belief of the Tartars all illness is owing to the visitation of a
Tchutgour, or demon, but the expulsion of the demon is
first a matter of medicine. The Lama physician next pro-
ceeds, as Lama apothecary, to give the specific befitting the
case. The Tartar pharmacopoeia rejecting all mineral
chemistry, the Lama remedies consist entirely of vegetables
pulverized, and either infused in water or made up into pills.
If the Lama doctor happens not to have any medicine with
him he is by no means disconcerted ; he writes the names of
the remedies upon little scraps of paper, moistens the paper
with saliva, and rolls them into pills, which the patient
tosses down with the same perfect confidence as though
they were genuine medicaments." When the invalid is a
person of property, the Lamas make extraordinary prepara-
tions for expelling the Tchutgoitr, for which the invalid has
to give them dresses and other presents. The aunt of
<)S MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
Tokoura, chief of an encampment, visited by M. Hue, was
seized one evening with an intermittent fever. " I would
invite the attendance of the Lama doctor," said Tokoura,
" but if he finds that there is a very big Tchutgour present,
the expense will ruin me." He waited for some days ; but,
as the aunt grew worse and worse, he at last sent for a
Lama. " His anticipations," M. Hue relates, "were con-
firmed. The Lama pronounced that a demon of considerable
rank was present, and that no time must be lost in expelling
him. Eight other Lamas were forthwith called in, who at
once set about the construction, in dried herbs, of a great
puppet, which they entitled The Demon of Intermittent Fevers,
and which, when completed, they placed on its legs by
means of a stick in the patient's tent. The ceremony began
at eleven o'clock at night. The Lamas ranged themselves
in a semi-circle round the upper portion of the tent, with
cymbals, conch-trumpets, bells, tambourines, and other
instruments of the noisy Tartar music. The remainder of
the circle was completed by the members of the family
squatting on the ground close to one another, the patient
kneeling, or rather crouched on her knees, opposite the
* Demon of intermittent fevers.' The Lama doctor-in-chief
had before him a large copper basin filled with millet, and
some little images made of paste. The dung-fuel (argols)
threw, amid much smoke, a fantastic and quivering light
over the strange scene. * Upon a given signal, the clerical
orchestra executed an introductory piece harsh enough to
frighten Satan himself, the lay congregation beating time
with their hands to the charivari of clanging instruments
and ear-splitting voices. The diabolic concert over, the
Grand Lama opened the Book of Exorcisms, which he
rested on his knees. As he chanted one of the forms, he
took from the basin, from time to time, a handful of millet,
which he threw east, west, north and south, according to
the Rubric. The tones of his voice, as he prayed, were
sometimes mournful and suppressed, sometimes vehemently
' Dried dung, which constitutes the chief, and indeed in many
places the sole fuel in Tartary, is called argols.
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 99
loud and energetic. All of a sudden he would quit the
regular cadence of prayer, and have an outburst of
apparently indomitable rage, abusing the herb puppet with
fierce invectives and furious gestures. The exorcism
terminated, he gave a signal by stretching out his arms,
right and left, and the other Lamas struck up a tremen-
dously noisy chorus, in hurried, dashing tones ; all the
instruments were set to work, and meantime the lay congre-
gation, having started up with one accord, ran out of the
tent, one after the other, and, tearing round it like mad
people, beat it at their hardest with sticks, yelling all the
while at the pitch of their voices, in a manner to make
ordinary hair stand on end."
Then they returned to the tent, and repeated the same
scene. After they had done this three times, they covered
their faces with their hands, and the Grand Lama set fire to
the herb figure. " As soon as the flames rose, he uttered a
loud cry, which was repeated with interest by the whole
company. . . . After this strange treatment, the malady
did not return. The probability is that the Lamas, having
ascertained the precise moment at which the fever-fit would
recur, met it at the exact point of time by this tremendous
counter-excitement, and overcame it." *
The Burmese, especially those of the mountain region of
south and east Burmah, have priests and sorcerers, called
Wees and Bookhoos, who " pretend to cure diseases, to know
men's thoughts, and to converse with the spirits. Their
performances are fraught with awe and terror to a super-
stitious people. They begin with solemn and mysterious
movements ; at length every muscle is agitated, while with
frantic looks and foaming mouth they utter oracles, or speak
to a man's spirit and declare its responses." t In cases of
severe illness which have resisted the skill of native medical
art, the physician gravely tells the patient and relatives
that it is useless to have recourse any longer to medicine.
* 'Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, during the years 1844-46,'
by M. Hue ; Vol. I., p. 76.
f 'Travels in South-eastern Asia,' by H. Malcom Boston, 1839;
Vol. II., p. 197.
IOO MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
An evil Natch (" spirit ") is the author of the complaint, and
requires to be expelled. This is accomplished by means of
music and dancing, while the physician gives to the patient
some medicine, pointed out to him as an infallible remedy
by an accomplice in a kind of trance during the ceremony.*
That in certain complaints it may be beneficial to the
invalid to dance to the sound of music, is owing to the
exhilarating influence of the music as well as to the bodily
exercise of the dancing.
The treatment of the Tarantism, or the derangement of
the system caused by the bite of the Tarantula, a venomous
spider in Apulia, Italy, has been so often described by
medical and musical men, that a detailed account of it
is hardly required here. Suffice it to notice the opinions
entertained by some careful medical inquirers, respecting
the efficacy of music and dancing in the cure of this illness.
Nicolo Peroti, an Italian Archbishop, who lived in the
fifteenth century, is supposed to have been the first who in
his writings has drawn attention to the symptoms attributed
to the bite of the Tarantula. Achille Vergari, a physician, in
his treatise, entitled, ' Tarantismo, o malattia prodotta dalle
Tarantole velenose,' Naples, 1839, says that not all these
spiders are alike poisonous, but that some are so to a degree
that a person bitten by them is sure to die almost imme-
diately, notwithstanding all antidotes administered to him.
According to Vergari, the Tarantula is found not only in
South Italy, but also in Sardinia, the Caucasus, Persia,
Abyssinia, Madagascar, the West Indies, and in several other
hot regions. The poison consists in a fluid secreted in glands,
which, when the spider bites, is pressed into the wound,
and thus diffused throughout the body. The poison is most
virulent during the dog-days, and during the period of
breeding, especially if the spider is irritated, and if the person
bitten is particularly susceptible for the action of the poison ;
under other circumstances it causes but little injury, or none
at all. The only specific cure for the bite is believed to be
music and dancing. The animating sound of the tune
* ' Six Months in British Burmah,' by C. F. Winter ; London, 1858 ;
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 101
known as the Tarantella subdues the depressing effect of
the poison ; the invalid feels invigorated by the music ; he
raises himself and begins to move his hands and feet to the
time of it ; and, be he old or young, though he may never
before in his life have danced, he is irresistibly forced to
dance until exhaustion compels him to desist. The dancing
sometimes lasts three hours without cessation, and is
repeated for three or four successive days. The most
salutary time for it is the early morning, at sunrise, when
the patient usually perspires, sighs, complains, and behaves
like an intoxicated person. Occasionally, while dancing, he
takes in his hands green branches, or ribbons of some par-
ticular colour ; or he wants to be dressed in showy garments.
The black colour he hates, and the sight of a person dressed
in black irritates him greatly. The room in which the
dancing takes place is ornamented with different bright
colours, green branches, and looking-glasses. Some insist
upon carrying weapons in their hands while dancing ; others
desire to be beaten ; or they beat themselves ; and so on.
The musical instruments formerly used in playing the
Tarantella are the violin, violoncello, guitar, flute, organ,
lute, cither, shalm, and tambourine. Some of these instru-
ments have now become obsolete ; nor are the others always
used in combination, but more frequently singly.
These statements were collected by Vergari from the
observations of the most intelligent physicians and surgeons
in Apulia, and other districts of the former kingdom of
De Renzi, a distinguished physician of Naples, sent, in
the year 1841, to the ' Raccoglitore Medico,' published in
Fano, the following account of a Tarantism witnessed
by Doctor Samuele Costa. Giuseppe Mastria, a peasant
from a small village in the southern district of the province
Terra d'Otranto, twenty years of age, of robust bodily
constitution, while mowing grass, in June, 1840, felt a
sudden pain on his right arm, near the insertion of the
Deltoid muscle, and saw that he was bitten by a speckled
spider, the Aranea Tarantula. The wound having become
livid, enlarged and spread the pain over the arm and the
102 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
back of the neck. He was seized with anxiety and with
pressure on the Praecordia, inclination to vomit, faintness,
cold skin, and weak pulse. After some time, the warmth
of the body increased, and the pulse became stronger. The
patient experienced great thirst, heavy breathing, restless-
ness, and the impossibility of standing on his legs. When,
however, the Tarantella was played to him, he suddenly
became convulsive, jumped out of the bed, and danced
briskly for nearly two hours. Tired and profusely per-
spiring, he consequently slept quietly and uninterruptedly.
After several repetitions of the music in the course of three
days, he entirely recovered.*
Dr. Martinus Kahler, a Swedish physician, who visited
Apulia in the year 1756, for the express purpose of investi-
gating the Tarantism thoroughly, came to the conclusion that
it is not caused by the Tarantula, but that it is a peculiar
hypochondria with hysteria, to which the inhabitants of
the island of Taranto are especially subject on account of
their mode of living, and from their food consisting principally
of green vegetables, oysters, and periwinkles. Be this as it
may, the complaint is, according to medical opinion, curable
by means of music and dancing.
Thomas Shaw, who visited the Barbary States about the
year 1730, mentions the Boola-kaz, a venomous spider in the
desert of Sahara, the bite of which is cured thus : " The
patient lies sometimes buried all over, excepting his head, in
the hot sands, or else in a pit dug and heated for the purpose,
in order, no doubt, to obtain the like copious perspiration
that is excited by dancing in those who are bitten by the
The Tigretiya of Abyssinia is in some respects similar to
the Tarantism ; it is, however, not caused by the bite, or
sting, of any animal. The Tigretiya has its name from
occurring principally in the Abyssinian district called Tigre.
* ' Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung ; ' Leipzig, 1841, No. 17.
f ' Travels and Observations relating to Barbary,' by Thomas Shaw.
' A General Collection of Voyages and Travels,' by J. Pinkerton ;
London, 1808; Vol. XV., p. 635.
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 103
It is a kind of melancholy, the first symptoms of which
usually are a gradual wasting away of the attacked person.
Music and dancing are used as the most effective remedies
for healing the sufferer.
A strange illness of the natives of Madagascar is described
by the Missionary W. Ellis as " an intermittent disorder,
with periods of delirium, a species of hysteria readily
infectious." The sufferers perambulate in groups, singing,
dancing, and running, accompanied by their friends, who
carry bottles of water for them, as they generally complain
of thirst, which is not surprising, considering the state of
excitement to which they work themselves up. Their
whims being encouraged by the people, must rather impede
the beneficial result which they might derive from singing
and dancing, as far as concerns the restoration to a sound
state of health. Their morbid affection of the nervous
system is, however, especially interesting if compared with
a similar derangement in European countries during the
Middle Ages, of which some account shall presently be given.
The exercise of dancing to the sound of cheerful music
is universally known to be, under certain circumstances
conducive to the preservation of health. Thus, the traveller,
H. Salt, relates that the Negro slaves in Mozambique
" assembled in the evening to dance, according to the usual
practice, for keeping them in health." * The same means
were formerly resorted to by slave-owners in America.
Likewise, during a voyage to the Arctic Sea, it has been
found useful to order the sailors occasionally to dance on
deck to the music of a barrel-organ, to keep them in health
and good spirits.
On the other hand, there are instances on record of
music and dancing having nourished morbid feelings and
extravagant notions. At all events, certain Terpsichorean
performances of religious fanatics can only be thus regarded.
The most extraordinary exhibitions of this kind among
Christian sects occurred on the Continent during the Middle
Ages, and are described in an interesting little book, by
* ' A Voyage to Abyssinia, etc.' By Henry Salt. London, 1814 ; p. 33.
104 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
J. F. C. Hecker, entitled ' Die Tanzwuth, eine Volkskrank-
heit im Mittelalter ; nach den Quellen fur Aerzte und
gebildete Nichtarzte bearbeitet,' ( The Dancing Mania, an
epidemic in the Middle Ages ; compiled from original
sources, for medical men and intelligent non-medical men.
Berlin, 1832.) The author, a Doctor of Medicine, in Berlin,
treats especially of the St. John's Dance and the St. Vitus's
Dance, which, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
were performed in Germany by perambulating fanatics who,
in some respects, resembled certain Revivalists of our days.
He carefully traces the origin of these morbid conceptions,
the extravagant practices to which they led, and their
gradual discontinuance during the seventeenth century.
The persons afflicted with this nervous malady, men and
women, wandered in troops from town to town and danced
to the sound of musical instruments in the churches and
streets. The authorities of some of the towns were of
opinion that music and dancing alone could effectively cure
this strange affection. They, therefore, hired musicians in
order to bring on the dancing-fits the more rapidly ; and
they ordered strong, healthy men, to mix with the dancers
with the object of compelling them to continue their violent
exertions until they were quite exhausted, a condition
which was supposed to be a preliminary step to their restor-
ation to health. Of the magistrates of Basle, for instance,
it is recorded that in the sixteenth century they engaged some
strong men to dance with a girl afflicted with the dancing
mania, until she was recovered. One man substituted an-
other, and this strange cure they continued about four weeks
with scarcely any interruption, until the patient was exhausted
and unable to stand on her legs. She was then carried to
an hospital, where she completely regained her health.
The following miraculous occurrence, which is recorded
in William of Malmesbury's ' Chronicle of the Kings of
England ' as having taken place in the year 1012, illustrates
the fanaticism alluded to. The statement is by one of the
poor sufferers :
" I, Ethelbert, a sinner, even were I desirous of conceal-
ing the divine judgment which overtook me, yet the tremor
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. lOj
of my limbs would betray me ; wherefore I shall relate
circumstantially how this happened, that all may know the
heavy punishment due to disobedience. We were on the
eve of our Lord's nativity, in a certain town of Saxony, in
which was the church of Magnus the Martyr, and a priest
named Robert had begun the first mass. I was in the
church-yard with eighteen companions, fifteen men and
three women, dancing and singing profane songs to such
a degree that I interrupted the priest, and our voices re-
sounded amid the sacred solemnity of the mass. Wherefore,
having commanded us to be silent and not being attended
to, he cursed us in the following words : ' May it please
God and St. Magnus that you may remain singing in the
same manner for a whole year ! ' His words had their
effect. The son of John the Priest seized his sister, who
was singing with us, by the arm, and immediately tore it
from the body ; but not a drop of blood flowed out. She
also remained a whole year with us dancing and singing.
The rain fell not upon us ; nor did cold, nor heat, nor
hunger, nor thirst, nor fatigue assail us : we neither wore
our clothes nor shoes, but we kept on singing as though we
had been insane. First we sunk into the ground up to our
knees ; next to our thighs. A covering was at length, by
the permission of God, built over us, to keep off the rain.
When a year had elapsed, Herbert, bishop of the city of
Cologne, released us from the tie wherewith our hands were
bound, and reconciled us before the altar of St. Magnus.
The daughter of the priest, with the other two women, died
immediately; the rest of us slept three whole days and
nights. Some died afterwards, and were famed for miracles ;
the remainder betray their punishment by the trembling of
" This narrative was given to us by the Lord Peregrine, the
successor of Herbert, in the year of our Lord 1013."
In our time, exhibitions of a morbid religious enthusiasm,
called forth, or promoted by music, are less common with
Christians than with Mohammedans. In the sacred dance
of the Dervishes, the music, which is soft and plaintive,
represents the music of the spheres ; while the Dervishes
106 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
turning in a circle round their superior, who sits quietly in
the centre, represent the planetary system in its relation
to the sun. So far, the procedures of these fanatics are
intelligible enough ; but the words of their songs are so
mystic that probably the Dervishes themselves are unable to
attach a reasonable meaning to them. Still more extra-
ordinary is the behaviour of the Aissaoua, a kind of
Mohammedan fraternity in the Barbary States, who by
means of music and dancing work themselves up to a state
of ecstasy, in which they fancy themselves to be camels, or,
at any rate, in which they convey to others the impression
that they are brutes rather than reasonable beings. As
regards Christian sects, certain sacred evolutions of the
Shakers, in the United States of North America, are not less
extravagant than those of the Dervishes in Egypt or Turkey.
Here too, music appears to have an injurious effect upon
the people, inasmuch as it excites their morbid emotions.
Turning now to our literature on the medical employment
of music, we find a number of treatises, the most important
of which shall be briefly noticed by their titles. Of such
only as are not easily attainable, some account of their
contents shall be added.
' Medica Musica : or, a Mechanical Essay on the effects
of Singing, Musick, and Dancing, on Human Bodies;
Revis'd and corrected. To which is annex'd a New Essay
on the nature and cure of the Spleen and Vapours. By
Richard Browne, Apothecary, in Oakham, in the County of
Rutland ; London, 1729.' This is the second edition, en-
larged. The first edition was published without the name
of the author.
' Die Verbindung der Musik mit der Arzneygelahrtheit,
von Ernst Anton Nicolai.' (The Association of Music with
the Science of Medicine, by E. A. Nicolai; Halle, 1745.)
Nicolai was Professor of Medicine at the University of Jena,
' Reflections on Antient and Modern Musick, with the
application to the Cure of Diseases ; to which is subjoined
an essay to solve the question wherein consisted the differ-
ence of ancient musick from that of modern time ; ?
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. 107
London, 1749. The author, Richard Brocklesby, was a
physician in London. A circumstantial account of the con-
tents of this treatise is given in ' Historisch-Kritische
Beytrage zur Aufnahme der Musik, von F. W. Marpurg ; '
Vol. II., Berlin, 1756 ; p. 16-37.
' Traite des Effets de la Musique sur le corps humain,
traduit du Latin et augmente des notes, par Etienne Sainte-
Marie;' Paris, 1803. This is an annotated translation of a
dissertation written in Latin by Joseph Ludovicus Roger,
and published at Avignon in 1758.
Desbout (Luigi) : ' Ragionamento fisico-chirurgico sopra
1'effetto della Musica nelle malattie nervose ;' Livorno,
1780. A French translation appeared in the year 1784, in
St. Petersburg, entitled : ' Sur 1'Effet de la Musique dans les
Buc'hoz (Pierre Joseph) : 'L'Art de connaitre et de
designer le pouls par les notes de la Musique, de guerir par
son moyen la melancolie, et le Tarentisme qui est une
espece de melancolie ; accompagne de 198 observations,
tirees tant de 1'histoire que des annales de la medicine qui
constatent I'efficacite de la musique, non seulement sur le
corps mais sur I'ame, dans 1'etat de sante, ainsi que dans
celui de maladie. Ouvrage curieux, utile et interessant ;
propre a inspirer le gout de cet art, qui e^t pour nous un
vrai present des cieux ; ' Paris, 1806. A treatise with a
similar title, by F. N. Marquet, appeared at Nancy in the
Lichtenthal (Peter) : ' Der musikalische Arzt ; oder,
Abhandlung von dem Einflusse der Musik auf den mensch-
lichen Korper, und von ihrer Anwendung in gewissen
Krankheiten,' (The Musical Physician ; or, a Treatise on
the influence of music upon the human body, and on its
application in certain illnesses. Vienna, 1807.) An Italian
translation of this work appeared in Milan in the year 1811.
Schneider (Peter Joseph) : ' System einer medizinischen
Musik ; ein unentbehrlich.es Handbuch fur Medizin-Beflis-
sene, Vorsteher der Irren-Heilanstalten, praktische Aerzte,
und unmusikalische Lehrer verschiedener Disciplinen,'
(A System of Medical Music ; an indispensable guide for
108 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
Students of Medicine, Principals of Lunatic Asylums, Prac-
tical Physicians, and unmusical teachers of different
methods. Bonn, 1835.) This comprehensive work, in two
volumes, contains much information on the subject in
question, interspersed with many remarks and citations
which have little or no bearing on music considered
medically. The last seventy-two pages of the second volume
contain a sort of autobiography of the author.
To musicians, the most useful books among this class of
literature are those which give good advice concerning the
preservation of health.
F. W. Hunnius, a Doctor of Medicine in Weimar, wrote
a book entitled ' Der Arzt fur Schauspieler und Sanger'
(The Physician for Actors and Singers. Weimar, 1798,)
which, no doubt, has been useful to many. Another German
publication of the kind, in which especial attention is given
to the practice of musical instruments in so far as it affects
the health, bears the title ' Aerztlicher Rathgeber fur Musik-
treibende ' (Medical Adviser for those who cultivate Music)
by Karl Sundelin, Berlin, 1832. The author, a Doctor of
Medicine in Berlin, wrote his book with the assistance of
his brother, who was a professional musician in the orchestra
of the King of Prussia. This treatise is so noteworthy that
the following account of it will, it is hoped, be of interest to
the reflecting musician. Its table of contents is :
" I. Of Singing. On the means of facilitating the practice
of singing. Dietary and general rules for male singers, and
for female singers. Of the different human voices.
II. Of the Clavier-Instruments, or Keyed-Instruments.
The Pianoforte. The Organ. The Harmonica with a key-