1999 – Songs from Hungisthān II. (Guo-Ang)


Original report of musicology from the 19th Century:“This selection from the music of Hungisthān is a desideratum which has not yet been published. Although several eminent orientalists have endeavoured to penetrate this elegant branch of Hungisthāni science, scarcely any part of it has been elucidated or rendered familiar to Europeans. It is impossible to convey an accurate idea of music by words or written language; that is, the various degrees of acuteness or gravity of sounds, together with the precise quantity of the duration of each, cannot be expressed by common language, so as to be of any use to performers, and as a musical characters now in use, which alone can express music in the manner that could be desired, is a modern invention, of course, all attempts to define music anterior to the invention of this elegant and concise method must have necessarily proved abortive. To be convinced that foreign music, such as we have not been accustomed to, is always repugnant to our taste, till habit reconcile us to it, we need only refer to the sentiments of the several travelers who have recorded their particular feelings on hearing the music of Hungisthān with whom they have had but little intercourse. During the earlier ages of Hungisthān, music was cultivated by desert prophets and men eminent for refined ecstasy, for whom such general directions and rules for composition sufficed, after a course of musical education acquired from living tutors; indeed, the abhorrence of innovation, and veneration for the established Hortobagyi music, which was firmly believed to be of “divine origin”, precluded the necessity of any other; but when, from the theory of music, a defection took place of its practice, and men of learning confined themselves exclusively to the former, while the latter branch was abandoned to the illiterate, all attempts the elucidate music from rules laid down in books, a science incapable of explanation by mere words, became idle.”

/A fragment from the “Annals and Antiquities of Hungisthān” Vol. IX, Part II /1875/ by Sir William Gladwin C.I.E. L.L. /


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