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UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OK GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
ITINERANT MUSICIANS. Perhaps there is- no amusement in which the Hindoos so much delight, as in music. It accompanies all their festivals, all their processions, whether solemn or gay, many of their religious ceremonies, and is almost every where daily resorted to as an evening recreation for the social circle. Live where you may in India, if it be within the Vicinity of a hamlet, or even of a single hut, you are perpetually stunned with the clash and clangor of cymbals, trumpets, drums, with numerous other instruments, as various in form as in power. The great charm of their blended harmonies to the ravished Indian, seems to be in proportion to the quantity, not to the quality, of sound. It is quite astonishing to see the extraordinary excitement often . produced, in the usually phlegmatic Hindoo, by the din of that harsh minstrelsy, which he is accustomed to think the perfection of melody. The effect is electrical. His eyes, which were before relaxed into a languid expression of half-consciousness, become suddenly kindled with a blaze of enthusiasm, and he joins the procession which the minstrels are enlivening by their discordant strains, with gestures of frantic delight.
Highly as the natives of Hindoostan think of the acquirements of Europeans, they consider that we fall infinitely short of themselves in musical skill; although nothing can well be conceived to be more painfully distracting, than the clamour which they raise when performing their indigenous strains. It must be admitted, however, that in spite of the extreme discordance of their popular music, it would be a mistake to suppose they have nothing more refined than what is usually heard at their feasts, processions, and village revels. We should have just as perfect an idea of musical science in England, from the fiddle, bagpipe, and drum, of those vulgar harmonists who frequent the pot-houses of St. Giles's or Petticoat lane, .as we can form of that of the Hindoos, from the wretched performances of their itinerant musicians. The fact is, that in all countries, they are the very worst of their class. Ward, in his View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos, mentions at least forty different kinds of musical instruments, peculiar to their community; and I have seen drawings of no less than thirty-six sorts, in which not more than half-a-dozen of those mentioned by Ward, are represented; so that the number, I should think. U all were enumerated, would not fall far short of a hundred. Not only are all these instruments formed upon scientific principles, but many of them are made with great intricacy of construction, and are capable of considerable nicety of adaptation, in the developement of choral effects. Most of these instruments may be used with advantage, in orchestral combinations, and from some of them, tones of extraordinary sweetness are occasionally produced, when touched by the band of a skilful performer.
It appears that the science of music was very early cultivated among the Hindoos, and carried to a high pitch of excellence. There are several old treatises in Sanscrit, upon this interesting subject, in which it is handled with a degree of intelligence, now rarely to be found among native professors; indeed, it seems to be the prevailing opinion among the learned natives, that the moderns are much behind their forefathers, in musical knowledge. This is not to be wondered at, in a people whom perpetual conquests have, for the last four centuries, reduced to a state of bitter dependency, and whose science and literature are, obviously, from this very cause
in a state of general decadence. Nevertheless, though "fallen from their high estate," tljeye are glorious remains among them, of the splendours of by-gone generations. They are devotedly attached to their national institutions, which are consecrated by the sanction of high antiquity, and epduared by those prejudices, which time and ignorance never fail to cherish. They have, as I have already said, the highest opinion of their national music, and I cannot better show the fervency of their faith in this particular, than by an extract from the third volume of the Asiatic Researches, on the musical modes of the Hindoos, by Sir William Jones. "I have been assured," he says, " by a credible eye-witness, that two wild antelopes used often to come from their woods, to the place where a more savage beast, Sira'juddaulah, entertained himself with concerts, and that they listened to the strains with an appearance of pleasure, till the monster, in whose soul there was no music, shot one of them to display his archery. Secondly, a learned native of this country told me, that he had frequently seen the most venemous and malignant snakes, leave their holes upon hearing tunes on a flute, which, as he supposed, gave them peculiar delight. And, thirdly, an intelligent Persian, who repeated his story again and again, and permitted me to write it down from his own lips, declared that he had more than once been present, when a celebrated lutanist, Mirza Mohammed, surnamed Bulbul, was playing to a large company, in a grove near Shiraz, when he distinctly saw the nightingales trying to vie with the musician, sometimes warbling on the trees, sometimes fluttering from branch to branch, as if they wished to approach the instrument, whence the melody proceeded, and at length dropping on the ground in a kind of ecstasy, from which they were soon raised, he assured me, by a change of the mode."
We should .do the Indians a gross injustice, if we imagined their music was only cultivated by the commoner order, who follow the rabble in a festival cavalcade or religious procession, and frequently accompany upon their instruments, songs the most disgustingly licentious, sung by the vilest characters. The best artists in Hindostan, are to be found among the rich and learned, who often study music as a science, and occasionally attain very considerable proficiency in it, Indeed, in some instances, they have manifested a knowledge of foreign music, which might shame many of our own professors.
There is a very ancient treatise on Indian music, by Soma, who was a "practical musician as well as a great scholar and elegant poetj for the whole book, without excepting the strains noted in letters, which fill the fifth and last chapters of it, consists of masterly couplets in the melodious metre called A'rya: the first, third and fourth chapters explain the doctrine of musical sounds, their division and succession, the variations of scales by temperament, and the enumeration of modes, on a system totally different from those which will presently be mentioned; and the second chapter contains a minute description of different vinas*, with rules for playing on themt
"I tried in vain," says the author just quoted, "to discover any difference in practice between the Indian scale and that of our own; but knowing ray ear to be very insufficiently exercised, I requested a German professor of music to accompany with his violin a Hindoo lutanist, who sang by note some popular airs on the loves of Krishna and Ra'dha: he assured
* The Hindoo lute. ,
t On the musical modes of the Hindoos see Asiatic Rtu*"'M' Vol. 111.
me that the scales were the same, and Mr. Shore* afterwards informed me, that when the voice of a native singer was in tune with his harpsichord, he found the Hindoo series of seven notes transcend like ours, by a sharp third."
From these extracts it will appear, that the Hindoos, at an early period, cultivated music as a science, and that they were moreover deeply cognizant in the theory of sounds. This music, if we examine its modes, appears to have the same origin as that of the Greeks, and also that of the Arabs, under the Caliphs, although but few fragments of the two latter remain. There is, however, one peculiarity in the music of the Hindoos: every melody is in correct measure, and may be barred like an ordinary European air. The Arabs, on the contrary, had no fixed measure, the length and brevity of their notes being, like the modern recitative, subordinate to the performer's taste. The lyric music of the Greeks was measured by the prosody of the poetry to which it was adapted. The only thing possessed by modern Europeans, which bears any resemblance to the music of the ancients, is the Gregorian canto fermo, modelled upon what was supposed to exist among the Romans, before the decline of art. In this chant the same variety of modes exists as in the music of antiquity, and the same names have been applied to each. Modern writers usually mistake these modes for different keys, though they all belong to one key, being composed, to speak intelligibly to a modern musician, of the different scales of the diatonic heptachord.
These same modes exist in the Hindoo music, and therefore, many of them will not carry a regular modal harmony, such as distinguishes all modern European music, which contains only two modes. Thus the Hindoos, like the Greeks and Arabs, sing only in unisons, though in the native concerts I have sometimes distinguished a third or a fifth struck upon the final note. But this is mere instinct: the human ear naturally conceives these harmonic intervals, and this is so true, that I have heard bands of Mozambique Negroes, whose music is strictly that of nature, sing in three parts, and their ear led them instinctively to the common chord, and the chord of the dominant seventh. The Hindoos pretend to musical science, and are therefore disposed to reject that which nature teaches them; the consequence is, that where they light unconsciously upon and sound a harmonic interval with its fundamental note, it breaks the monotony of their unisons, which they consider a blemish.
Subjoined is a Hindoo song of extreme antiquity, to which a musical friend of mine has added a simple piano-forte accompaniment, for the purpose of showing, that wild and singular as it must appear to the European musician, it will, nevertheless, bear regular harmonies, although such combinations of sound have always been unknown to the Hindoos.
The practice of music is universal. There appears to be no nation upon the face of the earth to whom it is not familiar. It may be considered to be almost coeval with the creation; for man, soon perceiving that his voice was susceptible of most expressive modulations, of producing an innumerable variety of tones, and of modifying its inflexions in endless changes, would naturally employ the power with which his Creator had gifted him, in embodying that music which he felt himself to have the power of expressing. He perceived that there was, more or less, a vocal melody in every thing which God had created, capable of emitting voluntary sound. »
The late Lord Teignmouth.
The birds, those artless choristers of the grove, suggested nature as at once the most exquisite and transporting prototype of art, and man was led to imitate,—of course, at first, rudely and imperfectly,— what Divine Wisdom had pronounced to be very good. The Deity had stamped every thing with the signet of consummate harmony. The very roar of the tiger became the solemn stillness of the forest, as much as the plaintive notes of the nightingale the silence of the glen, or those of the thrush and blackbird that of the secluded copse.
We find that even among the most savage tribes, there generally prevails a keen relish for, and a ready aptitude in, producing an artificial combination of sounds, constituting a melody in which they delight; so that music is a universal, and, to a certain extent, may be denominated, an intuitive art.
We are to remember, in considering the musical qualifications of different countries, that our perceptions of the harmonious, as well as of the beautiful, depend upon circumstances. Our minds are moulded and our tastes nurtured by these circumstances. The man who had never beheld the sun but from a mighty eminence, or from valleys surrounded by gigantic shapes, where vast crags tremble above his head, precipices yawn beneath his feet, and the perpetual dash of the mountain-torrent chimes in his ear the clamorous music of his native hills,—such a man, surely, would entertain very different feelings of the sublime and beautiful, as Well of what was addressed to the ear as to the eye, from him who had passed his days among grassy meads and sunny plains, where the sweet song of birds, and the beautiful livery of fruitful fields, had impressed his heart with gentler melodies, and his eye with more subdued objects of delight. Our notions of external things are as various as the expression of our features. The African is said to paint the devil white, and to his ear that may be delightful harmony, which to ours is "horrid discord." The savage
. . Whose rough untutor'd mind,
may, perhaps, discover as fine a melody in those rude tones which shock our more refined perceptions, as we do in the ravishing strains of Mozart or Haydn. Our fastidious tastes have been taught to reject every thing musical, that has not been consecrated by the high creations of genius, or, at least, been submitted to the intricate rules of science; so that we may fail to discover in the rude strains of the mere musician of nature in savage life, agreeable unions of sound, which are evident to less sensitive ears.
It will, then, be manifest, if there be any truth in the premises I have advanced, that music may really exist where we do not perceive it, only because our habits have been familiarized, and our emotions wont to be excited by different modes of acoustic combinations. Let us not, therefore, affect to despise the music of Hindoostan, because we happen to think it inferior to our own, remembering, too, that even Europeans living in India, very seldom hear it in its perfection.
The pictorial illustration which heads this article, exhibits a band of itinerant musicians, such as arc commonly engaged by the natives, for the niggard remuneration of a few pice \. The picture represents rather an unusual thing, a mixture of Hindoo and Mohammedan performers. This distinction may be traced in their dress, as the former always fasttm their jumma, or tunic, on the left side, the latter on the right. It will, therefore, appear, that the figures in
t A small copper coin, in value about the third, of a penny.
frontare Hindoos, and the two behind Mohammedans. This union of interests among the votaries of Mohammed and of Brahma, can only take place where the prejudices of caste are despised, which is now not unfrequently the case amongst the lowest of the four civil divisions of the Hindoo population.
The group in the print are seated upon a coarse rug in an open verandah, exercising their musical skill for the amusement of the master of the house and his friends. The figure oh the left is 'the principal vocal performer; he beats time with the fingers of his right hand on the palm of the left, while he is accompanied by his three companions on their respective instruments. The figure upon the right plays upon a sort of trilateral guitar, an instrument certainly not common among Hindoo musicians', as it is not enumerated either by Ward, or by the author of the work to which I have before alluded. lie also
accompanies the instrument with his voice. Of the figures in the rear, one is playing on a sarinda, the common violin of Hindoostan, while the other performs upon two drums, one of which he strikes with the fingers of his left hand, and rubs the other with those of his right, as Europeans occasionally play the tambourine.
These vagrant musicians are generally any thing but adepts in their art. It must be confessed, that frequently, as Captain Li; Ard asserts in the britf descriptions which accompany his beautiful lithographic prints *, " nothing can equal the discord both of their vocal and instrumental music. If," he continues, "the noise made by this group when it was sketched, could be heard on viewing the drawing, the page would be closed for ever." I. II. C.
* Sketche$ in India, published by Dickenson, Old Bond-street, ico'i one of which the Engraving which precedes this article is copu-J.
hi - li - In la - van - ga la • ia pe-ri-ii'la-m
While Ma - la - yan gales From the clove wafts per - fume, Fresh from
ram - hi - la co ci - la cu ji - la cun - ja cu • It
the cuckoo's throat, And the bee, not in vain, Blends its soft
tii - ha - m - ti He - n - - r» - Aa fa - ra - sa va - tan • tc mi - If - alt yu - ra - h ja
He-ri to the dance's chime, With his maids the hours beguiles, In that enchanting time, When,
ON THE PERIODICAL CASTING OF THE SHELL OF THE LOBSTER.
The process by which the periodical casting and renewal of the shell of lobsters are effected, has been very satisfactorily investigated by Reaumur. The tendency in the body and in the limbs, to expand during growth, is restrained by the limited dimensions of the shell, which resists the efforts to enlarge its diameter. But this force of expansion goes on increasing, till at length it is productive of much uneasiness to the animal, which is, in consequence, prompted to make a violent effort to relieve itself; by this means it generally succeeds in bursting the shell; and then, by dint of repeated struggles, extricates its body and its limbs. The lobster first withdraws its claws, and then its feet, as if it were pulling them out of a pair of boots: the head next throws off its case, together with its antennae; and the two eyes are disengaged from their horny pedicles. In this operation, not only the complex apparatus of the jaws, but even the horny cuticle and teeth of the stomach, are all cast off along with the shell: and, last of all, the tail is extricated. But the whole process is not accomplished without longcontinued efforts. Sometimes the legs are lacerated or torn off, in the attempt to withdraw them from the shell; and in the younger cnistacea, the operation is not unfrequently fatal. Even when successfully accomplished, it leaves the animal in a most languid state: the limbs, being soft and pliant, are scarcely able to drag the body along. They are not, however, left altogether without defence.
For some time before the old shell was cast off, preparations had been making for forming a new one. The membrane which lined the shell had been acquiring greater density, and had already collected
a quantity of liquid materials proper for the consolidation of the new shell. These materials are mixed with a large proportion of colouring matter, of a bright scarlet hue, giving it the appearance of red blood, though it differs totally from blood in all its other properties. As soon as the shell is cast off, this membrane, by the pressure from within, is suddenly expanded, and by the rapid growth of the soft parts, soon acquires a much larger size than the former shell. Then the process of hardening the calcareous ingredient commences, and is rapidly completed; while an abundant supply of fresh matter is added, to increase the strength of the solid walls which are thus constructing for the support of the animal. Reaumur estimates that the lobster gains, during each change of its covering, an increase of one-fifth of its former dimensions. When the animal has attained its full size, no operation of this kind is required, and the same shell is permanently retained.
A provision appears to be made, in the interior of the animal, for the supply of the large quantity of calcarepus matter required for the construction of the shell at the proper time. A magazine of carbonate of lime is collected, previous to each change of shell, in the form of two round masses, one on each side of the stomach. In the crab these balls have received the absurd name of crabs' eyes; and during the formation of the shell they disappear.
It is well known that when an animal of this class has been deprived of one of its claws, that part is, in a short time, replaced by a new claw, which grows from the stump of the one which had been lost. It appears from the investigations of Reaumur, that this new growth takes place more readily at particular parts of the limb, and especially at the joints; and.