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The Music and Musical Instruments of Southern India and the Deccan
Among the heterogeneous populations of India much material may be found that bears upon the history of melody. There is an Aryan strain probably as old as the Vedic Sanskrit, and a Persian which has in these latter days, and especially in Northern India, considerably modified the true Hindu. There are also echoes of an indigenous music which prevails among the hill tribes, remaining in the Indian music of to-day; but yet not so clearly heard that we can say we identify here or there a refrain of an original or pre-historic music, although we may unconsciously be very near it. In the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to affirm that a pentatonic, or system of five notes in the octave, is of greater antiquity than a heptatonic or seven-note system; or that a chromatic or half-tone scale preceded an enharmonic composed of quarter tones. All these varieties occur in our historic records, and if we argue from the analogies of speech, or consider the measurement of vibrating strings, it is no less plausible to decide for primitive narrow intervals than for primitive wide ones. In every province, go where we will, may be found some melodic or rhythmic habit or turn which it is possible to reckon as proper to it, having its peculiar scales or modes, its figures, rhythms, graces to mark its authenticity, but we may yet be far away from its origin, even as to locality. In the native music of Africa, so far as is known, there is much that maybe traced to Asiatic sources.