A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
supposing it traced to this source,
    may be alleged too valuable, to have admitted such total forgetfulness
    of the event which occasioned it.  But this difficulty readily resolves
    into a general remark, that even in more fortunate situations, the
    authors and occasions of many discoveries and inventions are soon lost
    sight of, in the more interesting experience of the utility that
    commends them.  Men, in fact, are always much more anxious to avail
    themselves of the advantages which genius or accident has presented to
    their notice, than careful to testify gratitude by ascertaining and
    perpetuating the original sources to which they have been indebted.  A
    case, not indeed quite parallel, instantly occurs to recollection.  How
    few persons are there in this island, who have the smallest
    conception, to whom it is they are indebted for the introduction of
    that valuable vegetable the potatoe?  The incident, no doubt, is
    recorded in the history of our country.  But is there one in a thousand
    to whom the article is so familiar, that knows whence it came; or is
    it conceivable, that, without such a record, any individual of the
    present generation would have doubted for a moment that it was
    indigenous to Britain?  We might multiply such examples almost without
    end.  But the reader may like better to amuse himself with an enquiry
    into the extent of common ignorance and indifference.—­E.

[10] As this circumstance, of their singing in parts, has been much
    doubted by persons eminently skilled in music, and would be
    exceedingly curious if it were clearly ascertained, it is to be
    lamented that it cannot be more positively authenticated.

Captain Burney, and Captain Phillips, of the marines, who both have a tolerable knowledge of music, have given it as their opinion, that they did sing in parts; that is to say, that they sung together in different notes, which formed a pleasing harmony.
These gentlemen have fully testified, that the Friendly Islanders undoubtedly studied their performances before they were exhibited in public; that they had an idea of different notes being useful in harmony; and also, that they rehearsed their compositions in private, and threw out the inferior voices, before they ventured to appear before those who were supposed to be judges of their skill in music.
In their regular concerts each man had a bamboo, which was of a different length and gave a different tone; these they beat against the ground, and each performer, assisted by the note given by this instrument, repeated the same note, accompanying it by words, by which means it was rendered sometimes short and sometimes long.  In this manner they sing in chorus, and not only produced octaves to each other, according to their different species
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