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"THE MYSTERY of Hindu MusiC consists largely in its sruta, or minute intervals, distinctly perceptible to an Indian ear, but which the duller European organism fails to appreciate. There are twenty-two kinds of sruti to each sapłaka, or octave, the compass of the Hindu scale being limited to three octaves of seven notes each. Strictly speaking, it is understood that no human voice can compass more than two and a half saptakas, and that consequently has become the limit of instrumental music. A sruti is a quarter tone, or the third of a tone, according to its position in the scale. In the arrangerents of intervals it is admitted that Sanskrit writers were not mathematically accurate, but on the other hand it is contended ibat "sense" and a "well-cultivated ear" are more necessary than mathematics for the comprehension of music.
In number the Hindu notes are the same as those of Western nations, and their initial letters serve to exhibit the gamut or saptaka which, though called an octave, has actually only seven notes, sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni. These various gradations of sound, are supposed to have been derived from the cries of animals and the songs of birds. The first, sa, say the Sanskrit writers, " was imitated from the call of the peacock," the second, ri, “from the bellowing of the ox," the third, ga, from the bleating of the goat," the fourth, ma," from the howling of the jackal, or from the voice of the crane," the fifth, pa, " from the call of the blackbird, called kokhila," the sixth, dha, " from the sound of the frog, or from the neighing of the horse," and the seventh, mi, “from the voice of the elephant.". The imitations are happily more melodious than the originals.
The difference between the vikrita swaragrama of the Hindus (the seven notes of the saptaka form twelve vikritas) and the English chromatic scale lies in this--that the former proceeds by semi-tones and srutis, and the latter by a regular succession of semi-tones. The early Sanskrit writers ranged the notes under four castes --Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras-corresponding to the major tones, minor tones, semi-tones, and chromatic notes of Western music. The predominant character of Hindu music being melody, harmony is regarded as altogether insignificant, though occasionally used for quite exceptional purposes."--Pall Mail Gazette, Oct, 17, 1876.
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