morals as they are sensuous in 
their music, ' being excellent adepts at the plastic arts, 
and in that form of painting which is the only one a 
savage knows, tattooing, being the tattooers of the 

1 " There is a scale in dissolute sensuality," says Captain Cook, speak- 
ing of the Society Islanders, " which these people have ascended, wholly 
unknown to every other nation whose manners have been recorded from 
the beginning of the world to the present time, and which no imagination 
could possibly conceive." For similar statements about other Polynesians 
see Jukes' Voyage of H. M. S. Fly, II., 246. Ellis' Polynesian 
Researches, &c. 

2 "Die polynesischen Malayan iiberbieten durch kunstsinnige 
chnitzereien und Tatowirungen leicht alle Papuanen." O. Peschel, 

Yolkerkunde, p. 364. 



world, ' covering their bodies with gorgeous arabesques, 
revelHng in the lust of the eye, and exercising all the arts 
of an educated fancy to invent new combinations of 
colours and lines. - But with the spiritual Papuans 
tattooing is entirely unknown, ^ carving is an art scarcely 
ever practised, ^ and the ascetic severity of life among 
these benighted savages might more deserve the term 
of spirituality than does the claim of many modern 
nations who are favoured with the title. ^ The same 
contrast will therefore doubtless be found among nation 
and nation in the civilised world in like manner, and we 
might well compare the Sensuous Chinese with those 
typical Semites, the Spiritual Hebrews — the Hebrews, 
whose whole history is one long protest against sensuality, 
compared with the Chinese of whom nothing like that 
could be said ; ^ the Hebrews whose Intellect was redhot 
with Emotion, whence they came to be the fathers of the 
most spiritual religion of the world, compared with the 
Chinese whose Intellect has always been divorced from 
Emotion, so that they could give birth to so frigid a 
creed as Confucianism, and naturalise the unpoetical 
religion of Buddha. Arid in the Arts the contrast would 
be still more strikingly brought out : the Hebrews, who 
had no plastic Art — sculpture was forbidden by law, and of 
paintitig we hear absolutely nothing ; the Chinese, who 
are adepts in clay modelling, 7 the greatest wood and 

I Cf. particularly Melville's Marquesas, 241, &c. 

3 Cf. the account of the tattooing in Ellis' Polynesian Researches, III., 
216, &c. 

3 Rosenberg, Niew Guinea, p., 8g. For the limitation in Fiji of tattooing 
to the women, and in a very singular sense, see Lubbock's Prehistoric 
Times, p. 360. 

4 Williams' Fiji and the Fijians, I., 112. 

5 Finsch's Neu Guinea, p., loi. Cook, I., 535. Jukes' Voyage of H; 
M. S. Fly, II., p. 247. 

6 See Montesqueiu's remarks on this point in his Esprit des Lois. 

7 Davis' Chinese, II., 259. As sculptors of stone they are inferior. 


ivory carvers of the world, ' the fathers of all porcelain 
manufacture, - as painters particularly as colourists were 
distinguished centuries before the Christian era — fresco 
painting being a very ancient art among them, and 
engraving in three, four, five colours being known long 
before its discovery in Europe. ^ 

In this way we might proceed to generalise. But no 
more at present will we do. For within races there are 
nations, and within nations there are individuals ; 
tendencies imply reactions ; and all sorts of extraneous 
causes concur to obliterate the original lineaments of the 
pure type. They who draw large circles must look to 
having their circles disturbed, and the making of a 
cosmic symmetry is but the prelude to the marring of it. 
Yet since we shall go on in time to study the races of the 
earth in detail, we shall be none the worse for having 
drawn bold lines at first. And travelling on a path where 
much that is new and strange awaits us, a familiarity 
however slight with the main objects on our way will be 
of use to us ; and then this previous study will help us 
all the more. 

1 ih , 238. 2 lb., 244. 

3 Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, VJ.. 7«j. 



The difference between the Lyre Stage and the two 
other stages is this, that aU men are not equally fitted to 
rise to it. There was truth in that old Gnostic who 
denied that the psychic man could ever become the pneu- 
matic. Some men are born with souls, others without ; 
nor can the united ingenuity of man introduce a soul 
where nature has left a vacuum. It is one of the blessi- 
ings of civilisation that soul can be freely exported and 
imported, as Liszt into London, Beethoven into 
Boston — handed about in parcels and exposed to the 
astonished eye of the psychic, who otherwise would be in 
total ignorance of the existence of such an article. And 
what we see going on to-day went on, I take it, though 
far more slowly in Prehistoric Times — the Lyre was 
developed at certain centres and diffused thence into 
psychic un-Lyred regions, there to meet with the usual 
fate of an importation. 

It was the dower which the great Aryan race brought 
to Europe, and whether they came as Celts, Slavs, or 
Teutons, they came bringing their lyres with them to a 
people that knew not the Lyre. And similarly the 
Hamitic branch of the Mediterranean Race, the 
Egyptians, passed down the Lyre, somewhat prematurely 
as we shall see, through the length and breadth of 


Africa. ^ In a similar way we know the Lyre was 
imported into Sumatra, ^ and likewise into Java, ^ and 
was very probably an importation among the Dyaks of 
Borneo. ^ To which we may add the existence of a 
large mass of legends among various nations which 
connect the birth of the Lyre with the Water — an 
obvious innuendo as I take it at an importation by sea. 
Even within the limits of recorded history we may see 
the Lyre still migrating. For the Latins and Samnites 
knew no instrument but the Pipe, till they were brought 
into contact with Greek influences at the south of their 
peninsula that is to say till about 500, B.C., when we have 
excellent proof that the Lyre was imported into Latium 
from Magna Grsecia along with other elements of Greek 
Art and Greek Civilisation, s In the same way the 
people of Ceylon knew no instruments but the Pipe and 
Drum till as late as 161, B.C., when a harp is mentioned 
in the chronicles in such a way as to leave no doubt it 
was quite a recent importation. ^ And here we may pause 
to notice how futile would large generalisations be, unless 
the requisite amount of elasticity were assured them. 
For here we have one of the most important branches of 
the Aryan family, the great Latin Race, not only 

1 See Appendix A. 

2 Marsden s History of Sumatra, 160. Their only indigenous instru- 
ments are the flute and drum. 

3 Where it was brought by Buddhist missionaries from India. 

4 Frederick Boyle's Adventures among the Dyaks, p., 84. Though the 
Dyaks may lay fair claim to the indigenous Lyre, and in the following 
pac^es I have given them the benefit of the doubt. 

5 (a) From the fact that there is no Latin word for the Lyre — lyra, 
cithara, barbitos, &c., being pure Greek. This stamps the Lyre- as a Greek 
importation. {b) From the fact that the oldest word in Latin 
for the Lyre, " fides," is a barbarous mutilation of the Greek (xcfiLSr] This 
ties down the date of the importation to that period when so many 
elements of Greek Art were introduced from Magna Grsecia, in each case 
with a similar mutilation of the term. See Mommsen I., p. 235, sq. 
(English translation) where the whole question is discussed at length. 

6 Tennent's History of Ceylon. 

tHE LYRiE STAGE. 1 53 

ignorant of the Lyre when first we find them, but never 
taking to it kindly to the very last. After its introduc- 
tion it was still a despised thing, and to play it was 
considered unbecoming. Even so late as 114, B.C., when 
music was prohibited in Rome, there was a special 
exception in favour of the Latin player on the Pipe, but 
Lyre-playing was included in the interdict. So that not 
all members of one racial family are equally fitted to rise 
to the .Lyre Stage ; much less all the members of the 
human race at large. And to set off against these 
Aryans, we have on the other side among the Pipe Races 
some exceptions too — the Tartars, Burmese, and one or 
two others, who have achieved the indigenous Lyre, 
unlike the rest of their kith and kin. But to mince 
with exceptions is to miss the joy of generalisation, and 
leaving these things till they can be considered and 
explained in due course, let us follow the fortunes of the 
Lyre among its fathers and begetters, the Mediterranean 
Races at large, for while the rest of men were plunged 
in the depths they raised themselves to the spiritual 
conception of Music, as they raised themselves high up in 
other things as well ; and to get at the beginnings of the 
Lyre Stage we must turn our eyes on them. And asking 
at what period in their history and under what circum- 
stances the Lyre was produced, we shall find that it 
was prodced at a very early period indeed, and the 
circumstances we shall be able to sketch. For it 
must have been produced before the dispersion of these 
races, while yet Semites, Hamites, and Aryans all dwelt 
in one common home. This we know from the various 
members of these three groups of nations whom we meet 
so widely separated and dispersed at the commencement 
of history having nevertheless all one common word 
for " Lyre," so we must either imagine the Lyre to have 
passed from one to the other as a new invention 


after the period of their dispersion, or else, what seems 
to me more probable, to have been developed while yet 
they all inhabited the same home, and used one common 
language. Now the name which the instrument was 
christened in that night of antiquity, and which stuck to 
it so marvellously through all the vicissitudes of its creators, 
was something like this — and I am speaking of what I 
will conjecture as the earliest form — it was Ben or Bin. 
For in ancient Egyptian the name of the instrument is 
Ben or Bent, and in Sanskrit it is Been or Vina, and in 
Assyrian it appears as Pandura. ^ and in Hebrew it is 
Kinnor - — this last being Pan or Ben by the ordinary 
change of p (b) into k (lupus Aukos). And with these 
we may well compare the Arabic Kanoon and the 
Modern Egyptian which is also Kanoon. All of which 
are it seems to me traceable to some original root, Kan, 
which in Sanskrit means "to sing," and which in the 
form, Kan, or Ban, formed part of the language which all 
these nations once used in common. So that there 
seems very little difficulty in assigning the birth of the 
Lyre to the remote period I have suggested, for to insist 
that it was subsequently imported and transmitted from 
one to the other after these nations had dispersed and 
had become geographically separate and distinct, would 
be I think to introduce unnecessary complexity into our 
explanation. But where we have to do with a race of 
totally different blood to the Mediterranean Races, who 
have not a root in their language the same, and who yet 
for all that call the Lyre by the identical name which the 
Mediterranean Races use — I say, that in that case wc 
have every ground for imagining the Lyre to be an 
importationt here, and it is principally on the fact that the 

1 Bent. Pand-ura, 

2 Pan d-ura 

Kiiin (d)-or (a) (even the termination is the same) 

The lyre stage. 


Chinese call the Lyre Kin, that I rely for assuming; 
that the Lyre was imported into China — being imported 
as I take it from the Aryans of India, with whose Been 
or Vina it is in respect of shape and structure remark- 
ably similar. 

So then the Lyre was developed and invented in that 
wonderful Bactrian home of our ancestors where so 
many great and beautiful things were nursed into life. 
And it is interesting to think we can put our finger on 
the map on the very spot where the Lyre first saw the 
light of day. And in studying the history of the Lyre 
among the hordes of Central Asia, as we shall proceed to 
do, we shall not merely be studying a reflection of it, 
as we have been forced to do in the case of the Pipe and 
the Drum, studying reflections of them in out of the 
way savage mirrors, but we shall be studying it in the 
very place of its birth. It matters little that the present 
tenants are of different blood to ours. For has the air 
of the place something to do with it, or is it the nomadic 
life that keeps alive the glorious sentiment of freedom ? 
Whatever be the cause, the agriculture-hating, liberty- 
loving, fearless, independent Tartars, to use the words 
of Prejevalsky,' approach nearly in character to the 
spirituality of our own ancestors, when they had overcome 
the barbarous naivete of the Pipe Stage and the Drum 
Stage, and in the full panoply of manhood first struck 
the chords of the Lyre. 

The Tartars are the Troubadours of Asia — and of 
Asia in the widest sense of the word — penetrating into 
the heart of the Caucasus on the West, and stumping 
the country eastward to the shores of the Yellow Sea. 
This, taking into account the expanse of the country 
between, gives their peregrinations an area of some 

' Lieut. Prejevalsky's Mongolia, I. i8i, 


thousands of miles. "The wandering bards in Circassia" 
(this brings Europe too into the computation) says 
Mr. Spencer, " are generally Calmucks." ^ " They are 
often met with in Tartary," writes M. Hue; "very 
numerous in China"; " nowhere so popular as in 
Thibet." "They are called Toolholos, and remind us 
of the minstrels and rhapsodists of Greece." ^ Marco 
Polo tells us that the great Khan had so many of these 
minstrels at his court that in order to get rid of a few 
of them he sent an expedition against the City of Mien 
composed entirely of superfluous minstrels. And when 
we read that they took this strongly fortified town, 
which, if it is to be identified with the Modern Ava, 
has even now a population of 30,000, we may imagine 
the enormity of the superfluity. ^ 

Now with all due allowance for possible exaggeration in 
this last statement, taken along with the others it certainly 
argues at the least a tolerable abundance of the minstrel 
family, and what is more important a wide-spread 
appreciation of them among the people at large, for 
passing as they do from tent to tent and being dependent 
for their living on the hospitality of others, without 
hearty co-operation on the part of the laity they would 
have vanished long since, or rather the}' would never 
have come into being. And we have ample proof that 
such co-operation is always forthcoming. The minstrels 
are "the greatest delight of the Circassians," '^ "the 
chief pleasure of the Kirghiz hordes," ^ " the delight of 
the Crim Tartars,"*^ "every house open to receive 

' E. Spencer's Travels in Circassia, II., 333. 

2 M. Hue's Tartary and Thibet, 33 sq. 

3 Marco Polo Viaggi, II., 54. 

4 Spencer's Travels in Circassia, II., 342. 

5 Atkinson's Travels on the Upper and Lower Amoor. 6 Hue. 


them,"' " everywhere a corner for the bard," " everyone 

favoured by a visit from him," " all through Persia 

received with joy." - Often each chief has his minstrel. 

-^When Atkinson went to visit an old Kirghiz patriarch, 

he found his minstrel sitting before him, chanting the 

great deeds of his race. And if we project ourselves at 

random into the interior of a Tartar tent, we shall find 

the most perfect sympathy existing between the minstrel 

and his hearers. " He sang of the mountain scenes 

around," writes Atkinson of a performance he was 

present at among the Kirghiz hordes, " he sang of the 

flocks and the herds ; and the faces of his hearers were 

calm and unmoved. But when he began to recite the 

warlike deeds of his race, their eyes flashed with delight ; 

as he proceeded they were worked up into a passion, 

and some grasped their battle-axes, and sprang to their 

feet in a state of frenzy. Then followed a mournful 

strain, telling of the death of a chief, when all excitement 

ceased, and everyone listened with deep attention." - 

Now this little extract, besides throwing a light on the 

point for which we quoted it, will also throw light on 

another point — that is, the performances of the minstrels 

themselves. And if we listen along with M. Hue to 

another performance, we shall have a better idea of them 

still. '' For as he was speaking the minstrel was 

preluding on the chords, and soon commenced in a 

powerful and impassioned voice a long poetical recitation 

on themes taken from Tartar history. Afterwards on th9 

invitation of our host he began an invocation to Timour. 

There were many stanzas, but the burden was always : 

' O divine Timour, will thy great soul be born again ? 

Come back ! come back ! we await thee O Timour ! " -* 

I spencer, loc. cit. 2 Baxthausen, Transaucasia, 346, sq. 

3 Atkinson's Travels on the Upper and Lower Amoor, 252, 

4 Hue, p., 31. 


Now here, we see, as the Voice is everything, the Instru- 
ment nothing — often not used at all, or at best to strike 
a short prelude, to be the flourish of trumpets which 
announces the entry of the Voice. And if we assume, as 
we have reason to assume that the primitive method of 
playing the Lyre was such as we find here, we shall see 
why the Lyre first saw Hght among the nomadic tribes of 
ancient Asia. For in the tranquility of the Nomadic 
life, there comes a great gush of poetry from the human 
heart, such as can never come again after the hum of 
cities begins to sound, and the bustle of business to 
occupy his mind. And we shall further see why it was 
that the Lyre has its particular form — strings stretched 
on pegs and twanged with the fingers — in other v/ords 
why such a form as the Lyre succeeded to the Pipe, 
For the Pipe bound the mouth — the Lyre set it at 
liberty, and enabled it to utter the great thoughts that 
filled the heart. Do not seek then to find the first idea 
of the Lyre in the twang of the bowstring which the 
savage heard as he shot his game, as some have done ; 
for that would be to found all the poetical branch of 
Music on an accident ; but let us say rather that man 
in his unerring instinct groped his way to the right thing, 
and got it at the precise moment he wanted it, that is 
when the great swell of Poetry within him clamoured 
for utterance and forced him to invent a form of instru- 
ment which the Voice could domineer. 

For so far from being a connection of the Bow's, the 
Lyre would seem to be inimical to it, if it is really an out- 
come of the nomadic state, when bows and arrows are 

I M. Villoteau in the Description de I'Egypte advances the theory that 
the Lyre was derived from the bow. It was a hasty generalisation from 
the shape of the Harps of the Ancient Egyptians, and, barring a sHght 
plausibility in their case, is, like other such things, of little worth. 


laid aside. But should this seem fanciful, we will 
consider the matter more closely. And turning to the 
few savages who are in the Lyre Stage, we shall find that 
the Maories could never have derived their Lyre from 
the Bow, for they are ignorant of bows and arrows in 
toto. ' In an island which has never been joined with 
the mainland since the tertiary period and therefore 
contains no mammals but such as have swum or flown 
there, i.e., rats and bats, - hunting has from the first 
been out of the question, and the club and the spear have 
been the only weapons known. In a similar way the 
Dyakes of Borneo could as little have derived their Lyre 
from the bow, for, except the spear, the only missile 
weapon they knew at the time of their discovery was the 
blowpipe. While among the Papuan Fijians who on the 
contrary do use bows and arrows, the rudimentary Lyre 
which we find has taken a form in no way resembling 
that of the bow, for it has taken the form of a Jew's 
Harp. Which, as I take it, was the first and primitive 
form of the infant Lyre, which thus long before it was 
consciously fashioned into a musical instrument existed 
in embryo as an experiment with vibration. 

For those strange things we find in various parts of the 
world, and which v/e may call, as we have called one of 
them already. Rudimentary Lyres, should rather 
perhaps be described as experiments in vibration ; for 
they answer no purpose either of accompanying the voice 
or of prelude to song, but are simply idle experiments, 
as I say, which never come to anything. There is the 
Jew's harp Lyre of the Fijians and the caracasha of the 

1 i.e. at the time of their discovery. 

2 Pigs and dogs have been imported, 


North American Indians, ' the vibrating instruments of 
the tribes on the Upper Amazon, ^ the Jew's harp Lyre 
of the Solomon Islanders, 3 the vibrating bamboo of the 
Carnicobarians, + the bow of the Hottentots. 5 And the 
Jew's harp, we know how it is played ; and the vibrating 
instruments of the Amazon tribes are vibrating pieces of 
turtle shell, and similarly the vibrating bamboos of the 
Carnicobarians are made of thin strips of vibrating cane, 
and the caracashas are notched sticks that make a 
grating sound, and the bow of the Hottentots is a small 
bow which is struck with a stick and one end of it held in 
the mouth. " The tone is so soft " writes Chapman 
" that it is completely lost on the bystanders, and audible 
to no one but the performer himself in whose mouth it is 
held." It is a mere idle experiment like the rest with a 
novel sort of sound,' and the experimenting reaches 
grotesqueness in the case of the Patagonians who 
attempt to play the flttte with the bow. ^ 

So these men, as I take it, have unearthed a great 
secret of Musical Art but are unable to turn it to any 
account, and these vibrational instruments, Jew's harps, 
&c., are the Lyre waiting in embryo till poetry and 
passion have pierced its egg. For when the higher 
feelings of man's nature have attained such force that 
they swallow up and overspread the whole area of his 
culture, then will this little Jew's harp be pressed into 

1 Schoolcraft I., 311. Some of the Amazon Tribes have also 
Caracashas. Bates' Amazon, I., 194. 

2 Wallace Travels on the Amazon, 282, 504. It may be questioned 
how far the sistrum of Isis is a survival of one of these primitive vibrating 

3 Ellis' Polynesian Researches, II., 54. 

4 Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, V., 263. 

5 Chapman's Travels into the Interior of South Africa, I., 272, 

6 So says Musters. At Home among the Patagonians, p., 77. And on 
p., 1G7 he even gives a picture of it, but I can make nothing out of it, 


the service of expression, for its tone needs but to be a 
little strengthened, its powers a little more developed, to 
set the mouth for ever at liberty and enable the hand to 
fling a graceful appendage to the song. And these 
secrets man will discover when he wants. 


The Lyre then came into being as an instrument of 
accompaniment, and I think the root Kan which we 
agreed was the original of Kin, Bin, Been, &c., 
is admirably suggestive of this. For Kan means "to 
sing," and so the Kin or the Bin was the " singing 
instrument" or "the instrument one could sing to"; 
and in its rudest form this Kin or Bin was, as I take 
it, a string or two stretched over a board or a stick, 
and twanged with the fingers — a small light instrument, 
that is to say, which would lay the smallest possible 
tax on the player and allow him to give his best 
attention to the song. And let us imagine its form to 
be the first easy development of the Jew's harp form, 
that is to say, more like a Lute than a Lyre, for the 
strings of the Lute, as all know, lie flat down over a 
sounding-board, but the strings of the Lyre stand up, 
being strung on a frame. Now in the above pages I have 
imitated the freedom of the classical writers in taking 
" Lyre " as a generic term for all stringed instruments ; 
but now that we come to consider the subdivisions of 
these instruments, I shall have to be more precise, 
and must speak of the particular species I have just 
described, as the True Lyre, in order to distinguish it 



from the Lyre genus, of which it is only one of the 
superior varieties. So then the form of the primitive 
Kin was more that of the Lute than of the True Lyre, 
and was composed of a string or two stretched over 
a board or stick and pegged down at the ends, for this 
would be quite sufficient for the purpose it was 
intended — to prelude or strike a note or two by way 
of accompaniment to the song. And then another string 
would be added in course of time, and then another ; 
for each new note meant a new string, for the art of 
stopping had not then been discovered, nor how one 
string contains all harmonies as one ray of light all 
colours. But each new note meant a new string, and 
the history of the Pan Pipe repeated itself, in which 
each new note meant a new reed. So strings were 
added, two, three, four, and then there was a pause, 
for strange to say all the primitive stringed instruments 
that we know of have none of them more than four 
strings ^ : which whether it were due to the fact of there 
being only four fingers on the hand, and that each finger 
took a string while the thumb supported the board at 
the back, may admit conjecture. 

Now the next development of this primitive instrument 
or Lute was to take the step by which the True Lyre 
came into being. And this was effected by cutting away 
part of the board at the back of the strings and leaving 
an empty space, from one end of which to the other the 
strings ran, having now the benefit of a frame to be 

I As the L}'re of the Scythians (Julius Pollux) ; of the Parthians 
(Athenseus, XIV., 3) ; the most ancient Greek lyre ; the tra(;iitional lyre 
of Orpheus. See Diodorus quoted infra, p, — Such modern survivals as 
the lyre of the Maories (supra p. — ) ; of the Finns (Clarke's Travels, III. 
439), &c., &c, 


fastened to, and thus allowing of being strung far tighter 
than when they were merely confined by pegs at each end 
of the board. Or perhaps the object of the cutting was 
to allow the strings to be struck instead of twanged, and 
struck that is to say by something else than the 
fingers, as a piece of bone or metal, for instance, which 
would deal a sharp blow and make the strings sound 
louder. The Scythians struck the strings of their Lyre 
with the jawbone of a goat, and the Massagetse struck 
theirs with the splinters of spears, and perhaps this may 
have been the reason. But in any case the object of the 
cutting away of the board was to increase the brilliancy 
of the strings, and this was the idea of the Lyre. And 
now the development having proceeded thus far, instead 
of going on regularly through the Lyre to the other 
stringed instruments, breaks into two branches thus : — 


Lyre Lute's other descendants. 


Lyre's descendants. 

and I will sink the parentage of the Lyre for the moment 
and regard it on an equal footing with the Lute, and 
then we shall have the Lute standing at the head of one 
of the two branches, and the Lyre at the head of the 
other. And each is true to the secret of its constitution. 
For the Lute is the parent of all instruments whose 
strings are plucked by the fingers ; and the Lyre is the 


parent of all instruments whose strings are struck by a 
plectrum or hammer. And they each gave birth to a 
firstborn ; and the Lute gave birth to the Harp, and the 
Lyre gave birth to the Dulcimer ; or in other words, the 
Lute got its increase in power by increasing the size and 
the tension of the strings themselves, the Lyre got it by 
increasing the force with which they were struck. And 
this is how the Lute gave birth to the harp. The stick 
or board on which the strings lay pegged was bent a 
little, so that the strain might be divided between the 
pegs and the board or stick itself; and then this 
bending went on more and more till at last it was found 
that the strain might be thrown wholly on the board or 
stick by bending it into the form of an arch, and when 
that was done the Lute had grown into a Harp, as I shall 
be able to show at greater length in future pages. But 
the Lyre never changed its form, for it got its increase in 
power by different means. 

This parentage of the stringed instruments I state here 
nakedly without any proof, because having studied their 
history among the oldest nations of antiquity I have 
found it to hold generally so, nor is there any theory I 
am endeavouring to establish which should lead me to 
pervert the truth, since I cannot even make a guess at 
the reason of it all, but can only predict that when we 
come in due course to those ancient nations we shall 
find the Egyptians ignorant of the Lyre and acquainted 
only with the Lute, which under their hands grows into 
the Harp — shall we say that it puts on bigness agreeably 
to the genius of its masters, and that Harps, are the 
Musical Pyramids? — and we shall find the Semites on the 
other hand knowing only the Lyre, and how this grew 
among the Assyrians to the brilliant Dulcimer, but with 
the Hebrews remained in its earlier form, which though 
we call it loosely the Harp was still the little Lyre ; and 

The lyre stage. 165 

then the Aryans in the third place, we shall find them — 
the last to rise to civihsation — contented with the most 
primitive form of all, the Lute, which only at a late time 
in their own history and particularly among their Celtic 
and Teutonic branches pursued its development to the 
Small Harp, So that speaking broadly we can say that 
the Harp is the Hamitic contribution to the music of 
the world, and the Lyre is the Semitic, and the Lute is 
the Aryan ; and the play of importation and interchange 
will be interesting for us to watch hereafter. 

But if we would still study the early history of the 
Primitive Bin a little more, it is plain we must turn 
from its developed forms of Harps and Dulcimers, and 
hang a moment over the primitive Lute ; for I have 
said somewhere that one of the salient effects of the 
Lyre Stage was to inaugurate a New Music in the world 
by the union of the Voice with the instrument — and 
this we must spend a word over. And then we have 
not discovered how the stopping of the Lute's strings 
was first found out ; and it will be hard to turn back to 
consider these elementary points, when once we are 
ushered before that panoply of beautiful instruments, 
which awaits us when once civilisation begins. 

And the stopping of the Lute's strings was found out 
as soon as the Lute got a neck. For in the primitive 
form of a piece of straight board with strings lying over 
it there was no likelihood that the art of stopping would 
be discovered, but the instrument would be played as we 
should play an ^olian harp nowadays (which indeed it 
very much resembled) or as the Chinese play their Lute 
at the present day, resting on the knee, or on some 
artificial support, or perhaps on the left arm, while the 
thumb of the right hand steadied it underneath and the 
four fingers twanged the strings. But when, for conveni- 
ence of holding, one end of the instrument was made 


narrower so as to be grasped by the left hand, directly I 
say the left hand went round the strings, it could not help 
pressing them sometimes as it held them, and the 
difference of tone which the pressure caused would be at 
once noticed, and in course of time would be acted on. 
And this is how the Lute's strings got to be stopped, and 
the object of the neck was, as I say, that it might be held 

And the New Music which came into being as the 
direct consequence of the appearance of stringed 
instruments in the world, was the Music of Harmony ; 
and its spirit was the disciplining of the Instrumental 
by the reason of the Vocal. For the Musical Instrument, 
which in the Pipe Stage was used but to fling a cataract 
of idle sounds, was no,w taught to aim at expressing 
actual thought. And first it was only used to strike 
a prelude independently before the Voice began to sing. 
Yet even then there was more reason in its utterance 
than ever there had been in instrument before. For 
it would necessarily take its cue from the words and 
sentiment that were to follow, and give the gist of them 
in its own loose way whatever it did. Much closer 
would be the union and more perfect the Harmony, 
when that stage was reached of which we have a living 
illustration among the Khonds of Khondistan, when the 
instrument keeps up a wild symphony during the whole 
of the declamation^ ^ This would indeed train it to 
reasonable expression, for each wave of feeling that 
swept the singer would require a corresponding reflection 

I Campbell's Narrative of thirteen years' service among the Wild 
Tribes of Khondistan, p. i6. 


in the instrument, and it would soon get to return all 
the glancing colours of thought, being indeed a mirror 
of notes in which the song could see itself. So that 
when the last stage was reached in our musical liaison, 
when the instrument and the voice went hand in hand, 
note for note, and word for word, the instrument would 
be almost as skilful as the Voice itself in expressing 
the minutest flickering of thought, and ready for the 
separation which ultimately occurred again, though at a 
period far distant from the present. By which time 
the instrument was by the benefit of its schooling no 
longer the reckless jingler we have known it, but as good 
an interpreter of thought as the Voice itself, and with 
some peoples it became a better one. 

Such then was the result of Harmony, which is in its 
essence but accompaniment, and which first came to pass 
in the union of the Voice with the Instrument in the 
Lyre Stage. And I am speaking here only of Instru- 
mental Harmony. For that other Harmony, of Voices 
alone, was in existence before this, and owes its origin to 
other causes. And it owes its origin to the different 
pitches of the human Voice. For since the world began 
there have always been high men's voices and low men's 
vioces, and high women's voices and low women's voices ; 
and whenever two of a different sort sing together they 
necessarily produce Harmony. And so we find even 
savages employing Harmony, for it comes easier to them 
than singing all at the same pitch. And they have learnt 
the art of regulating this easiness of Singing to the 
requirements of pleasing effect. For our ears do not 
like to hear two notes clashing together, but any other 
combinations they accept, though some delight them 
more than others. And as to what are the most 
naturally pleasing combinations, we may learn this from 
savage harmony, and we shall find that thirds are 



pleasing, and also fifths, but particularly thirds, for we 
get many combinations like this in savage songs : — 


'--^ 4. * Jli "-^-Q. 

and also the third joined with the fifth at the close, as 


and other thirds piled above (and indeed the fifth itself is 
but a repHcation of the third), and these other thirds we 
call sevenths and ninths, and all these we find ; as in that 
savage song that La Perouse heard : — 





-« — ^ — 

-~« — S — ' 



I I 1 


-*- It 

-^- -^- -^y 

Then we have fourths and sixths too, but not so com- 
mon. And all these belong to one category, that is to 

1 Ambros' Geschichte der Musik, I., 7. 

2 Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee.p. 364. 

3 Engel's National Music, p. 154. 

+ Forster's Reise um die Erde, I., 429. 

3. Le Perouse, II. 209 



say, they are in their essence but many voices singing 
the same thing at different pitches, and the prescription 
of the pitches for the purpose of pleasant effect is a later 
addition which came as naturally as the prescription of 
certain pleasing turns in simple melody. 

But there is another sort of Harmony of a totally 
different kind among savages, which, I take it, is more 
important than this sort ; and that is when some Voices 
sing, not the Melody at a lower pitch, but an independant 
accompaniment on their own account, thus standing to 
the melody in the same relation which the Instrument 

did in its accompaniment, as we have just described. 

As for instance 



-^ \- 


, ¥r^'¥ ¥ fj'f- ^ 


^ ^ ^ 

K^ ^ k 


1 Wilkes II., 134 

2 Engel's National Music. 

Wilkes II., i8g, 


Here are the few instances I have met with of this sort 
of Harmony, and I say they are more important than the 
other because they are independent strains ; and we shall 
find that in course of time these rude beginnings of 
independent notes blossom out into independent melodies, 
and while the first order of harmony gives us the germ of 
what we understand by Harmony Proper, this second 
order gives us the germ of that elaborate Harmony 
which we call Counterpoint. And this is why it is more 

But I am looking into the long future, and speaking of 
things which do not come or assume any historical 
importance till very late in the history of our race, 
although like all other things in the world to-day the 
seeds of them may be found in savage man. So returning 
to the sequence of events as we left them, how the Lyre 
was developed, and the Voice brought into union with it, 
and how Instrumental Accompaniment began, and a New 
Music with it, let me carry on the tale from that point 
again, and passing from the technical details of strings 
and stoppings, let us take a wider view and scan the 
world itself of those days, and get the secret of this 
wonderful Lyre Stage when so much was done for our 
Art. For its import as I have shown was the absorption 
of Music into Poetry and there was a flood of fine 
feeling abroad we may be sure, or such things never 
could have been. 

We will pass from the Lyre, then, to the Author of the 
Lyre ; and we shall find that the morning is at last 
breaking around him. The savage has passed into the 
barbarian, and the barbarian is fast passing into the 
civilised man, for it is now the last day of Pre-historic 
Times, and we are on the eve of great things. 

And how shall we study our hero under these new con- 
ditions ? And we may presage that History is just 


beginning, for we have no need to grope among savage 
analogies for our materials, but we have the authentic 
testimony of ancient historians to the condition of many 
peoples who were barbarian in their time, and this is the 
evidence we intend to take. But when we go on to talk 
of the Celts, who will be our principal figures during the 
few pages that yet remain, let us try and avoid reverting 
in fancy to the period when Julius Caesar landed in 
Britain, B.C. 55, or to the expeditions of the Phoenicians 
to the Scilly Isles for tin — two facts apparently which 
form the main connotation of " Celt " in one's mind — 
but on the contrary let us arrive at a new connotation 
by keeping General Faidherbe's theory well -before us, 
that ages before Julius Caesar, or Rome itself was thought 
of, the Celts swarmed over Europe, and passing in hordes 
over into Africa, settled in the Valley of the Nile, and 
founded the civilisation of Egypt. Without any wish 
to uphold this theory for a moment, I will set it down 
here for the sake of its appositeness ; for since our path 
has yet to run through the land of the Pyramids^ 
the land of the Winged Bulls, the land of Junks, ancient 
civilisations shining like lamps from the darkness of 
Pre-historic Times — since, I say, we have yet to traverse 
these hoary civilisations and to observe how harps were 
twanged, and flutes were blown there, it is well to keep 
such anachronisms as the Ancient Britons and Carac- 
tacus very far away, and whether speaking of the Celts 
or Goths or Germans, I would be understood as 
endeavouring to paint, by colours drawn from them, 
Barbarian Man — who moved about the plains of the 
Euphrates and the flats of Memphis with the same 
habitudes and the same ideas as they. And we must 
make him live again by their aid, for it is no longer a 
question of an instrument or two that concerns us, but 
the whole life of the people, for music penetrated it all. 


For among all barbarian nations we find the same over- 
powering passion for Music which we found a few pages 
back among the barbarian Tartars of to-day. And whether 
it is the Celts, the Sarmatians, the Goths, the Gepidse, 
the ancient Scandinavians, or whoever it is we consider, 
they all have their abundance of minstrels and rejoice in 
them. Nor do they content themselves, as at a later 
period, for instance as the Greeks in Homer's time 
contented themselves with sitting round and listening 
while Homer sang ; but they themselves are the singers. 
The anc ient Scy thians, ^ the Gauls, ^ the Cantabrians, ^ 
the Britons + rushed singing to the fight ; so of the 
ancient Germans, " canhc truci," says Tacitus, s and of 
the Thracians, " car minibus et tripiidiis " ^ — it was thus 
they charged, singing ^nd dancing; for " they went to 
the fight " says old Pelloutier " alloient au combat come a 
un bat et un festin.'' For they had not yet learnt the 
etiquette of Civilisation ; and in the joy of fight they 
unbuckled their souls, and this is how their joy expressed 
itself. A perfect riddle it was to the civilised man — 
" it is all rubbish," says Brasidas in Thucydides, " they 
are a pack of cowards who think they can scare us 

I Xenophon, Cyropsedia, V. 

3 Aulus Gellius, IX., 13. cf. also Diodorus, V., 2. 3 Strabo, III. 

4 As in the battle between Boadicea and Paulinus ; (rvvrjX,$ov ot jxlv 
f3dp/3apoL Kpavyfj Te ttoAA,^ .cat (jSais dTreLXrjriKOis x/^w/xevot, 
Dion, 62, 12. It is a pity that instead of the frivolous speech that Dion 
puts in the mouth of Boadicea he had not taken the pains to give us a 
genuine Celtic battle ode. 

5 Histories. II., 22. Cf. IV. 18, ut virorum cantu sonuit acies. 

6 Annals. IV., 47, "more gentis " he adds. The barbarians in the 
Roman armies are noticed by Ammianus as singing, XVIL, 13. 


by their loud shouting." ' " They got quite distraught " 
says Strabo of some Cantabrians '* when they heard 
they were to be crucified ; and in their frenzy they began 
to sing."2 And Quintus Curtius gives if possible a 
weaker explanation of the singing of some Sogdian 
captives whom Alexander ordered to death, " they sang " 
it appears " because they were happy in being put to 
death by so great a king." 3 

The fact being that the whole lives of these men were 
steeped_in Music. Singing was to them as natural a 
mode of expression as speaking is to us, and in moments 
of high nervous exaltation in the excitement of the 
battle-field, or when face to face with death, they sang 
when we should only declaim, or more tutored still, set 
our teeth and hold our tongue. Their battle-song is 
our huzza. ; and a general's command or an officer's 
cheer finds its original in priests and bards in white 
robes and with harps in their hands marching at the 
head of the armies, and cheering on the warriors by 
their lays. '^ 

For their whole life as I say was wrapt in Music. 
There was no form of culture which Music did not 
penetrate ; and scarcely any fraction of life in which it 

1 An opinion which Thucydides seems to share, for in the next chapter, 
TTckXy /3o7j Kal Oopvfica 7rpocr€K€tvTo vofjiLauvres <^euyetv re aTJTOv, 
&c. ' 

2 Strabo, III., 4. 

3 Quintus Curtius, VII., 10. How much nearer is Plutarch the 
mark than any of these, in his account of the battle of Aix. 

4 Jornandes. quoting Dion "sacerdotes cum citharis et vestibus 
candidis &c. De Getarum Origine, cap. 10. See the spirited description 
in Lichtenthal's Dizionario e bibliografia della Musica, Art, Bardi, 
" They fought singing with crowns on," are the words of jElian (Various 
Histories, XX., 23) and Theopompus describes them making a truce to 
the sounds of music (Fragments of Book 46). 


did not play a part. And to do away with even the 
suspicion of exaggeration in such a statement, and to 
enable us to comprehend the amazing difference between 
those times and ours, let us remember that if we 
celebrated 'our banquets as the barbarians did theirs, 
there would be eternal singing intermixed — each guest 
contributing his song in turn, and as often as not 
extemporising both words and music for the occasion. 
For this is the way in which the Germans, the Scythians 
and the Cimbrians were used to banquet — and it survived 
in our own country till the time of those Saxon 
b-mqueters who passed round the harp which Csedmon 
could not play. 

And if we celebrated our marriages like the barbarians 
did theirs, the guests would not be an idle troop of 
spectators ; they would be all choristers, whose wild 
hymns would be but the plain-spoken expression of their 
joy. ^ And at those other ceremonies, which the wheel 
of life brings round as the year the seasons, we should 
speak our grief in dirges, and chant our emotions away. ^ 
But the very thought of such a mourning would be a 
monstrous affectation now. So much has the world 
changed since then. 

Lovers wooed in music and wits jested in it — whether 
it were hons mots, proposals of marriage, or racy 
stories ^ — every thing was sung. And it is by this 

1 Pelloutier. Histoire des Celtes, II., i86. Cf. also .the_ account of 
Ataulph the King of the Goths himself singing the nuptial hymn. 

2 For singing at funerals. The Visigoths, Jornandes, 41. The Huns. 
Id., 49, " Electissimi equites facta ejus cantu funereo deflebant,' &c. 

3 Pelloutier, loc. cit. The saletes en vers were the well known German 
Valleinachise. What holds of the Celts is equally true of their modern 
antitypss, the Maories and others. " lis ont des chants erotiques, featiriques, 
elegiaques, et guerriers," says D'Urville of the Maories, which are sung 
by all alike. For the Love songs of the Celts see the appendix to Davies' 
British Druids. 


universality of the musical faculty that we must explain 
such statements as those of Diodorus about the ancient 
Britons, *' that their cities were full of musicians," of 
Phranza about the ancient Georgians to the same tune, 
and of Marco Polo about the Tartars. To the latter I 
have already alluded and have slurred it over as an 
exaggeration. But it will be plain now that it is no 
exaggeration at all. For in saying that 10,000 Tartar 
minstrels marched against the city of Mien, he is merely 
conveying the implication, that in any 10,000 Tartars 
there was scarcely one man who was not more or less of 
a musician. And so Diodorus of any city-full of ancient 
Britons in like manner. 

And our surprise at even these modified assertions will 
vanish when we remember that Music was the main 
engine of Educ_ation in those days — what little knowledge 
these rude men possessed had all been conveyed to them 
through the medium of Music. Their mig ratio n, wars^ 
and all the chief events of their History, says Tacitus of 
the Ancient Germans, are narrated, in hymns ^ — Their 
mythology also and the origin of their race ^ — the lives and 
deaths of their heroes 3 — the Dogmas of their religion 
and their moral precepts '^ — All took the same form and 
were chanted like the longer hymns to the accompani- 

1 Tac. Germany, 2, cf. Jornandes the same of the Goths, cap. 4. 

2 Ammianus Marcellinus, XV., 19, for the Celts. 

3 Qui virorum fortium laudes &c. Festus. Cf., Jornandes on the Visi- 
goths and Ostrogoths, "Cantu majorum facta modulationibus citharisque 
canebant," Cap. 5, cf. also Cap. 4. For the Sarmatians. Priscus Rhet. 
in exercit, Legat, p. 67. tcoi/ acrfxarotv (in the same way says Mlian of the 
Celts) VTToOeareLS TTOioiJi'Tat, roiis av6puiiT0V<i TOv<i aTro9av6vTa<i iv tu> 
TTokefxco KaXws. /Elian's Various Histories, XII., 23. 

4 Prudentius Apotheos, 206, 


ment of the lyre. ' Traditions of their gods also and 
of the creation of the world in the same way. ^ 

Now whether we are to accept Aristotle's rationalistic 
explanation of all this, that metrical forms were con- 
sciously used because they assisted the memory — unum 
id genus memorice, says Tacitus — or whether we are to 
steal a hint from Tasso and say that the Music was used 
to sugar the cup of learning, or whether we take the truer 
view, that with barbarian man all exalted subjects are 
saturated with passion, and Passionate utterance must 
sooner or later tremble into Song — I say, whichever view 
we take, it is certain that Mugic in those days was. what 
writin g is no w, and that the range of Mus ic then was 
coextensive with that of Literjitur ^ now — so that what- 
ever piece of knowledge a barbarian acquired he drew 
in a draught of Music with it. And there was more of 
systematic education then than we are apt to believe. 
** For twenty years," says Cassar of the Celtic youths, 
" for twenty years they were kept learning verses." 3 
" In specu et abditis silvarum," adds Pomponius Mela, ^ 
so that there was an ascetic element about it. And 
if this be only held as applying to the pupils of 
the priests, it will at any rate let us into the secret 
of what education in those days actually consisted 

1 La voix etoit ordinairement accompagnee de quelque instrument, says 
Pelloutier, quoting authorities, II., i85. 

2 Tacitus. 

3 Cffisar, DeBell Gall, VI., 13. 

4 III., I. W^e will suppose however an end to have been reached in 
due time nor go so far as accept the stories of Diceneus, how " viri 
fortissimi quando ab armis quatriduum usque vacarunt ut doctrinis 
philosophicis imbuerentur," 


in and go to justify the assertion of old Pclloutier that 
" toiites les etudes de la jciaicsse se reduisent a cJiarger 
leur mcmoire d' line infinite de pieces de Poesie^' an 
assertion which may I think be extended to all bar- 
barous nations since we find a similar practice obtain 
even among the Maories of New Zealand — the pupils of 
the priests being compelled to pass many years in 
laboriously committing verses to memory. ^ 

But the influence of Music did not end with the 
Education of the Mind, it was also a powerful engine 
for educating the body. And in those men who marched 
to battle, carniinibiis et tripiidiis, — K^ovovTiq pvO/LK^ ra 
oirXa Kai (TvvaXXojUivoi iravT^g cifia, — I think -we may 
see its incarnation as Ideal Drill, an interesting aspect 
of its empire, which I propose to discuss more 
minutely when I treat of the Music of the Greeks. 

But its greatest glory is yet to come, for not only 
was it the means of educating the body and the mind, 
but it was the means of educating the Soul. And by 
as immense an altitude as a Good man stands above 
a clever man, by so much does this latter import of 
Music transcend the former. 

What School is to the boy, Life is to the man ; 
and Law is the Schoolmaster in this new School, 
being but Social opinion stereotyped — the opinion of 
many formulated by one. Now to enhance the au- 
thority of this schoolmaster and to bring his rulings 
home, the lawgiver, who is the apex of the cone, 
naturally expresses himself through the medium of that 
force which, for the time being, has the greatest 
influence over the minds of men. And as among a 
people peculiarly susceptible to the influence of Religion, 

I Gray's Polynesian Mythology. N 


as the Ancient Hebrews for instance, Law appears as a 
direct revelation from Heaven — which also served 
Lycurgus as a ratification ; and in more polite times 
when faith ceases to be paramount, it is expressed in 
the naked form of Science, as in Codexes, Digests &c ; 
so in these old barbarian times, Law found its natural 
expression through the medium of Music. Thus the laws 
of the Celts were couched in Hymns and were sung 
to an accompaniment of the Lyre ^ — the laws of the 
Gepidae in like manner, ^ of the Turdetani 3 — of the 
Agathyrsi, the Sygambri — and we should probably find 
this to hold universally of all barbarous nations if we 
had complete information about their history. For 
Music was both the natural medium for the exposition 
of Law, and it was at the same time the best. For it 
had by this time attained the rank of a Moral Power. 
" The Celtic Bards," says Diodorus, " ^tr' opyavwv toIq \v- 
puLQ bfxoiwv a^ovTeg ovg fxlv vfivovaiv, ovg de [5Xa(T(pr}iuov(n — 
"they award praise and censure where it is due." 4 So 
of the Bards of the Tartars, " They praise the hero, 
reprove the traitor and coward, expose guilt, and diffuse 
inteUigence to distant tribes." 5 And of the Rishis and 
Rhapsodists of the ancient Hindus, '• they were con- 
sidered saifitly guides^ ^ The Scandinavian Skalds were 
present in the thickest of the fight " that they might 
behold with their own eyes the performances of the 
warriors, and award the prize of prowess." 7 And the 
Celtic bards in like manner, spettatori in hiogo vicino 

1 See Pelloutier's account.II. 186. 

2 Ricobaldus Ferrariensis III. 3 Strabo III. 4 V. 31. 
5 Spencer's Travels in Circassia. II. 341 

b G. M. Fagore, On formation of the Caste System. Trans, Ethnol. 1861. 

7 Von Troil's Letters on Iceland in Pinkerton. J. 697. For the Moral 
influence of the Bards among the Goths, see the remarkable passage in 
Sidonius Apollinaris' Letter about Theodenc. ' Sic tamen quod illic' &c. 


di tutte le azioni — the men fought under their eyes, 
and a hero's highest glory was to hear their approving 
words. They could arrest armies on the brink of a 
battle, or with a word they could hurl them in 
collision again. ^ 

To whom then could man better entrust the promulging 
of that nobly homily of submission and self denial, which 
is Law, than to men like these, who without calling in 
the brutal aid of physical force, or conjuring up the 
scarecrows of an invisible world to help them, rose to 
be the leaders and fathers of their people ? 

And for my own part I am willing to spread out this 
picture which I have drawn here, and to invest the 
whole world in its colours on that great day which 
preceded the outburst of Civilisation. I am willing to see 
in this growing susceptibility of men to the soft fashioning 
of moral and aesthetic influences the signs of that docility 
of character which was the immediate precursor of 
Civilisation. And in the bards and seers who used their 
power so nobly for everything that was good I will see 
those legendary heroes who exist in the twilight of all 
national legend, and are reputed as the founders of races. 

For of all those grey kingdoms and empires which 
now begin to dot the surface of the earth, and 
which seem to have sprung into their new birth of 
glory so suddenly and so strangely that they have lost 
all remembrance of the past, not one is there but in 
its quieter moments will tell the simple tale of some 
old man in the days of yore who taught the seed 
to grow and the corn to ripen, who gave laws and 
instructed them in their duty to one another ; and 
how this old man was a Musician and the power that 
he used was Music. 

I. See the account in Diocjore, V. 213-4 Cf. Strabo- IV. 4. 


" Osiris " says the Egyptian legend " dissuaded the 
people from their wild and brutal life, he made the 
corn grow and gave laws to the people, and taught 
them to honour the gods. And he did not do this by 
force of arms, but by persuasion and eloquence, soothing 
and subduing their minds with songs and music." ^ 

" Maneros," says another legend of the same people, 
" taught the art of husbandry and gave laws to the 
Egyptians. He was a disciple of the Muses, and he it 
was who invented Music." ^ 

And the Chinese give the same account of their 
beginnings. Up till the time of Fou-hi, men lived wild. 
They knew only their mothers but not their fathers. 
But Fou-hi instituted marriage and gave laws to the 
people. He taught men the art of fishing and invented 
the Kin, which is a Lyre of five chords made of silk. 
Then came Shin-nung. He invented the plough and 
taught the art of agriculture and the art of astronomy. 
He made another kind of Lyre, and composed songs 

1 l\a\L(TTa fxiv ottXwv ^eridtvra, TreiBoi ci tovq TrXeiaTovg 
KOI \oj(i) fitT o3Sf/e Kai }xovaiKr\Q ^eXyojutvovg Trpoaayoiuevov. 

_P1iit ,irrh. De Iside. 

2 " gave laws to the Egyptians "—this is the way I translate Hesychius' 

TOVTOV (j)r](Tiv ^ AijvTrriov ofioXoyrjaai Trpwrov, which as it 
stands means nothing. Jablonski corrects bjXo\oyr\aaL to 3'£oXoy7](Tat, 
translating it ' le premier qui enseigna la theologie aux Egyptiens '. I think 
M. Villoteau's translation of 7rp wrov o/ioXoyijcrat perfectly ridiculous, 
' le premier qui les reunit en corps de societe, ' forcing bfxo\oyj\(Jai into a 
meaning it could not possibly have. I would suggest the following emen- 
dation of Hesychius : — the (prjcriv is plainly corrupt for there is no nomina- 
tive to it, the TOVTOV ^ Aijvtttiov for ' this Egyptian ' is bad Greek, for it 
ought to be TOVTOV Tov, and ojHoXoyrjcrai means nothing. It may well 
be emended then as follows : tovtov (^affiv ^Aijvtttioi vojuoAoyricrai^ 
which gives the meaning we wish ; but I am not sure about vofioAojricrai, 
, , ' to make laws.' I fancy however I have niet v/ith it in Procopius. 


to soften the manners of the people and recall them 
to virtue. 

And though Berosus is silent on the point, I think 
we well may place Cannes of the Assyrians in the 
same list, who " came from the Persian Gulf and taught 
the Assyrians the Art of Fishing and the Art of 
Astronomy, and gave them their laws and their 
civilisation and their legends." For Cannes was the 
Osiris of the Assyrians, and did we know more of 
him we should hear of him having invented the Lyre 
and Music too. 

Precisely similar are the legends which meet us at 
the threshold of Greek History, for it was -the Lyre 

says Pindar which brought peace into the world, ^ and 
men were wild and fierce, says Horace, till Orpheus 
came, who dissuaded them from rapine and bloodshed 
and taught them law and government, ^ 

Orpheus, Amphion, Linus, Musaeus, then, step out ot 
the frames of Mythology, and stand forth in their true 
character as Lawgivers and Moral Teachers — no less 
authentic in their personality and their actions than 
Charondas and Zaleucus, Empedocles and Parmenides, and 
other men of later times who used the same means to 
convey their teachings by, and from whom we may learn 
that it was not the Music that produced the marvels 
but the thoughts and wisdom which were uttered by the 
Music. Music alone could never tame tigers and turn 
the savage into a civilised being. But Law and Order 
can change a bunch of mud huts into a flourishing 
city ; and Morality can bend the fiercest warrior tc 
delight in the domestic joys of Peace. And thus it 
was that Orpheus made the flocks to follow him, and 
Amphion built the walls of Thebes. 

I Pind. Pyth. V. 89. 2 Sylvestres homines &c. 


And now into the nice question how to adjust the 
prize of glory and to give our Art the honour that 
is due, for though these great men were more than 
mere musicians shall we say that their lyre's sweet 
melody was only idle twanging and their beautiful 
voices need never have been tuned to song — did 
Music's self not soften the rugged hearts they disciplined 
and formed, and how far was it a sheer necessity to 
their glorious mission — I say into this question I would 
tain enter, but must leave it with other things for a 
more convenient time that never comes. For I must 
hasten on my journey nor linger any longer on this 
fascinating theme. For now the light of History breaks 
over the Pyramids of Egypt, and man's first civilisation 
emerges from the darkness of Prehistoric times in full 
maturity of beauty. What storms he has weathered 
before this calm came we have endeavoured to find 
by taking account of those less favoured men who are 
still in the middle of the gales. And to us peering from 
the blackness that encompasses the labouring vessel the 
scene in the gay valley of the Nile looks fair indeed 
— by contrast to what we are leaving it is flawless : 
perhaps a nearer view may reveal undreamt of imper- 
fections : but in the meantime let us think ot it at its 
best, and feast our eyes with the brightness of the 

I see Harmony incarnate and Order in man's works 
before me. And hark ! I hear the sound of the Lyre 
in Memnon's Statue, and it is worshipped as the Voice 
of the Sun. 




Ofi the Three Stages iti Central Africa and especially 
the Lyre Stage. 

I had intended to have made a copious dissertation on the subject 
of this heading, which It seemed to me merited a most detailed examin- 
ation, and was scarcely to be relegated to the obscurity of an Appendix 
considering its intimate connection with the body of the wori<. But 
the possibility of making such a dissertation has been denjed me, and I 
can do little more than throw together the few materials I have by 
me, with the hope that the view I propose may commend itself on its 
own merits to the reader. 

The same difficulty meets the musician in the case of Africa which 
before met the archteologist. The archaeologist found the Africans 
invariably in the Iron Age with no trace of the Bronze or Stone 
Age occuring among any tribes in the continent. In the case of music 
we find indeed no such disappearance of both Stages, although occasionally 
of one i.e. the second of the three, but yet we find most of the 
tribes are in the Lyre Stage. 1 had prepared a catalogue of the African 
tribes with which we are acquainted, to discover whether the absence of 
stringed instruments prevailed in the centre, the north, or in what dir- 
ection it might be of the continent. It seemed to me from the tale 
this catalogue told that the tribes in the lowest state of musical 
development, that is, those who have not acquired the use of stringed 
instruments, were principally in the east of the contnent and the east of 
the central part of it. But this tabulation I was obliged to discard, 
owing to the conflicting accounts of travellers, and without endeavouinng 
to trace tho topography of the instruments, let us be content with the 
broad assertion that most of the tribes of Africa are in the Lyre Stage 
and some are prematurely in it, that is to say, they are unacquainted 
with the use of pipes, which in all strictness should have preceded the 
knowledge of strings. 

Now what perplexes us in our appreciation of this fact is this : We have 
found that the Lyre belongs to a very high stage of human development ; 
we have found it in the hands of barbarians who were just emerging 
to civilisation. Yet in Africa we find it known to the most degraded 


savages. In all other places we find the Pipe and Drum its invariable 
concomitants, yet in Africa we sometimes find the Pipe wanting It 
should seem then that the word, ' prematurely,' which we used a moment 
ago, might help us to an explanation of this fact. The occurrence of 
the Iron Age in all parts of Africa has been well explained by the 
theory, that the Art of smelting metals was passed down from the 
Ancient Egyptians through the negroes on their borders, and from thence 
spread through the whole continent of Africa, May we not assume a 
similar hypothesis in relation to the Lyre, namely that it was transmitted 
from the Egyptians to the tribes of Africa while yet they were in some 
cases in the Drum Stage, and in all cases before they had attained that 
great proximity to civilisation which in general accompanies the ap- 
pearance ot the instrument P The possibility of such a passage will be 
better imagined when we remember how many similar elements of 
Egyptian civilisation have found their way down, beside the particular 
one ill question. Livingstone recognised the pestle and mortar, sieve, 
and corn vessels of the ancient Egyptians in the modern implements of 
the Makololo and Makalaka. He found throughout the south of Central 
Africa precisely the same form' of spinning and weaving which he had 
seen on the frescoe=! and sculptures of Egyptian tombs. The arts of 
cooking, brewing beer and straining it, are throughout the whole of 
Africa, as is well known, conducted in precisely the same way as among 
the ancient Egyptians. Livingstone says that at Louangwa he sav/ men 
with their hunting nets, whom he could not have distinguished from 
the fowlers and hunters of the ancient Egyptians, Indeed if we brought 
more instances of the kind forward, and we might bring many, the case 
would be rendered a very strong one ; but irrespective of such evidence 
as this, we must not forget the almost necessary inference that has to 
be drawn from the Geographical features of Africa. It is impossible for 
men to dwell on a large continent, with a character so uniform and 
intercourse so comparatively unembarrassed, without continual communication 
taking place between the most distant inhabitants, and the productions 
of the more civilised finding their way at least as rarities to the more 
barbarous tribes. Even at the present day English wares bartered at 
Mombas, which is on the east coast of South Africa, have been after- 
wards recognised by the same traders at Mogador, which is on the west 
coast of North Africa, i If such traffic can take place within the 
experiences of a few traders to day, what untold traffic must have occurred 
in the course often thousand years past! And what more likely to 
have been passed from hand to hand and from tribe to tribe than an 

1. 'WaitB. Anthropologie. II. 101. 


instrument of music such as the Lyre, which was so great a novelty 
to savages in the condition of the Africans ? Accordingly we find the 
shapes of the African harps are strikingly similar to those of the ancient 
Egyptians. Let alone the ordinary shape of the ancient Egyptian harps i 
which we find is the common shape of the African tribes, as among 
the Shelsianis and Bechuanas, we have also the singular form mentioned 
on p.— at Karague, and also among the Wahuma tribes. And if these 
may he explained away as but the natural forms which any one would 
use who made a harp — which however would be a ridiculous argument — 
we have one instrument the paternity of which can admit of no doubt ; 
for that peculiar cross between the lute and the harp, which I have 
yet to mention as the connecting link between these two forms, and 
as peculiar to the ancient Egyptians alone of all the world, appears as 
a constant form among the African savages of the Soudan, by whom 
it is called the Nanga. As the Chinese Tche or mouth organ appears 
again in the Javan rattle, which is made like it but used for a 
different purpose, so does the ancient Egyptian Nefer re-appear in the 
Soudan trumpet, which resembles it in external appearance perhaps, but 
not in use, for it is a wind instrument not a string, but certainly is 
called by the same name. The negroes of the Soudan, call their drums 
by the same name as the ancient Egyptians — Daluka, and the drums 
are precisely identical. Many similar instances would no doubt be ob- 
tainable, wei-e the musical information about the African tribes more 
copious. And this is the reason why J think that the Lyre came into 
Africa from the ancient Egyptians, because other musical instruments 
and other things such as implements &c., and arts &c. passed down 
the continent from ancient Egypt, and also because it seems impossible 
that savages, at the low condition of development the Africans are. 
could have risen so high as to invent this poetical instrument them- 
selves. It has been prematurely introduced, I take it, and certainly their 
use of it justifies the idea. For it is generally used as a mere idle 
instrument, and often fitted with keys of iron, or struck with rods like 
a dulcimer, and has pieces of shells and tin hung to it, to make a 
jingling accompaniment. It serves the same office which the Pipe does 
among other savages — to accompany the dance, or to amuse the ear ; 
but as to being an instrument for poets, as to being the companion of 
bards and minstrels, we do not find any such fate has befallen the Lyre 
of Africa So we prefer to consider it a premature importation from 
civilised neighbours, which has not taken root and flourished, because 
the new possessors were not prepared to receive it. 

1. As on p — 



On Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Ifistrumental Music. 

Darwin's ingenious hypothesis in Descent of Man, which finds the 
Origin of Instrumental Music in the Love Call, is open to the somefirhat 
serious objection, that in the case of all the birds, which he enumerates 
as employing instrumental music for a love call, the male bird is always 
furnished by nature with some personal peculiarity wanting or half de- 
veloped in the female, which is naturally adapted to the making of 
sound. The Indian bustard and the Chamoepetes unicolor are in a manner 
typioal of the rest of the instances he quotes, of which the first, for 
instance, has its primary wing feathers greatly acuminated and with 
these it makes a humming noise while courting the female. And it is 
because of the female's deficiency, and consequent incapacity to produce 
the like, that she feels attracted by the sound. But has man any 
acuminated wing feathers which woman has not ? Are not man and 
woman precisely even in the matter ? And this being so, what attraction 
could woman find in the playing of those rude instruments, extemporised 
drums, that she could quite as easily peform upon, herself .^ If it could be 
proved that man has some exclusive perfonal advantage, which fits him 
for playing the rude extemporised instruments with which music began, 
the hypothesis might stand. But this cannot be shown. 


On Darwin^s Theory of the Origin of Vocal Music. 

Darwin's admirable hypothesis in Descent of Man, which finds the 
Origin of Vocal Music in the Love Call, is open to the objection that 
in all the birds which he eites, the voice of the male is much sweeter 
than that of the female, whereas in man the opposite is the case. It 
might however be fairly argued that the Love Call, though first used 
by the male to attract the female, was afterwards perhaps abandoned 
by him and adopted by her in her turn as a means of attracting the 
male. Certainly the sensual passions of the females are among all savage 
races much stronger than those of the opposite sex. And a very good 
analogy might be struck with Dancing which undoubtedly arose from the Love 


Call fto keep the name), miist have originated with the male, agreeably 
to the nature of all animals, and as certainly has been abandoned by 
by him in course of time and adopted by the female, with whom 
among savages it is the usual means of attracting the opposite sex. 
All the dances of savages, except the war dances, are performed by 
women, sometimes, though not nearly so often, by women and men, and 
are of the most licentious description, thus showing clearly enough their 
original object. cf. Cook, passim, particularly his account of the 
Timorodee. Cameron passifu &c. &c. But even with this analogy ac- 
counting for the superiority of the female over the male in a department 
which at first was the male's domain, it biings yet more clearly into 
relief an unsatisfactory point of Darwin's theory, which is that the 
songs of savage races are never Love Songs (I have never met with any), 
but always War Songs or Songs of triumph or Panegyric, or Dirges. 
Now if their original theme, before language was used, had been Love, 
we should probably find traces of this in the songs as we do in the 
dances, which certainly owe their origin to this passion. His remarks 
on the Musical Gibbon seem rather to prove that the usual method of 
Love-making with Apes is not prefaced or carried on by songs, and 
that this animal is an exception to the rule. 

But even supposing that man did use his voice as a Love Call 
(which I do not grant for an instant), Darwin is surely wrong when 
he says that 'the vocal organs were primarily used and perfected in 
the practice of this Love call,' whereas it is probable that not until 
man had fully tested and satisfied himself of the power of his voice, and 
become familiar with its various tones, would such a thing as the Love 
Call be conceived. It is narrowing the dominion of music too much 
to limit its origin to love, instead of the broader ground of all human 
emotion, which is the admirable theory of Theophrastus centuries ago, and 
which we prefer to maintain to day. i 

1. Plutarch, Queestiones Sympos. I. 2. 













Passing now from the fastnesses of the barbarian to 
the lawns and enclosures of civilised man, it will behove 
us to see under what guise our Art appears under these 
new conditions. We left it in the keeping of sages 
and lawgivers a great Moral power in the world, at 
every turn impressing its influence on the minds of men, 
overarching and brightening their rude lives like a 
rainbow, in whose vermilion was dipt the woof of all 
their culture. But bidding adieu to brawny warriors 
rushing song-intoxicated into battle, white-robed priests, 
harp in hand, leading the way, steppes and forests, mud 
cabins and leaf huts, cromlechs, maraudings, and all 
the belongings of barbarous man, let us enter the land 



of the Pyramids, and take a walk through Thebes or 
HeliopoHs at say the beginning of the 19th dynasty, 
when the power of Egypt, which had been steadily 
mounting during the i8th dynasty, had now reached 
its full plenitude and prosperity under the sceptre of 
Rameses II., and let us commence a tour of discovery 
in search of Music. And passing down the crowded 
streets, where through the open shop fronts we may 
see the carpenters at work with saws, mallets, chisels, 
planes, and gimlets, ^ the goldsmiths with files, pincers, 
and blowpipes worked by bellows, 2 the coopers drawing 
out wine through siphons, ^ the brushmakers making 
brushes, '^ the painters varnishing and painting camp 
stools, 5 chairs, arm-chairs, tables — taking care to steer 
clear of the great benches at the shop doors of the 
poulterers, butchers, fruiterers, oil-merchants, on which 
the shopkeepers sit bargaining and haggling with their 
customers ^ — as we go along, I say, we shall be able 
to observe the signs of the times, and remark how 
different everything is to the state in which we left it 
in our last book. These carpenters, shoemakers, coopers, 
curriers, that fill the Egyptian streets, have other things 
to do than think of warbling. They have so many 
tubs, shoes, tables to make before nightfall, and every- 
thing must be put aside till their work is done. 
Besides why should they sing ? You may sing when 
you have won a battle, but there is not much use in 
falling into such ecstasy over the completion of a tub 
The stimulus to that joyous bursting out of animal 
spirits, which is Singing, is clean gone now. And 
could we imagine it for a moment revived, it is ques- 
tionable whether it would have any effect. For the 

I Brugsch Graberwelt. p. 24. 2 Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of the 
Ancient Egyptians. III. 400 sq. 3 lb. 4 lb. 5 lb. 6 "Wilkinson, p. 406. 


lesson of Self Restraint, which is the first chapter of 
Civilisation, has been learnt only too well, and men have 
passed from men into machines — cogs in a vast piece 
of intricate wheelwork, and the great wheel goes on and 
never stands still a moment. 

But one cut are they above the gangs of slaves and 
captives whom we may see at work in the adjoining 
fields — cutting clay and baking bricks, and wincing under 
the lash of the taskmaster. These work through fear 
of the whip, the others through fear of Poverty and 
Want, and with both incessant toil is the order of the 

It is plain therefore that I must not look for Music 
among these " stinking masses," ^ " miserable slaves," ^ 
' craven labourers," 3 for such are the terms which the 
officers of Pharaoh's court delight to apply to these 
noble fellows, who have thus humbly and gallantly fallen 
into line, and are quietly carrying on the work which 
the. new scheme of life apportions them ; for they turn 
neither to the right nor to the left from the work 
before them, and the grating of the saws and the 
clatter of the hammers are all the Music that I hear. 
Where then am I to find what I am in search of ? 
I am told that if I go to the house of Menu-hotep 
1 shall find it. I go to the house of Menu-hotep 
accordingly, and I find there is a dinner party on,« and 
am hurried along in the crowd of guests and servants, 
past the fragrant kitchen, where rounds of beef, quarters 
of kid and wild goat, haunches of gazelle, geese, ducks, 
widgeons, quails,4 are all roasting and boiling away — ■ 
cooks at work with pots, pans, and cauldrons,^ confec- 
tioners making maccaroni, batter, and all sorts of 

I Brugsch's Geschichte .<Egyptens unter den Pharaonen p. 2i, 
4 WUkinson. Ill, s Tb, 

2 lb. 3 lb. 


sweetmeats ^ — past the kitchen up to the dining-hall in 
the press of the throng ; and the dining-hall is brilliantly 
lighted and crowded with guests, ^ and there are slaves 
handing cups of wine ^ — others holding vases of ointment 
and flowers ^ — others presenting grapes, figs, lotus flowers, 
costly cakes ; ^ or throwing necklaces of jewels with 
reckless extravagance round the necks of the guests — 6 
and there — I hear it — and at the far end of the room 
I see it — our Art and its representatives — four women 
and two men singing and clapping their hands to mark 
the time, one woman playing on the double pipe and 
one man playing the harp, 7 amidst all the clatter of 
the dishes and the chatter of the guests^ — but one 
flower more are they, one sweet odour more in the 
general bouquet and perfume of delight. They are all 
slaves every one of them, and do obeisance to the 
master of the house when they enter the . room. 8 

And now the dinner is over, and jugglers come in 
to do conjuring tricks, 9 acrobats, 1° dancing women, ^^ 
a young girl who dances a skipping-rope dance through 
a hoop, 12 and she dances to the time of the flute ; ^3 
and men come in who throw a ball up in the air 
and catch it in all sorts of marvellous positions. And 
as the hired amusers go on with their work, the 
musicians get so mixed up with the jugglers and 
tumblers that I can't tell which from which. 

I. lb. 2. lb. 3. See the frescoes and sculptures in Rosellini. I mon- 
umenti dell' Egitto Tavole II. 4. lb. 5. lb 6. lb, 79. 7. See the group 
in Lauth's article on ancient Egyptian music in the Sitzungsberichte der 
Miinchener Akademie for 1873. 8 Rosellini loc. ci- 9 Rosellini, II. lOO. 

10 lb, II lb. 12 Wilkinson III. 13. lb, 14 Rosellini. I, 
Monumenti dell' Egitto. Tavole. II, icx). 



We left Music a Life Speech. We find it an article 
de luxe. What was once the common property of all 
has become the prerogative of a chosen few. It should 
seem that in this matter Music, Joy, and Freedom have 
fared alike. 

The Barbarian's birthright — which are these three 
things — is made so little account of now, that the 
toiling masses, in their stern conception of life, yield 
it up without a murmur to the idlers who flirt with 
it. There has been a sad dwindling in the estimation 
of Music since Civilisation set in, if the greater part of 
men can now make shift to do without it, and the 
rest are content to make its acquaintance by deputy. ^ 
And the reason of this dwindling must plainly be that 
Music no longer answers any practical purpose in life. 
History, religion, morals, law have left the old channel 
through which they flowed ; and the scribes, philosophers, 
jurists, and others whom the disintegration of knowledge 
has brought into being, would laugh at the idea of 
chanting their lucubrations — and with reason too, for 
the pen has taken the place of the Lyre, and has been 
found a much more manageable instrument. Joy and 
freedom can no longer fill the vacuum, for they have been 
banished from the majority of lives, and their fortunate 
possessors are too much bewildered with the numberless 
ducts of happiness at their disposal to concentrate its 
flood on catgut. The old channel therefore is quite 
dried up, and until something is directed into it again 
lies unused and worthless. Music must therefore be 

I Cf. with this, Wilkinson, II. 241. cf, also infra p. 31. 


content to drag on an uneventful existence until better 
days arrive — of no more account than tapestry and 
embroidery, perhaps not so much. Each age has its 
art, and in these days of the first civilisation, when men 
were in all the first blush of the new knowledge of 
the marvellous power that lies in the united effort of 
many, that Art, which is produced by such effort, and 
is the most obvious and direct expression of such 
knowledge, was the Art of the time. Architecture 
darkened the sun. Beside the Pyramids what is a 
fiddlestring ? Architects married kings' daughters, ^ and 
the Musicians were slaves. 

It is thus that we must look at our theme now. 
It has lost considerably in dignity, perhaps, but not in 
human interest. And these slave-minstrels are as dear 
to me as any in the long roll that I shall hereafter 
treat of 

Their business was to attend the banquets of the 
great, and play and sing for the amusement of the 
company ; and we find them constantly represented in 
the sculptures in groups of from two to eight persons 
— some women and some men — playing on various in- 
struments as the harp, pipe, flute — the harp, lute, flute 
— the harp, lyre, lute — the lyre, flute, and double-pipe 
— the harp, the double-pipe, and the tambourine — the prin- 
cipal collocation as it should seem being the harp, 
double-pipe, lute, and flute; or the harp, double-pipe, 
lyre, and flute — another favourite one being the harp, 
double-pipe, lute, lyre, and tambourine, and other similar 
collocations might be mentioned, which it . will be 
needless to set down here. 

Such is the tale which the sculptures tell, and it 
may furnish us with materials for copious disquisition. 

I Brugsch. Geschichte .^gyptens. T. 6o- 


For in the first place the arrangement of the musicians 
in groups, will show us that the Music has closely 
followed in the steps of Life. The effect of Civil- 
isation on Life has been to assemble men in masses, 
and teach them to work together. Its effect on Music 
has been to assemble musicians into bands, and teach 
them to play together. Towns have been founded in 
the one case, and Concerts in the other. 

And secondly, let us not forget that we are in the 
land of hieroglyphics, and that besides the figures on 
the surface, a hidden meaning may remain behind. 
For the sculptors who gave us these books of stone, 
which we have just read off into words, are indeed 
the historians and annalists of Egypt. But in reading 
the books that they have left us, we must remember 
that we are not perusing the words of men who could 
write as they pleased, but the words of men who had 
only a limited space at their disposal to express them- 
selves in. When therefore they would speak of an 
army, they sculptured four men — this had to do duty 
for as many thousand. When they would show us how 
the obelisks were dragged to their resting places, for 
which thousands of men were necessary, they were 
compelled by straits of room to abridge the numbers 
to at the utmost four batches of workmen, — six in each 
batch. The trains of captives who were brought back 
from war, were symbolised rather than expressed by 
one captive apiece, and the chief was made to do duty 
for a whole tribe. This then was the sculptural method. 
Compelled as the carvers were to utilise and make the 
most of every inch of space at their disposal, they 
endeavoured to hit off the most salient features of the 
scene, rather than to express the whole entire, which 
would have been impossible — their records are essentially 
abridgements, and as in the pictures of the brickmaking. 


we find one man kneading the clay, one man cutting 
it, one man baking it, one man carrying it, who we 
,know are to be taken as the symbols of many kneaders, 
cutters, and carriers, so in the pictures of the concerts 
we must not necessarily suppose that one harper, one 
piper, one fluteplayer, and one singer, by any means 
form the entire band, but that on the contrary they 
are only the typical representatives each of a whole 
division of performers, and that as before the chief is 
made to do duty for the tribe. It will be well, there- 
fore, to modify or rearrange those groups of minstrels 
whom we have formerly given, saying that they were 
five, six, or eight in number ; but now we must assume 
them many more than six or eight. For I say there 
is no limit to the elasticity of the notions which we 
should conceive about the Egyptian musical performances. 
Admiration of bigness was a part of the national 
character, and the music must have had its bulk and 
magnitude as other things had. " When one thinks 
of the Egypt of Cheops and Cephren," says M. Renan, 
" on est pris de vertigeT ^ Everything was done on a 
scale of vastness aud profusion — ten or fifteen large 
estates were the usual allotment of one Egyptian 
gentleman ^ — thousands of droves of oxen ranged on 
his pastures ^ — the slaves who worked in his fields and 
attended in his house were numbered by tens of 
thousands. 4 

Now Tebhen, the son of Hum-chopat, was an 
Egyptian grandee of the time of CheopSj and like 
every other gentleman of his time he had a certain 
contingent of his slaves told off to do the music 
work. And if we take the reading of his tomb literally, 

I E. Renan, Revue des deux, mondes, 1865. 2. lb. 3. lb. 4. lb. 


two harpers, two fluteplayers, and one piper were all 
that he could spare out of his immense establishment. '^ 
What a beggarly remainder ! Why even in Ptolemy Phila- 
delphus' time, when the Egyptians were pigmies compared 
to these old Pyramid men, the festival orchestra of the 
Royal Palace could consist of six hundred performers, ^ 
and the stock orchestra of probably half that number. 
I think if Tebhen heard of the parsimonious character 
with which his musical arrangements have hitherto been 
credited, he would turn in his grave. 

This is the second point I wanted to bring out. 
And it seems to me that putting actual testimony 
aside, speculation might have led us to the same result, 
by comparing the parallel cases of Venice and our 
own times, when a spirit of centralisation and the 
consequent throwing of large resources in the hands 
of individual men, have communicated breadth and 
vastness to the Music of the time. Trebly more would 
they do so when the world was younger, and men 
felt more keenly than they do now the glory of 
lord.ship and the divinity of power. 

And next to recur to our hieroglyphic again. As 
a mere mechanical result of grouping such various in- 
struments together, some form of Harmony must have 
gradually grown up. If an orchestra consisting of 
Harps, Lyres, Lutes, Tambourines, Double pipes. 
Single pipes. Flutes — if all these played the air, what 
a waste of good sound ! And men knew what 
Accompaniment was very well too, for they had used 
it in the Lyre Stage ; so that to credit the Egyptian 
bands with only playing the air, or only playing in 
octave, as some have done, seems a hardier supposition 

I Champollion. Antiquites. V. 17. 6. 2 Athenseus. 


than to credit them with playing a Harmony : which 
whether it partook of the nature of a mere single 
part accompaniment, or whether it were a regular 3 
or 4 part Harmony, may admit conjecture. But most 
probably it was the latter. For let us take the much 
abused band of Tebhen that we have spoken of — it 
is composed of 2 Harpers (I give the numbers on 
the sculpture) 2 Flute Players, i Pipe Player, 4 
Male, 3 Female Singers — all these are playing and 
singing together. Now the Pipe cannot be playing 
in unison with the flute ^ because it is shorter and 
therefore higher ; besides this, even though they were 
of the same pitch, the flute is being sounded in 
its lowest note and the pipe in its middle register ; 
while the other flute is likewise being sounded in its 
middle register, and therefore is giving a sound mid- 
way between the first flute and the pipe, with such 

I or or J 

J- ^- 

n_j| 1 =1 - 

a result as this : JL.. . I ^ — for though it 


may be presumed that the Pipe doubles one of the 
Flutes, it is plain that the flutes are not doubling each 
other. But, meanwhile, what are the Harpers doing ? 
Are they doubling ? Or are the Male and Female 
singers doubling ? If they all doubled the octave and 
5th, the effect would be the thinnest and puniest 
imaginable — and ten times thinner by the multiplicity 
of the performers. When a chord of octave and 5 th 
is sounded — especially by a large band — the 5th is 
scarcely heard. It might as well be left out for all 
that it enriches the sound. And shall we imagine that 

I This fact is well brought out in Chappel's " History of Music." 


these big orchestras, the whole raison d'etre of which 
was to procure breadth and richness of tone, were 
content to hmit themselves to two notes at once and 
one of them a dummy. I should rather say that they 
would err on the side of luxuriance rather than of chastity 
— great discords, uncouth barbaric chords, ponderous 
chords, colossal harmonies I should expect to have 
heard had I listened to those old Egyptian concerts. ^ 
Big orchestras always mean luxuriant Harmony, as he 
that reflects on the History of Music will know. And 
it was in keeping with the Egyptian genius, which was 
always hankering after bigness and adored combination. 
They could never be content with soloists but must have 
great groups of performers ; ^ even a chorus was not 
enough, they must add instruments ; 3 and it may be 
remarked as strikingly suggestive of the national charac- 
ter that their favourite instrument (of the Wind family) 
was always the Double Pipe that gave {dextra et 
sinistra) a treble and a bass {biforein cantitui) at the 
same time. Now it seems hard to believe that this 
tendency to massing and grouping while appearing 
so strongly in everything that surrounded the music, 
should yet be banished from the music itself 

It should seem that the Melody was more likely to 
have been lost in the Harmony, than the Harmony 

I This staletnent must not be accepted as a rash or hasty one, anil having 
thought over it frequent!}', I do not feel disposed to alter it in the slightest. I 
had since thought that we must limit the Egyptian harmonj' to much slenderer 
dimensions, since otherwise we should have found traces of what I speak of 
in Greek Music, which lay under obligation to the Egyptian. Yet it is on the 
other hand more probable that the Greeks singled out the best and purest 
things for their imitation, and let the unwieldy and barbaric be. Let us think 
of their parallel obligations in Architecture and Sculpture, and we shall have 
no difficulty in understanding this. 2 The sculptures in Rosellini and 

Champollion show us clearly that soloists were quite the exception. 

3 There are but two or three instances of singers unaccompanied. 


in the Melody. Since Melody is the musical reflection 
of Individualism, and only appears in those epochs 
when the Individual man comes prominently forward 
on the scene. Such was the savage, and such have 
men been at various epochs, and particularly transitional 
epochs, in the world's history since that time. But 
Harmony is the musical reflection of Organic States, 
when the Individual is sacrificed to the mass. Egypt's 
history is but the history of such perennial sacrifice. 
And that Harmony should take the pas of Melody 
there was natural. 

I have spoken of their Harmony as ' luxuriant,' 
but I must add a qualification. The Harp was the 
foundation of the Egyptian orchestra. Now the Harp 
is essentially Anti-chromatic — even since the invention of 
Pedals it rebels against accidentals— and before Pedals 
were invented, the Harp could only play a straight up 
and down Diatonic scale. It is plain, therefore, that the 
Egyptian Harmony was purely diatonic, such a thing 
as modern modulation utterly unknown, and every piece 
from beginning to end played in the same key. 

Now a full Egyptian Orchestra was thus composed: — 
20 Harps 
8 Lutes 

5 or 6 Lyres 

6 or 7 Double Pipes 
5 or 6 Flutes 

1 or 2 Pipes (rarely used) 

2 or 3 Tambourines (seldom used)^ 

I This specification is based on a calculation I have made from the 
Sculptures, in which I find that the Harps form 40 per cent of the 
total number of concert instruments employed, the Pipes 2 , per cent, 
Flutes II per cent, Double Pipes 13 per cent, Lutes 16 per cent, Lyres 
II per cent, Tambourines 5 per cent. Now let us collate this specific- 
ation which we obtain from the Sculptures, with the proportions of the 


If Vocalists were added, which was not necessarily the 
rule by any means, they would number about three 
fourths as many as the Harpers. 

This makes sixty-five in all, which seems a fair 
maximum for the establishment of a private gentleman, 
since musical performances were always indoors, and the 
dimensions of the hall must be taken into consideration, 
otherwise ^ the number might have been infidenitely 
extended, as doubtless in the Royal Orchestras it was 
much extended. The number of performers in that 
Orchestra of Ptolemy Philadelphus which I have mentioned 
was 600 ; but as this was a Festival Orchestra, we may 
perhaps compute, as we have computed, the stock Royal 
Orchestra at half that number. 

The Compass of the Egyptian Orchestra was four 
octaves and a half — that is to say considerably more 
than half that of the Modern Orchestra. 

Taking B ^ — :":=: as the bottom note, because 

it was the lowest note of the Assyrian Scale, 2 and 
probably also that of the Egyptian, as it was of other 
ancient nations of whom we shall hereafter treat ^ — 

Royal Orchestra in Ptolemy Philadelphus' time. Athenseus says that of 
the 600 that composed it 30 were harpers, and though we might well 
assume that these 300 were players on the harp alone, yet it is probable 
from the word K:f0apt(rTr7C that we must take it generally as "players on 
stringed instruments," including, that is to say, lute players and lyre 
players too. So of an orchestra of 600, half were strings ; . and if we 
add up our strings 20-8-5.. 33 we shall find that they likewise make 
half of the number we have assumed as the total — 65. 

I If we could be sure that the courts of the houses were ever used for 
musical performances, and they would seem to invite the use iu such a climate, 
we might imagine, as I say indefinite orchestras. 2 That is B (Infrap.) 

We are assuming the Egyptian an octave lower. The return to Cb of late 
years in tuning modem harps is, I take it, an instance of Reversion. 

3 E. g.— the Chinese whose oldest mode of scale was in B, (Infra p.-). 


taking B sS zizp then as the bottom note, the 

compass of the Great Harps was from — 

! [which seems a fair computation for strings, 

the lowest of which was 6 ft. Jong and proportionately thick, requiring a 
muscular effort to twang it— whence it was that women were precluded from 
playing the Great Harp.] i 

Of the Small Harps from 

Of the Lyres (like the small Harps) 



-^~ tf 

[For we are told that in the reign of Amasis Harps of 14 strings and Lyres of 
1 7 were used together, 3 arid it seems plain that the object of so using them was 
that together they might cover the whole compass of the orchestral gamut : 
and since we cannot place the highest note of the Lyre much above " d " or 
" e " because this was the limit of the highest known Egyptian instrument 4 — 
nor the lowest much lower than "d" if the instrument was to be of any use in 
supplementing the Great Harp, we will suffer one 8ve to overlap which 
we cannot help and conjecture its compass as above.] 

Now the Harps and Lyres are not difficult to conjecture, 
for when we have assumed a bottom note we have 
merely to count up the number of strings on the 

I See the harpers in Rosellini, I monumenti. II. 97. Tavole, and par- 
ticularly the left hand one. 2 The Small Harp was used for the same 
purpose as the lyre (i.e, to accompany the Great Harp), and therefore I have 
given it the same compass. 
3 Wilkinson. II. 


sculptures, one note for each string, and we get the 
compass. And the number of strings in the Great 
Harps range from lo to i8, ^ and in the Small Harps 
from 4 to 21,2 and in the Lyres from 4 to 22 strings. 3 
And the compasses of these instruments have been 

But when we come to the Lutes it is a very dif- 
ferent thing, for the strings of lutes are tuned at 
considerable intervals from one another because they 
are stopped ; and we cannot know the number of notes 
a Lute has, unless we know how many frets it has 
on its neck. But the extreme length of the neck in 
these Egyptian Lutes, shows us that they must have 
had very many frets, or that each string must have 
been stopped many times, which comes to the same 
thing. And then we know from Diodorus that the 
Egyptian lute had three strings, 4 and some on the 
sculptures we find with 4 strings ; ^ so that if we 

4 This is the highest note in the Treble Flute discovered in the 
Tombs of Thebes. This Treble Flute does not come into prominence 
till late in Egyptian Musical History, and we have not admitted it into the 
orchestra, because there is no warrant for so doing from the sculptures. 

1 Bruces Travels in Abyssinia 1. 126. sq. Bruce's Harps are very good types 
of the Great Harp, nor does it seem by the sculptures that the number of 
strings in the Great Harp ever went beyond 18, which is the number in his 
largest Harp. It is a pity his researches were interrupted, for there were many 
more harps in the tomb where he found these, and Bruce would have drawn 
them all, had not his guides become refractory at his long stay, and with great 
clamour and marks of insubordination dashed their torches against the largest 
harp, leaving him and his companions in the dark. 

2 Engel. Music of most Ancient Nations, p. 181. 4, 7,8, 9, 10, 13, 18,20. 
and on p. 183. he sets down the highest as 21 strings. 

3 Wilkinson. (Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, i. 462,) 
gives 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, ID, II, 12, 14, 17, 20, 21, and 22 strings. 4 Diodorus. I. 16. 

5 Or rather 4 pegs, for it is hard to see the number of strings on a flat 
surface. And even if these pegs are only tassels, as some have conjectured 
and as indeed sometimes they are tassels, this would make no difference in 
the computation of the strings. 


imagine these strings tuned in 5ths or 6ths to each 
other, we shall get such a compass as this for our 


Lute, \ t ^ I * f \ \ \ r ? ~ for the neck is so 

I ) j I i 

long that we are compelled to assume a low note as 
the bottom one. ^ 

And the Flutes — it will be hard to conjecture their 
compass too, since we do not know the number of 
stops ; yet their great length marks them out as an 
Alto or Tenor rather than a Treble instrument. And 
then they are held obliquely not horizontally like our 
own Flutes, 2 and perhaps this was because they were 
too heavy for the arms to support in a horizontal 
position. So this is aril the more reason for conceiving 
them a Tenor or Alto instrument. And we will assign 
them a compass somewhat similar to the Lute, only not 
so low in their bottom notes. 

The highest instrument was the Pipe. It possessed 
but few stops and belonged to the hautboy order of 
instrument. So we will confine it within hautboy limits 

'^ or-^ 

-I — 

for its top note, and perhaps 7 notes 

on this side of it for its compass. 

Now as to how precisely these ^ instruments were 
arranged in combination — whether the Harps played a 

1 The traditional method of dealing with this lute, as I remember from 
Dr. Burney, is to assume its tuning the same with that of the Lnte of 
Orpheus, i, 4, 5, 8, i.e. the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings tuned in 4th, 5th, and 
8ve to the first. The next step is to prove that Orpheus got his' lute from 
Egypt, which is a harder matter, 

2 Champollion. Antiquites. V. 17. 6, 


substantial melody, which was repeated by the Lutes 
an 8ve above, with chords perhaps in addition, since 
chords are the Lute's forte ; while close on these came 
the Double Pipe's bass reed and the Tenor Flute ; 
while the Lyre and the Small Harp filled in the 
harmony above, and highest of all (though rarely used) 
the Pipe warbled deliciously — may admit conjecture. ^ 

Yet this noble pomp of instruments and voices, this 
triumph of discipline and art was but, like the Pyramids, 
the monument of their slavery. Giant stones were piled 
in hills by toil incalculable— to enclose the carcass of a 
king. Instruments were heaped together in glorious 
profusion — the exploits of three thousand years to come 
beggared quite — men condemned to the music-room, as 
they were to the stone quarries, to practise their in- 
struments eternally, and pass their lives in learning parts 
by heart ^ — and all to enliven a gentleman's dinner 
parties. There a king's carcass, here a nobleman's 
stomach was the matter at stake. They raised Pyramids 
to bid defiance to death, and they raised a Pyramid 
to bid " Viva la j'oia " to life. And Music was that 

Hence we shall understand why the Orchestra was 
composed as it was. Why it was a mass of Harps 
and other strings, accompanied by the voices of such 

1 The method of playing the Harp was much the same as at the present 
day. In one or two points however there were differences : the thumb and 
little linger were the chief fingers employed, instead of the thumb and 
third finger as at present— this was probably owing to the distance of the 
strings apart; also the harp was held on either shoulder instead of on the 
right exclusively. Even already, however, there seems to have been a pre- 
ference for the right shoulder, which may be the origin of the modern habit. 

2 Though the Egyptians must probably be credited with the possession 
of a musical notation, the performers ou the sculptures always play from 


melodious instruments as the Flute and Double Pipe, 
why women formed the majority of the singers and 
at least half the instrumentalists, why such instruments 
as the Trumpet, Drum, ^ Cymbals ^ were carefully ex- 
cluded — in one word, why softness and sweetness were 
aimed at in its composition rather than strength and 
power. 3 Yet we may well admire how strangely out 
of keeping with the manifestness of the intention is 
the way in which that intention was carried out. 
There is a massiveness and solidity about the or- 
chestra that is unmistakeable. Presided over by the 
Great Harp, whose tone approached that of our 
Double Basses, the second instrument in point of im- 
portance was the Lute, likewise a deep-toned instrument 
of the Bass or Baritone order, then came the Double- 
Pipes with their additional contribution to the Bass 
element. The Flutes, as we have seen, were Alto or 
Tenor. The range of the Lyres and small Harps com- 
prised more Tenor and Alto than they did Soprano, and 
the Soprano single Pipe was rarely used. Thus the 
whole schwerpiinkt of the Orchestra was in the Bass, 
Tenor, and Alto registers. So smitten were the Egyptians 
with the passion for massiveness that this was the 
lightest thing in Orchestras they could achieve. 

Now passing from the Orchestra to the Music the 
Orchestra played, we will examine its character in turn. 
And I think we may make a fair guess at its char- 
acter. For when we remember the servitude of the 
musicians and how they lived but for the pleasure 
and on the sufferance of their lord, we cannot ex- 
pect any very high or manly feeling to have pervaded 

1 They were only used in the armies. Clemens Alex. Stromateis. II. 164^ 

2 Cymbals were confined to religious ceremony. "Wilkinson, II. 256. 

3 yElian draws a similar conclusion about the Byzantine Music from 
the absence of the Trumpet. (Various Histories, III. 14). 


their compositions. And if any of them ever ventured 
to entertain lofty ideas about his art, — ne siitor ultra 
crepidam, and we may be sure he would pretty soon 
have had to drop them. And we have spoken about the 
sweetness of the music, and I think we may go on to em- 
bellish our conception of it and to bring the music bodily 
before our mind ; for let us remember the occasions 
on which the performances took place — during banquets 
and before them, "while the dinner was preparing ; " and 
we need only enquire what the demand is on such 
occasions to form a very fair notion of what the 
supply would be. So we may imagine that a calm 
and tranquil music preceded the banquet, "such as 
would compose the nerves of the guests and put their 
appetites in good trim, and a sparkling, effervescent 
music accompanied it, bright and glittering like the 
lights and the jewels, yet not so loud as to drown 
the conversation, and particularly subdued when Trim- 
alcion himself made a bon mot. ^ It will be well 
therefore to credit the musicians with considerable 
powers of expression and chiaroscuro. Nay we might 
go beyond this without offence, and credit them 
with a dramatic power, in so far as they were the 
aesthetic reflections of a scene that was notoriously 
dramatic. For when the skeleton was introduced towards 
the close of the feast, can we imagine a better pen- 
dent or a more natural one than the wailings of the 
singers, the muffled tones of the flutes, and the 
growling of the bass on the Harp ? 

I If we may judge from the dinner music of Romance: — " They took 
their places at the table, and had scarcely seated themselves when a num- 
ber of slaves, belonging to the princess, began a delightful concert of vocal 
and instrumental music, which continued during the whole of the repast. 
As the instruments were kept very soft they did not interrupt any 
conversation between the prince and the princess." 


We shall at any rate do no wrong if we credit them 
with a high degree of technical skill, which it will be 
plain they could not but acquire in the course of a 
life devoted to no other occupation than that of Music, 
since most probably they were brought up to their 
work from their earliest years. And allowing this pre- 
dication of the musicians to flow into the Music, we 
shall conclude that the music itself (since composers 
write as they play) was full of technical difficulties, — ^ 
and this will give us an additional reason why the 
practice of the art in Egypt was in all cases limited 
to professional performers, who were the only musicians 
known in Egypt. 

There is another point about Egyptian Music I will 
now mention. It was Arrhythmic rather than Rhythmic. 
Not only does the absence of percussion instruments 
from the orchestra point in this direction, but the 
constant presence of conductors also suggests the same. 
For Music that is alive with Rhythm does not want 
conducting. It goes of itself. ^ Its short groups of 
notes and tripping metres caper on unbidden. But 
a Music that has long phrases and weak rhythms — 
where this has to be played a conductor is indispensable, 
or otherwise the performers could never keep together ;3 

1 The opinion at least of some of the ancients. — "Variosque modos 
^gyptia ducit' Tibia," says Claudian in this connection, "The Egyptian 
pipe plays its florid strains;" where "Pharios," the other reading, must 
be condemned as an inept reading unworthy of Claudian. 

2 Hence the most useless of conductors is the conductor of the ball 
room orchestra — for which reason he generally plays the fiddle at the 
same time. 3 And I would particularly cite the analogy of modern 
times, for the history of conducting shows us that it is only of late years 
since the arrhythmic music of modem Germany has come into vogue that 
the conductor has taken up the prominent position in the orchestra 
which we find him occupying to-day. For in preceding times it was 
sufficient for the composer to preside at the piano, as Rossini and other 
Italian opera writers used to do, or at the organ like Handel and others, 
and this was aU the conducting necessary. 


and this perhaps may be offered in explanation of 
the multipHcity of Egyptian conductors, of whom there 
were probably three for each band, one for the strings, 
one for the wind, and one for the vocalists. ^ And 
they conducted not by the baton, but by clapping the 
hands. But considering the size of the bands, the 
sound of the clapping had very little chance of being 
heard, and their role must have been very near the 
same dumb show which the conductor plays in a 
modern orchestra. For that their action was most 
attentively watched by the band, and that the time 
was taken rather from the movements of their hands 
than the sound of the claps, we may well imagine 
from the following fact : for when blind men were 
the singers the conductor was dispensed with as useless, 
and the singers beat the time themselves. 

From these facts and from other similar ones it 
seems to me that the music was not naturally a 
highly rhythmic music by any means, but that it had 
more in common with the Chant than the Dance, to 
which indeed the pronounced partiality for the Harp 
seems otherwise to point. 

But nevertheless it was much influenced and perverted 
from its natural way by its continual association with 
the dances in the salons, and in the emphatic style of 
conducting we may see a solicitude for crispness of 
playing, which shows that the influence of the dance, 
and worst of all the feminine and enervating dance, for 
there was no other, was very strong indeed. 

I As in the band in Lepsius. Ab. II. B. III. Bl. 53. This sculp- 
ture is otherwise interesting as furnishing one of the best indirect proofs 
of the size of the orchestras ; for there is only one harper and one singer 
depicted on the sculpture, to each of whom there is a conductor. Now 
if they are not representative figures, wh^^t js the rea,soii of this pro- 
fusion of conductors ? 


But I am talking as if Egypt had only lasted a gen- 
eration or two instead of six thousand years ; as if the 
characteristics I have mentioned now had held good for 
all time. Starting with a tour during the reign of 
Rameses II., I have hitherto fixed my eye despite myself 
almost exclusively on his epoch, while i8 dynasties and 
nearly four thousand years had rolled away before 
Rameses and his orchestras saw the light. 

I shall therefore proceed to write the history of 
Egyptian Music, dynasty by dynasty, from the time of 
Menes till the time of the Ptolemies, not only because 
of the light it will throw on the picture we have just 
been studying, but in order that viewing the various 
steps of the art through its rise, climax, and decline, 
brought close together in a small frame here, we may 
gather suggestions, and form anticipations about its 
probable course among other nations and in other parts 
of the world. 

Up till the time of Menes gods ruled over Egypt,i 
who went about among the people civilising them and 
instructing them in the arts of peace, and accompanied 
wherever they went by troops of musicians. ^ What 
instrument these musicians played is not told us, but 
we may fable that they played the oldest of the 
Egyptian stringed instruments — the Lute of Thoth — an 
instrument whose antiquity is testified by the fact, that 
it is the only instrument which ever appears in the 
hieroglyphics. It was a little Lute, shaped like the ace 
of spades with an elongated neck, and fitted with three 
strings. And since there is reason to suppose that there 
was a time in the history of Egyptian Music when 
the Lute of Thoth was the only stringed instrument 

I The account is in Diodorus, 2 lb. 


known and that if any this was the time, we may infer that 
the character of primitive Egyptian Music before the 
time of Menes was of essentially the same description as 
that I have described in use among barbarian man — 
bards chanting to their lyres, singing and declaiming the 
order of the day, and a widespread passion for music 
among the people at large. And who these gods were — 
that they were the veritable Bards and Lawgivers who 
turned people to virtue and order by the power of their 
music, is suggested by the hieroglyphics themselves, for 
the Lute of Thoth is the hieroglyphic for " Goodr ^ 

Then came Menes, " the strong man, ^ " and with him 
came Egypt's oppression. The people got their civilis- 
ation and lost their music. And now that they adopted 
settled habits, and left their wandering life, their tents and 
leaf huts began to pass into permanent stone houses, 
and so did the Portable Lute of Thoth into the Non- 
Portable Harp. And this is how it turned: — The ace 

of spades 

was first slightly curved thus- 


so as to admit of greater tension being 

1 Hence it was painted up at the doors of houses as a symbol of good 
fellowship, or perhaps to bring good luck to the owners, as we nail up 
a horseshoe at barn doors to-day. 

2 Brugsch has well brought out the characters of these early kings by 
literal translation of their names, which are all seen to be epilhetal 
like the one in the text, 



applied to the strings by the benefit of the curve, which 
would partially remove the pressure from the pegs on to 
the body of the wood. The instrument thus formed, 
however, did not remain long in use, though it appears 
frequently as a revived form in the later dynasties, ^ 
and the step once taken, the good results of the bending 
would be too apparent not to finish the work so happily 

begun. And so I was turned into [ which 


when the spade part of it had been cut down, since it 
was no longer necessary to have a sound-board (for 
this is what the spade was) now that the strings were 
so tightly strung as they were, by this time, I say, the 
Lute had turned into the Harp, retaining however till 
the last the sign of its paternity in having the bottom 

end always thicker than the top. I ^ gy tj^g 

4th Dynasty the change was complete, and the connect- 
ing link between it and the harp had dropped out of 
sight altogether. 

1 This "connecting link." if we may term it so, between the lute and 
harp is figured in Rosellini, II, 98, 2, 96, 5, &c. Also in Wilkinson there 
are figurings of it, II, 287, 214, pi. I. 2, 3. 215, 2, 2a. It is, a regular 
mongrel, and it would be hard to say whether it were a big lute or a 
small harp 

2 Cf. all the harps of Cheops' time in Lepsius, 


It is interesting then to remark that the Egyptian Harp 
was a development of the Lute, which might have 
seemed more naturally a development of the Lyre ; 
in any case being the progeny and perpetuation of an 
elder form ; being to the Lyre or Lute what the pillared 
stone House is to the log cabin or leaf hut, or better 
what the minaret is to the tent — being but the badge 
of stationariness or the signet of permanence which 
man naturally impressed on the form when he be- 
came stationary himself. 

By the 4th Dynasty then the change was complete, 
and the connecting link between Lute and Harp had 
dropped out of sight altogether. The Harps of the 4th 
Dynasty were all of the simple shape we have just 
mentioned, ^ but they had six strings now instead of 
three,2 which were fastened as they had been in the 
Lute — to pegs at the top and to the body of the 
instrument itself at the bottom.^ The peculiarity of 
these strings is that they were all Bass, the place 
where the treble strings come being left quite bare ; 4 
so that in these Harps we see the progenitors of the 
Great Harps of Rameses' time with which we are 
already acquainted. The orchestras of Cheops' time were 
very simply composed — Bass Harps, Tenor or Alto 
Flutes, and Single Pipes formed the tout ensemble. ^ 
Men singers were more common than women ; ^ 
and dancing women had not yet flooded the salons. 7 
We may therefore assume a rough manly vigour to have 

1 Lepsius. Denkmaeler aus ^gypten. Abthei III. Band III. Bl. 3fi. 

2 lb. 3 Cf. alFO the Memphis harps in Wilkinson. 
4 Lepsius loc cit. 5 Lepsius. II. III. 36, &c, 

6 Lepsius. II. Ill 61. 19, 10, Rosellini. II. 94. 

7 There is a marked absence of Dancing girls in the 4th 5th and 6th 
Dynasties. See the places in Lepsius and others hitherto cited, 


characterised the music of the 4th Dynasty, an almost 
primitive simplicity of style, and a well marked affinity 
to the Chant. Yet that this was par excellence the era 
of large orchestras and large choruses, we may imagine 
since it was the era of Tebhen, whose musical arrange- 
ments we have before discussed, and what is more it 
was the era of the Great Pyramids, when, if ever, 
centralisation and reckless accumulation were the order 
of the day. We might argue from the Pyramids to 
the Music and predicate a plain and colossal Harmony as 
its leadmg characteristic, which probably characterised 
all the music of the Memphian Monarchy and remain- 
ed to be the foundation of the Music of Arsinoe and 

During the 5th Dynasty (Manetho's Elephantine) the 
the frame of the Harp was bent still more — into a 
perfect semicircle, and the lower part of it was greatly 
thickened and had its bottom flattened, by virtue of 
which the Harp could stand alone. ^ In this thicken- 
ing we may see the first conscious efforts at securing 
a sensuous fullness of tone, for hitherto it had been 
rather a straining at bigness of form that had carried 
the Harp, along but now it was bigness of tone ; 
and in this thickening of the lower part we may see 
the first dim gropings after a sound-board. So that 
we may conjecture that the sensuous side of the Art 
began to claim attention under this Dynasty, seeing 
that there is such a pronounced move towards securing 
the resonance of the strings. 2 

By the 12th Dynasty this tendency was carried to 
its completion, and the Harp furnished with a perfect 
sound-board. In the dark period which intervened 

1 Lepsius. Denkmaler. Ab. II. Bd. III. Bl. 53. Cf. also 53. 

2 That this tendency should first appear in a Dynasty which ruled in 
Upper Egypt and not in a Memphian Dynasty is suggestive. 


between the close of the 5 th Dynasty and the opening 
of the 1 2th, the thickened and flattened pillar of the 
Harp had been first thickened still more, then hollowed 
out, then rounded, and finally finished off into the 
shape of a kettledrum. Thus was the Harp provided 
with a regular sound-board which greatly increased 
the volume of its tone. ^ Small Harps were now made 
as well as Great Harps ^ — lightness was studied in the 
orchestras as well as massiveness, and probably the 
Small Harp was a natural reaction against the pro- 
fundity and volume which up till now had pervaded 
the Music. It ousted the somewhat tart Reed Pipe 
from the Orchestra, ^ and probably took its . place as 
the Treble instrument. Sweetness therefore as well as 
lightness was an object of study, which we may the 
more surmise since the long-necked Lutes now begin to 
appear '^ — thus affording another foil to the boom of the 
Great Harp. 

The 1 2th Dynasty was a busy time for commerce 
and manufactures, and the spirit of the age was strongly 
reflected in the musical world. Harps were now made 
of a particular sort of wood — sycamore wood^ — which was 
specially imported from distant countries for the purpose ; ^ 
the frame was covered with all sorts of fancy devices 
to attract customers ; 7 and the mechanical ingenuity of 
the craftsmen suggested a new method of fastening the 

1 It may be seen growing in the harp of the 6th Dynasty. Lepsius. 
Ab. II. Bd. IV. Bl. 109. For this kettledrum shape of the Pedestal 
see the harps in Lepsius' 4th volume, and for the strong probability that it 
was hollowed &c., see Ambros. Geschichte der Musik, I., where the subject 
is fully discussed. 

2 Rosellini. I Monumenti. Tavole. II. 96. 3 lb. II. 96, i. 

4 lb. 95, 96. 5 Cf. the harp in the Berlin Museum. There is also one 

I fancy in the Louvre, also of sycamore wood. 

6 The sycamore does not grow in Egypt. 

7 Cf, the harps in Rosellini, II. 96, i, 96. 6, 8fc, 


Strings, which bears a close resemblance to the way in 
use at the present time. Egypt, which was now the 
centre of the civilised world, was brought into contact 
with many foreign nations, products of all parts of the 
earth flowed into its markets, and among the rest a new 
musical instrument which had never been seen in Egypt 
before. And this is how it came .A son of Chnumhotep, 
an Egyptian grandee, had need of some paint to paint 
his eyes with, which was only to be obtained in a 
certain region of Palestine, that was inhabited by Semites 
of the Amu. And as Chnumhotep was a man of con- 
sideration, a family of Semites, hearing what his son 
•wanted, set off on a pilgrimage to Egypt with a supply 
of the paint, in the hopes of driving a good bargain, 
or else, perhaps, they meant to make an offering of 
it in return for the great man's protection. Now one 
of these Semites was a musician, and naturally brought 
his instrument with him, and the Egyptians who knew 
only Harps and Lutes were for the first time in their 
lives gratified with the sight of a real Lyre — and that 
too of so antique and primitive construction that even 
the Lute of Thoth, the Harp's great-grandfather, was 
quite put out of court in point of senility. ^ This 
Semitic Lyre was merely a battered old square board, 
of which the top part was hollowed out into a kind 
of gibbous frame, on which 7 strings were strung. 
There was no attempt at decoration : even the edges 
of the board were all left rough ; and the strings were 
simply twisted round the frame and tied in knots. 
Primitive though the thing was, it took nevertheless, 
and what is stranger still, the old scooped-out board 

I The fresco is in Lepsius, DenkmSler. Ab. II. IV. 133. Cf. also the 
account of the fresco in Brugsch. Geschichtc ^gyptens, I. 148, 


form was still retained, nor was any attempt made to im- 
prove upon it ; I so that side by side with the glorious 
Harps of the time, we sec this shabby old weather- 
beaten instrument, coming hot from the Patriarchs, 
take up a position of easy familiarity. Its tenure of 
favour, however, would probably have been as brief as 
that of most oddities, had not its advent been shortly 
succeeded by the arrival of the Shepherd Kings, who 
being much wilder Semites than the obsequious family 
who brought the paint, probably brought a still ruder 
form of their national instrument along with them. 
And now the luckless Egyptians, who had at first good- 
humouredly patronised the instrument as a bete saiivage 
had it forced on their notice in a way they were little 
prepared for. And for five hundred years, as long as 
the Shepherds lasted, they had to endure it. If the 
Shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, what 
must the Shepherds' Music have been ! 

Though it be the fashion to describe the Shepherds 
as having been in time completely absorbed into the 
Egyptian nation, and to find tho solitary relic of their 
supremacy in the enrolment of their god. Set, in the Eg- 
yptian Pantheon, I think that another relic must be found 
in the establishment of the Lyre in Egyptian Music. 
Unknown in Egypt till a little before their arrival, we find 
it by the time of their disappearance, that is by the begin- 
ning of the 1 8th dynasty, a recognised component of 
the Egyptian Orchestra ; having in the interim, indeed, 
undergone many improvements, not only in the increase 
of the number of its strings, but also in the finish of 
its make, for the rude board had by this time given 

I Ambros has found many primitive lyres of this shape during the 1 2th 


place to a handsome instrument of lo, 12, 14, 17, 20, 
21, 22, strings. ^ And doubtless we must allow for the 
effects of Semitic influence coming from another quar- 
ter contemporaneously I mean from the great Chaldean 
empire at the mouth of the Euphrates, which was 
already past the meridian of its splendour and giving 
way before the rising power of Assyria ; for under the 
reign of Aahmes, who was the first king of the i8th 
dynasty, the Egyptian arms had penetrated to Babylon, 
and doubtless there was a most intimate connection at 
this time between the two courts. At any rate we 
may find a sure trace of Semitic influence in the 
introduction of the Dulcimer, which appears in this 
i8th dynasty 2 for a moment, but then as quickly 
disappears again ; for it never took root like the 
Lyre did. 

This then we will take as the leading trait of the i8th 
dynasty — the final establishment of the Semitic Lyre in 
Egyptian music, which now began to dispute the soprano 
place in the orchestra with the indigenous Small Harp. 
Two more dynasties and it had succeeded in its efforts, 
and had ousted the Small Harp completely from the 
orchestra. 3 But in the meantime it was only disputing 
the place of honour. And now despite the poetry and 
vigour which are the inseparable concomitants of the 
Lyre, we must see in its growing dominion in the 
Egyptian Orchestra a very different sign. For in being 
transplanted to Egypt it had shared the usual fate of 
an exotic, and had been made effeminate. That the 

1 Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians. 

2 See the solitary dulcimer in Wilkinson. It belongs to the i8th dynasty. 
It is placed on a frame on the ground, and from this position has sometimes 
been misinterpreted as something else. 

3 In all the Post-Theban sculptures I have noticed this. . 



quality of its tone was rather sweetness and softness 
than strength, we may infer from its always being 
played by women. And since the Small Harp, which 
was played by men, was fast giving place to it, ^ we 
may fairly conclude that sweetness and beauty had 
become the leading characteristics of the music itself 
by this time. And another fact also points in the 
same direction : — the alteration which was taking place in 
the form of the Harp points in the same direction. The 
old curved form was now being fast abandoned, and 
the Small Harps were constructed with a frame of this 


, with strings strung obliquely 

across it 

Now since there is no 

pedestal to these new Harps, it is plain that the 
tension of the strings cannot have been very great, 
not nearly so great, that is to say, as in the old bow- 
shaped form. 2 Wherefore we are to imagine that the 

r Cf. Rosellini. II. 98, 2. 

2 Cf. Wilkinson's remarks on the Paris Harp, which is an excellent example 
of the triangular form. 


strings were neither so thick nor so strong, and that 
the object aimed at was rather an agreeable Hghtness 
of tone than sonorousness. The fact that women began 
to compete with men as its players shows the direction 
things were taking, and a glance into the far future 
is yet more suggestive ; for in this triangular Harp we 
have the parent of the notorious Sambuca.^ 

The Great Harp however still remained true to its 
old form, and like a rock kept back the unwholesome 
current. Standing nearly 7 feet in height, and fitted with 
18 sonorous Bass and Tenor strings, it must have 
ruled the Orchestra like a king, and have served as a 
standing protest against the meretricious tendencies 
of the time. Yet in a strange way was it at the 
same time one of their most emphatic exponents. If 
ever there was a monument of the pomp and pride 
of luxury, it was the Great Egyptian Harp in the 
Augustan Age of the i8th and 19th dynasties. Its 
immense frame shimmered with all the colours of the 
rainbow ; ^ its sides were curiously veneered with rare 
wood, or inlaid with ivory, tortoise-shell, and m.other- 
of-pearl ; 3 the sound-board, which had now attained 
the bulk of a massive stand, was carried out considerably 
beyond the body of the Harp, and served as the 
pedestal for a Great Sphinx' Head, which reared itself 
nearly half way up the front of the strings. Some- 
times the bust of the Pharaoh himself took the place 
of the Sphinx ; and this was always so with the royal 
musicians, whose Harps glittered with gold and precious 

1 Jam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes, 

Et cum tibicine chordas..obliquas 

Vexit et in Circo jussas prostare puellas. 

2 See the fresco in Rosellini. I Monumenti, II. 97. 

3 Bruce's Travels in Abyssinia, I. 126. 


The Great Harp was thus passing from a musical 
instrument into a piece of gorgeous furniture. But in 
the meantime that unhappy fate had not yet arrived, 
and its power was still undoubted. Other characteristics 
of this age were the growing fondness for female singers 
and instrumentalists ; ^ the daily increasing popularity of 
the Double pipe, which was played almost exclusively 
by women ; ^ the more frequent use of the tambourine 
than in former dynasties — all pointing to an increased 
prominence of the sensuous side of the Art. Dancers 
took part in the performances more frequently than 
singers, 3 and hence we may conclude that Rhythmic 
effects were far more freely indulged in ; while it is 
certain that mere virtuosity for its own sake was now 
eagerly studied. The musicians of the Royal Orchestra, 
for instance, were drilled and practised in their parts 
from morning till night. So tightly were they kept 
at their work that they had hardly a moment allowed 
them to snatch a morsel of food. They lived in an 
atmosphere of eternal scraping ; when the practice of 
the day was over, then came the concert, and till 
within half an hour of the concert, the practice was 
kept up ; as we know from a picture on the sculptures, 
where the dilatory ones who were behind hand in 
their parts are still twanging their instruments under 
the direction of a music-master, while the rest are 
dressing for the performance. 4 Under these circumstances 
technical dexterity must have attained a great height, 
and it is to this age of virtuosity that I was alluding 
in a great measure, when I spoke of the virtuosity 
of Egyptian Music in the early part of this chapter. 

I Rosellini. II. 98. I. 2. 3. 4. 2 lb. 95. 7. 96. 4, 98. 2. 

3 lb. II. 99. 4 Lepsius. Denkmaler. III. 106, For the discussion 

whether this really be a Music School, see Arabros Geschichte der Musilc 



Let alone any direct evidence on the matter, we might 
have formed the same conclusion from the general evi- 
dence of the contemporary art. The technical dexterity 
of the Theban potters and intaglio cutters was renowned 
through the ancient world ; the sculptors were noted now 
for their skill in detail and the delicacy of their chiselling ;i 
and the temples of Karnac and Luxor with their 
forests ot fluted pillars and thick foliage of basket 
capitals contrast strangely with the simplicity of the 
Pyramids. As great a contrast therefore must we 
imagine between the Music of this time and that ; 
and must expect the same technical skill and pro- 
fusion of adornment to appear in it as in the other 
artistic exponents of the thoughts and feelings of the age. 

We must be careful however not to overdraw the 
picture. This was, despite all, the Augustan Age of 
Egyptian Art — that is to say, that with all the 
wealth of decoration and bloom of sensuousness there 
was still the requisite backbone or body to carry it 
off. The temples were massive as hills, the sculptures 
were colossuses, and the Great Harp still boomed on, 
the king of the Egyptian Orchestra. 

But Thothmes and Sesostris passed away, and the 
Augustan Age of the l8th, and 19th Dynasties came 
to an end. And then the evil influences, which up till 
then had been held in check, began to make them- 
selves visibly felt under the weak and effeminate 
princes that succeeded. The Art of the 21st Dynasty, 
when the capital had been removed to Tanis, was 
remarkable for the feminine intricacy of its finish, and 
we may conjecture that the Music also shared this' 
character. The Lyre played by women had completely 

I Rosellini says somewhere that their carvings seem rather to have been 
impressed vvith a seal than cut with a chisel. 


banished the Small Harp from the Orchestra,^ and the 
Great Harp was now being distorted into the triangular 
form,2 In the 22nd Dynasty the capital was removed 
to Bubastis, the most luxurious city in Egypt, and it 
is a sign of the times that the popular deity of the 
people was now a goddess. Of Orchestras we no 
longer hear mention. They had been supplanted by 
dancing-girls and tambourine players. The Great Harp 
had become a mummy like its masters. And the 
attention of the musical world in Egypt was concen- 
trated on a newly invented instrument — the Treble 
Flute. Now whenever the Flute becomes the prominent 
instrument of the day, we may suspect that all is 
not right. It so easily leads to a mere sporting with 
beautiful tones, that it cannot but produce a vicious 
taste in music : to which indeed in the first place its 
prominence must be due. And if the Flute really 
owed its origin to the billing and cooing of Primitive 
Man, there was considerable reason for its supremacy 
at present. For the orgies of Bubastis had now become 
matters of as deep national concern as the building 
of a Pyramid had used to be, and the effeminate 
Egyptians flocked in hundreds of thousands down the 
Nile, (" 700,000 at a time," says Herodotus,^) to cele- 
brate her festivals at the city which was called by her 
name — men and women outdoing one another in 
licentiousness, (^al 8' 6p)(iovTai, al S' avaavpovrat avLCTTa/j.- 
tvat) 'some dancing and others going beyond that,' 
while the boats resounded with the clatter of castanets, 
the clapping of hands, and the liquid warblings of some 
thousands of Flutes. These were the Egyptians that 

I Supra, p. 2 See the Great Harp played by the Esjyptian deity 

in Rosellini. Monumenti. HI. 17. 3 Herodotus. U. 60. 


Sophocles talks about, the men staying at home to spin, 
and the women going about and conducting business.^ 
The men effeminate wretches, the women taking the pas 
of them in everything. ^ And this is how they amused 
themselves — with the licentious orgies of Bubastis 
or the libidinous processions of Serapis, ^ to the 
inevitable accompaniment of the universal Flute. Now 
there is another point about this flute that I must 
mention, which may give us an additional reason for 
the demise of the old Harp — it was Chromatic. 4 
Here then is the break up of the Egyptian Orchestra 
accounted for. The Harp could only play a Diatonic 
Scale, and as long as the people were simple-mindfed 
enough to be contented with such simple melodies and 
harmonies as the Diatonic Scale could give, so long 
was the Egyptian Orchestra possible ; but directly the 
jaded taste required a new and more pungent stimulus, 
and the Chromatic Scale came in answer to the 

1 c5 TrdvT Ikuvm Tolq iv 'AiyuTrrfjj voiiolq 
(pvcnv KareiKaaBevTe koI /3tou T^o(^ag' 
Iku yap oi julv apcrsveg Kara arijag 
^aKOvaiv 'icTTOvpyovvTi^g, at ot avvvofioi 
ra^M (diov rpo0£ta Tropavvova ad. 

2 ovpeovcTi at /ilv yvvalKeg 6p6a\, oi Se av^peg KaTtjiniv oi 

3 Strabo. 4 This is the scale of the flute in the Florentine Museum 

-M. 1 1 1 

^ I I I \ _ \ ^ ^ \ \ I 



It was discovered in the Royal tombs at Thebes, and so belongs to the 
i8th or 19th dynasties, but it certainly did not achieve any prominence at that 
time, as we may readily see from the sculptures. 


demand, then Great Harps, Small Harps, and even 
the effeminate Lyres could no longer play the fash- 
ionable music, and the Orchestra necessarily collapsed 
in consequence. From the character of the epoch at which 
it was introduced and the character of the Instrument 
which now sprang to the fore as its great exponent, 
some light may perhaps be thrown on the character 
of the Chromatic Scale itself. It seems to bear the 
same relation to the Diatonic that an embroidered robe 
does to a white garment, and more than this I will 
not commit myself to at present, unless it be to add the 
suggestive fact that as long as the Egyptians used the 
Diatonic Scale in their Music they were content with 
the Primary colours in their painting, and when they 
began to use the Chromatic, they began to use Secondary 
colours in their Painting at the same time. 

Passing over the Renaissance of Egyptian Art under 
Psammetichus in the 26th Dynasty, because its effects 
were merely temporary, and its import lay in the im- 
itation of Greek forms with which we need not concern 
ourselves here, I hasten on to the last stage of Egyptian 
Music as we find it under the Ptolemies. In those days 
the Egyptians were accounted the greatest musicians in 
the world, as they had in former times been accounted 
the greatest architects. But now they had left off 
building Pyramids, and had taken to playing tunes 
instead. Every man in Alexandria could play the Flute 
and Lyre to perfection. ^ Yet still despite their pro- 
ficiency in the latter, the Flute was always the favourite 
instrument ; the most untiring efforts were made to 
attain dexterity on it, bandages were bound round the 
cheeks to counteract the strain on the muscles, and 
veils were worn by the crack players to hide the 

I Athenseus, 


contortions of their countenance. Through all grades of 
society ran this mania for flute playing, and even the 
King himself of Egypt did not disdain to assume the 
veil and bandage and put on the habit of a professional 
flute-player, and play the flute in public competition with 
all comers. This king was the miserable Ptolemy Auletes, 
who was the father of Cleopatra, who was the courtesan 
of Julius Caesar. What a king and what a people ! 
And this is the last we hear of Egyptian Music. 


Now if I understand it rightly these tendencies which 
have reached so grotesque a climax were present in 
Egyptian Music from the very first. From the first 
moment we get historical accounts of it, that is to say, 
in the 4th Dynasty, it was an article de luxe^ committed 
to the more or less unwilling care of slaves, who had 
doubtless little heart for their enforced work, and cer- 
tainly no scope for the development of their genius. 
For the musicians were to be the graceful appendages 
of revelry and pleasure (avaOijfxaTa dairog,) and if 
they aspired to be something higher, they ceased to ^ 
be musicians and became upstarts who needed a gentle 
correction to bring them to their senses. 

That Egyptian Music was expressed in so massive a 
form as the Orchestral, and that this form was filled 
with so massive a compost as the Harmony of Great 
Harps and other deep instruments, was due rather to 
the architectural genius of the people than to any 
sublimity of musical feeling. For the use tp which 
this great structure was put, was sadly out of keeping 
with its character. That such a multiplicity of instru- 
ments and of so finished a pattern should have been 


produced, was due rather to the mechanical genius of 
the people and to the patronage of the great. But 
neither the profusion of instruments nor the magnifi- 
cence of the orchestra must blind us to the true state 
of the case. The Egyptian Orchestra was an elephant 
playing a barrel-organ, and the Egyptian musicians, 
were, at the best, dexterous virhiosos^ who only knew 
how to astonish and amuse. But the poetical side of 
the Art had never once from beginning to end a single 
chance of asserting itself; for it requires enthusiasm 
for its food, and freedom of expression for its condition 
of development, and in that unhappy land it could get 
neither. Cheops effectually squelched the fountain-head 
of it with his Great Pyramid, and three thousand 
years could not undo his work. *' I only heard the 
people sing one song," says Herodotus, with significant 
exaggeration, " all the time I was in Egypt ; and that 
was a mournful one." ^ 

Patronage could force an artificial product, but the 
Music thus produced was a body without a soul ; and 
to an ordinary Egyptian's mind " Music " never connoted 
anything more than dancing-women, effeminate fellows, 
and a pretty twingle twangle that was all very well 
perhaps, but meant nothing in particular. Which is 
precisely what it was. So that it was not until this 
Egyptian became an effeminate fellow himself, in the 
Bubastis and Ptolemy days, that he began to take 
any very fervent interest in the Art, and then the 
pitiful exhibition he made of himself was just what 
might have been expected when he gave way to a 
temptation he had hitherto been taught to despise. 
For up till then Music had been rigorously excluded 

I Herodotus, II. 79. 


from an Egyptian gentleman's education on precisely 
these grounds, that it would render him effeminate ; ^ 
and though much of this effeminacy would be thought 
to come from his mixing with the singing-girls and 
dancing-girls with whom a taste for music would ne- 
cessarily bring him into continual contact, yet we 
must imagine that the Music itself bore its part of 
the blame, and that there never was a time when it 
had anything very hearty or manly about it. The 
slavery and unhappiness of that down-trodden land 
were no soil for the development of an art, whose soul 
is freedom, and whose tongue brags the joy of humanity. 
That joy can the barbarian feel, but civilisation kills it. 
And the Egyptians coming at the beginning of the day 
felt the galling weight of the new fetters more than us 
all. And it was reserved for the Greeks first to wrest 
the contradictions into harmony, and proceed the teachers 
of the world. For beyond the cruel school of mechanic 
civilisation there comes a time when the free joyous- 
ness of the rank and fallow old shines forth again — 
this time disciplined and curbed by the restraining 
influence of the new. And that is the perfection of the 
human. And so when the Sphinx passed over from 
Egypt to Greece, it brought the riddle which the 
Egyptians could not solve. The Greeks solved it ; and 
the solution was Man. 

So then the Egyptian Music was not the best that 
Egypt could produce, but the best which could be produced 

I Diodorus is the authority for this statement ; the reason is the author's. 
Diodorus has been the mark of much objurgation in consequence of this 
statement, bnt I imagine without justice, for the very peculiarity of the state- 
ment commends its veracity. Writers who prefer a priori theories to historical 
testimony will teU us that music must have formed a part of Egyptian edu- 
cation because it played so large a part in the education of the Greeks, forgetting 
that music was not the moral power in Egypt that it was in Greece, but on 
the contrary was regarded with different feelings altogether. 


under the unkind circumstances that surrounded it. For 
looking further into their life than we have hitherto per- 
mitted ourselves to do, we shall find that there was a 
certain section of Egyptian life where the Art of Music 
was allowed air — and where it was permitted to spread 
itself unpatronised and free. In the temples of Thebes, 
Memphis, Arsinoe — those twilight retreats of a sublime 
Pantheism, to which it should seem that all Religion is 
destined again and again to gravitate — there, amidst the 
clouds of the incense and the flash of gold and white 
robes, might have been heard the Music which might 
have been Egypt's had Egypt been free — crowds of 
Priests winding along the aisles of sphinxes, and 
chanting the praises of Him who lives for ever and 
ever, God of the Evening Sun, God of the Morning 
Sun, who only and eternally lives — Bright Horus. 
There was the pulse of Egypt's spirit. 

But the religious music was an arcamnn like the 
religion itself, nor ever spread its influence among the 
people at large. What little we know of it may be 
more conveniently studied when we come to the He- 
brews, who were the heirs of much of the Egyptian 
religion and of the Egyptian music in like manner. 
But it will be well to mention here that the Psalms 
of the Priests were collected in two books, each of 
which the musicians were compelled to learn by heart, 
and the first book contained the psalms in praise of the 
Gods, and the second book the psalms in praise of 
the king. ^ And one of the psalms in the second book 
we have the good fortune to have preserved to us. And 
it treats of the exploits of Sesostris, and its author's name 
is Pentaur, who was a scribe in the temple of Abydus. 

I Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromateis, VI. 269. (Migne). 


For the rest, if we would find the exact contribution 
of Egypt to the general history of our Art, we 
must find it in the mechanical excellence of its in- 
strument makers, under whose dexterity and skill the 
Harp gained sufficient power to be able to be played 
as a solo instrument. Everything else has perished, but 
the Solo Harp has remained. 

I i npp t II 



By contrast with the Music of the Egyptians, the 
Music of the Assyrians was essentially martial. Drums 
trumpets, and cymbals brayed and clashed in the 
Assyrian concerts. We must cease to talk of Orchestras 
now, and speak of ' bands ' instead, for we are to speak 
of a Music in which we seem to hear the warhorse 
neighing. The whole spirit of it seemed to come from 
the armies ; the players grouped in concise bodies and 
arranged in lines have all the air of marching bands ; 
the instruments too were all portable, strapped to the body 
or carried in the hand, ^ the harps all so small that 
they could be held in the hand, ^ the dulcimers 
strapped to the shoulders, and the drums strapped on 
the chest, as we strap our military drums to-day; and 
to conclude, the method of beating time in the con- 

1 The strapping plainly appears in many bas-reliefs, in others we are left to 
imagine it. The author may remark that his account of the Assyrian musical 
instruments has been derived from studies of the bas-reliefs which he made 
some years ago in Berlin and Paris, and more recently in London. It is to be 
regretted that there is no large book of Assyrian antiquities like Lepsius and 
Rosellini for Eg)fptian, to which convenient reference might be made in all cases. 
As it is he must content himself with limiting his references to those bas-reliefs 
whose numbers in the Museum catalogues he took down at the time, which 
unfortunately are only the London ones. Statements which are founded on 
bas-reliefs at other places he is obliged to leave unnoted. 

2 Nor is any larger hatp to be met with on the bas-reliefs, 


certs was not by clapping the hands, as with the 
Egyptians, but by stamping with the foot — as if they 
had learnt their time from soldiers marching.^ 

Now was this Assyrian Orchestra actually a development 
of the Assyrian Military band, since we know that 
one of their marked differences from the Egyptians 
was in having organised bodies of musicians, instead 
of merely gangs of drummers to head their lines in 
battles ? 2 Was this so ? or was its martial character 
merely due to the martial spirit of the people them- 
selves ? Whichever way we take it, certain it is that 
the peoples' ears delighted in Schlacht-Musik, and that 
king of the Assyrians, who at a petit souper with his 
favourite wife chose to be regaled with the sounds of 
a Lyre and a Big Drum close at his elbow, may 
serve as a good type of Assyrians in general.^ 

That a love for shrill sounds should be joined to 
this love of martial effect was but natural, and it 
shines unmistakeably through all Assyrian Music as 
one of its leading characteristics. If the Egyptian 
Orchestra was marked by a preponderance of the Bass, 
the Assyrian Bands were as remarkable for the pre- 
ponderance of the Treble. All the Harps, as we have 
said, were small, being rather Lyres than Harps, and 
could scarcely contain any notes below Alto compass. 
Of the other instruments, which were the Lyre, the 
Lute, the Dulcimer, the Flute, the Double Pipe, the 

1 I think the first to call attention to this method of beating time, though 
he omits to draw the conclusion from it, was C. Engel in his Music of most 

Ancient Nations. 

2 Clemens Alexandrinus. Wilkinson also notices this fact about the 
Egyptians. But the Assyrians ' mit Pfeifcn,' &c., see Ambros, Geschichte 
der Musik, I. 

3 Vide the bas-relief of Sardanapalus III. in British Museum, No. IJI. 


Trumpet, the Single Pipe,i there is not one but what 
is small in make and probably Treble in pitch, with a 
similar compass no doubt to that of the Lyre-shaped 
Harp. And agreeably to the composition of the Instru- 
mental portion of their bands, was the composition of 
the Vocal element, which was supplied principally by 
women and boys, that is to say, by Treble voices.^ The 
fact of boys being employed at all, shows, I think, most 
undeniably this penchant for high voices, for the labour 
that has to be spent on training chorus boys would 
never have been systematically engaged in unless there 
had been a marked partiality for high voices. Eunuchs 
also are frequently found among the singers,- and this 
points in the same direction ;3 and indeed were it not 
that we find Eunuchs employed as Instrumentalists as 
well, we might say that the Assyrian passion for 
Soprano was so great that it led them to a creation 
of Men Sopranos, such as afterwards prevailed in Italy .4 
But since we find Eunuchs, though not nearly so often, 
in the ranks of the Instrumentalists, we must not go 
so far as this, but must say that the employment of 
them is merely another proof, though certainly a most 
convincing one, of the Assyrian passion for high notes. 

I Lyre. British Museum. 14. 124. Dulcimer, lb. 4 b. Double Pipe lb. 
124. 48. 49 50. Of the others, Lute, Flute, Trumpet, Single Pipe, I have 
seen specimens in the bas-reliefs in the Berlin Museum. The band in 
Daniel, ' comet (trumpet) flute, harp, sackbut, (large trumpet) psaltery (lyre) 
and dulcimer,' well sums up the ordinary constituents of the Assyrian 
orchestra, and had he added "drums and cymbals," which we may 
suppose alluded to in 'all kinds of music," it would have been a 
complete description, 

2. Cf, particularly the procession in 48, 49, 50, Brit. Museum. It is 
figured in Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 455, 

3 Mr. Engel who describes them as " those beardless effeminate personage 
who are called Eunuchs," is often at a loss to distinguish them from women, 

4 Semiramis tenero* mares prima castravit &c. 


We may add a very suggestive fact in illustration of 
the Assyrian taste ; for in the bas-reliefs we see women 
pinching their throats with their hands as they sing ; 
and this is in order to force the top notes of their voice. ^ 
These many Soprano voices, then, mixed with only 
a few men singers, formed the vocal choruses ; and 
since the men singers are so few by comparison, ^ 
and there is no imagining a division of their numbers 
into two parts, we can as little imagine any Harmony 
in the music itself, but must conceive it an air in 
8ves with all the stress on the high 8ve. And since 
there is a lack of middle instruments likewise, and 
even of bass instruments, but all the instruments were 
Soprano, we must say that the instrumental music 
shared the character of the vocal music, and was in 
like manner Melody in 8ves with all the stress on 
the high 8ve — though the possibility of some of the 
instruments playing in 4ths or 5ths to the melody 
might well admit conjecture. And now, as I take it, 
it was to take off the edge of the immense disproportion 
of the Treble element, that the Assyrians were in a 
manner compelled to employ loud instruments of 
percussion like the drum and cymbals — in order to 
give as it were a bottom to their music. Which 
indeed is the natural thing to do in such cases, as 
we see in the case of our own drum and fife bands, 
where the drums are indispensable to tone down the 

Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 455, It was Signer Mongini's habit 
to do the same. I have often seen him in the sestett in the Huguenots 
compress his throat with his hand in order to force out the high Cg 
Porphyry whom few things escaped has not failed to speculate on this 
contraction of the muscles of the throat in the 3rd Chapter of his Com- 
mentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics. 

2 In those that I have been able to examine the men are as a rule 
not a fourth as many. 


shrill notes of the fife — and which was the universal 
custom with the Pipe Races, to whom in many respects 
the Assyrians bear a marked resemblance. These Drums 
and cymbals were thus made to do duty for an elaborate 
Harmony, and gave a body to a Music which but for 
their roaring would have been querulous and puny. 

We must not fancy however that in these martial 
bands we see the utmost which the Assyrians could 
achieve in the way of Music. On the contrary, we 
only see the kind of music which they employed at 
public pageants, in processions, and at royal festivals. 
Into their inner life we get but few glimpses, and 
can only speculate on what music followed them there, 
for unlike the Egyptians, the Assyrian bas-reliefs give 
but few domestic scenes, and even when they do, they 
prefer to treat us to perpetual Nebuchadnezzar, instead 
of what would be infinitely more interesting, a few 
details about even the meanest of his subjects. This 
vacuum however we do not feel so much as we otherwise 
should, for the following reason, that the import of Assyria 
in the History of Music lies not so much in its public 
bands or in its private concerts, or in anything which 
it achieved in the practical department of Music at all, 
but in its achievements in Musical Science. And the 
proper place to study Assyrian Music is neither in the 
halls of kings nor in the gatherings of the people, 
but in the Tower of Belus, where a woman was sent 
annually to be deflowered at the conjunction of the 
Planets, Astarte and Belus — that is to say, at the 
harmonic combination of the 5th and 2nd Tones. 

The Tower of Belus was built by Semiramis, and 
stood in the centre of the Temple of Belus, and it 
was quadrangular in its shape, the sides facing the 
four cardinal points. This is the way the Tower was 
built : — There was first a solid tower of the height and 


thickness of a furlong, on this there was another, and 
then another, and so on higher till the 7th tower was 
reached, which was the highest. In this tower was a 
chapel, and in the chapel a beautiful bed and a table 
of gold. And on the roof of the tower was an ob- 
servatory where the Chaldean astronomers watched the 
stars during the night-time, and called the hours 
to the great city of Babylon which lay below them. 
For the tower was in the heart of the city. ^ 

In their nightly watches they were chiefly engaged 
in casting horoscopes, and that system of foretelling a 
destiny by the culminations, aspects, conjunctions, and 
oppositions of planets in the geniture was first elaborated 
by them.2 Nevertheless it is with their astronomy rather 
than their astrology that we are concerned, and with 
its method rather than its results. 

The faculty of association was much more strongly 
developed in men's minds among these ancient nations, 
than it is at present ; partly because with an equally 
extensive sphere of knowledge under their view there 
was a deficiency of intimacy with that knowledge, so 
that they were more inclined to wander from subject 
to subject than to pause on any single one, and partly 
because, owing to that very deficiency, resemblances and 
affinities struck them in greater multitude than they 
do us, who have come to disregard as fanciful whatever 
cannot be shown to possess an essential relationship 
as well as a superficial one. Along with this prepon- 
derance of the power of association, and perhaps almost 
as a consequence of it, was a weakness in the faculty 
of observation, and a tendency to express abstract 
ideas by concrete reflectors, which was all the more 
easily indulged in owing to the variety of associated 

1 See the account in Herodotus. 2 Diodorus. II. 79. 


concretes always ready at hand. This method of 
expressing abstract ideas is what we call Symbolism ; 
but though the so-called Symbol stands well as the 
sign of a separate abstract entity behind it to our 
understandings, it may be questioned whether in those 
days the separation of the two was at all complete, 
that is to say, whether the abstract idea was merely 
expressed as a concrete. It is most probable that it 
was likewise conceived as such. Thus the King of 
Egypt was symbolised as the Sun. But he had 
not merely the Sun for his Symbol, he was die Sonne 
selbst zvelcke der Welt gesche7ikt ist.^ He was the bright 
Horus who gave fertility and verdure to the .ground, 
and as such received the Sun's sacrifices. The divinity 
of the god Ptah was symbolised by the beetle. But 
the beetle was not merely the symbol of Ptah, it 
was the god Ptah himself ^ And much of the animal 
worship of the Egyptians may be explained in this way. 
Similarly among the Assyrians, with whom this tendency 
reached a greater subtlety than even among the 
Egyptians, the wing of the Winged Bull was not the 
symbol of swiftness ; it was the word " swiftness " 
written in as legible a character as I write it now, 
and far more completely identified with the thing 
" swiftness " than are the word and the thing to-day, 
since probably there was not a tithe of abstraction 
in the conception of any ideas then, and in this Wing 
we have the precise form in which the idea of 
swiftness occurred to the mind of the thinker. So of 
the bull's body of these Winged Bulls as the actual 
conception of " Strength," and the Man's head of 
" Wisdom," in like manner. 

I Duncker's Geschichte des Alterthums. I. 76. 2 lb. I. 


In two spheres of thought did this swallowing 
up of abstract in concrete particularly show itself — 
in Religion and in Abstract Science, because* in them 
abstract ideas crowd in greatest numbers ; so that of 
all branches of knowledge the discrepancy between our 
way of thinking and theirs is most marked in these. 
And now the same cause which led them in the domain 
of Religion to give corporal form to the abstract 
attributes of their deities by wings, claws, teeth, curled 
beards, and indeed to present those otherwise unthinkable 
beings themselves in a corporal shape, this same cause 
likewise led them in the field of Abstract Science to 
search most willingly for some concrete embodiment 
of those things so hard to catch — Figures ; as children 
prefer to count on their fingers rather than in their ^ 
heads to-day. And being in search of an abacus on 
which they might see these abstract figures and the 
proportions betwixt them, they found one on which 
they could hear them, and their proportions and 
relations might be listened to. For having been 
accustomed, with the natural spirit of calculators, early 
to make their musical scale the subject of arithmetical 
investigation, to number the tones and semitones, to 
divide it into equal parts &c, for no other purpose at 
first probably than to satisfy an idle fancy, they 
gradually had become awake to the fact that when 
sounding- a musical interval, or when thinking about 
one, since the thought always brought back the sound, 
they had a much juster and more accurate apprehension 
of a proportion before their minds than any placement 
of figures would give them. They became awake to 
the fact that in these intervals, which sounded so clearly 
and showed so lucidly the distances between point 
and point, lay the possibility of a Concrete Mathematic, 
which would open a perfect apprehension of difficult 


sums, and particularly those of ratios and proportions 
of numbers, which up till then had been rather dimly- 
dreamed of than conceived. And as naturally as men 
lay down one pen and take up another, so did they 
unconsciously begin to use a musical terminology for 
all the harder and higher branches of calculation, which 
thenceforth began to be clear to them ; and so they 
would speak, not of the proportions of 4 : 3, but of 
the 4th note in the scale to the 3rd, not of 2:1, but 
of the 2nd note to the ist; and so the problem. As 
7:5 — 4 : the required quantity, would be expressed. 
As the 7th note in the scale is to the 5th note, so is 
the 4th note to the one required, which on a qalculation 
of the intervening semitones would give the 2nd note 
of the scale as the answer.^ 

Or possibly it may be that in the knitting and 
knotting of ideas which then obtained it was impossible 
from the very first to pursue any train of calculation 
without some bodily counterpart, and that the notes of 
the scale suggested themselves as naturally to a musical 
and contemplative people as the fingers of the hand 
to other nations.^ But whichever way we take it, 
certain it is that at a very early period among the 
Chaldeans the notes of the scale answered the same 
purpose in abstract science, as the wings of Nergal or 
the horns of Astarte in religious metaphysic, and were 
probably as invariably heard in the brain of the 
calculator as the others were seen in the mind's eye 
of the worshipper. Therefore when a Chaldean astronomer 
would express the proportional lengths of the Seasons 
of the Year, for instance, he would never use figures to 

1 Peter Bongus' Mystica numerorum significatio. Bergamo. 1585- 

2 The Chinese whose scale is 5 notes have a musical abacus of 5 in 
like manner, V. du Halde, Description de la Chine. H. 


do so, but would say that the Spring stood to the 

_^ ,_ ^ 4= 

Autumn in the relation of 

:i=to fc 

a 4th to a 5th ; and that it stood to the Winter in the 
relation of fcEz^*= to feEz^^E a 5 th to a 

g^-^ — ^-w — 

4th ; and to the Summer in the relation of: — 

an 8ve — which 

indeed convey if not so exact a statement of the 
proportions to our minds, at any rate a far finer sense of 
them. We might almost say that the intervals have 
here served them as Round Numbers, as they certainly 
did in their calculations of the distances of the heavenly 
bodies from one another. According to which, 

Saturn was distant from Jupiter dj/ a Semitone 
Jupiter „ „ „ Mars by a Tone 

Mars „ „ „ The Sun by a Tone 

The Sun „ „ „ Venus by a Semitone 

Venus „ „ „ Mercury by a Tone 

Mercury „ „ „ The yioonby a To?ie,^ 
each musical interval being here exactly expressive of 
the proportionate distances in each case, being an Ideal 

1 Plutarch de Animse Procreatione in Timseo XXXI. 

2 For this and the development of the Assyrian Scale which follows I am 
indebted to the learned and curious disquisition of the Abbe Roussier, who 
in his Memoire sur la Musique des Anciens has by a certain divine intuition 
penetrated many secrets of these ancient nations which else must have 
remained unknown to us. That I have chosen to develope his views in 
connection with the Assyrians rather than with the Egyptians is due partly 
to the exigencies of subject, and partly to the suggestions of Salmasius (De 
Annis Climactericis. Praefatio. 23. cf. also p. 803.) who has also justified it 
on p. 574. of the same work in the course of his Pissertation on the 
Abrasax of Basilides. 


Round Number of the actual figures in miles, as Pythagoras 
has since proved. How lucid then and manageable a 
form was this in which to show the dominions of those 
heavenly kings and how they lay ! Here is a chart for 
those who worship the stars ! But since we have ceased 
to worship them we have no need of a chart ; and 
astronomers who are nobody's guides may bewilder us 
with mountains of figures in which no one is interested. 

This surprising agreement between the intervals of star 
to star and note to note, joined to the other fact which 
would most of all be likely to strike a mystical mind, 
that they were both 7 in number, led by an easy 
transition to the appropriation of the separate tones 
each to its separate planet, namely, that to which it 
bore so intimate a correspondence in its arithmetical 
relations : which subsequently passed into their identi- 
fication, that was rendered all the more easy because 
the two leading planets in the heavens, Saturn and the 
Sun, occupied likewise the two leading positions of the 
Scale, being each at the head of one of the two divisions 
into which the scale was scientifically divided, and each 
attended by a satellite in the shape of a semitone, which 
accompanied none of the others ; for Saturn was B, 
and the Sun was E, the first the head of the tetrachord, B 
to E, the second the head of the tetrachord, E to A, 
and B was attended by the semitone satellite, C, and E 
by the satellite, F. 

The planets and the tones were identified as follows: — 













N ergal 



The Sun 














The Moon 

I a 





Now whether such an order of the notes as that 
we have here stated — B C D E F G A — was the result 
of a natural and unconscious arrangement of the tones, 
or whether it was the result of a conscious scientific 
arrangement, may admit conjecture. That the latter 
was the case seems more probable because it is only 
by commencing the seven notes at B, that the scale 
can be divided into equal parts of five semitones each, 
which was the great feat of the Chaldean Mathematicians, 
and which whether achieved for musical purposes must 
have governed their musical system, or if, which is more 
likely, performed for arithmetical purposes, must have 
owed its origin to the sheer exigencies of calculation, 
since unless their abacus was separable into two equal 
parts, the computation of fractional quantities was 
plainly impossible. Hence they were forced to adopt 
such a key note as would render this division possible, 
and though perhaps they were favoured in this in- 
stance by prescription, and in taking B, merely took 
what was the existing key note, let us assume that 
some other note had been the key note of the existing 
scale — -and with what result ? For if you start with B 
indeed, the scale separates at once into two equal parts, 
as we have said, for from B to E is five semitones, 
and from E to A is five semitones, and then it goes 
by equal parts upwards and upwards, till it has included 
all the notes that compose it and all are arrangeable 
in 4ths from each other. For — 

B to E is five semitones 

E to A is five semitones 

A to D is five semitones 

D to G is five semitones 

G to C is five semitones 

C to F is five semitones ^ 

I Roussier. p. 73. 


and thus by starting at B, all the notes — B C D E F 
G A — have been taken in, and arranged in perfect 
fourths or tetrachords to each other. ^ But if on the 
other hand you start at any other note you cannot do 
this, for starting at C, C to F is indeed five semitones, 
but F to B in the second place is six semitones ; and start- 
ing at D you get this tritone of six semitones in the fourth 
place ; and starting at E you get it in the sixth place ; 
at F in the first place ; at G in the third place ; and 
at A in the fifth place. But by starting at B it is 
avoided altogether. So that while all the other key- 
notes make an equal division of the scale impossible, 
B alone secures the necessary symmetry which for 
mathematical calculation is entirely indispensable. 

Wherefore whatever had been the scale of the people, 
this would always have been the scale of the philoso- 
phers. But in the Chaldean system the two happily 
coincided, and the same scale was used by both — but 
with a different arrangement. For this arrangement of 
the scale in conjunct tetrachords, was always the esoteric 
or philosophical form of it — that is to say arranged as 
above— B to E, E to A, A to D, D to G, G to C, C to 
F — or generally in the form B E A D G C F — and 
this was the form it appeared in, in the arithmetical 
abacus by which the mathematicians worked. As we 
know both in other ways, and also because of this : 
that the houses in the horoscope succeed one another 
not in the natural sequence of numbers, but by conjunct 
tetrachords ; for the Cardines are not as 1,2, 3, 4, but 
they are i, 4, 7, 10. And the Succedents in like man- 
ner are not 2, 3, 4, 5, but they are arranged tetrachordally 

I Roussier. Memoire sur laMusique, p. 73, 21. For this treatment of the 
intervals, cf. an exactly parallel instance in Ptolemy's Plarmonics, II. 10. O 
if we regard the indefinite extension of the scale for purposes of calculation, cf. 
the scale in Plato's Timaeus as quoted in this Book — Appendix 3. 


2, 5, 8, II. And the Cadents also tetrachordally 3, 6, 9, 
12. These are the houses of the horoscope and they 
are thus arranged : in three series of three conjunct 
tetrachords each. And indeed we may speculate 
that infinite calculations might have been engaged 
in by means of this musical abacus, and that in 
the tetrachordal system of Chaldean theory we are 
on the brink of a parallel style to our own de- 
cimal system. But this we cannot certainly say, , 
but only that they worked by such a formula. And T*" 
it was in this way then that they expressed the 
months of the year, that is to say, by taking a note 
of the scale for each month and at a tetrachord apart, 
up to the number of the 12 houses in the horoscope, 
and arranged in similar conformation. ^ And in the 
same way they expressed the hours of the day, that is 
by notes in tetrachords one for each hour, 24 in all, ^ 
only this time they would be doubled, that is taken 
in two positions, as first with the horoscopal description 
with star-shaped cardines and plane of orientation in 
the centre, and second, with rectangular cardines and 
no plane of orientation, which are the two horoscopes 
employed in Astrology, as is well known. 

And the 24 parts of the sky were arranged in the 
same manner, and the 12 signs of the Zodiac which 
are the zeniths of the houses.^ Nor did the planets 
themselves escape the influence of this formula. And 
we have seen that they were identified, each with its 

1 Arguing from the Rosicrucian arrangement by tones in various Harmon- 
ious Dodecachordons. 

2 The Chinese "Lu" s in like manner (12 in number) go with the hours of 
the day — Hoang tchoung representing 11 to 12 (midnight), Ta-Lu, i- 2 A.M. 
the next 2-3, and so on. See Amiot, Memoires concernant Thistoire des 
Chinois, VI. 58, and vide. Infra, p- 

3 The tetrachordal arrangement of the 24 parts of the sky and the 12 signs of 
the zodiac obtains in some genetliliacal astrology* 


note already, but next without losing this identity 
they were arranged by the mathematicians and astrono- 
mers in the tetrachordal scale, who would express 
thereby their equipoUency, and secure the possibility of 
clean arithmetical treatment, vvhile the other scale was 
rather a scale of distances and of dignities. In this way — 














The Sun 












The Moon 




, Saturn 



The Sun 




The Moon 



















When therefore these same astronomers were com- 
missioned by the early kings of Assyria with the 
formation of a Calendar, they divided the year into 52 
parts of 7 days each, and called these days after the 
names of the planets as was natural for them 
to do. Yet that the order in which the planets 
and their days appeared in the Calendar should 
correspond with the mathematico-musical arrangement 
of the Planets rather than with their ordinary and popular 
one was only to be expected ; for indeed they were 

I Agreeably to the Gnostic Vase in Montfau9on to which Roussier appeals 
in his Deux lettres a I'auteur du journal des beaux arts et des sciences, 2nd 
lettre, p. 12. 



astronomers making astronomical computations and not 
priests or poets compiling litanies, and the planetary 
construction took its complexion accordingly. So that 
while the natural order would have been: — 

Saturn's day. 

Jupiter's day. 

Mars' day. 

Sun's day. 

Venus' day. 
Mercury's day. 

Moon's day. 

the days appeared in the Calendar in the tetrachordal 
scale instead, that is, Saturn's day, Sun's day, Moon's 
day. Mars' day. Mercury's day, Jupiter's day, Venus' 
day — as we should write it: — 

Dies Saturni. 



Dies Lunae 

Dies Martis 

Sabbath, or 
more commonly 











Dies Mercurii 

Dies Jovis 

Dies Veneris 












This is the Week which the Hebrews got from the 
Chaldeans, and we from them, and it would appear that 
its form and in a great measure its origin is a purely 


musical one. Which likewise is the opinion of Dion. ^ 

And other things we might also imagine to have come 
from the same musical source, as that constant classification 
of qualities and objects in sets of sevens which runs 
through all antiquity ,2 and which might without much 
difficulty be shown to have had a musical origin rather 
than an astronomical one ; for it would not be hard 
to prove that the musical mathematic penetrated as an 

1 el yap tic t^^' apfioviav rrjv cm TEfrcrapwv koXov fXEvrjv, 
TjTrep TTOV KOL TO Kvpog rfjc jUovrTLKriQ (Tvvi)(^eiv TreTrtorevrat, 
KaL eiri Tovg acTTepag tovtovq v(p a»v 6 irag row ovpavov 
KocTjuoQ otttXrjTTrat Kara ti)v tu£,lv KaO' i]v I'lcaoToe avTiov 
irepiiropeveTat eTrayayoi, /cat ap^Ufjievog aTro rrjc et,(x) Trepicpo- 
pag, Trig T(i^ Kpovw cacojuivrig, tTveiTa CLoXnrojv cvo Tag 
i^ojJiivag tov Tr,g T^TapTrig OEO-Trorrjv ovo/biacreiev, kol just' 
avTov Svn av kTspac, vTrepjSdg lirl Trjv kjdoonriv ck^Ikolto, kcu 
T(Jo avTC^ rouTTti) avTag rt Ittliov koX Tuvg cr^wv ^eovg ava- 
Ku/cAwv eTTiXeyoi Talg i)juipaLg, evpijcrsi iracrag avTag fiovcriKiog 
TTwg Ttj TOV ovpavov ^iaico<T/ut](jei TrpocrrjKOvaag. Dio Cassius. 
XXXVII. 18. I have always thought that if the question in Plutarch's 
Symposiacs tl Tag binovvjiovg Tolg Tr\dvr]<JLV '^fxipag ov 
KaTa Trjv Ikhvmv tIi^iv, aXA' lvi]Wayjxivovg apidfxovcnv ', 
had reached us, it would have been answered in a manner not dissimilar to 
the above. According to J. Scaliger the invention of the Week is to be 
attributed to the King himself of Assyria. See Julius Scaliger's Prolegomena 
ad Emendat. Temporum. But this is founded on a mistranslation of the 
oracle in Porphyry, where why may we not take Trjg kiTTachQoyyov 
l5a(TiXevg as ^^^ '^'^'^- (s^^) ap/noviag IdaatXEvg i. e. the Master of 
the Scale. But see Selden De Jure Naturali p. 411 where the whole sub- 
ject is discussed, In contrast to the elegant theory above propounded an 
amusing and parallel speculation may be found in Vignier's Fastes des 
ancient Hebreux &c. Paris. 1588. fol. 200. 

2 Cf. among other illustrations of it Philo's Eulogy on the number 7 in his 
De Mundi Opificio. 15. 


organising principle the bulk of the Chaldean knowledge/ 
and that the classifications of the things of nature which 
we find in the writings of the Cabalists and Rosicrucians, 
and which are the direct heirlooms of Chaldean culture 
are much more aptly referred to Music for their origination 
than to astronomy,^ because often the precise arrangement 
of the component members betrays no special affinity 
when considered in relation to the planets, but a very 
considerable one to the notes of the scale ; as to take 
but one instance out of many that might be quoted : the 
Rosicrucian arrangement of Colours, which disposes them 
in a set of Seven, beginning with Black and ending with 
White, can be with little justice deduced from the facial 
appearance of the planets, since there is no reason why 
Black should be the colour of Saturn, to whom it is 
appropriated, or White be particularly that of the Moon 
while Blue is appropriated to the planet Mercury, and 
other colours in the same way. But if we consider 
Black to be the colour appropriated to the lowest note of 
the Scale, which was Saturn's note, and White to the 
highest, which was the Moon's, the other colours may 
well come between, as they approached or receded from 
these extremes, and the attribution of Black to depth 
and White to height is eminently apropos, such pairing 
most frequently finding place in those fancy liaisons 
of notes and colours, which imaginative minds at all 
times have never ceased to make. And certainly the 
classification of the Seven colours among the Assyrians 
themselves showed rather a musical than an astronomical 

^ XaXSatot TO, liriyeia rolg //triwpotc koX ra ovpavia tolq 

iiTL 'yr}q ap/no^ofuvoi, koX tjairep ^M fJ-ovcriKrig Xoyuiv tyjv 
ifijUEXeaTUTriv (TV/jKpojvMv tov ttuvtoc, liri^tiKVVfxevoi. Philo- 
Frankfort Folio, fol. 415. 

2 Cf. Dr. Dee. Aphorismus XI. 


affinity ; for Black though it was the colour of Saturn, 
who is the furthest planet from the earth, was yet 
placed lowest in the astronomical towers, being painted 
on the tower of Saturn, who was identified with the 
lowest note of the scale ; and White, though the colour of 
the Moon which is the lowest planet of all, was placed 
highest, agreeably to the Musical situation of the Moon's 
note, which stood highest in the scale. In the same 
way in the Rosicrucian arrangement of weights, the 
attribution of Heaviness to Saturn and Lightness to 
the Moon can still less be derived from any astronomical 
observations, for of the two orbs there is no question 
which deserves the epithet of heavy ; and the lumbering 
moon, which rolls slowly over the sky, can in no way merit 
the distinctive adjective which so exactly describes the 
passage of that weird and mystical planet which soars 
higher than them all, and traverses with far greater 
celerity a far wider expanse of space — a fact which 
the Chaldeans, no less than we, were fully aware of 
But if on the contrary the musical mathematic, which 
identified Saturn with the lowest note of the Scale and 
the Moon with the highest, were the cause that deter- 
mined this description of qualities, then most just and 
most palpable were the reasoning. Equally so of the 
attribution of Earth as Saturn's element in the Rosicrucian 
category of elements, who is furthest from the earth in 
astronomy, but nearest it, being the lowest note, in Music. 
And of other planets besides Saturn and the Moon, 
e.g. Mercury and Venus especially, similar things might 
be said. 

But such speculations are unfruitful and vague, 
and in the absence of tangible materials for veri- 
fication often dangerous to hazard. So returning to 
Assyrian music where we left it at the beginning of 
this discussion, how all its spirit seemed to come from 


the armies, how strong rhythmic effects were freely 
indulged in, how they delighted in high shrill voices, 
and other facts that we have mentioned before, let us 
briefly sum up its character, which we can easily do 
from the data that we have now to hand. And we 
shall say that while Assyrian theory amused itself with 
hard dry speculations in the most recondite and difficult 
secrets of music, the doctrines of philosophical science 
were unable to penetrate and inform the practical side 
of the Art, and mould its stormy and wanton elements 
into civility, but remained from first to last entirely 
distinct ; while that practical side itself was one of 
the most pronounced exponents of the Sensuous form 
of Music which it has been our lot thus far to 
consider. The accounts that we have already given 
and the instruments that we have already considered 
} are visible proof of this ; and of all the instruments, 
even more than the Drum, the Dulcimer, the most 
sensuous form of stringed instrument, and the favourite 
instrument of the Assyrians, is a remarkable testimony 
to the nature of the music. Most sensuous of all the 
Strings is the Dulcimer, since in it the strings are 
struck by a rod or plectrum in order to magnify their 
sound, and its whole raison d'etre seems sensuousness 
and volume of tone. At the same time, since it does 
not admit of the performer singing at the same time 
owing to • the comparative exertion which the playing 
requires, it is from the first a Solo Instrument, and 
might well be ranked in the Pipe Family of instru- 
ments rather than with the Lyres, which are in the 
beginning all instruments of accompaniment. The 
Dulcimer, indeed, was such a favourite with the Assyri- 
ans, that it appears on the bas-reliefs twice as often 
as any other instrument. And of this instrument, 
which we must especially notice singe it is the 


undoubted parent of the Modern Piano, there were 
two kinds : The Grand Dulcimer, and the Cottage 
Dulcimer — if we may adopt a nomenclature that is 
eminently apposite — the Grand Dulcimer, a horizontal 
form with the strings lying flat, and the Cottage 
Dulcimer a vertical form with the strings strung 
upwards, but above one another ; the first an exact 
model of our Fhigel or Grand Piano, the second not 
quite so good a one of the Cottage, because the 
strings were strung one above another instead of side 
by side. And these appear at least twice as often as 
any other instruments on the bas-reliefs, as I have 
said. They had ten strings on an avera-ge, though 
sometimes one or two more are found, and sometimes 
less. They were strapped to the person, like so many 
of the musical instruments of the Assyrians, and being 
small sat most conveniently to the figure, and allowed 
the player the greatest freedom of motion. And of 
the two kinds of Dulcimer the Cottage Dulcimer is 
much the commoner.^ The Player struck the strings with 
the rod which he held in his right hand, and used his 
Left Hand at the same time as a damper ^ for the 
lower strings, to prevent their sound, that is, running into 
one another ; by which we may conclude that the music 
was as a rule very rapid, since in slow music the sound 
of each string would have died away in time. This is 
the style of Dulcimer that is in the hands of the Dul- 
cimer Player, whose picture from the bas-reliefs enriches 
the pages of so many works on ancient music.^ And 

1 e.g. on the bas-reliefs in the British Museum it is figured four times (4b. 124, 
118, 12,) and of the Grand Dulcimer I do not remember an instance in the same 
gallery unless it be 12a. and of this I am not quite sure. 

2 This fact was firstbrought out by the ingenious observation of Mr. Engel, 
(Music of Most Ancient Nations.) 

3 See a very good figuring in Dr. Stainer's Music of the Bible, p. 36, 


the sandstone of the rehef has been much worn away 
and frayed in the course of three thousand years, and 
the figure is hke some ghost to our eyes — a soh'tary 
rehc that remains to us of a most magnificent and 
stupendous past. For when I think of Assyrian hfe and 
the great cities of Babylon and Nineveh, of the marts 
of Nineveh and the looms of Babylon, where carpets and 
curtains of inestimable value were spun to be distributed 
over the world, and where the art of spinning gold 
threads was carried to unknown perfection, the women 
walked the streets in brilliant coloured dresses, silver 
vases and gold moulding carried also to unknown 
perfection — I say, when I think of all this, and then try 
to imagine Assyrian music after it, I think of great swells 
of harps and roars of drums sweeping through enormous 
halls, as those halls of Nineveh with their crimson draperies, 
where Sardanapalus and his army feasted one hundred and 
twenty days, or those halls at Babylon where the people 
used to banquet, and the matrons and the virgins of the city 
would come in at the heat of the revelry, and dance, 
casting off their garments one by one in the fury of 
the revel, till at last they stood naked and unabashed 
before the eyes of thousands.^ And all around seethed 
with the riot of applause, the screams of the eunuchs, 
the whistle of flutes and harps. So that whatever is 
in the power of Music to intoxicate or to inflame, 
that I can imagine the music of Assyria to have 
excelled in. 

I See the picture in Quintus Curtius V. I, 




The Assyrians lived in a land of corn and dates : " the 
plains of the Euphrates," says Herodotus, " yield three 
hundred-fold the grain that is sown there." ^ In this 
plenty that surrounded them there was the sure induce- 
ment to develop the gay and sensuous side of life, and 
there was the requisite means for securing that leisure 
to the intellectual members of the community, which 
enabled them to indulge in those dry, abstract specu- 
lations, to which the Chaldean mind was naturally disposed. 

There was a subordinate branch of the great Chaldean race, 
which had very different experiences from the niain body 
of its brethren, which spent the early part of its life in a 
precarious isolation as settlers among hostile and alien tribes, 
passed its youth in the most galling slavery, escaped 
from that only to face years of want and misery in the 
desert, and had to fight its way back to the land it came 
from, inch by inch, there to enjoy a brief span of sunshine 
till the sky became overcast for good. This was the 
education to develop great men and high aspirations, 
and, in the reaction of the mind against the unkindness 
of its surroundings, to give a marvellous impulse to the 
imagination, which is the nurse of the spiritual life. The 
Hebrews, who have appeared on the world's stage as the 
Apostles of Affliction, have likewise spoken out above all 
peoples before or since them that which is the best result 
of Affliction — namely. Religion. For in its rebellion 
against the eternal buffet of brute misery and stupid 
trouble, the mind, as I say, soars aloft, and creates a 
world where it can expatiate free from care amidst delight 

I Herod. I. 193. etri SirfKoaia /nlv to rrapaTrav airo^i^oT 
Strabo speaks to the same effect. Lib, XIII, 


and eternal sunshine, and whence it can summon helpers 
that never fail, to mitigate and ease its sorrows and 
afflictions here below. 

With such a training and such a character we may 
waive the weaknesses and admire the excellencies of this 
people, whose weakness lay in an utter deadness to the 
sensuous and artistic side of life, and whose excellence 
consisted in exalting its spiritual side to a height such as we 
shall never meet with again. Thus unlike the Assyrians, the 
beauty of whose carvings has perhaps never been surpassed, 
the Hebrews not only despised the Art of sculpture, but 
accounted the practice of it illegal and irreligious.^ Paint- 
ing fared no better with them.^ Architecture was so poorly 
represented that Jahveh's tabernacle was for centuries a 
tent, and Solomon had to get a foreigner to build the 
Temple. Equally deficient were the Hebrews in Dramatic 
genius — they cared as little and doubtless were as little 
able to embody their thought in spectacular figures as 
they were to embody it in stone or colour or elaborate 
literary forms. 3 There was only one Geyser by which 
their wild formless emotion could find a congenial vent, 
and that was in the passionate outbreaks of Lyric Poetry, 
and the coincident effusion of extemporised Song. And it is 
here therefore that we must look for the import of the 
Hebrews in Musical History. For their relation to In- 
strumental music is a purely subordinate one, and scarcely 
merits remark. They had but few instruments, and of. 

I Cf. among other things, the 2nd Commandment. 

1 On this deficiency of the Hebrews in plastic art, Ambros "well remarks, 
•' desto grosser ist der poetische Sinn & Schwung." 

3 The attempts to construe the Song of Solomon into a drama — among 
which may be cited as perhaps the most elegant and complete, the rifat;imento 
of Dr. Davidson (Introduction to the Old Testament, II. 389) — only succeed 
in impressing the very faintest dramatic outline on the poem. The Book of 
Job yields a yet fainter impression. 


these all but one were borrowed from other nations, 
principally it seems from the Egyptians ; and even in 
their borrowing they showed the utmost nicety, and 
the same feelings and antipathies that we have just been 
considering. That most sensuous of instruments, the 
Drum, for instance, was to the last an exile from the 
Holy Land. There was not a drum to be found from 
Dan to Beersheba. ^ Nor a Dulcimer either. And Flutes 
if used at all were very rarely used. The only instrument 
that attained much favour, and this was the indigenous 
one, 2 was the Harp, which should more properly be de- 
scribed as a Lyre than a Harp 3 since it was a small 
portable instrument, which the player carried about with 
him wherever he went, and of which we may form a 
very fair notion if we remember the Rabbinical tradition, 
that David used to hang his on a nail above his pillow 
when he went to bed. This little Lyre was the great 
instrument, then, in Israel, and the reason it could be so 
was, that the Music of the Hebrews was in every sense of 
the word a Vocal Music. The Voice transcended and 
outdid the instrument, and Instrumental development 
stood still. With the Hebrews therefore we pass from 
the heated atmosphere of bands and concerts to a far 
higher and purer air ; and the centre of interest 

1 That modified form of drum, the tambourine or tabret, was however 
used in religious ceremony. Cymbals and sistrums (Saalschiitz' Geschichte 
& Wiirdigung der Musik bei den Hebraeru quoting Samuel VI. 5,) were also 
used by the priests. 

2 The same Semitic Lyre which we have described on p— ; and in support 
of the assertion that this was the only indigenous instrument, without 
going at length into the proofs, I may content myself with quoting the 
high authority of Mr. Engel (Music of most ancient nations, p. 282.) "the 
Lyre, a purely indigenous Semitic instrument and probably the only one 
the Hebrews can lay claim to." 

3 "The so called Harp was probably the Lyre." p. 311. 


changes from bands and orchestras to a single figure, 
who is in a manner eminently typical of the Hebrew 
Race itself — the Minstrel Poet.^ 

The Minstrel with the Hebrews was an inspired seer, 
who delivered himself of moral precepts in the didactic 
style of a sage, or preached against the sins and vices 
of his time, or in an ecstasy revealed the future.* 
These were his walks, and so earnest and sublimely 
strung was the national temper, that minstrelsy never 
bent itself to please, or became the prattler of the 
softer emotions, but was a preacher, and a censor, and, 
if we may go so far, one of the chief exponents of 
Religion itself For "to prophesy" meant "to sing,"^ 
and there is little doubt that Isaiah and Jeremiah and 
the other prophets uttered their prophecies in song no 
less than in verse, both alike being extemporised, and 
this indeed was the natural form in which their ex- 
alted spirit found expression. To such men as this 
Music could never be an Arf* — it was a form of 
speech, which they employed as unconsciously and as 
freely as we do our speech to-day. So knit up too 
was it with Poetry that we can scarcely consider it 
apart, and certainly there could have been no conscious 
separation between the two in the minds of the minstrels 
themselves, as little as there is in ours between the 

1 Assuming that what the Pyramids are for Egyptian History, or the 
Bas-reliefs for Assyrian History, that is the Bible for Jewish History. 
Should a larger limit, however, be permitted to evidence, manyof the Assyrian 
and Egyptian Instruments will find entry into the Hebrew Music, which is 
the method pursued by Dr. Stainer in his Music of the Bible. 

2 der Musiker erhebt sich zum Range eines vom Gottlichen begeisterten 
Weisen. (Ambros. Geschichte der Musik. I. 179.) 

3 Cf. Chronicles. XXV. i. ' die da weissagten auf Cithern & Harfen & 
Zymbeln.' The meaning however is so general that there is often doubt in which 
sense to take it 

4 Sic ist nicht Kunst sondern Gottesdienst, und nicht die ^sthetik son- 
dem die Religion hat ihren Werth zu bestimraen. (Ambros. I. 169.) 


word we say and the tone we say it in.^ Could we 
be certain that they were in the habit of invariably 
employing an instrument to accompany them when 
they sang or prophesied, we might imagine that art 
had, at least, some share in their songs. But this is 
not so, for it is most probable that the use of an 
instrument was only occasional. Their song no less 
than their verse was purely unpremeditated, being in 
the first instance the same Impassioned Speech which 
we have noticed as the original of Song among 
Primitive Man ; but with the Hebrews this Impassioned 
Speech received a very peculiar development. For 
there is a certain feature of the Hebrew language, or, 
I should rather say, of the syntax of the language, 
which would of itself be sufficient to stamp the 
language with a marked individuality, and put it in 
forcible contrast to all other languages not of the 
same stock ; so that to find a pronounced individuality 
in that development of Language which is Song, is 
what we may not unnaturally expect. For the Hebrew 
language has no copula,^ and therefore not only is the 
expression of a thought very different to what it is 
in our Aryan languages, but from the first the attitude of 
the thinker to his thought must have been very 
different. For while we by the benefit of our copula 
can say " the man is good," or " God is gracious," 
the Hebrews could only phrase it " the man, the good '' 
and " God, the gracious." And while we can and indeed 
must assign a subordination to one of the two parts 
of the sentence, that is to say to the predicate, which 

1 Mit der Poesie steht die Musik stets in genauer um nicht zu sagen 
untrenbarer Verbinndung. (lb. 193.) 

2 This peculiarity is of course shared by the Northern and Southern branches 
of the Semitic family— the Syriac & the Arabic. 


is to us merely an attribute of the subject, being an 
extra thing, so to speak, affirmed or denied of the 
subject, to the Hebrews there was no such subordin- 
ation of one part to the other possible, but both 
stood side by side as strictly coordinate, for neither 
was the predicate a mere attribute hooked on to the 
subject by a hook, nor was it a thing that depended 
for its raison d' etre on the subject, for it could stand 
equally well alone, and thus instead of the sentence 
being composed of a principal and a subordinate, it 
was composed of two coordinates — not a subject and 
a predicate, but, if we may so phrase it, two subjects. 
And of these two — so thorough was the coordination — 
either might stand first ; not even is there that 
determination of subject which priority of order might 
give, as for instance "God: the gracious" was as com- 
monly and as well expressed by " The Gracious one : 
God." So that we who are of a different cast of mind 
and form of expression are often left to seek which 
of the two we shall turn into the predicate and which 
into the subject of our sentence. 

Now this coordination of expression implies a certain 
mental habit as the predisposing cause of it, for it 
implies the habit of seeing things side by side without 
much considering their mutual relations, of regarding their 
similitudes, that is to say, rather than their differences, 
which is the result of an inbred love of coordinating. 
And this love may be either peculiar to the Semitic 
race, or it may be a feature in the human mind 
generally in the early stages of its development. But 
without staying to enquire into the cause that lies at 
the bottom of it, let us go on to examine, how else 
its workings have made themselves felt, beyond this 
special coordinating of the Subject and Predicate that 
we have just been examining. For it is plain the 


influence of such a feeling would not rest here, but as 
it affected the relations of one part of a sentence to 
another, so it would be as likely to affect the rela- 
tions of individual words to each other, the relations 
of complete sentences to sentences, and of thoughts 
to thoughts. And in the case of individual words, it 
shows in dispensing with the genitive case, and setting 
up the two words side by side on terms of equality, 
turning " the horse of the king," for instance, into " the 
horse the king.''^ And in sentences it shows in the 
almost entire banishment of particles and conjunctions. 
and the coordination of each sentence with the other. 
And in thought it shows in the matching of thought 
with thought, or, what is commoner, in getting the 
coordination by repeating the same thought over twice, 
with some little variety of form. And this seems to 
have been felt as necessary to the due completion of 
the one original thought as the two verbal terms to 
the completion of the Sentence ; for this was the form 
nearly always adopted in any measured or rhetorical 
expression of thought — which seems to differ from 
ordinary expression chiefly in this, that it is more 

Now since the sober temperament of the Hebrews 
was little inclined to toy with language, or frolic in the 
sweet jingle of syllables like the Aryans, there is 
no belt of poetry running round the beginnings of 
their literature, but the form they first expressed 
themselves in was naked prose. And their poetry grew 
out of their prose, being but a more measured and 

I For it might be well argued that the shortening of the vowel in the 
"governing" substantive, as we call it, as for instance V shortened into 
"J ^ in the phrase '^ ^ D "p, or any of the other changes that take place in 
the construct state, are forms that grew up late in the language's history. 


pompous delivery, and there was nothing to distinguish 
it from prose except its rhetorical cast, for metres, feet 
&c. there were none. But very early this rhetorical 
expression set into a clearly defined and sharp cut 
form which ever after remained the form of the Hebrew 
poetry, and the gist of which lay in the parallelism, 
antithesis, or wedding of two thoughts as the com- 
ponent of each poetical expression ; and generally it 
was the parallelism, and more particularly that form 
of parallelism which consisted in repeating the same 
thought twice over with some little variety of form. 
And amid the dry records of their early history there 
stands out as a gem that little poem, which is so 
different from its surroundings, and which should 
command our reverence because it is the oldest poem 
in the world: — 

" Adah and Zillah hear my voice : Ye wives of Lamech, 
harken unto my speech. 

" For I have slain a man to my wounding : And a young 
man to my hurt. 

" If Cain shall be avenged seven fold : Truly Lamech 
seventy and seven fold." 

And with this simplest of all forms of Poetry the 
Spiritual Hebrews were to the last content. All the 
metre was in the thought : the words might run pretty 
much as they pleased, and the balance of the clauses 
be as loos.e as possible and lopsided,^ the symphony 

I Genesis. IV. 23. As an instance of the purely rhetorical use of 
this parallelism we may quote the blessing of Jacob by Isaac (Gencses 
XXVII, 29.) where there is naturally no question of singing: — 
"Let people serve thee : and nations bow down before thee. 
'' Be lord over thy brethren : and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. 
" Cursed be everyone that curseth the. : and blessed be he that blesSeth thee." 

2 Cf. When the company of the spearmen and the multitude of the mighty 
are scattered abroad among the beasts of the people so that they humbly 
bring pieces of silver : and when he hath scattered the people that delight in war. 


of the two ideas was sufficient to satisfy all the 
requirements which that spiritual people laid upon verse.^ 

That Lamech, the poet, should be the father of Jubal, 
the minstrel, is natural, and that the minstrelsy which 
arose in company with such a form of poetry should 
wear the same peculiar stamp, was also to be expected. 
So that at this very early period, when the old 
Patriarchs were living in tents in the plains of Meso- 
potamia, that form of Song, which consists in two 
parallel phrases of similar or contrasted intonation, and 
which we may hear to-day in the Religious Chant, of 
our Churches, was fast developing, if it were not 
already fully established. The tones would be .rude, and 
rather approaching Speech than Song — on each occasion 
probably extemporised ; yet the repetition of the same 
form of language verse after verse, would gradually 
lead to their being remembered, and the unique 
parallelism of parts would communicate to them that 
individuality, which separates them even now from all 
other styles of musical declamation. 

Now the plain result of the establishment of such 
a form of Poetry and Song was this : — when the 
minstrel of the old patriarchal times gave place to the 
choruses of city life (and since it was in Egypt that 
they first began to congregate in cities we may see 
in these very choruses the first trace of Egyptian 
influence,^) this division of the verse into two parts each 
reflecting the other, would plainly suggest the division 
of the chorus into two parts, each responding to the 
other, as the men to the women, for instance, or two 

1 The various attempts to father intricate systems of versification on the 
Hebrews have all proved unsuccessful. 

2 As another trace may be quoted the use of sistrums by the Hebrew- 
priests, of. the remarks of Saalschiitz in his Geschichte (Sc^Wurdigung der 
Musik &c . 


companies of women, or it might be a solo singer 
and a chorus answering him — but whichever way were 
the more usual, this early got to be the recognised 
method of chorus singing, and so thoroughly was it 
the recognised method that the Hebrews began to use 
the word " answer " as synonymous with " sing." ^ 

That this style was developed in the city life in 
Egypt we may imagine since the first mention of 
it in the Bible is immediately after the passage of 
the Red Sea, when " Miriam, the prophetess, took a 
timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out 
after her with timbrels and dances. And Miriam 
answered them : — 
Sing ye to the Lord for he hath triumphed gloriously : 

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." 
This latter half being probably the response of the 
women. So that we may conjecture that that other 
song which immediately precedes this, which was sung 
by Moses and the Children of Israel, was treated in 
a similar manner and that the parts were distributed : — 

I will sing unto the Lord for he hath triumphed gloriously : 
Children of Israel. 
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 
M. The Lord is my strength and my song : 

C. of I. And he is become my salvation. 
M. He is my God and I will prepare him an habitation : 

C. of I. My father's god and I will exalt him. 
M, The Lord is a man of war : 

C. of I. The Lord is his name. 

I As the Arabs to-day. Lowth (Prselectiones de sacra &c.) .would derive 
the parallelism of the poetry from this antiphonal practice of chanting, instead 
of what is far more probable, the antiphonal chanting from the parallelism, for 
we find the latter in existence at least a thousand years or more before we 
hear of the former. 


M. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea : 
C. of I. His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. 
This practice, as I say, once stereotyped, hke many 
things in those old civilisations, remained unaltered to 
the end, and if we were to write a history of the 
Hebrew chorus from now till the time of the captivity, 
it would be but to enumerate the various occasions 
on which such performances are chronicled in the Bible 
and the various personages who took part in them 
For instance, in the services of the Tabernacle, the 
Priests formed one chorus, the Levites the other : ^ 
Miriam and her women find their parallel in later 
times in the two choruses of women who " came out 
to meet David after his victory over Goliath, one 
chorus singing, " Saul hath slain his thousands," 
the other answering, " And David his ten thousands," 
and while Miriam and her women only used timbrels 
to accompany their voices, the women who went to 
meet David had not only timbrels but also other 
'instruments of Music,' so that there would be a 
distinct advance in musical feeling to be recorded 
here. But this line of treatment would be somewhat 
jejune, and at the same time in a great measure 

I Lowth. De Sacra, poesi Hebrseorum. XIX. Cf. also Ezra III. 11. 
in allusion to the performance of the 136th Psalm. Lowth also compares the 
title of Psalm LXXXVIII. It seems allowed on all hands that this was the 
common method of performance. Those who would go beyond this, and have 
us believe that 3 choirs were used, must be held to be advancing a fanciful 
theory. Thus the English commentator and translator of Lowth founds his 
supposition of 3 choirs on the following verse : — 

"Praise the Lord, Ye House of Israel; Praise the Lord, ye House of Aaron ; 
Praise the Lord, ye House of Leir." He says that this verse must obviou- 
sly have been sung by 3 divisions of singers, that the first sentence was 
sung by the High Priest addressing the people, the 2nd by the people back 
to the High Priest, and the 3rd by the Levites, than which nothing more 
fanciful can be imagined. On the other hand, so universal was the practice 
of chanting by Two Choirs, that Isaiah transfers it to the Seraphim. 
" And they cried alternately and said &c." (Isaiah. VI. 3.) This is 
Lowth's translation. 


trivial, and it is better to proceed at once to 
consider what effects the recognised custom of choral 
song had on the arrangement of the services in the 
Temple. And it will be found to have had very- 
important effects indeed, since not only would it 
imply two choirs of singers, but also two bands of 
instrumentalists, and very likely would affect the in- 
ternal arrangements of the Temple itself, on which we 
are left to speculate, in necessitating two rows of 
seats facing one another, not unlike the stalls in our 
own churches. And that this was the arrangement in 
Solomon's Temple, we may judge from the arrange- 
ments in Nehemiah's time at the ceremony of the 
dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, which probably 
partook of the nature of the Temple Service, " when the 
chiefs of the Levites, Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and 
Jeshua, the Son of Kadmiel " were appointed " ivith 
their bi'ethren over against them to praise and give 
thanks according to the commandment of David, the 
man of God " (so that it was undoubtedly a revival of 
the old practice), " ward over agaijtst ward."'^ " Two 
great companies of them that gave thanks," says 
Nehemiah,2 " were appointed, whereof one went to the 
right hand upon the wall, and after them went Hosh- 
aiah and half the princes of Judah," (so that it looks 
as if the whole disposal of the ceremony was affected 
by the choral requirements,) a band of trumpeters 
also went with them.^ — "and the other company of 
them that gave thanks went over against them. So 

I. Nehemiah, XII. 24. 

2 lb. XII. 31 He is here alluding to the ceremony at the dedication 
of the wall of Jerusalem, which however we may well consider as but an out- 
door replication of the usual ceremony. 3 lb, 35. 


Stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in 
the house of God."^ 

It should seem that we may fairly argue back 
from this example to the arrangements of the Temple 
services themselves, and assume that there were two 
choirs of Levites, or possibly one of Priests, the other 
of Levites, stationed opposite one another at either 
side of the Temple, who sang in antiphon the psalms 
and canticles which went to make up the service. 
The singers were flanked by instrumentalists, composed 
in like manner partly of priests, partly of Levites, 
who each had their peculiar instruments ; for while 
the Levites had cymbals and psalteries and harps,^ 
the priests had trumpets^ — an instrument which 
appears to have been exclusively reserved for them. 
Appearing in its oldest form as a trumpet of ram's horn^ 
— by the time we are speaking of it was made of brass 
and gold. There were many superstitions attaching to 
the instrument — it was the trumpet that had caused the 
walls of Jericho to fall and had struck the Midianites 
with panic — and doubtless a peculiarly sacred character 
attached to it, which marked it out as especially the priests' 

1 lb. 38. 40. This allusion to the "two companies" seems to confirm the 
view stated above. 

2 I Chronicles. XXV. i. 3. 6. That phrase m verse 5, of the same 
chapter, "to lift up the horn," must certainly be taken in the purely fig- 
urative sense "To praise." Those commentators who take it as "to play the 
trumpet," miss the fact for which we are here contending, and which has 
been amply demonstrated by others, that the trumpet was peculiar to the 
priests, cf. also 2 Chronicles. V. 12. XXIX. 53. i Chron. XVI. 5. XV. 20 
Nehemiah. XII. 27. Ezra, III. 10. 

3 Nehemiah. XII. 35. Chron. V. 12. i. Chron. XV. 24. XVI. 6, XLII. 2. 
Numbers X. 8. Joshua. VI. 4. 8. 9, 

4 Joshua. VI. 8. 


We are not to think of any elaborate harmony in the 
Hebrew Temple Services, such as characterised the per- 
formances of the Egyptians. To the Hebrews Music was 
not an Art, but a Voice in which they poured forth their 
soul to Him " that inhabited the praises of Israel." i To 
dally with the musical relations of notes, or to endeavour 
to enhance the effect by graceful combinations of instru- 
ments or sounds, were thoughts very far from their earnest 
minds.2 " The singers and the trumpeters were as 07ie to 
make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the 
Lord." 3 " One hundred and twenty priests blowing with 
trumpets"^ — a scream of sound ! Harshness is forgiven to 
that enthusiasm which so wrestles for expression, and 
sees Heaven open before its eyes, " For when they lifted 
up their Voice with the trumpets and the cymbals and 
instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, ' For 
he is good : for his mercy endureth for ever ; behold then 
the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the 
Lord : so that the priests could not stand to minister by 
reason of the cloud ; for the glory of the Lord had filled 
the house of God." ^ 

Now in this swallowing up of all into enthusiasm, this 
contempt of beauty and the fair outside of Music, we 
may see the contrast between the Hebrews and the 
Egyptians. In the Egyptian temples there were the 
Priestesses singing and rattling their sistrums,^ flutes 

1 Psalms XXII. 3. Ambros has admirably phrased it in the following sen- 
tence, which seems to me to sum up the complete spirit of the Hebrew music : 
" Sie wird die Verbindungsbruckez wischen der Menschen und der iiber Natur 
stehendenGeisterwelt;siewird Traegerinnder Gebeter,&bringt als gnadenvoUes 
Gegengeschenk vom Gotte Abrahams, Isaaks, und Jakobs prophetische Erleu- 
chtung. (Geschichte I. 196.) 

2 Sie war keine darstellung der Schonen durch Tone, to use the words 
of Ambros. 

3 2 Chronicles V, 13. 4 lb. 12. 5 lb. 13. 14. 

6 Lepsius, Denkmaeler aus .^gypten, Abtbeil HI. Band. VHI. Blatt. 
244. 247. 


playing,^ lyres and lutes swept by the hands of women,^ 
all beautiful and melodious in sound : the Hebrews 
would not tolerate women within the temple's precints, 
their Choruses were composed entirely of men singers,^ 
even boy's voises they were careless to take advantage 
of, and the national instrument of the land, the Harp, 
was made to give way in the enthusiasm of devotion to 
the Trumpet. 

The reign of David is an idyllic episode in the history 
of Israel, and David himself stands out in many points 
a contrast to his countrymen. The sternness of the 
national temper is seen much softened in him, and in 
thinking of the minstrel king we are apt to forget that 
we have before us the rare and short-lived bloom, which 
appeared but once or twice on Hebrew history. We gain 
a truer conception of the features which were likely to 
dominate their Music, by thinking of the prophets of old, 
Moses, Joshua, Samuel, by remembering the harshness 
of the Hebrew language, with its abundance of aspirates 
and sibilants and gutturals, it •' plethora of consonants 
and feeblenes in vowels. The fact of such a language 
being developed in the first instance shows a want of 
the sense for beauty of tone, or rather it shows the 
deliberate preference of force to beauty. And we may 
conjecture that the character of the language which was 

1 As we may know from Strabo: — 

iv OE rtj) t£pti> Tov Oaipicog ou/c f'sfortv ovte wSov ovre av- 
ArjTTiv OVTE xpaXrriv airap'^^EaOai no ^eio k aO air e p r ol g 
aWoic. Strabo I. 6. Also from a sculpture in Wilkinson. II. where priests 
are offering incense to the sound of a flute. 

2 See the sculptures in Wilkinson of priestesses playing these instruments. 

3 The sole argument for the existence of women singers is I. Chronicles XXV. 
5, b, where " these " however probably applies only to the men. At the same 
time we must not forget those verses in the psalms. " It is well seen, O Lord, 
how thou goest," &c. ; and perhaps the occasional employment of women as 
instrumentalists on festivals and great occasions was always allowed, but not 
as singers. 


at the same time so strongly in keeping with the 
character of the people, should also be communicated to 
the Music. Their chants and psalms we must imagine 
they intoned or recited in an elevated voice, with but 
little to distinguish the delivery from ordinary recitation 
except the monotony of the tone and the markedness of 
the cadences.^ All their enthusiasm was centred on the 
thought ; and the form in which the thought was expressed 
was entirely a secondary consideration. And this is what 
always happens ; when Music and Poetry are blended 
so thoroughly as they were with the Hebrews, the Music 
necessarily suffers from the union. In this way they 
could dispense for a long time with the aid of regular 
singers in the services of the Tabernacle,^ not through 
any indifference to the due performance of the services, 
as I take it, but because they regarded the aesthetic 
element as of purely trivial import. During this time 
the Levites, who were these regular singers, were suffered 
to become completely disorganised, and eventually to 
degenerate into a half mendicant order wandering up and 
down Israel, ^ and dependent for their bread on the 
hospitality of chance entertainers ; nor was it until the time 
of David that they were restored to their former position 

1 Clemens who heard some of the ancient chants says they reminded him 
of the Dorian mode, "which statement," adds a commentator, "we must take as 
referring to their earnestness and solemnity " — perhaps better to their gravity 
or low pitch. The attempt to restore the Hebrew style from rifacimentos of 
the chants used by modern Jews has always ended in failure. Not only are the 
modern Jewish chants of a trivial character by comparison, but " in addition 
to this," says one who knows them well, " the German, Italian, Spanish &c. 
Jews all have different chants and different styles, and agree in nothing, and 
so there is no standpoint for comparison." Any one wishing to test the truth 
of this assertion will find it fully borne out by examining the mddern Jewish 
chants in Engel's Music of most ancient Nations. 

2 That is during the time of the Judges. Ewald, Geschichte. II. 454. 

3 Cf. Judges. XVII. 9. 


That this restoration of the Levites should take place under 
the Minstrel King was natural,^ and, generally speaking, as we 
have remarked, in David's reign there are everywhere signs 
of a Musical Renaissance^ and now for the first time the 
conception of music as an art begins to appear. The Levites 
under David's direction were officered and arranged in so 
many divisions, which had to relieve one another in the 
temple duties ; ^ they began to be educated specially for 
their functions, and were required to commence regular 
training at the age of twenty ;3 the psalms that were to be 
sung in the service, even when written by so eminent 
a composer as the king himself, were first submitted for 
revision or practice to the most skilled musicians of the 
choir ; 4 and there was a great deal in the way of adapt- 
ation and setting went on, as we may judge from those 
numerous Psalms which remain to us, whose title has no 
connection with the subject of the Psalm itself — ^from 
which we must infer that the title refers to the tune to 
which the Psalm was sung, and that therefore it was no 
uncommon thing to adapt one Psalm to the tune of 
another.5 Whether this practice points to the existence 
of traditional tunes or modes of chanting which were now for 

1 It is suggestive that David's birthplace, Bethlehem, should be in such 
close proximity to the villag^es of the Netophathites, which were inhabited 
exclusively by "the singers" and "the sons of the singers," that is to say, 
by the Levites. cf. i. Chron. IX. 16. Nehemiah. XII. 28. 29. 

2 3 courses of chorus singers and players, viz. the Kohathites, Gershonites, 
and Merarites. i. Chron. XXIII. 6. sq. Twenty-four courses of 'cunning' 
singers and players, who we must presume were soloists or leaders of the 
others. There were 12 in each course — 288 in all. i Chron. XXV. 7. 9. sq. 
These skilled minstrels were, in the first instance at least, nearly all 
Kohathites. cf. i Chron. XXV. with Id. VI. S3- 39- 

3 I Chron XXIII. 24. 27. 4 i Chron. XVI. 7. 

5 e. g. the psalm whose heading is " Von der stummen Taube unter den 
Fremden," and about which there is not a word in the whole Psalm. For 
Other instances, Forkel. Greschjchte der Musik, I. 141. 



the first time collected together and ai ranged, or whether 
such traditional tunes existed at all, may admit conjecture. ^ 
To the same period also we must_ refer the establishment 
of those Schools of the Prophets, in which Music and 
Poetry were the leading subjects of instruction, and 
which, from being training-places for the Temple services 
under David and Solomon,^ ^ passed in more troublous 
times into being centres of mysticism and fanaticism, from 
whence issued those hair-mantled anchorites, who were 
the terror of the Israelitish Monarchs. 

In these Schools was worked out in a way such 
as it never has been before or since, that mysterious 
connection between Music and Religious Inspiration, 
which we have had occasion to notice in an early 
part of this work. Standing out as these men did 
in bitter opposition to the tendencies of the age,, 
and as embodiments of that ascetic spirit which was 
now begining to wax faint in Israel, it was natural 
that they should inveigh against the art of the 
court life, which could seem to them little better 
than effeminate fooling. "Ye that lie upon beds of 
ivory, and stretch yourselves upon couches," cries the 
rough herdsman of Tekoa, "ye that chant to the 
sound of the viol and invent to yourselves instruments 
of Music, and drink wine out of bowls, and anoint 

1 The existence of traditional tunes is generally considered to be proved by 
the 3rd verse of the 137th Psalm, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion." But 
this would only seem to indicate a national style of singing. 

2 It was the duty of the prophets in these schools to compose music for the 
Temple Services. (Lowth. De Sacra Hebrae. Pralect. XVIII.) It seems 
there would be no bar to our identifying the schools of the prophets with 
' the villages of the singers ' to which we have before alluded, for not only 
were these villages ' round about Jerusalem and in the villages of Netopha- 
thi,' (Nehemiah XII. 28.) but they must have been spread here and there 
throughout the land agreeably to the prophecy in Genesis XLIX. 7. '"I will 
divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." 


yourselves with the chief ointments, take away 
from me^.the noise of your songs, for I will not hear 
the melody of your viols." Even the Temple Services did 
not escape their invective. "The songs of the Temple 
shall be howlings," says the same Amos. And in him 
and others like him spoke the real spirit of the 
Jewish people, which is doubtless the reason why 
they were tolerated and respected. This lying on 
ivory couches and basking in the melody of viols was 
very far removed from the genuine national temper, 
and if we would follow the track of the purely Jewish 
Music, we must turn from the courts of Jerusalem 
and Samaria, where Assyrian and Egyptian influences 
were making themselves every day more strongly felt, 
and betake ourselves to these very Schools of the 
•Prophets, which, secluded in the mountain fastnesses of 
Gilead or Bethel, served as rallying places for the 
disaffected and the patriot, and continued to nurse the 
spirit of religious enthusiasm after it had been long 
extinguished among the people at large. And we shall 
find that the music, which was cultivated there, was of 
a very different order to the music that Amos declaimed 
againsi, that it was probably a reversion to, or rather 
a continuation of the old devotional chant or psalm 
in its strict traditional form ; for the literary studies of 
the scholars in these Schools was confined to the Law 
and the ancient writings of the nation, and the fact of 
an elderly prophet being vested with an almost despotic 
authority in their management seems warranty for im- 
agining that the old traditions were peculiarly preserved. 
Here then as we said was worked out in a way it never 
has been before or since, that mysterious connection 
between Music and Religious Inspiration, which we have 
had occasion to refer to in an. early part of this work. 
The Prophetic Ecstasy was doubtless necessary in a 


greater or less degree for the attainment of all prophecy. 
Whether the inspiration took the form of a vision or 
a voice, it was no mere mental picture or secret 
whispering of thought, but a great tangible relief 
jutting out upon the sight, or a 'great Voice' sounding 
in the ears — that is to say, it was the concomitant of 
an abnormal condition of mind, such as the prophetic 
ecstasy was calculated to produce. Now since one of 
the features of all high spiritual exaltation, and particularly 
of this prophetic enthusiasm we are speaking of, was 
the morbid acuteness of the hearing, which attained 
as it were an ocular power, for " Micah saw the Word of 
the Lord," and " Paul in a trance saw him saying," &c., 
this may furnish us with a hint why it seems the 
prophetic ecstasy should be frequently brought on by 
Music. Perhaps indeed it was so induced more frequently 
than we are aware of, for besides the instances actually 
recorded in the Bible, the fact of all prophecy being 
delivered in the form of chanted verse ^ will at any rate 
show how essential an element Music was to the vision- 
ary condition of the consciousness. But in the case of 
Elisha, who was the president of one of the prophetic 
Schools, 2 we have a practical illustration of the principl e, 
for being asked by the Kings of Judah and Israel to 
predict the result of their war with the King of Moab, 
he was unable to do so until a minstrel was brought 
to play to him. 'And it came to pass that as the 
minstrel played, the hand of the Lord came upon 
Elisha,' 3 and he then uttered the desired prediction. 
In a similar way, at an earlier period of Jewish history, 

1 As " to prophesy". . " to sing," so Prophet. ." the singer^' and Prophe- 
tess, " the songstress." cf, in Judges IV. " Deborah, the SongstresSi" 

2 Kings. VI. 32.3 Kings. III. 15. 


contemporaneously with the first establishment of these 
Schools, ' a company of prophets from the School of 
Bethel met Saul on his way thither, and they played 
on the psaltery, and tabret, and pipe, and harp, and 
prophesied ; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon 
Saul, and he prophesied with them, and was turned into 
another man.'^ It was likewise the custom of Saul 
' to prophesy in the midst of his house while David 
played the harp> To Saul also we must turn if we 
would find what this prophesying in its most exalted 
form actually was, for in this condition ' he would tear 
off all his clothes, and lie stretched on the ground 
for a night and a day together.'^ The condition of a 
man under the ecstasy was like that of ' a lyre,' said 
Montanus, ' swept by the plectrum.' He was an irres- 
ponsible agent ; he was unconscious of what he said 
or did. " For when the Spirit of God seizes us," says 
Balaam, " it utters whatsoever sounds and words it 
pleases, without any knowledge on our parts ; for when 
it has come into us there is nothing in us that remains 
our own."''- Hence " the prophets were often called mad 
or frenzied."^ But after the frenzy had continued some 
time, "the highest point which the inspiration reached 
was a Song."6 And this was the prophecy. 

Now we may well admire that Music could be 
capable of inducing such effects as these, and if we 
ask the cause, it would appear that to finely strung 
temperaments Music acts as a nervous stimulant, producing 
parallel effects to those of any other stimulant, first 

I Samuel X. 6, 2 Samuel XVIII. 10. " As at other times "—these 

words point of course to a custom. 

3 Stanley's Jewish Church. II. 21. cf. also Samuel XIX. 24. 

4 Balaam in Josephus. IV. 5 Davidson on Kings IX. II. 
6 Davidson's Introduction to the Old Testament. II. 429. 


soothing, and if continued, intoxicating ; and then finally 
comes the reaction, in which the mind recovers its balance, 
and in its sublime and tranquil exaltation the eyes see 
visions, the ears hear voices, and the tongue utters 
words that beggar the powers of deliberate expression. 
And thus it was that Urbain Grandier broke forth into 
celestial singing at the height of his torture, and the 
Templars sang as they were fastened to the stake, and 
enthusiasts of all ages have uttered the beatitude of the 
spirit in the tones of song. 

But the power of Music to provoke this very beati- 
tude and triumph — the making it the cause as well as 
the effect — this is peculiarly Hebrew. Mortification, bodily 
pain, religious ecstasy were the cause of it with those 
men we have just alluded to, but with the Hebrews, 
.so susceptible and delicately feminine was their tem- 
perament, that Music alone could sometimes cause it. 
And to the same head must be referred those instances 
of the Medical use of Music which also occur in the 
Bible, as when David was sent for to play the harp to 
Saul, who was troubled with an evil spirit. " And it came 
to pass that when the evil spirit was upon Saul, that 
David played with his hand; and Saul was refreshed 
and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.''^ 
But here the application would be somewhat different 
For the object aimed at would no longer be to intoxicate 
the nervous system, but only to gently stimulate it, or as 
we should phrase it, to put the jaded fibres in the 
condition most favourable to the recovery of their 
irritability, not to provoke this irritability into existence 
by shocking it. And seeing that the application of 
Electricity to Therapeutics in modern times presents 

I Samuel XYI. 23. 


many points in common with the curative appHcation 
of Music in ancient times, and particularly in the fact of 
the induced current being most effectually applied through 
the auditory nerves, we may speculate whether Music 
may not be merely a form of Electricity. And since 
the central organs of the nervous system, as well as the 
nerve trunks that pass through the great cavities, on 
account of their being completely surrounded by soft 
parts and bones, which cannot be forced into contact 
with them by external compression, are the most completely 
withdrawn from the influence of the electric current, 
that form of electricity which had a direct effect on 
the nervous organisation through its immediate access 
to the brain by the medium of the ear, was naturally 
the first form that received notice from men, because 
it was so patent and easy of application. And it was 
naturally limited in its application to the cure of those 
diseases which have their seat in the brain, as th 
different varieties of mania, such as melancholy, hallu- 
cination, &c. .And the invigorating and tranquillising effects 
of Music in cases of grief, anxiety, over-excitement, 
&c„ which are all but modified forms of brain 
paralysis, are effects which many of us have no doubt 
experienced ourselves, and will enable us to understand 
how its potency would infinitely increase with a people 
of a far more susceptible nervous organisation than 
ourselves. Whether however we must not search for a 
more physical explanation than this, might admit con- 
jecture. For looking at the fact that the essence of 
Musical Sound is regularity of vibration, we might 
speculate that its precise effect would lie in restoring, 
by sympathy with its own regularity of vibration, 
that rhythmic pulsation of the blood and brain which 
disease or over-excitement had rendered irregular and fitful. 
In this way the diseases it would particularly reach would 


be nervous diseases, such as hysterical affections, hypoch- 
ondriasis &c., in which trembhngs and palpitations are 
the leading symptoms, and to this order of diseases 
rather than to varieties of mania we should then 
refer those affections for which antiquity held it a 
sovereign specific. In this way it would also tend to 
counteract through sympathy that irritation or restless- 
ness of nerve which we call Pain, by re-inducing 
regularity of function ; whence modern surgeons are now 
beginning to use Music as an anodyne.^ 

Numerous are the miraculous effects that have been 
ascribed to music by Rabbinical tradition,^ but to suggest 
that the high estimation which it enjoyed in Israel was 
in any way due to its supposed miraculous virtues would 
of course be to go too far. The Hebrew minstrels 
would never have risen above the social status and 
importance of their brethren in other lands, had not 
their subject been the noblest that man can aspire to 
sing of, and had it not been in such thorough harmony 
with all the highest feelings of their nation. For they 
who sing of love, when men are arming themselves for 

1 M. Vigouroux has invented a method of alleviating pain by administer- 
ing to the affected part a recurrent series of waves of sound by means of a 
tuning-fork and a sounding-board. M. Boudet has, I believe, improved upon 
M, Vigoroux' invention by keeping the tuning-fork in constant vibrcition by 
means of an electric magnet, and communicating the undulations to the skin 
by means of a rod. Neuralgia is removed in a few minutes by this means, and 
anaesthetic effects are induced by a longer action. 

2 P. de Bretagne,|De excellentia musicae antiquae Hebrseorum. The subject 
of the curative power of Music on the lines of the old medicine possesses an 
ample literature. Cornelius Agrippa devotes a chapter of his Occult Philoso- 
phy to it; Andreas Tiraquellus, a chapter of his Commentary de Nobilitate. 
Medeira's Inaudita Philosophia de viribus musices, Delrius' De musica magica, 
andReineccius' De effectibus musices merito suspectis,are specimens of complete 
worlcscn the subject. More modern works are Randnitz' Musikals Heilmittel, 
which is rather puerile and fanciful, Albrecht's Tractatus Physicus de effectibus 
musices, &c., &c. 


the battle, must expect an inattentive audience, and they 
who lisp of green trees and gurgling brooks to men who 
are taken up with the stern duties of life, must not 
complain if they get neglect or even contempt for their 
reward. But these poets of God sang the praises and the 
might of God to a nation intoxicated with deity, and 
this is why the fame of the brightest Minnesinger shrinks 
to a speck before the majesty of Isaiah. Wild and artless 
may their strains have been, and it is idle to attempt to 
recall the melodies that were flung into the breezes 
and lost there. The wrappings of their minstrelsy are 
lost for ever. But the noblest part of it remains, and 
in the words they sang and the thoughts they uttered, 
we may see how the subject that inspired them 
strained every fibre of the men to the struggle of 
expressing it. So much nobler was the inspiration 
that came from Jehovah to the inspiration that has 
come from any other source before or since them. 
For the Egyptian poets drew their inspiration from 
their King. He was the fountain of their lays, the 
spirit of all their genius. And how did they achieve 
their task ? 

"My King," sings Pentaur, "my king, his arms are 
mighty, his heart is firm, his courage in the fight is 
like Monthu's, the god of war. He leads his soldiers 
to unkown peoples. He grasps his sword and buckler, 
and he is a wall of iron to his soldiers, he is their 
shield in the day of battle. He bends his bow and 
none can resist him. Mightier than a hundred thou- 
sand men he marches forwards. His courage is like 
the courage of a bull. He has struck down all the 
nations who have banded together against him. No 


one knows the thousands and tens of thousands 
that stood against him. A hundred thousand sank at 
his glance. He is terrible when his battle-shout 
goes up ; he is braver than all the world. He is 
like a raging lion in a valley of gazelles. His 
orders are obeyed. No adversary dare contradict him. 
His counsel is wise : his resolutions are perfect : when 
he wears the royal crown, Atef, and declares his 
will,' he is a protector of his people against un- 
righteousness. His heart is like a mountain of iron. 
Such is King Rameses Miamun."^ 

Now hear Habakkuk : — 

" God came from Teman, and the Holy One 
from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the 
heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 

And his brightness was as the light ; he had horns 
coming out of his hand : there was the hiding of his 

Before him went the pestilence : burning coals went 
forth at his feet. 

He stood and measured the earth : he beheld and 
drave asunder the nations ; and the everlasting moun- 
tains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow : his 
ways are everlasting. 

I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction : and the 
curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. 

I Brugsch. Geschichte JEgypteas. 501. sq. 


Was the Lord displeased against the rivers ? was 
thine anger against the rivers ? was thy wrath against 
the sea, that thou didst ride upon thy horses and thy 
chariots of salvation ? 

Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the 
oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou 
didst cleave the earth with rivers. 

The mountains saw thee, and they trembled ; the 
overflowing of the waters passed by : the deep uttered 
his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. 

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation : at 
the light of thine arrows they went, at the shining of 
thy glittering spear. 

Thou didst march through the land in indignation: 
thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. 

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, 
even for the salvation of thine anointed : thou woun- 
dedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by 
discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. 

Thou didst strike through with his staves the head 
of his villages ; they came out as a whirlwind to scat- 
ter me : their rejoicing was to devour the poor 

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine 
horses, through the heap of great waters. 

When I heard, my belly trembled ; my lips quiv- 
ered at the voice : rottenness entered into my bones, 
and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in 


the day of trouble : when he cometh up unto the 
people, he will invade them with his troops. 

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither 
shall any fruit be found in the vine ; the labour of 
the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no 
meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and 
there shall be no herd in the stalls : 

Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the 
God of my salvation. 

To the Chief Singer on my Stringed Instruments. 

I I lacei I I 




To the Chinese mere sensuous delight in tone presents 
such attractions, that their musical system is occupied 
mainly with the analysis and classification of the dif- 
ferent qualities of Sound, and only secondarily with 
those sequences of Sounds which we call Notes. 

They excel in the manufacture of Instruments, and 
their artistic genius shows itself in the novelty and 
variety of form which they give them. They have in- 
struments in the shape of birds' eggs,i of bushels,^ of 
writing-tablets,^ of tigers.''- They adorn their instruments 
with silken canopies,^ streams of tassels and ribbons,^ 
and a profusion of carvings.7 They emblazon them with 
colours, and one would fancy by the pains they spend 
on them, that they aimed at pleasing the eye quite as 
much as pleasing the ear in the construction of them. 

I Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art. Vol. VI. 83 2 lb. 3 lb. 
4 lb, 5 La Borde. Essai sur la Musique, I, Plates, 6 lb. 7 lb. 


According to the Chinese, there are 8 different musical 
sounds in nature, each possessing a well-marked charac- 
ter peculiar to itself.^ 

There are 

1 The Sound of Skin. 

2 The Sound of Stone. 

3 The Sound of Metal. 

4 The Sound of Baked Earth. 

5 The Sound of SiLK. 

6 The Sound of WOOD. 

7 The Sound of BAMBOO. 

8 The Sound of GouRD. 

These 8 substances then and in the order named 
constitute the Scale of Nature, and as they exist in 
Nature are the gamut of the Universal Harmony. So 
that while other nations hang Harmony in the sky, the 
Chinese riddle the earth with it.^ 

Nature then having so contrived, Man has treated 
these substances for his own use, and has fashioned 

























1 Pere Amiot's Memoiresconcernant I'histoire &c., des Chinois. VI: 29. sq. 

2 For the mystical account of it see Pere Amyot. loc. cit. 

' the chinese. ' 287 

The Sound of Skin 
Has eight varieties, and there therefore are, 8 different 
kinds of Drums, which vary in minute points of construction, 
as in having a longer or a fuller barrel, or in general bulk, 
or even in the method of beating,^ for the 8th variety 
has two different names, according as it is struck by the 
right hand or the left.^ But this 8th variety has 
another peculiarity ; for while the others give the sound 
of SKIN alone, it qualifies the sound of SKIN with the 
sound of RICE — which is a subordinate sound of 
Nature, and does not come into the universal gamut. 
And this is how the Sound of Rice is given. The 
barrel of the drum is filled with the husk ■ of Rice, 
which has been beaten from the grain in a mortar ; 
and being filled full of this, it gives the sound of the 
Rice when it is beaten, as well as the sound of Skin. 3 
In these kind of drums, also, the skin of the drum- 
head must not only be tanned, but it must be boiled 
for a long time in pure water. 4 The sound of this 
drum is therefore marvellously sweet and mellow. 

The Sound of Stone 
Is extolled by Chinese theorists as one of the most 
beautiful of all the sounds. It is said to give a sound 
midway between the Sound of Metal and the Sound of 

I TheTsoukou; theYukou; theHiuenkou; theKinkou; the Toakou (large); 
the Takoou (small) ; the Yakou ; and the Pofou. To show the miuute points of 
difference— the Tsoukas has the pedestal which supports the drum (for most 
of these are supported on pedestals) right through the barrel; the Yukou the 
same, only the pedestal is buried in the earth, whence we may conjecture 
harder beating for this drum ; the Hiuenkou has two little drums sus- 
pended, one on each side of the barrel ; the Kinkou is the Hiuenkou orn- 
amented ; the Yukou is in the shape of a barrel, the Pofou in the shape of a 
cylinder. Amiot. 36. sq, 2, 

2 When it is struck by the right hand, and with the motion from right to 
left, it is called Po, and is called Fou, when it is struck by the left hand, and 
with the motion from left to right. lb. 38. 

3 Amiot. VI. 38. 4 lb. 


Wood, ' and it is less tart and rasping than the Sound of 
Metal, and much brighter than the sound of Wood — more 
brilliant and sweet than either.' ^ To make the stone 
instruments, of which there are two varieties, the Tse- 
King and the Pien-King, both being comprised under 
the general name, King, the stone is sliced into thin 
plates, about the size and something of the shape of a 
carpenter's square. ^ The term " Cymbals " is misleading? 
for the stones are not clashed together, but struck like 
drums with a mallet. But in default of a better term 
it will be well to keep Cymbals, since the Bells also 
present a similar discrepancy with ours, for the Bells 
also are not rung with a clapper inside, but are struck 
on the outside like the drums and cymbals with a 
mallet. The Cymbals are of various sizes according 
to the note they give, for they give musical, melodic 
notes, and are arranged i6 together on a frame and 
played as we should play a dulcimer. 3 When one of 
them goes out of tune, it can be flattened by taking a 
thin slice off the back, or sharpened by cutting a piece 
off the end. 4 The best stones for the King are those 
which are picked up off the ground near the banks of 
the river See.^ In the year 2200 B. C. we read that 
the Emperor Yu assessed the various provinces in so 
many stones each, which were to be taken in part 

I Amiot. VI. 40. 2 See the illustration in La Borde, Essai 

sur la Musique. I. 

3 This number has been i6 it seems from the most ancient times. It 
seems according to tradition, that the art of making kings was lost till in 
the rei^n of Tcheng-ty 32 B.C. an ancient king made of 16 stones was 
found at the bottom of a pond. This and another which was found 247 A.D., 
also of 16 stones, served as a model for the modern kings . I always think 
it is characteristic of the high esteem in which Music is held in China, 
that the first act of a usurping monarch is to destroy aU the musical in- 
struments in use under the preceding dynasty, for by so doing he imagines 
he most effectually destroys the traditions of the dynasty. 

4 Smith's Wonders of Science and Art. Vol. VI. p. 82. 5 AiTuot. VI. 40, 


payment of their regular tribute.^ These stones were 
destined for the palace instruments. But since then it 
has been pretty generally agreed that the best stones, 
as I say, are those that are picked up near the banks 
of the See, for being exposed to the sun and to peculiar 
variations of the atmosphere which occur there, they 
acquire an extreme hardness and give a ' clearer, purer, 
and smarter ' sound than any others, " excelling " (in 
the language of Chinese hyperbole) " all other stones 
that are either in the bosom of the earth, or in the 
depths of the sea, or in conglomerate, or in detached 
pieces, or even those that are quarried from strata in 
the solid rock." 

The Sound of Metal. 
Has 3 varieties, and consequently there are 3 kinds 
of Bells manufactured to produce it — the Po-tchoung, 
the Te-tchoung, and the Pien-tchoung.^ Of these, the 
Po-tchoung is the largest, and gives the richest tone ; 
and the Pien-tchoung the smallest, and gives the 
most piercing, The Tetchoung comes midway between 
the two. The small bells, however, are of more im- 
portance in Chinese Music than the large ones, for 
while the large ones, i. e. the Po-tchoung and the 
Te-tchoung, are only used to strike the first note in 
a piece, or to accent strong rhythms, or to take an 
occasional part in the performance, the small bells 
are arranged in sets, and are played solo.3 These 
sets of Bells may be called Bell Organs, as the sets 
of Cymbals or Stones Stone Organs, and they are 
arranged in precisely the same way. That is to say, 
there are 16 Bells in all, hung by hooks to two 
cross beams on a frame, 8 on the top cross beam. 

I lb. 2 Amiot, VI. 43 .sq. 3 Amiot, VI. 43, sq 



and 8 on the bottom one, each Bell giving one of 
the notes of the musical scale, just like the Stones, 
and graduated in the same manner, the size gradually 
diminishing, bell after bell and stone after stone, from 
the biggest one, which gives the lowest tone, to the 
smallest, which gives the highest.^ Once on a time 
it was possible to play the whole musical scale on one 
single bell, for the ancient bells were cast with knobs 
embossed on them, each knob giving a note of the 
gamut. But this plan was abandoned in favour of 
the Bell Organs.^ 

The Sound of Baked Earth. 
The Sound of Baked Earth was first extracted by 
striking a flat piece of baked earth against some hard 
substance. But the sound thus produced was very 
harsh and unmelodious. The next attempt to extract 
it was by infringing on the domain of the Drum, and 
the sound of baked earth was got by stretching a 
piece of tanned skin over a vase of baked earth. 
Then vases of baked earth were made in the shape 
of drums, and struck with drumsticks.3 But these and 
similar experiments proved unsatisfactory, and since 
it was found impossible to get the sound of baked 
earth from an instrument of percussion, it was de- 
cided to attempt it from an instrument of wind. A 
certain quantity of earth was therefore taken, the 
finest that could be got. It was made still finer by 
washing it in several waters, and then worked 
into the consistency of liquid mud. Two eggs 

1 See the illustrations in Amiot and La Borde. 

2 Thomson's China. IV. The Bell reputed to be the most ancient in the 
Chinese Empire is of this shape. 

3 Amiot. Memoires concernant I'histoire &c. VI. 49. sq. 


one of a goose, the other of a hen, served as 
the models, and the Hquid mud was thrown over 
these and allowed to set. And then the egg on the 
inside was broken and picked out, and an exact 
mould of the egg remained.^ The opening made at 
the end for the purpose of extracting the egg was 
next enlarged to serve as a mouthpiece, and 5 
holes were pierced in the bowl, 3 on the front, 
and 2 on the back ; and 5 Musical Notes were 
now able to be produced, each giving the desired 
sound of Baked Earth.^ 

The Sound of Silk 

Has two leading varieties, and seven minor varieties. 
The sound of Silk was produced by twisting silken 
threads into cords and twanging them with the 
fingers.3 Little by little it began to be noticed that 
the sound of silk gave definite musical notes, and 
the cords were then pegged down on a flat board, 
and the number of threads in each cord counted, so 
.as to preserve the note unaltered for the future. 
The board was gradually curved to bring the strings 
nearer together, and the number of strings was limi- 
ted to 7, which just gave the gamut. Of the 
instrument thus formed, which is called the Kin, there 
are 3 varities and it is one of the most esteemed in China. 
But the other instrument which gives the Sound of Silk, 

1 I have here differed from Father Amiot. I seem to imagine that the eggs 
served merely as blocks. He ^ives an abstruser explanation. 

2 Amiot. loc. cit. 

3 The account here given is agreeable to the Chinese tradition. It is said 
also expressly, that silk was applied to Music before it was to Manufactures. 
(Amiot. VI. 62.). 

History of music. 292 

for I have mentioned that there were two leading varieties 
of the Sound of Silk, irrespective of the minor varieties — 
this instrument, I say, which is called the Che, 
used to have 50 strings, but they were afterwards 
decreased to 25, and this is the number of strings 
employed at the present day. Each string has its 
own separate bridge, so that there are 25 bridges. 
In this instrument the Sound of Silk attains its greatest 
perfection ; ' its sound far excels that of any European 
clayichord,' says Amiot.^ Nevertheless the seven-stringed 
Kin is more esteemed in China, probably in deference 
to its antiquity, for it is much the older instrument 
of the two.2 

The Sound of Wood. 
The instruments which give the Sound of Wood are 
the strangest of all. For these are those strange instru- 
ments I spoke of some time ago. And one is in the 
shape of a bushel, another in the shape of writing 
tablets, and the third is in the shape of a tiger. Their 
names are the Tchou, the Tchoung-tou, and the 
Tiger is called theOu.^ The Tchou then is in the shape 
of a bushel or square box. On the inside of this 

1 Amiot. VI. 60. 

2 As we may otherwise see from the cloud of mysticism and tradition that 
smTOunds it. Like the Bell, the Kin is brought into connection with univer- 
sal nature. Fou-hi in the legend rounded the Kin at the top to represent the 
heaven ; he smoothed the bottom part of it to represent the earth. He assigned 
8 inches to represent the 8 points of the compass, and 4 inches to represent the 
4 seasons of the year. He gave it 5 chords to represent the 5 elements and the 5 
planets, &c., &c. This last statement shows us that the Kin was not always 
7 stringed as we have it now ; indeed at present there is a five stringed Kin, so 
I have heard. The Che has 4 varieties, the Kin 3. The Che is barren of 
mysticism, with the exception of its 25 bridges being coloured in sets of S, each 
set with one of the primary colours, to which, I imagine, the Che is in 
some sense supposed to give musical expression. 

2 Amiot VI. p. 61. 


there is a hammer fastened, that is to say, the handle 
is fastened to the roof, and the hammer hangs Hke the 
tongue of a bell or the pendulum of a clock, inside the 
bushel. There is an aperture in one of the sides, big 
enough for your hand to pass through, and you put 
your hand through this and swing the hammer 
against the sides. ^ This instrument is placed at the 
North-East of the band, and played at the com- 
mencement of the music. The Tchoung-tou consists of 
twelve oblong pieces of wood, like writing tablets, and 
indeed these were the actual writing tablets of the 
Chinese before paper was invented, and the instru- 
ment, which is of great antiquity, may be supposed to 
have dated from those early times. Even yet they are 
all written over with ancient characters, and the instru- 
ment itself is said to have been invented in order to 
preserve the memory of ancient writing. These 12 
pieces of wood, then, are strung on a strap, and you play 
them by beating them gently against the palm of your 
hand. 2 'Castanets' is perhaps the best word we have in 
English to render them by, for they answer in some 
degree to our castanets, or rather to the castanets of 
the ancients, with which they have much more in 
common than with ours. 3 But what word have we to 
express the last 'instrument of the three, the Ou, or 
Tiger? This extraordinary instrument is an exact 
representation of "a squatting tiger. "'^ It is made of wood 
painted to resemble a tiger's hide, and is of the 
size of life. It has 27 teeth on its back, that stick 

1 Amiot. loc. cit. 

2 Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art, VI. 83. 

3 Ad cubitum raucos excutiens calamos. Yet these were long castanets 
shaken together. 

4 Smith's Wonders of Nature and Art. ' 


up just like the teeth of a saw, and the way to play it 
is to scrape its back gently with a rod. In ancient 
times the manufacture of the wooden teeth was 
carried to such perfection that melodious tones could 
be extracted from them. But this art, it would 
appear, has been lost, and since then the barbarism 
has been introduced of striking the tiger on the 
head,i and it is questionable if this custom has yet 
been abandoned. But the legitimate way to play it 
is to scrape its back with a rod. The Tiger is placed 
at the North-East of the band, and played at the 
conclusion of the music. These are the instruments 
which give the Sound of Wood.* 

The Sound of Gourd. 
The Sound of Gourd went through somewhat 
similar experiences to the sound of Baked Earth, for 
there were many unsuccessful attempts to extract it 
before a satisfactory result was attained. For first 
they tried this plan ; they cut off a gourd from the 
stem, and pierced it with a hole for an embouchure 
at the part where it had been attached to the stem, 
and then pierced different parts of the rind for stops. 
But the sound it gave was very dull and rough.^ 

1 Amyot. VI. 62. 

2 The mystical side of Chinese Music is a subject that has never been 
opened at any length, and yet all Chinese treatises are full of it. These 
strange instruments of wood would give a very good starting point. It is said 
that the Tchou was invented to show by means of music the advantages which 
men procure for one another by being united in society ; the Tchoungtou to 
preserve the memory of the ancient writing ; and the Ou or Tiger to symbolise 
the empire which man has over all the animal creation. This is the Chinese 
explanation, yet if we look a little closer we shall find a more extensive 
mysticism. For take the Ou or Tiger — the Tiger is one of the deities of the 
Chinese, the patron of gamblers and midwives ; tigers' heads are used as 
amulets, and they are one of the magical charms used by the priests. An en- 
quiry into many of the other instruments would reveal similar curious facts, 
and leave us on the threshold of an interesting research which those who 
have the opportunity might well pursue, 3 Amiot, VI, 63. sq. 


And seeing that gourd of itself failed to yield a 
better sound to various experiments, they resolved to 
trench on the Sound of Wood and the Sound of Bamboo, 
to aid the Sound of Gourd, just as in the Sound of 
Baked Earth, they brought the Sound of Skin to bear 
on the Baked Earth. So they cut away all the top 
part of the gourd, and fitted a wooden lid on it, 
which was then pierced with holes, in each of which 
a Bamboo was set. A mouthpiece of wood is then 
inserted into the gourd, and the gourd serves as a 
wind chest supplying the various pipes of bamboo 
with wind, which produce their sound by means of 
the vibration of a little tongue of metal, which is 
fitted by means of beeswax in the lower end of 
each pipe.i Thus there is another alloy to the Sound 
of Gourd in this little metal tongue, and the Sound 
of Gourd in its modern perfection should strictly be 
regarded as a composite sound, giving a mixture of 
the Sound of Gourd, the Sound of Metal, the 
Sound of Wood, and the Sonnd of Bamboo. 
The Sound of Bamboo. 
Bamboo is by nature the most musical of all 
substances, for the hollow tubing between one knot 
and the other, the distance between each knot, and 
the proportions of the distances, the hardness of the 
cane &c., all seem to invite man to blow into it,^ and 
the instruments made of bamboo were by consequence 
the earliest that were invented, and served as pitch- 
pipes for tuning the other instruments, and especially 
those of Silk. The Instruments of Bamboo are Pan 
Pipes and various kinds of flutes — there is nothing to 
distinguish them from our own instruments of a 

1 There is a minute description of this instrument in the notes to Helm- 
holtz's Tonempfindgungen. p. 712, 

2 Amyot. VI. 63. sq. 


similar kind, except that some of the flutes have the 
embouchure in the middle instead of at the end.^ 

But the instruments of Bamboo attain a technical 
importance above the instruments of all the other 7 
substances, for not only does the Bamboo Pan Pipe 
regulate the tuning of the other instruments ; but the 
succession of sounds which it gives are taken as the 
foundation of the Chinese scale. 

It was in the reign of Hoang-ty, runs the legend, 
that the famous musician, Lyng-lun, was commissioned 
to order and arrange Chinese Music, and bring it 
from being a confused array of sounds into a regular 
system. Without knowing how to proceed with his task, 
Lyng-lun wandered, deep in thought, to the land of Si-joung, 
where the bamboos grow. And having taken one of 
them, he cut it off between two of the knots, and 
having pushed out the pith blew into the hollow, and 
the bamboo gave out a most beautiful sound. Now 
it happened that ^this sound was in unison with the sound 
of his voice when he spoke, and he noticed this. And it 
happened at the same moment that the river Hoang-ho, 
which ran boiling along a few paces off, roared with 
its waves, and the sound of the river Hoang-ho was 
also in unison with the sound of his own voice and 
the sound of the bamboo. " Behold, then," cried 
Lyng-lun, " the fundamental sound of nature ! This 
must be the tone from which all others are derived." 
And while he was musing on this, the magic bird, 
Foung-hoang, accompanied by its mate, came and 
perched on a tree near, and began to sing. And the 
first note it sang was also in unison with the sound 
of the river Hoang-ho, and with the voice of Lyng-lun 

I Amiot. loc. cit. 


and with the sound of the bamboo. Then all 
the winds were hushed, and all the birds in the world 
ceased singing, that they might listen to the song of 
the magic bird, Foung-hoang, and its mate. And as 
they sang, Lyng-lun, the musician, kept cutting bamboos 
and tuning them to the notes of these magical 
birds, six, that is to say, to the notes of the male, 
and six to the notes of the female, for they each 
sang six notes apiece ; and when they had done 
singing, Lyng-lun had twelve bamboos cut and tuned, 
which he bound together and took to the king. 

And the bamboos, gave the following sounds when they 
were blown mto : — 

12345678 9 10 11 12 


1^ — r— ^ g: 

^^^ ^i^J-<^^ ^ ii' '^ r—T- T r ^ ^= ti 

and the odd notes, that is to say. 

were the 6 notes that were given by the male bird, 
and the even notes 

were those that were given by the female. And the 
odd ones were pronounced to be Perfect and Male 
notes, and were called yang, and the even ones were 
Imperfect and Female, and were called Yn.^ And each 
Pipe received a name, and the F pipe was called 

I Amiot. Meraoires &c. VI. 95. 




the F§ 


the G 



the GS 


the A 


the aS 


the B 


the C 


the C§ 


the D 


the Di 


the E 


These were the 12 "Lu's, " and by these names they 
are known at the present day. 

In order to ensure the precise sounds being pre- 
served in all future time, Lyng-lun measured the 
length and capacity of the pipes, and he took millet 
seed to measure them with, and he found that the 
largest pipe, Hoang-ty, (F), was the length of 100 
millet seed placed end to end, and that its capacity 
was 1200 millet seed, for this was the number of 
seeds it contained in its hollow tube. And the other 
pipes ^ere of length and capacity proportionate to this.^ 

Since the time of Lyng-lun, various new measurings 
have been proposed" and some adopted, but no definite 
improvement was effected till the time of Tsai-yu, 
who invented the Musical Foot, which is now the 
standard measure for the F Pipe, and the accuracy 
of which may be tested in the same way, for though 
it is an oblong block, like any ordinary measure, but 
thicker, for it is square-sided, it nevertheless is hollow 
in the inside like a pipe, and holds exactly 1200 
millet seed, and, in addition to this, gives the sound 

I Amiot. VI. 90, 


of F when you blow into it.^ 

This then is the scale of the Chinese 

and this is how it originated according to the Chinese 

Now it is not a little singular that the typical 
representative of the Pipe Races should derive the 
origin of its Scale, we might almost say of its Music, 
from the Pipe, and at the same time we may well 
admire the justness of the legend in assigning an in- 
strumental origin to such a scale as this. For I have 
had occasion to remark that the Chromatic Scale is 
the creation of Instruments, and the Diatonic of the 
Voice ; and if there is any obscurity in the generation 
of these two scales as I have described them before, 
such obscurity may be remOved by observing the 
state of things in China ;3 for there Instrumental 
Music and Vocal Music have always kept immeasurably 
asunder, and we have the strange spectacle of two 
distinct Scales existing from time immemorial, the 
one used by Instruments, the other by the Voice, and 
they never cross, except when the Voice is accompanied 
by Instruments, and then, and only then, the Instruments 

1 It is in tact the Chinese Foot Measure, for according to the principles 
of Chinese Geometry the F Pipe is the origin of all measures. Amiot. VI. 

2 These areknownas the 12 "Lus," and they repeat in the 8ve above and 

the 8ve below, making 3 8ves in all. The lowest F Pipe pj| 

is 20 inches, the middle one, which is the one we are here considering, lO, 
and the highest 5, 

3 Chinese Music must ever hold the first place in the studies of the musical 
antiquarian. He must begin with it and end with it. Fortunately one of the 
most elaborate treatises ever written on any Music is in existence on the music 
of China that is— divinum opus Alcimedontis — the divine work of Father 



play in the Vocal Scale, but the Voice on no 
occasion makes use of the Instrumental Scale. The 
Instrumental, as we have said, is the Chromatic ; and 
the Vocal Scale, the Diatonic, that is the same scale 
divested of the Chromatic Intervals. This then is the 
Vocal Scale : — 

1st Mode. 

.. ,fa=j-J ± r=r: 


2nd Mode 





And the 2nd ^is reputed the|^older of the two. And 
the Instrumental Scale we have already given. 

And that there is no question of identity of origin, 
by which one scale might be considered the parent 
of the other, the Diatonic of the Chromatic or vzce 
versa — but that there is no question of this we may 
know, for in this Vocal Scale the notes are called by 
entirely different names — no longer by names which 
are, that is to say, at the same time names of Pipes, 
but by names which have a mystical import into which 
it is not my intention here to enter — being known no 
longer as the 12 Lu's or the 7 I.u's, but as the 5 
Tones and the 2 Piens, that is, the 5 Tones and 
the 2 Embryo Tones, which are the Semitones. 
Here follow the 2 modes of the 5 Tones and the 
2 Piens, with the Chinese names above them : — 

Koung Chang Kio Pien-tche Tche Yu Pien-koun^ 

1st Mode. 


2ud Mode. 

Pien-tche Tche Yu Pien-koung Koung Chang Kio 



And the 2nd is reputed the older of the two.' 

This Diatonic Scale, however, as I have written it 


here, is but the Scale of Theory. For in practice the 
2 Piens are almost invariably omitted — I say almost, 
for having examined many pieces of Chinese Music, 
I have found one where the 2 Piens are employed. 
The Chinese, therefore, though acquainted with the 
Agglutinative and Inflectional Octave, do not make use 
of it, but even in their acquaintance with it they show 
in advance of other Monosyllabic peoples, who do not 
appear to possess even a theoretical knowledge of it 
Now in this inability to supplement knowledge by 
execution, this outrunning of the practical faculties by 
the speculative, we see a touch of the real Chinese 
character. The people who were acquainted with gun- 
powder but never invented a gun, who knew of the 
polarity of the magnetic needle and yet never thought of 
employing it as a compass — have also from unknown 
antiquity been acquainted with the 4th and 7th tones, 
whose insertion among the others procures the complete 
octave, and yet have never carried out the results of 
their knowledge into Practical Music, but have suffered 
all their songs to be written in the old Isolating Scale 
of 5 notes, so that for all practical purposes we may 
set down the Chinese Vocal Scale as the following : — 

Koung Chang Kio Tcho Yu 1 




in which all their Vocal Music is written. 

I will now give some specimens of Chinese Vocal 

I Rousseau writes the Chinese — {/- — — — 1 1 

[Scale :— ^ 1 ~""~"1 ^ ^ ^ — ' 

which is naerely Amiot's transposed \}"~^'- 2^ 


This is a hymn in honour of ancestors : — 


^ Trh lentement. 

^ - - 

— -^ — 


— ?^ — 



VMr ■ c 


See hoang sien Tsou Yo ling yu Tien 

y r^ 

/T *-^ 





^— J 


^— *' 


Yuen yen tsing licou Yeou kao tay hiuen 

^— ^- 




Hiuen eun cheou ming Tchoui yuen ki 






Ming yu che tsoung 

ouan see mien 

2nd Yerse. 







Toui yue tche tsing Yen jan jou cheng 



















\ '^ 




Jou kien 



Jou ouen ki cheng 








Ngai eulh king tche Fa hou tchoung tsinj, 

8rd Verse. 



1 1 





























f' J* 

<^ 1 








fang koue 




"— -^ 



V (^ 

,^ — , 



^— ^ 










ouang ki 



(S' — 










Yu tsin san hien 


sin yue 

Here is a popular Chinese Melody : — 




rJ rJ 



P= J ^ =f= 



- g^ ^ 

^ ^ 


-f=2 — (=: 






g^ g J 

^ J *^ ^ I ^J rJ V^ 

3^ I I I I I I I I I I I I \ 'm M \ \ n ^=^ 


- r^ cj 

rJ < - J 


-c^— g=^: 


Another : — 


r— r 

r? fi f- 

-g - -: 




r> ^ T '- 

r> -^=r 



^ — (=2_i:^ 




I I 

:g ^ J 


<rJ ^ 








- W-^ 



d • ^ 




Three Chinese Songs from Barrow and Du Halde : — 







a^ -^-'"- i^-^-i- 

• V -.-J. * *'^- Jr* ^~^" "^^ 


fe4- — I — r"^. n 







; . J J ^ — J ^ ' 

< < .VJ-J-^ v^ 


1— P- 


^ M A — I 1— — H 







■^ > 




^i r>~^~i ^' 






n r-B r 

-^ 1 n 1 ■! 1 ^ 1 ^ 


- ^—S—^- 






' M 



* < J^ 








r> i '*«* 

^r l J^.j^jgj ^^ 

This last is very bizzare — I mean in its intervals — for 
in other respects it keeps up the features which distinguish 
them all— that is to say, plastic rhythm, (which I have 
endeavoured to bring out as far as possible by marking 
the phrases), and symmetrical balance of clauses. A 
tendency to introduce an imperceptible refrain may be 
noticed in all these pieces, as in the first one— the 



which is exactly 




repeated in the 2nd verse, and also in the transposed 

__22 ^ _ 


refrains are — 








. In the second piece the 


In the third: 



^ and ^^^^^ 

which appear transposed as 


—^ — ^— *-|— g^ 

and _i:|=id-^; 

Another remarkable feature is the tendency to repetition — 
many phrases being repeated twice over — the second, 
varied — as, 













?~ fr^ ~ ^ 

"^ ^ 


or perhaps we should more correctly describe each of 
these groups of two as one phrase only, and say that 
each phrase consists of two equal parts, the second being 
a variation on the first. This peculiarity may well be 
explained by considering it as the direct musical reflection 
of Chinese Versification, which insists on a Csesura in 
the middle of each line, so that the Musical Phrase 
is cut in half, as the Poetical one is. The Refrain, 
also, is a favourite form in Chinese Poetry, and this 


we find in the Music. And another tendency of the 

Poetry — to keep up a jingle of rhymes inside the 

rhyming words at the end of each verse, as for 

Shang pin che jin : piih keaoit shen hov/, 
Chung pin che jin : keaou wok how shen, 
Hea pin che jin : keaou woh puh shen. 

also finds expression in the Music, for analysing that 
Hymn to the Ancestors, we shall find there is a 

perpetual jingle on — ^ ^ ■ - ^ ^ 

r^ ^^ r^ 


cf. rj 




and also . ^ g; ^ , rz , and other artifices 

of construction will also appear, e.g. that the ist bar 
of one verse is the last bar of the next verse, &c. 

But if this toying and trifling with sound shows 
itself in their Vocal Music, much more does it come 
out in their Instrumental Music, which is the very 
excess of licentious joy in mere tone — a bout of 
tones, — a carnival of sound ; with no laws to regulate 
it, no forms to restrain or fetter the fancy of the 
player. One of the most celebrated pieces of Chinese 
Instrumental Music is that known as the 84 Modulations, 
which was a show piece as early as 640 A. D. when 
the musicians, Tsou-siao-sun and Tchang-ouen-cheou, 
performed it on the Stone Organ to the Emperor 
Tay-tsoung. Here are The 84 MODULATIONS, as 
played by Tsou-siao-sun and Tchang-ouen-cheou ; — 











J-^J ^J J J ^^ J ^^ ^~ F^^^ 

^ I r 






¥ J r 


: g=igzzg ^ 




^ I <^ 



r r r 







j — I * ^ ^ ft* h ^ r ^ ^=g f i# : 







-f f f %f \\f ^ — ^ 


I I 





:| ^ ^ 







b*. I tg- q£- 

-I ^ V i« I ^ 






This is one of the most celebrated pieces of Chinese 
Music, which is at the same time applauded by theorists 
as the best practical exposition of Chinese Musical 
Theory, since it shows the 12 "Lu"s in all their 
possible relations. To judge of the effect of such a 
piece as this, it is not sufficient to read the notes as 
they are written here ; we must imagine the rich, 
mellow tones of the Musical Stones, that are softer 
and sweeter than any gong or silver bell,^ and we 
must try and fancy these strange notes dealt out like 
a shower of feathers — great fluffs of sound falling 
on the ear, so beautiful that musical notes disappear 
in the sensuous swell. You are lapped in euphony. 

So when the Chinese listen themselves, it is hard 
to imagine that they bestow much attention on the actual 
notes that are struck or sounded ; as little perhaps as 
they do on the actual forms and figures of their Painting ; 
and so their Music is best described as a fanciful 
play with Sound, as their Painting is a play with 
colours. And if this is the attitude of their Musical 
Sense to their Music, we shall now have an explan- 
ation of why their Musical System should be taken up 
primarily with classifying qualities of Tone, and only 
secondarily with Musical Notes — in this, being so 
different from the systems of Western Nations, whose 
ear is not so open to the sensuous influence of Music, 
but much keener for its logic and its meaning. 

And when we think of the instruments themselves, 
it would seem as if they were not merely made to 
gratify the ear with their tones, but, as I have 

I " When I touch the sonorous stones of my King," says Kouei, the Orpheus 
of China, " all the animals come flocking round me and dance with joy." 


mentioned before, in quite as great a measure to 
please the eye with their form and their colours — as 
if this nation of artists could not separate one sense 
from the other, and must always aim at satisfying 
both. For the Stones, for instance, of the Stone 
Organ, which is perhaps the typical instrument of 
China, are sorted in degrees of excellence, more out 
of regard for their colours than for their qualities of 
tone. They say indeed that certain timbres go with 
certain colours, and profess to recognise the flavour of 
a tone by the colour the stone has ; but this looks 
like an afterthought, and as if the stones were ranked 
in order of excellence, primarily, on account of their 
colours, for that certain colours would please the eye 
more than others. And this is the order the stones 
are ranked in. They say the best are 

2. Light blue. 

3. Sky blue. 

4. Indigo blue. 

5. Light yellow. 

6. Orange. 

7. Dark red. 

8. Pale green. 

9. Greenish white. 

10. Dark green. 

11. Ash grey. _ 

12. Chestnut.^ 

And best when the stone is all of one colour without 
ribs or streaks. 

Now these stones are worked into all sorts of pat- 
terns. There are 16 stones, as I said, hanging on a 

I Pere Amiot, VI. 289. The name of the best land of stone is Yu. Its du- 
rabihty and hardness is such, that it can be worked and polished like agate. 
The weight is something tremendous. A miot saw a small piece that he thought 
one man could lift easily. It took four men to move it from the ground. 


frame. And the commonest pattern is that of a Car- 
penter's Square. But I fancy these are the Whey-coloured 
stones that are worked in this pattern, for the pattern 
seems to vary with the colour. The Chestnut stones, 
for instance, are carved in the shape of a heart ; the 
sky blue of a bell ; the light blue and dark yellow 
in the shape of shields ; the light yellow in the shape 
of a man's face ; the pale yellow of two fishes lying on 
a plate ; the indigo of a bat.^ So that we may well 
imagine that the eye as much as the ear is consulted 
in the making of these musical stones and arranging 
them in organs, or we may see at any rate what pains are 
taken to please the eye. The frame too on which they 
hang, these strange figures, bats, and fishes, and shields, 
&c., is sumptuously embellished — the corners of the 
frame are worked into the form of rams' heads, most 
delicately carved; 5 birds stand on the top of the 
frame, holding tassels in their mouth, which droop 
down in a shower half way down the frame : immedi- 
ately above the Stones, between them and the birds, 
is generally a fresco with 2 dragons painted on it 
The two beams of the frame rest on the backs of two 
griffins, while streamers of gaudy-coloured tassels hang 
from the snouts of the two rams' heads at the top of 
the frame, all the way to the ground. 

The Bell Organs are constructed with equal pomp 
of ornament ; — 16 bells, as I have said, hanging on a 
frame, just like the stones, and adorned with profusions 
of carvings and ribbons — this is the Bell Organ. But 
the Drums almost surpass them all, for the great drum 
is reared on a tall thin pedestal, and dominates like 
a monster the band. And this pedestal is surrounded 
at the bottom with 4 crouching griffins. A canopy of 

2 See the illustrations in Amiot. 


cloth of gold, richly embroidered, hangs above the drum, 
with animals' heads and fancy devices, and this canopy 
terminates in a knob at the top, which is surmounted 
with a bunch of artificial flowers. 4 goats' heads look 
down from the sides of the canopy, having strings of 
tassels hanging to their snouts, and these tassels reach 
almost to the ground. The barrel of the great drum 
is embossed with dogs' and griffins' heads, and these 
have chains of tassels hanging by a ring from their mouths.^ 

When all these instruments play together in a full 
band, they have certain pt)sitions assigned them by 
immemorial usage ; as, some are stationed at the N.E. 
of the band, others at the N.W. ; some are placed outside 
the concert room, others are in, — all these things being 
prescribed by immemorial usage. 

I will now score the Hymn to the Ancestors for 
a full Chinese Orchestra : — 


\ For the above, see the gorgeous illustrations in Amiot and La Borde. 

8". ver«e(»u»cc»,) 

End of 2^.<irers. 















ZI- iZI \m'. 


















The characteristics of Chinese Music repeat themselves 
in the Music of the Indo-Chinese and other civilised 
Mongoloids of the Old World, and we may say generally, 
that the music we have been listening to just now is 
the music of the whole of South-Eastern and Eastern S^v^v-l^ 
Asia ; of the Burmese, (the Siamese, the Tonquinese,\ the -^^ ^ ;? t,^?' 
Anamese, the Japanese, the Javans. Thus the Siamese, 
who of all the Mongoloid nations most resemble the 
Chinese — a full Siamese band consists of : — 


Small Drum. 


Large Drum. 


Kettle Drum. 


Small Kettle Drum. 


Bell Organ. 


Single Bells. 




Large Cymbals. 




30 Pairs of Long Castanets. 


Pairs of Short Castanets. 


Bass Viol. 












Small Trumpet. 


Drum Organ. 


Javanese Drums. 


Muffled Drum. 


Small Gong.« 

I Captain Low on Siamese Literature, in Asiatic Researches. XX. Pt. I. 


This is the full Siamese Orchestra. And the Burmese 
is not much different, for it consists of ' 

Large Drums. 

Small Drums. 



Great Drum 



Pan Pipes. 



Drum Organ. 

Cymbal Organ. 

Gong Organ.i 
And since the Burmese are remarkable for their Drum, 
Gong, and Cymbal Organs, I will describe one or two 
of these instruments. The Burmese Drum Organ con- 
sists of 21 drums of various sizes, from very big to 
very little, hung round inside a great hoop, and the 
tones of these Drums ascend by a series of semitones 
(as far as drums can), of which however it was only 
possible for the uncultivated Western ear of the writer 
of this book to detect more than half a dozen or so 
in a Burmese drum organ he was examining ; and 
beginning from the lowest these were 

J jA <j ^^ i|g 

-|-— l -^^-ft= ^ : 


— he could distinguish no more. 

And the Gong Organ he saw consisted of 15 Gongs 
hung round inside a great hoop, just like the Drums 

I Captain Low's History of Tenasserim. 


and the tones of these Gongs ascended by an irregular 
series of tones and semitones thus : — 

The player stands in the inside of the hoop round which the 
gongs or drums are hung, and strikes them with a stick. 
As these instruments are much used in processions, it 
will be necessary to state how they are played then. 
The hoop with its drums attached to it is carried 
by two men, one at the front and the other at the 
back, like chairmen carrying a sedan chair, but without 
the poles, and the player shuffles along in the inside 
of the hoop as best he can, playing as he goes. 
This must be very difficult to do, for he has to turn 
round and round to strike his drums, and still keep 
moving along inside his hoop at the rate of the proces- 
sion : but they have a method of striking them behind 
their back, to which they are trained on the stage, and 
perhaps in this way it may be done.^ 

The Drum Organs and the Gong Organs are chiefly 
used in full bands, and the small bands of Burmah 
have this remarkable difference from the large ones, 
that they are composed of nothing but instruments of 
percussion. Thus we read of small bands of " gongs, 
drums, and cymbals ; "^ " drums and cymbals ; "3 " one 
cymbal player and two drummers,"4 and so on. But 

1 Playing under these circumstances cannot be so difficiilt to the Burmese 
drum-players as at first sight it may seem to be ; for they are accustomed to 
exhibit feats of dexterity on the stage, the point of which consists in playing a 
drum in all sorts of impossible positions, as behind the back, over and under 
the^shoulders, under the legs, &c. For a full account of this, see Clement 
Williams' Through Burmah to Siam, p. 134. 

2 CI. Williams, Through Burmah to Siam, p. 134. 

3 lb. 118. 4 lb. 117. 


before leaving the Burmese, it will be well to men- 
tion a very strange instrument they have, which is 
not to be found anywhere else in the world; and 
this is an instrument in the shape of a Crocodile. 
There is only one other instrument that bears any 
analogy to it, and that is the Chinese Tiger.^ But 
the Crocodile differs from the Tiger in bt;ing not a 
simple vibrating instrument, but a regular stringed 
instrument. And it consists of a piece of wood, carved 
in the shape of a crocodile, with its belly hollow, 
and on its back are stretched three brass strings.^ It 
is played like the Chinese Che, but most probably the 
strings are stopped, though this is more than I can 
say for certain. 

The Tonquinese are but humbler reflections of the 
nations we have just been considering. The Tonquinese 
bands are of much the same composition as the 
Burmese or Siamese, only on a smaller scale, for they 
are composed of 



Copper Basins. 



The Anamese or Cochin Chinese, in a similar way, 
and on a similar contracted scale.''- The Javans again 
have a superabundance of instruments, and though 
they are rather out of the line I have studied to keep, 
for they owe a great deal of their civilisation to Aryan 

1 In addition to these two Animal instruments, the Serpent 'Vvill suggest 
itself as a modem and Western representative. 

2 Symes' Embassy to Ava, 508. In Pinkertou, IX. 

3 Tavemiere in Pinkerton. IX. 672. 4 TaverniSre in Finkerton. IX. 


influences, yet it will be well to make a slight mention 
of them here. They have flutes, fifes, pipes, hautboys, and 
trumpets, 4 ft. long ; harps and lutes, drums and 
gongs,! and the gongs have a knob, in the centre 
which is covered with elastic gum and struck with a 
mallet.2 Now the Javan Gong Organs are very strange 
for the gongs themselves are like the pots you get 
pate de foie gras in, and they are stuck in frames 
like the rods of an iron bedstead, one in each hole. 
And the Javans have Dulcimers, which are bars of 
wood, or sometimes of metal, placed over a wooden 
trough or boat, and struck with a little hammer.^ But 
one of the most singular of their instruments- is that 
called the Anklung, which is plainly the Chinese Mouth- 
Organ, or Cheng, under a very unbecoming disguise. 
For the Cheng, as we have noticed, was a collection of 
bamboo pipes of various lengths fitted in a gourd box 
which were blown by means of a mouthpiece inser- 
ted in the box. Now the Javan Anklung is precisely 
the same, except that there is no mouthpiece, and 
the pipes are not blown at all, — the sum total of the 
music consisting in rattling the pipes about.^ The 
fate which has thus attended the Cheng, which is 
degraded from a complicated Wind Instrument into a 
simple instrument of the Rattle Species, may give us 
a hint how instruments suffer, like other things, from 
changes of climate, and how easy it is, as a rule, 
to detect the imported from the indigenous. 

The Japanese Orchestras though they have the 
accident to be considered here last, are yet well up in 

I Crawfurd's Indian Archipelago, I. 334. 
a lb. 335. 3 lb. 

4 Crawfurd's Indian Archipelago, 1. 333. 


the list, and stand second to the Chinese alone. 
A full Japanese Orchestra consists of 







Musical Stones. 




Trumpets. ^ 

If I were asked to hit off the difference between 
Japanese and Chinese Music, I should say that the 
Japanese was wanting in that barbaric pomp which 
marshals instruments like troops, that there was much 
more sentiment about it than there is about the Chinese, 
and the fact that solo-playing seems to be preferred 
to orchestras ^ would also point in the same direction. 
In one word, it is more Spiritual.^ And to give it this 
character would be quite in keeping with what we 
know of these two peoples otherwise — the Japanese 
artistic sense being far inferior to that of the Chinese ; 
the Chinese temples rioting in imagery and gorgeous 
carving,^ great gilt idols, and symbolical decorations, 
the Japanese destitute of any idol whatsoever, and for 
decorations being simply hung with small strips of 

1 Aime Humbert, Le Japon iHustre. 

2 Wassili Golownin's Recollections of Japan, 140. 

3 St. Francis Xavier has said somewhere of the Japanese, " I know not 
when to have done speaking of them ; for they are the joy of my heart." 

4 As the Temple of the Queen of Heaven, for instance, at Ninp-po, 


white paper all round the walls, and a looking-glass 
suspended near the door.^ And the make of their 
musical instruments certainly tells the same tale, for 
they are all of a much coarser make than the Chinese. 
If you were to place a Japanese lute by the side of 
a Chinese one, and compare the two, you would say 
that the Japanese had been made by some schoolboy, 
who tried his hand at carpentering in the holidays. 
It is not well to draw out a contrast which has been 
often drawn before in this book in relation to other 
peoples than these. But here, perhaps, may be the 
place to remark, that inside the broad circle of nations 
and races, whom I have entitled the Pipe Races, the 
fundamental antithesis of human character makes itself felt, 
as it does elsewhere, though not of course with any- 
thing like the impressiveness among the individual 
members of this group that it does between the 
members of this group and the members of the other, 
I mean the Lyre Races. So that if we wished to make 
a subdivision of these nations we have just been 
considering, we should place the Chinese and Siamese 
on one side, and the Japanese and Burmese on the 
other ; and taking in the Mongoloid Nation of 
the New World, we should find that the Ancient 
Peruvians went in the first class, and the Mexicans 
would go with the Japanese and Burmese in the second. 
But since it is my business, in the meantime, not to 
endeavour to establish differences, but rather to find 
points of agreement by which these peoples may be 
shown in contrast to those Aryan, Semitic, and Hamitic 
Races, to whom they are so entirely opposed on all 

S Kempfer's History of Japan, 


general grounds despite a few individual analogies that 
might be struck here and there — I shall refrain from 
making any subdivisions, and still continue to treat 
them on the broad lines I have hitherto done. 

Now one of the singularities which knots them so 
determinedly together, and is sufficient of itself to make 
a group of them if nothing else were there to aid 
it, is the Scale of 5 Notes being common to them 
all, and to them alone of all Civilised Nations on 
the earth — for with other nations it may occur in the 
infancy of culture, but subsequently be got the better 
of, just as a stage of Monosyllabism has doubtless 
/occurred in all languages, and is got rid of very 
early by most peoples ; but with these Pipe Races 
the 5 Note Scale has never been got rid of, but has 
stuck to them to the present moment, appearing 
among the Chinese, (very strongly), the Siamese, (very 
strongly), the Burmese,(slightly), the Japanese, (moderately), 
the Peruvians and the Mexicans — at the time of the 
conquest — and if we still add these Javans to the 
group, it appears in a very pronounced degree among 

Now what is the reason that these nations con- 
tinue to use the old scale of 5 notes, which has long 
since been abandoned by the civilised world ? If we 
explain it by quoting their Monosyllabism, and finding 
in the use- of this 5 note scale the same inaptitude 
to compound which we find in that very Monosyllabism, 
saying that they can as little agglutinate the Great 
Scale and the Little Scale together as they can 
manufacture out of two of their roots a two-syllabled 
word — I say, if we explain it in this way, we may 
content ourselves with calling the 5 Note Scale the 
Monosyllabic of Music, and we will then throw the onus 
on philologists to explain why such a thing as 


Monosyllabism exists. Bnt then, though this may be par- 
tially true, it is not wholly so. For although the Chinese 
and the Indo-Chinese are monosyllabic, the Japanese 
are polysyllabic, and the Javans and the uncivilised 
Malays are so eminently polysyllabic that they have 
polysyllabic roots, and the Mexicans and Peruvians 
were polysynthetic. So that Monosyllabism, though It 
may suggest much, and doubtless has much to do with 
the use of the 5 Note Scale, cannot be accepted as in 
any way a complete solution of the matter. Shall we 
say this then, that the races of Eastern and South- 
Eastern Asia are gifted with a natural character 
of naive simplicity, a spirit of primitive conservatism, 
which makes them shrink frem the wrenches of pro- 
gress, and that they prefer to utilise and re-utilise 
again and again the old, rather than face the flighti- 
ness and failures of the new. And so instead of 
developing the infinite possibilities of the String, or 
even of the Pipe, probing restlessly into the mys- 
teries of keys and inventing dulcimers, spinnets, harp- 
sichords, or what not, they cling to the earliest form 
of Musical Instrument, and make artful Organs out of 
Drums ; and in the same way they have adhered to 
the oldest form of the Musical Scale, and are contented 
with the patterns which their 5 notes make, rather 
than break with the traditions of their musical kaleidoscope 
for the sake of a new colour or two. Now their 
Monosyllabism would then appear as an expression of 
the same phase of mind. And we might go on to 
speak of the Ancestor Worship of China, and the 
Buddhist Relic worship &c., in illustration of the same idea 
I will now give some examples of the Music of 
these peoples. 








■( d ^ - ^ . jj '-9 -^ ^—^ 










H H — :J — 

* . d ^ 

J J ^ 






^===^-T=;r'-^ ^1^- f^-:^=^^^ 




f* 1 S 

^ J J^ . ^ 








I Captain Low's History of Tennasserim. Journal of Royal Asiatic Society 
IV. SI. sq. 2 lb. 





r-^ r ^ 










i — ^- 

d <^ '' 


S S *- aH-^ 











H 1— »- 



ri r^ r 




1^— a^-a^ - 







r f f» 

m-^ J ^ ' \^ 


-^ — h 

1— t^ 




- ^ — ^ — a< - -f^-a^ 

tf» ^ 




1 — t^b 

-p — ^ 







-01— j^ 



-» p-^ 

■ I ^«* L 



-<» — ^- 

-^ — ^ 

: r~iar 


= =2:± 


I Engel's Ancient Nations, p. 139. 

I Crawfurd' History of the Indian Archipelago, 1, p. 340. pi. ii. 


It is strange what a strong family resemblance this 
use of the 5 Note Scale gives to all these airs ; but 
though there may be a ring of uncouthness, or shall 
we rather say quaintness ? about them, it would be 
wrong to set them down as any the less musical on 
that account. It is only our prejudiced ears, inured 
to one particular scale from childhood, that refuse to 
give a fair hearing to the strains, as our eyes have 
until lately denied all merit to that wonderful luxury 
of colour and design, which we call Chinese and Jap- 
anese painting. For if ever nations were musical, they 
are these whom I have called the Pipe Races. In the 
delicate melody of their Poetry, which is studded with 
metres of unknown intricacy ^ — in the suavity of their 
languages, which, if the Chinese is a type of the rest, 
are all vowels — no rasping letters to interrupt the 
harmonious flow — and are delivered by song rather 
than speech, for a study of the Chinese accents reveals 
the fact, that varieties of tone rather than varieties of 
words are the means used to secure varieties of meaning ; 
for the Sheng, which is what the intonation of Chinese 
Speech is called, is so paramount in its influence, that 
you may alter the letters of your word, the syllables — 
you may add an extra syllable even — so long as you 
do not disturb the musical inflection, but if you alter 
the Sheng in the slightest, you are unintelligible to a 

I e.g. take the Javan metrical system as an example. How strictly are 
syllables kept in the lines ! How intricate are many of the stanzas ! e.g. the 
Durmo stanza, which is as difficult as our Spenserian stanza, which it some- 
what resembles ; for in the 7 lines, which it consists of, there are only two 
rhymes allowed, 4 lines going to one rhyme, the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th, and the 
remaining three to the other. I .could give other examples of such intricate 
versification in the Javan metrical system, 


Chinese.! What singing and melody of diphthongs and 
triphthongs, and all the words beginning with a soft 
letter ! And the Siamese, also, employ this method so 
much, that there is no telling their song from their 
Speech.2 The Lord of the White Elephant holds parley 
with foreign ambassadors by means of singing,^ and 
in Burmah even the Prose of common conversation is 
measured, and the last word of each sentence is length- 
ened by a musical cadence.'* Yes, and as the great 
world spins round, we pass from the crowded, bustling 
cities of Europe as they come galloping by us, roaring 
with trade and bustle and hurry, over the steppes of 
Russia as the world swings round, and the Salt Desert 
of Persia forges ahead, and the swamps of Tartary, 
swinging round to meet the Sun, and we come at last 
to those strange lands where the men use fans, and 
people are walking about in red dresses with green 
sashes, and then what abundance of music may we hear ! 

I Thus according to Meadows (Desultory Notes on the Chinese, p. 66.) 
the word ling for instance may be pronouuced 


— ^- 

ling lin ning nlng nln 

and this is in the 3rd Sheng of the Pekin Dialect— and yet despite all these chan- 
ges of consonants will be always understood as ling. But the word ling 

itself without any change, taken to the 4th Sheng. ir^lT^^z: is totally 

uninteUigible, at least in the meaning of 'ling,' to a Chinese ear. 

It is much to be regretted that the only professed work on the Sheng i.e. 
that of the missionary, Dyer, is not obtainable in Enghsh Libraries. 

2 Turpin's History of Siam. 579. 

3 "From the origin of their monarchy" says Turpin loc. cit. "the 
audiences that the PCing grants to ambassadors are carried on in singing." 

4 Symes' Embassy to Ava. 510, 


Ten Drums in every city of China beating together the 
hours of the day ; ^ large choir trumpets in every city, 
coloured with Chinese ink, which are the charters of 
cities, and are blown, 5 at each of the 4 gates of 
every city, at certain hours of day and night eternally, 
and can be heard a mile off ; = and the bells ringing 
behind the mandarins' chairs, which are rung by strings 
that reach three miles into the country, that the country 
people may thus give notice of their grievances ; ^ or 
the perpetual gong-beating in the Japanese pagodas, 
for each separate worshipper as he enters the temple 
strikes a sacred gong, to give the god notice of his 

All these sounds may we listen to as they rise on 
the air, or to that Great Bell of Pekin tolling, which 
is one of five and weighs 118,000 Ibs,^ or to the Great 
Drum, 36 feet in circumference, which stands in a 
Tower all by itself, and is used to mark the hours. 
And as we travel southwards, the roar of Drums and 
Gongs gets fainter, and we hear in the distance the 
songs of the Siamese boatmen floating on the breeze, 6 
and the Tonquin singing-guilds rehearsing their anthems 
for the village festivals,^ or listen to the workmen of 

1 Renaudot's Translation of an Arabic M.S., of the gtii century, of two 
Mahometan Travellers who went to China and India, p. 20. 

2 lb. 3 Renaudot's Translation of the Arabic MS. p. 25. 

4 Wassili Golownin's Recollections of Japan, p, 59. 

5 It is covered all over with inscriptions. A priest told Doolittle (Social 
Life of the Chinese. II. 450.) that 87 sections of the Religious Books of his 
order were inscribed on it. 

6 The Siamese principally travel by water, in wherries, called b a lions, 
made out of only one single tree. .The boatmen have a measured song as they 
row, and sing with ease and grace." Turpin's History of Siam. 580. 

7 "The Tonquinese have singing guilds, and singing houses, "erected at the 
expense of 3 or 4 villages who club together" &c., Sec. Taverniere in Pinkerton 
IX. 672. 


Burmah playing musical instruments as they come 
home from work in the evening twilight,^ when the 
drums are just beginning to beat in the bagnios of 

Now could we have but crossed over to Peru before 
its conquest by the Spaniards, we might have heard those 
songs, forgotten now, which the reapers used to sing 
in the maize fields, as they were cutting the crops of 
Atahualpa ; and whether they were reaping or binding 
up the sheaves, all the motions of their bodies were 
in time to the measure of their songs.3 Here was a 
beautiful sight ! These reapers' songs were renouned 
all over Peru for their beauty. Except a few of the 
very best love songs, there was nothing that could come up 
to the reapers' songs ; and in another way too they 
were remarkable, for Peruvian music consisted almost 
entirely of love songs : except a few songs about the 
warlike deeds of the past, which were sung at festivals 
and these reapers' songs, there was nothing else but love 
songs.4 And fortunately we can form a very fair idea 
of the ancient Peruvian singing, and could almost 
undertake to reconstruct the lost Peruvian melodies ; for 
we have some very curious information about them. 
We are told that no such thing as unequal time was 
ever heard in Peru ; that all the notes in a song 
were all of exactly the same length ; 5 we know what 
the favourite metre of the poetry was ; and we know 

1 Symes' Embassy to Ava, p. 508, 

2 " The Japanese bagnios, many of them, do not yield in magnificence to 
the palaces of Emperors. A drum beats in the bagnios whenever each new 
visitor enters. I cannot remember a single night passing without our hearing 
the drum." Gollownin's Recollections of Japan, p. 23. 

3 Garcilasso de La Vega. Commentarios Reales, II. 26. 

4 Garcilasso de la Vega, Commentarios Reales. II. 26. 

5 No supieron echar glosas con puntos diminuidos ; todos eran enteros de 
un compas. lb. * 


what the scale was, that it was the same 5 note scale 
which we talked about in China. ^^ So that putting these 
hints together, it would be no hard matter to reproduce 
much of the Ancient Peruvian music — for that piece of 
information about all the notes being of the same length* 
is particularly valuable, indeed it is this which renders 
the attempt possible. 

Here is an example of the metre which the Peruvians 
were so fond of, that nearly all their songs were 
written in it : — 

Caylla Llapi Victa cantu 

Puiiunqui which may be translated Dormies 

Chaupituta syUable for syUable, Multa nocte 

Samusac^ Veniam. 

This gives the meaning and at the same time the precise 
swing of the Peruvian ; and it will be plain what 
a wonderfully rhythmical metre it is. The Chinese 
have a metre very much like it 

— \j — 

— \j — 

— \j — 


— w — 

And the oldest metre in China is an exact counter- 
part to another Peruvian metre, which was perhaps the 
second commonest one in use ; for they both are 

— \j — \j 

1 Engel's Music of Most Ancient Nations. 

2 Garcilasso. Commentarios Reales. II. 396. Like the Spanish roundelays. 

3 Davis in Transactions of Royal Asiatic Society, 11. 396. The Chinese, 
however, make a difference in counting their lines— 2 of these are counted one 
line ; in Peru it was not so. 


— \j — w 

The Burman metres also are not unlike these, for 
in Burmese poetry we get such forms as 

— W — \J 

— KJ — \J 

— Kj 

_ \j 


— W — 

— W — 

_ W _ W 

— W — 

And the Siamese 

metres in the same way 

_ w _ 

— W — 

— Kj — 

— \j — 


— \j — \j 

— \J — w 

— KJ — W 


All nations with a strong feeling for Rhythm and 
Melody will develop such metres as these. 

What a contrast do these neatly chiselled distichs 
present to the great swelling torrents, which do duty for 
metres among the Lyre Races ! 

The Peruvians were not great singers and these are 
just the kind of metres, to have had an instrumental 
origin. "In my time," says Garcilasso, "the people of 

1 Davis' in Trans, of Royal Asiatic Society, II. 396. 

2 Low, in Journal of Asiatic Society, IV. 50. 3 lb. 


Peru never sang at all, but they used to play their 
songs on the Flute instead, which came to much the 
same thing, for the words of the songs being well known 
and no two songs having the same tune, the melody of 
the flute immediately suggested the words to the 
mind." ^ It would be possible perhaps to argue from 
these and similar hints for a purely instrumental origin 
for the Peruvian metres, and what was true of the 
Peruvian metres would doubtless be generally true of 
those other metres which we have already compared 
them with. But passing by this question, let us remember 
rather the first thing that Garcilasso says in this little 
extract I have quoted, that in his time the people of 
Peru never sang at all ; and he adds that they had very 
bad voices into the bargain, which he ascribes rightly or 
wrongly to this disuse of the art of singing. Flute- 
playing it appears had put singing quite out of court in 
Peru, and while it had always been in high favour there, 
just before the conquest it amounted to a positive 

There could be no better commentary on the national 
character than this perpetual flute playing, which is 
always a terrible sign of effeminacy, and that the Home 
of the Flute should surrender without a blow to Pi- 
zarro is only what might have been expected. Now 
passing by the lovers' serenades, the love language of 
the Flute, the stories of how the flute could enchant 
women, I say. passing by the love and the soft doings 
which associate themselves so intimately with the 
Peruvian flute playing, I will here confine myself to 
a merely technical account of it, because I have spoken 
about those other things before. And the flutes which 

I Garcilasso de la Vega. Commentarios Reales. II. 26. 


the gallants played upon had 4 or 5 stops, and were 
often wrapped in embroidered needlework. ^ The reason 
the stops were so few was this, that only songs were 
played on the flute, and 5 stops, which gave the 
complete Vocal Scale, were therefore sufficient. In the 
same way many of their Pan Pipes only sounded the 
5 note scale, so that probably the Pan Pipes were 
also used to play the melodies of songs on. But 
most of the Pan Pipes however were tuned to a 
fanciful Instrumental Scale : — 

-I I I I ^ I J ^ jt # r 

^ "J ; : |^' ^zzg^ 

and these would no doubt toy with sweet sound, and 
play music not unlike the Instrumental Music of the 
Chinese. And they were such skilful players on the 
Pan Pipe and delighted in the instrument so much, 
that they used to form bands of Pan Pipes alone. 
And these bands were composed of 4 players, each 
with a different set of pipes, — one player had a set 
of Bass Pipes, another of Tenor, the third of Alto 
Pipes, and the fourth of Treble. And the Bass player 
would begin, and the Tenor player would answer him 
and the Alto would answer the Tenor, and the Treble 
the Alto. And so the Melody would soar up from the 
very lowest note right up to the highest, and they would 
fling it about from one to the other ; ^ and all in 
excellent time, for they were well trained.4 These bands 
used to play in the front of the palaces. 

I Garcilasso de la Vega. Commentarios Reales. II, 26. 
2 Engel's Musical Instruments. Some were in 8ves, but these only in the 
Vocal Scale. 3 Garcilasso, II. 26. 

4 Ensenados para dar Musica al Rey y a los Seiiores de VasaUos, 


The idyllic Music of Peru is a great contrast to the 
Music of Mexico where barbaric pomp, and joy in the 
roar of sound re-appear again. Copper gongs/ copper 
rattles,^ conch-shells,^ trumpets,4 drums,^ cymbals,^ bells,7 
bell-rattles,8 rattle organs9 — these were the instruments 
the Ancient Mexicans delighted in. If the Music of 
Peru was founded on the Flute, the Music of Mexico 
was founded on the Drum. And the Mexicans developed 
the Drum in a manner which was quite peculiar to 
themselves. It was an instrument of melody with them, 
as it is with the Chinese and the rest of the Pipe 
nations, but instead of resorting to the somewhat 
clumsy contrivance of combining a lot of separate 
drums to produce the melody, the Mexicans had 
discovered how to produce different melodic notes 
from the same drum. And this they did by the use 
of vibrating tongues. In the top of the drum, which 
was an oblong, trough-shaped ^block of hollowed wood* 
in the flat top of this, I say, they cut two long slits 
one at each side reaching nearly the whole length of 
the drum, and then cut a cross slit from one to the 
other, like a slit in a money box. This gave them 
two tongues of wood, and they had only to slice them 

I Ixtlilxochitl, Historia Chichimeca, in Aglio. IX. 2 lb. 

3 ' Caracoles marinos.' Sahagun, Historia de las Casas de Nueva Espaiia. 114. 

4 Bemal Diaz, folio 71. 4. 'bocinas y trompetillas,' 'trumpets large and 
small,' 5 Sahagun, 115. 

6 Gondra, Esplicacion de las laminas &c. p. 108. 

7 Sahagun, 158. Gondra says they had no bells, but he must be referring to 
the metal they were made of, for though these instruments were made of wood, 
they certainly had the true bell shape, since son hechas como cabezas de ador- 
mideras grandes, ' they were like big poppy heads.' 

8 lb. It is nevertheless odd that the Mexicans should have the regular Bell 
shape and yet never think of making them of metal,when the metal they employ- 
ed for every purpose was the regular beU metal,being an alloy of copper and tin. 

9 Sahagun. 113. 


to tune them to what note they pleased. Sometimes 
they would make two sets of these on the same drum, 
by cutting only half the top at a time.i so that they 
could have two tongues on the left half of the top, 
and two on the right, with a little space of plain 
wood between each set. But this was not common — 
two tongues on every drum was the common thing and 
these tongues were tuned 

^or <l^J i ^ or W3=^ 

Some of them also: — (^ ^J t^ ^ 

these tongued drums were called teponaztlis and had a 
very deep tone. When they were played with other 
instruments, they served ^as the double bass,3 so that 
perhaps it would be more correct to write : — 


q= 5^^=p=l: 


-^^ — 3--^- 

But they were also played solo ; for teponaztlis of 
various pitches might be so arranged as to play a 
consecutive melody between them, much as the Peruvian 
pipe players did with their Pan pipes. But the melody 
at the best must have been very indistinct — more like 
rumbling thunder than musical melody ; although this 

1 e. g. in the teponaztli figured in Gondra. fig. i. pi. p. I06. 

2 Nebel's Voyage Pittoresque et archeologique dans la partie la plus inter- 
essante du Mexique. 

3 Gondra. Esplicacion de las laminas &e. p. 103. All the teponaztlis I 
have played on have been C. G. To play a teponaztli properly you should have 
2 drumsticks, one for each tongue. 

4 Icazbalceta's Mendieta, p. 141, 


would be quite in the Mexican taste, for they were 
passionately fond of everything bass. So enamoured 
were they of bass voices, for instance, that " they would 
keep bass singers singing their bass songs for days 
together." '^ And the kind of bass they liked best was 
the deepest of deep bass — the basso profundo.^ For the 
tenor voice they did not care at all. I think this ought 
to show us how totally different was the Mexican ear 
to what ours is, and a love of bass may perhaps be the 
real account of the preference for the Drum Form over 
every other style of Musical Instrument among those 
peoples we have called the Pipe Races. And contrasting 
these Pipe Races with ourselves, we may say that one of 
the main causes of the eternal differences between our 
musics is that they prefer bass and we prefer treble. 

Now the Great Drum of the Mexicans was called 
Veuetl, and it could be tuned to any pitch by tightening 
or loosening the drum head.3 The reason of this was 
that it might play in concert with the teponaztli. The 
copper gongs were struck with copper drumsticks,^ but 
the drums with drumsticks tipped with Indian rubber.^ 
And they had musical stones too like the Chinese, but 
they used them in a different way, for they clashed them 
together like cymbals ; ^ and they had not the variety 
either which the Chinese have, for the only musical stone 
to be found in Mexico is a kind of limestone which 
is a solitary species. And the copper rattles were made 
like small oil flasks, and the neck was the handle, and 
it was hollow ; and the rattle was filled with small 

I Mendieta. Historia Ecclesiastica Indiana. 140. 2 lb. 

3 Mendieta, 141. 4 IxtlilxocMtl. Historia Chichimeca. In Aglio. IX. 

5 Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific,II. 293. The Veuetl however was 
beaten by the hands. See Mendieta. Historia Ecclesiastica Indiana. 141. 

b Gondra. Esplicacion deks laminas perten^cientes a la histona antigua de 
Mexico, p. 108, 


stones.^ Sometimes these rattles were made of silver, 
and sometimes of pure gold.^ In their ignorance of any 
stringed instrument, the Mexicans were put to it to 
devise perpetual variety in those simpler instruments they 
had, not only in their form but in their quality of tone. 
So in their rattles, having tried the sound of pebbles 
rattled against copper, against silver, against gold, or of 
terra cotta pellets rattling against terra cotta, for they had 
terra cotta rattles too, they went on to try the sound of 
wood rattling against wood, or perhaps these wooden rattles 
may have been the oldest of all, and the terra cotta and 
copper rattles the subsequent ones. But at any rate they 
made those strange things which I have called Rattle 
Organs, and of which the music consisted in little pieces 
of wood rattling against one another. Of these Rattle 
Organs there were 2 kinds, the Small Rattle Organ, and the 
Great Rattle Organ ; the first was called Aiochicaoaliztli 
or Nacatlgzioavitl,^ and the second was called Ayanhchi- 
caoaztli.^ And to describe the second, of which the first 
was only adiminutive copy, it consisted of a board 12 feet 
long and a span broad, (the first was only 6 feet long), on 
which were fastened, at certain intervals, round pieces of 
wood something of the shape of drumsticks, and when 
the board was moved these pieces of wood rattled against 
one another. ■^ These Rattle Organs were principally 
used in processions,6 and the players carried them on 
their shoulder. 

I lb. 105. 2 lb. 3 Sahagun. Nueva Espaiia. 115. 4 lb. 

5 A trechos iban unas sonajas en'esta tabla, unos pedazuelos de madero 
roUizos y atados a la misma tabla, y dentro di ella iban sonando los unos con 
Ids otros. 

6 As in the processions in honour of the God of Rain, which Sahagun 
describes, &c. 


This then was one of the shifts of the Mexicans to obtain 
variety in the simple instruments which were at their 
command. That is to say, I mean, variety of sound, for if I 
were to speak about the variety of external form which that 
artistic people gave their musical instruments, it would 
be hard to avoid digressing into the whole subject of 
Mexican Art. In Mexico as almost nowhere else the 
Arts were blent and combined into one united family 
with Carving for the Master Art which touched them 
all. Painting lent itself readily to the influence of 
Carving, and in its most popular form of Feather paint- 
ing, in which the artists worked with feathers instead of 
colours, it was not far removed from bas-relief And 
similarly Music offered a side where Sculpture could 
well creep in, and that was in the form of its instru- 
ments. Under the dominion of the master pirit the 
musical instruments became regular works of art. We 
have considered this wedding of Sculpture and Music 
in the case of China. But it comes out still more 
strikingly in Mexico. They made their whistles in the 
shape of birds,^ frogs,^ men's heads ; 3 their teponaztlis, 
even the ordinary ones, were covered with carvings ; ^ but 
the teponaztlis used in war, the war drums, as we should 
call them, were cut in the figure of a man crouching 
on his knees — his back was the drum — and he had 
eyes of bone, and beautifully braided hair, ear-rings, 
necklaces, and boat-shaped shoes on his feet, all carved 
in a mulberry coloured wood, and highly burnished.^ 
And while other nations have been content to make their 
tambourines of a round frame covered with a piece of 

I Engel's Musical Instruments. 2 lb. 

3 Waldeck's Palenque. pi. 56. 

4 Gondra. Esplicacion delas laminas &c. pp. 103. 4. 

5 See the beautiful illustration in Gondra. p. 106, 


skin, the Mexicans made theirs in the form of a snake 
biting a tortoise's head.^ The snake was coiled up in 
three coils on the tortoise's back, and the arch of its 
neck served as a handle ; and the belly of the tortoise 
served as the tambourine, being made of a flat slice of 
tortoiseshell (the rest of the tortoise was of wood), and 
struck by the right hand, while the instrument itself 
was held by the left.^ And here was a peculiar thing 
about these snake and tortoise tambourines — there were 
holes in the tortoise's back which served as stops, and 
were covered by the fingers.^ So delicate an ear had 
the Mexicans for all the shades of percussional sounds, 
that they could appreciate the variation caused by the 
stopping and unstopping of a hole in the body of a 
tambourir :, no bigger than the hole of an ordinary 
flute stop. And they had rattles made in the shape 
of a snake crushing a toad in its coils ; 4 and things 
very much like the Chinese egg-instruments, that were 
really flageolets with two mouthpieces, that could play 
a bass and a treble at the same time ; ^ and pipes and 
rattles combined, in the form of three human heads 
supporting a pedestal — the pedestal was the pipe, and 
the heads, which were filled with stones, were the 
rattles.6 Such are the elegant forms in which musical 
instruments go out among a nation of artists. Had 
the Mexicans known the string, into what trellised 
patterns, what radiating traceries of golden strings 
would they not have woven their materials ! But 
the string, which offers most scope for artistic treat- 
ment, has seldom had the benefit of it, for it has 

1 Gondra. fig. 2. pi. p. 103. 

2 Gondra. Esplicacion de las laminas &c. p. 107. 108. Gondra is not 
sure whether a drumstick or the hand was used to strike with. 

3 lb, 108, 4 lb. pi. p. 103. 5 lb, p, 104, 6 lb. pi. p. 103. 



ever remained in the hands of spiritual and practical 
peoples, and has been neglected or unknown among 
the artistic nations of the world. 

As a curious commentary on this blending and 
fusion of the Arts in Mexico, let us take those bodies 
which existed probably in all the cities of the Chich- 
imec empire,* and of which the chief one was at 
Tezcuco. They were called Councils of Music.^ And the 
one at Tezcuco may serve as a type of the rest. What 
then were its functions? It was concerned primarily 
with the regulation of Music, as its name imports. 
Poets sang their compositions before it, and received 
prizes according to their merits ; and it doubtless had 
much to do with determining what songs, out of the 
many that were written and rehearsed, should be sung 
at the monthly festivals. But it did not stop at poetry 
and music, for " all literary arts, oratory, and historical 
paintings were subject to its revision." ^ It also took 
care that no imperfect cameos, or intaglios, or goldsmith's 
work should be exhibited in the markets, and that 
no feather paintings except of the first order should 
be sold to the public.^ It acted as a general ^Esthetic 
Inquisition, and yet the name, Council of Music, 
was sufficient to denote its functions, because, as I 
understand it, the arts were so dovetailed into one 
another, that there was scarcely any possibility of paying 
attention to one without paying attention to all, 

A highly plastic and sensuous music we might expect 
to find as the background of all this, and such the 
Mexican music eminently was. In the Vocal Music, 
'metre and cadence were attended to so much, that 

1 Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific. II. 492. 

2 lb. 3 Bancroft II. 491. 4 lb), 


unmeaning syllables were constantly interspersed in the 
poetry for the sake of the music.'^ Perfect time — perfect 
unison,^ are the invariable eulogies that are passed on 
the Mexican Music, and it is quite in keeping with 
such a character that dancing was its constant attendant. 
The Mexicans were the greatest dancers of the world. 
The princes, and the nobles and the elders of the 
city, all joined in the public dances, along with the 
women and littie children. 5000 dancing at once — 
Mendieta gives us the picture^ — 5000 persons in two 
rings, 3000 or 4000 in the inner ring, and lOOO in 
the outer ring, and both these rings whirling round, 
but the outer one going at double the pace of the 
inner one, which was composed of the elders and 
others, and all in it moved with deliberation and 
dignity. And in the centre of all were the drums, 
teponaztlis and veuetls, piles of them, on mats. And 
they beat in time to the dance and the song, for the 
dancers were singing all the time. And the first song 
they sang was in a low voice, and they carried on 
their bass songs till the children of the nobles came 
running in, little things of seven and eight years, some 
only four or five. And the children danced with their 
fathers, and began to sing the song in a high treble. 
And then the women joined in, and the musicians 
blew trumpets and flutes, and whistled on bone whistles. 
And meanwhile the two rings were whirling round and 
round, never stopping or lagging for an instant. And 
such admirable time did they all keep, that there was 
never an incorrect motion nor a false step in the whole 

r Bancroft II. 294. cf. also 497, 2 lb. 293. 

3 Icazbalceta's Mendieta. p. 141. sq. The same dance is described with 
some variations in Sahagun. p. 140. 


assemblage, but their feet twinkled together as regularly 
and as symmetrically as the best dancers in Spain. ^ 
And what is more, not only their feet but their whole 
body, arms, and hands worked in perfect symmetry, for 
' when one put his right or left foot out, all did the 
same, and in the same time and measure. And when 
one lowered his left arm or raised his right, all did 
the same and in the same time.'^ So the musicians 
went on playing in the centre, with these two rings 
of dancers circling round them. And the dancers sang 
their song with good intonation, and neither the song, 
nor the dance, nor the drums were ever out. 

Now the dances of the salt-makers, who danced en- 
circled with chains of flowers, and how they wore 
garlands of sweet smelling herbs on their heads, and 
what measures the musicians^ played on instruments 
made of shell, and beat their drums in time 3 — all this 
would be tempting to describe ; but since 1 must speak 
of the festival which was held in honour of the God 
of Music, and this seems a fitting place to do so, I 
will now relate the details of it. He was the God 
of Music, and was called Tezcatlipoca. He had brought 
Music from heaven on a bridge of whales and turtles ; 
and he had twenty golden bells suspended round his 
ankles, which were a symbol of his power. And once 
a year the most beautiful youth in Mexico was chosen 
to be sacrificed to him ; and the- youth was chosen 
a whole year before, and during all that year he was 
dressed to represent the god, and was regarded as the 
incarnation of Tezcatlipoca. And he was dressed in a 

1 Toda esta multitud traelos pies tan concertados como unos muy diestros 
daniadores de Espana. Icazbalceta's Mendieta. p. 142. 

2 Cuando uno abaja el brazo izquierdo y levanta el derecho, lo mismo y al 
mismo tiempo hacen todos, y todo el corpo&c. Icazbalceta's Mendieta. p. 142. 

3 Sahagun. Nueva Espaiia. p. 124. sq. 


rich mantle, so closely embroidered that it looked like 
net, and he had epaulettes of white linen on his 
shoulders. And on his head he wore a helmet of 
sea-shells with white cocks' feathers for plumes, and a 
wreath of flowers twisted round the helmet. He wore 
strings of flowers round his breast, and golden bracelets 
on his arms near the shoulder, and bracelets of precious 
stones round the wrists. Golden ear-rings dangled from 
his ears, and on his ankles he wore the twenty golden 
bells of Tezcatlipoca, who had brought music from 
heaven on a bridge of whales and turtles. And he 
was taught the art of flute-playing by the priests/ and 
he used to go out into the streets and play the flute, 
and when the people heard him playing, they used 
to fall down before him and worship him. And so 
he passed his time in flute-playing and in all manner 
of delights, till a month before the sacrifice. And 
then his delights were much increased, for he had 
four of the most beautiful maidens in Mexico given 
him to wife, and his glory was increased. And when 
the morning of the day of sacrifice arrived, he was 
taken by water to the Pyramid Temple where he was 
to be sacrificed, and crowds lined the banks of the 
river to see him in the barge, sitting in the midst 
of his beautiful companions. And when the barge 
touched the shore, he was taken away from those 
companions of his for ever, and was delivered over to a band 
of priests, exchanging the company of beautiful women 
for men clothed in black mantles, with long hair 
matted with blood ; their ears also were mangled. 
And these conducted him to the steps of the pyramid, 

I Instniido en taner y en cantar. Sahagun. p. 55. cf. also the admirable 
account of the festival in Bancroft. Native Races of the Pacific. II. 31 7 . 


and he was hustled up in a crowd of priests, 
with drums beating and trumpets blowing. And he 
broke a flute on every step as he went up, to show 
that his love and his delights were over.^ And when 
he got to the top, he was sacrificed on an altar of 
jasper, and the signal that the sacrifice was completed 
was given to the multitudes below by the rolling of 
the great sacrificial drum. This was the drum that 
Bernal Diaz saw, and he says it was made of serpents' 
skins, and that the sound of it was so loud, that it 
could be heard eight miles away. ^ . • 

1 Se subia por las gradas, y en cada una de ellas hacia pedazos una flauta 
de las con que andaba taiiendo todo el ano. 

2 Bernal Diaz, folio. 71. 4. 


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