W. L. (William Lines) Hubbard.

The American history and encyclopedia of music .. (Volume 3) online

. (page 1 of 20)
Online LibraryW. L. (William Lines) HubbardThe American history and encyclopedia of music .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 20)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook






Gift of
Francis L. Peycke










Associate Editors

Special Contributors






New York Chicago


S aj -o cy _; j, .2

3 G *S o> - u C

5Z 53 rt *- "^ $ rt

-S , ^

3 2 S S -o

CU 1> > H-I """ **

g J^ o c -S *


Iv 4-* f '

b > * -S

. v^ *. - 1 ~rr ^3 "~
i n .- _C t

S S r r L c m

<o\ "-^OH^.O^S

^ v?5 * C5 43>^43*^ (U:::3

w ^ '% g .a "S * 2

-< o^S^S^S

>> C *o3 ^ C ^

w '^ S3 f *- -5 'g .

gg ^^oS'^'O'g

" I^'S -o s *

hH <U CU^.S^WCU..

< g> ? as li o.g

1 I s^^gS g|

ft 5 5 ^ ; *2 g i , 9

O "B J5 fl .S

iJ | ^ .2 en g J

< rt 'Sj!^ t/Jrt cy5

(V tn c .^O'St^cl l

"2 b: __r! CL <M*

rt - C OT rt

en ^ 'g en

1 11111*1

t-H i:; ^ !> ' C **5 ^ WM

& S ^^5^^

^^ i " 8 i: ^

"- 1 -M 2 >,'02^4>^

g bb- o g g.g B
o X -*j c <u

^j? 2^ ^ .S ^ g is

& 2 i * ^ , s s

cuo o (~i cu (- tn

rtj3 a bCO^^T3'5 .
gSoj.C^Hgw cu

.04350 .fci'StuO^

< W N -g j *j 4 *p -;

T3 'jq> en J^ w cuo c 3

c ^gtir^c^i:

oj <t -4Stnt-*'-S < ^efl











New York Chicago

Copyright 1908 by


Entered Stationers' Hall




v, 3


Music of Primitive Peoples 1

China 17

Japan . . . 27

Korea ...,...'.. 35

Malaysia 43

Persia . 53

Turkey . . . , 59

Mexico . . . . . . . 65

Italy .............. 71

Troubadours 99

Germany . .... ..... . . . 109

France . . 127

Russia 137

Eastern Europe 151

(Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland.)

Scandinavia 171

(Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.)

England 193

Ireland . r . 209

Scotland 217

Wales 225

Canada 231

Spain . . . . . 243

Bibliography 251




Imperial Opera House, Vienna .... (frontispiece)

An African Band . . 8

Japanese Koto . ' . 26

Korean Orchestra . . 34

Ceylonese Band 42

Turkish Music . - 58

Mexico 64

Wilhelm Richard Wagner . . 108

Edward Harerup Grieg 170




Poetry, music and the dance are phases of one thing to
primitive man. In the beginnings of human culture, they
did not exist separated. They began together as expressions
of the rhythmic impulse. Of course, to us poetry exists
independent of these other two. Grosse defines poetry as
the expression of emotion in aesthetic form with the idea
of giving pleasure. When we analyze its elements, it
seems that the first expression of poetry is the chanting of
words as distinguished from ordinary speech. Such chant-
ing is agreeable to savage man and arouses pleasant emotions
in himself and in his hearers. To civilized man the most
striking characteristic of the poetry or song of lower cul-
tures is repetition. Just as the child delights to repeat the
same sounds, so the man of primitive mind loves to repeat
indefinitely. Songs of our own Indians are frequently mere
repetitions of the simplest phrases. I knew an old Tonkawa
who had a medicine-song of which he was extremely fond.
It consisted of the single native word for pig; this he would
sing, over and over and over again, for hours at a time.
Rhythm, of course, is the very essence of the whole combined
expression, poetry-music-dance. It depends upon two ele-
ments, quantity or length, and quality. Nothing can be more
beautiful than the perfect time which even savage peoples


give to song, to instrumentation and to the movements of the
dance. A curious thing, which has been often observed in
the songs of some of our own Indian tribes, is a double
rhythm, one for the words, the other for the accompaniment.
Thus, when listening to Iroquois singers, using the turtle-
shell rattle as the accompaniment to song, one is impressed
with the perfection of time in the rattling, with the beauty of
the meter in the song, but he is equally impressed with the
fact that the two do not coincide. Constantly we encounter
in the music of lower peoples a refrain; sometimes this has
meaning and plays a distinct part in the suggestion of the
song ; at other times the sounds of the refrain have absolutely
no meaning but merely serve to fill out the meter in the lack
of significant words. For it may be well to remember that
while savages and barbarians have an abundance of fixed and
permanent songs, they are also fond of improvising and that
much of their singing is the spontaneous expression of a new
thought at the moment of the singing. A favorite device in
early song is alternation and response. Two devices which
we constantly employ in poetry, viz., alliteration and rhyme,
are relatively late inventions. Alliteration probably comes
earlier than rhyme and represents a lower artistic develop-
ment. Rhyme with us also is more exacting than among
the peoples of lower culture, where a very poor similarity in
sound may satisfy.

In the study of primitive poetry and song, we should
carefully distinguish between form and content. The " sub-
stance of primitive poetry is rude and meager; egoistic,
satirical; it rarely deals with the beauties of nature or the
emotions of love." It is primarily the deeds of daily life
that are sung; deeds of war, incidents of hunting. Praise
of one's self and disparagement of others are common, but
these are rarely expressed fully; they are only suggestions
or catchwords. Very early the idea of magic power in
the song develops. Incantations, sorceries or formulae are
sung, and in the singing are potent. When singing once
develops, every impulse and emotion may find expression


through it. In barbarism, there are songs for all occasions.
There are war-songs, songs of exultation and songs of
mourning. Among the strangest are the death-songs. In
certain of our western Indian tribes a man frequently
composed, during his prime, the song which he hoped co sing
when dying. I remember, in southern California, listening to
an old gray-haired man, blind for years, as he sang his death-
song, practising for the grim occasion.

It is doubtful whether much that appeals to us as
poetical in the expressions of people in lower culture, ought
to be considered poetry. We should only call that poetry,
which is intentionally put into aesthetic form with the idea
of giving pleasure. Savages and barbarians frequently use
striking metaphors, which, if employed by us, would be
poetical. Thus, it is natural for the barbarian of northern
Asia to speak of a flame of fire as a living tongue licking its
prey before devouring it. If one among us should speak in
such fashion he might properly be said to be employing poetic
language. We do not believe the fire to be a living being,
nor the fuel to be prey. To the barbarous man, however,
the fire is really living, the fuel is truly prey to be devoured.
With him the metaphor is simply prose. When the American
Indian says, " I am a lone pine tree," he is unquestionably
indulging in a figure of speech; he does not think he is a
pine tree, but has selected the words intentionally to present
a picture to the mind. This expression would be poetical.

We have already said that primitive poetry and music
are parts of one mental expression. In savagery and bar-
barism form is more important than meaning and significance
is frequently sacrificed. Man must early have distinguished
tones and taken pleasure in marking that distinction. A suc-
cession of tones varying in pitch or quality forms a melody
and the bulk of savage and barbaric song consists of simple
melodies. During recent years, there has been much study
of the music of lower cultures and much discussion of the
question of musical scales. It is unlikely that lower peoples
generally have clear ideas of a fixed and definite scale. That


they distinguish clearly differences of pitch, that they in
practise recognize what we call intervals is certain ; that they
think of a definite number of fixed notes as forming a system-
atic scale, is doubtful. One of the most famous students of
American Indian music has written the Indian songs as four-
part music. This seems to us fundamentally wrong. Cer-
tainly, in most Indian music there is no intention of producing
harmonies, or of singing part-music. To begin with, a large
proportion of Indian songs are purely individual. A medi-
cine-song, a death-song, a love-song, is an individual pos-
session sung only as a solo. Of course, about such songs
there can be no question and to write them as harmonized is
plainly false. Another large proportion of Indian songs are
those used in dances ; in these the purpose is to give time and
rhythm. Each singer knows the song and each tries to sing
it as the others do. Unquestionably, in the singing there
will be individual failures to strike desired notes exactly,
but the effort to do so is there. As the result of failure,
there is more or less of blending and, from such blendings, it
is quite possible that the idea of harmony arose but cer-
tainly in the beginnings disharmony must have been what was

From poetry and song let us turn to instruments.
Writers in general recognize three classes : instruments of
percussion, wind instruments and stringed instruments. There
has been some discussion as to the order in which these have
developed. To us, the order given seems to be that of evo-
lution. If we examine the musical instruments of modern
savages, we never find percussion instruments absent; wind
instruments are rather rare; of stringed instruments it is
probable that only one, and that the simplest, is properly
referred to savage peoples. The object of the first musical
instruments was mere beating of time for the chanting and
movements of the dance. Man is naturally equipped with
instruments for this purpose in his hands. Few persons,
who have never seen the clapping of hands as an accom-
paniment to song and dance, can realize both its appropri-


ateness and sufficiency. Paintings on the walls of Egyptian
tombs represent this simple form of accompaniment. Women
and children in African villages frequently greet the traveler
at the edge of the village with song and hand-clapping in
sign of welcome. It is but a step from the clapping of hands
to the striking together of two blocks of wood or the beating
of one object with another. Australian women beat time upon
dried skins folded or rolled. Of course, such are capable of
yielding but a single tone and are hence called monotonous
instruments. Rattles, the simpler forms of drums, beating-
sticks and gourds are examples of this group. Just as the
hands precede all artificial instruments of percussion, so the
mouth is the natural and earliest wind instrument. Cries of
different kinds, whistlings, shrill expulsions of the air, these
must have been developed before any notion of artificial
whistles or horns arose. There is good reason to believe that
the earliest stringed instruments are to be traced back to the
hunter's bow. The twanging of the bowstring must have
given the first suggestion of producing pleasant sounds from
stretched cords. If space permitted, it would be interesting
to carry back our notably developed instruments of the three
classes to their most primitive and simple origins. All that
we shall attempt to do, however, is to place before the reader
two series of musical instruments used by barbaric peoples
and representing a definite stage of development in the his-
tory of instruments in general. For this purpose, we shall
consider the music of the ancient Aztecs and of the modern
natives of the Congo Basin.

It is customary to speak of the Aztecs of old Mexico as
if they were a civilized peple. Prescott somewhere states that
the Spanish conquerors, in destroying their culture, destroyed
a civilization superior to that of Spain at that time. It is
only by the most reckless use of terms that any such state-
ment is made. The culture of the Aztecs was remarkable
and its study is most interesting. But it was not civilization;
it was barbarism, barbarism at its highest point indeed, but
nothing more. Poetry was in high favor with the Aztecs.


They had many kinds of songs and distinctly grouped them
into classes, to each of which they gave a name. Thus, they
had a class of straight and true songs, such as springtime
songs, songs of the nobles, flower songs, songs of destitution
or compassion and songs for the dead. Such was their
passion for songs that there were singing teachers and
schools for teaching songs. It is said that, sometimes in the
market, when thousands of the natives had gathered from
all the country round for trade, some one in the crowd would
strike up one of the well-known songs ; others joined in the
singing until thousands swelled the volume of music, oblivious
to all else. Of these old Aztec songs examples still remain
and have been studied by various writers. They abound in
poetical forms, bold and striking figures of speech, delicate
and lofty sentiment.

It can hardly be claimed that the instrumental equipment
of the old Aztecs was equal to their songs and poems in
quality. A chief instrument was the huehuetl or upright
drum. A magnificent specimen is preserved in the museum
at Toluca, Mexico. It is almost five feet in height, made
from a section of a tree-trunk carefully hollowed to a thin
cylinder. The wood is hard, close-grained and rich in color;
below, it is cut away into three supporting feet. The outer
surface is beautifully carved with figures of men and animals
and with symbols. Across the top is stretched a head of
skin which is secured in place by pegs of wood. Huehuetls
of this large size were always to be found in temples and
the noise produced by beating on them was audible at a great
distance. They were beaten on the occasion of human sacri-
fice to the gods. The Spanish chroniclers, more than once,
refer to the mourning and sorrow which its sound produced
in them, knowing that it probably accompanied the sacrifice
of captive whites or Indian allies.

The Aztecs had a second drum, the teponastl ; it may be
called the horizontal drum. A billet was hollowed from
below in such fashion as to leave a thin sheet of wood above
the hollow; this was cut into two tongues attached only at


one end to the remaining block. As these differed somewhat
in thickness and in length they gave different notes on being
struck. The Spanish writers also mention in their lists of
Aztec instruments one the name of which may be translated
" the suspended vase." It was probably a bowl or vase
of heavy wood, pottery or stone, which on being struck,
gave out a deep, sonorous tone. A fourth Aztec instrument
has been called " the notched rattle ; " it was made from the
long bone of a deer's leg, or from a human leg-bone. Across
the shaft of the bone, a series of deep notches were cut, leav-
ing the parts between projecting. Across this line of pro-
jections a thin bone or stick was rubbed. The sound produced
we should not consider musical, but it was good beating of
time. If, as is quite probable, the lower end of this notched
bone was connected with some hollow object, as a gourd, a
calabash or bowl, the musical quality would be greatly im-
proved, as the object thus attached would serve as a sounding-
box or resonator.

Besides the instruments which we have mentioned, the
Aztecs used a suspended sheet of metal as a gong and had a
great variety of rattles. They also had tinkling bells, and
sometimes bells and rattles were united into a compound
instrument. The Spanish writers mention the ayotl or turtle
in their lists of instruments. The shell of the turtle or tor-
toise still figures as an instrument of music among various
of the native populations of the Mexican Republic. Some-
times, it is the shell of a small fresh-water turtle, which is
struck with a deer's horn; sometimes, it is the large shell of
a land tortoise, which is beaten with a true drumstick. All
the preceding instruments are percussion instruments, the
simplest and earliest class.

Among the commonest relics found on old Aztec sites,
are whistles and flutes of pottery. These are often of attract-
ive forms. While the whistles give but one or two notes,
the flutes supply a considerable range and their capabilities
have been studied by various musical writers. Besides these
there were bone flutes and reed pipes of various kinds. Com-


mon also among the Aztecs was the trumpet made of the

It is doubtful whether the Aztecs had stringed instru-
ments. It is true, that today in the City of Mexico, or rather
in its suburb, Guadalupe, on the occasion of certain religious
dances, one may see a curious guitar made from the shell of
an armadillo. A thin top of wood is fitted to the shell and,
above it, a number of strings are stretched in the usual guitar
fashion. The instrument today is certainly fashioned after
European patterns. The dancers dress as Indians and insist
upon using this instrument, because it is such as their fathers
used before the Conquest. It is likely that they are in error.
Yet, it is not impossible that, in the olden times, strings may
have been stretched across an armadillo shell and twanged.

Such were the musical instruments of the old Aztecs.
On the whole, they are precisely what we should expect, if
the earliest instruments were those of percussion; if these
were followed by wind instruments; and if the instruments
with cords were last in the series of development.

Turning to the musical instruments of Central Africa,
we find a great range of curious and interesting, though
usually simple, instruments. No people take more joy in
rhythm, in its manifestations of poetry, song and dance than
the emotional blacks.

A recent writer has suggested a classification of the
instruments of the Congo. He recognizes four classes:
shaken instruments, beaten instruments, wind instruments,
and instruments with strings or vibrating splints. This is
practically the same classification we have given in the preced-
ing discussion, where, however, we included the shaken
instruments with the beaten ones. Here again the arrange-
ment is from simple to complex and presumably from older
and more primitive to later and more developed forms.

Very common throughout the Congo Basin are rattle
balls which sometimes consist of a natural fruit containing
dried seeds. The idea thus supplied by nature is developed
in artificial wooden balls which contain rattling pebbles.



^ .x o to
^ en .-* r-j .


rt JJ

11 O

2 -C

llets or roui

One of t.

wooden bell hung f
between the front
made and their exc

11; therU
clappers made of w

c <u
U "

<u CL,
*C w

9 :-5

^ Jx 'c

< ^ .2

TS -4-> r 1

cq os b
w pq a

fcuO to S

c '5 S

CO -l H

rt S O



QJ "- 1

C "~

W . +H

>-H oO o
fe 2 r

f^ C*J **^
U ^ G

5 in

:-ive each a
around the body
bells are neatly
iabor and a good
three suspended
5 bells are meant
w the

c are

a, -me-



rt ^ G' ^5 -g

^2 (i) . -M ll

-^ .5 !5 '^ hJ

^ ^ rt

W T1 *7J 1t

elbows ;

r, givinj


O t O -> r- rt *S

C bto ., o S c

fo G _S ^ *2 ^ J3
1' Q 3

:he movement.

^ 5
Sr S 3- 5 *

-, r.

= 5 & *

^' > .


-i W


C S, j;

- &' , R










f .'*













^^ t










. -'




- *















' j "





















U 1


Besides these rattling balls there are true rattles with handles.
Here again nature supplies ready-made instruments in the
form of gourds or calabashes with long and slender necks
which serve as handles. Round fruit containing their own
seeds and mounted on sticks become good rattles. Some-
times two, three or four of these are thrust through with the
same stick, thus giving a compound rattle. Many tribes
make neat, globular cages of wickerwork, which are mounted
generally each at the end of a stick and into which dried seeds,
grains of corn or pebbles are placed. While usually single,
two such cages may be placed one at each end of a handle,
thus making a double rattle. In place of such a cage or
wicker ball, the rattle is sometimes made of iron, a couple
of iron pellets or rounded pebbles making the sound when
the instrument is shaken.

One of the first things which the traveler notices in
native villages is that pigs and hunting-dogs have each a
wooden bell hung from a cord passed tightly around the body
between the front and hind legs. Such bells are neatly
made and their excavation represents much labor and a good
degree of skill; there may be one, two or three suspended
clappers made of wood. While these wooden bells are meant
for service of a practical, rather than an artistic kind, the
sounds they give are oftentimes agreeable. Iron bells are
also common. They are all sizes, from miniature bells to
bells a foot or more in height, and in shape they are some-
thing like old-fashioned cow-bells. Such bells as these and
the iron rattles, which we have just described, are used for
giving signals in the town, and among some tribes the
springing of such rattles and ringing of such bells serve as
notice that war has been undertaken and cause fear and
terror to all women and children who may hear them.
Common for use in dancing are great masses of dried seeds
with hard, firm crust, which are attached to bands passing
around the legs below the knees or around the arms at the
elbows; as the wearer dances, these are shaken against each
other, giving an attractive accompaniment to the movement.


Among the true percussion instruments we find sticks
for clapping, tom-toms, drums, gongs, and the well-known
and oft-described marimba. The simplest instrument of this
series, which I have met with, is used by the Bafoma in the
Upper Congo. Two blocks of wood, eight to ten inches
long and between one and two inches wide, are somewhat
excavated on the lower side. One of these blocks is taken
in each hand and the under surfaces are struck together,
producing a more sonorous and pleasing accompaniment than
would be expected. As for tom-toms or wooden drums,
they occur in an astonishing variety of shapes and sizes. A
common form is made from a billet of wood, a section of a
tree-trunk, perhaps two feet long and six or eight inches in
diameter. This is flat on the under surface and excavated
from above, through a narrow slit running the full length of
the upper, curved surface. The edges of the slit form two
thin lips of wood, which are beaten with sticks and give out a
fair sound. While this kind of tom-tom, or wooden drum,
may be as small as we have described, it may be of enor-
mous size. As one goes up the river Congo, he finds larger
and larger tom-toms until, in some towns on the upper
river, he sees from one to several of these drums ten feet
in length and a yard in diameter. Such drums are used, not
only for giving music for a dance, but also for sending
signals and communicating news from village to village, or
to all the people in a town. There is actually a drum-lan-
guage; not only can preconcerted code-signals be given, but
personal names and words, the meaning of which is not
known to the operator, may be transmitted. These great
drums are usually placed upon elevations or on spots from

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Online LibraryW. L. (William Lines) HubbardThe American history and encyclopedia of music .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 20)