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performer himself on several instruments, and to have enjoyed local advantages of observation from his appointment at the native court of the Nawab of Bands : neither has his little volume disappointed us, being a familiar and phasing account of his subject, intended for the general reader, and rendered more inviting by frequent allusion to the music of the west both ancient and modern. An author in the present day labours under evident disadvantages, in attempting to describe what the music of the Hindus was in the flourishing period of their literature and religion, when poets and priests were also musicians, modulating and singing their own compositions. To have pursued the subject as an antiquary, would have required extensive knowledge of Sanscrit, and suflicient familiarity with the varied metre of its heroic, and erotic poetry, to do without aid from native professors; for the present cultivators of the science are for the chief part of the most ignorant and abandoned classes ; so that the very art is held to be disreputable among the more respectable ranks,just as among us the noble drama is forsworn by many, from the abuses which have crept into our theatres. Still in these degenerate days there are exceptions, and the sacred Vin may occasionally be heard pouring forth a strain of rhapsody that carries the imagination back to the fabulous age of Rislrés and Gandharbas.
Our author treats successively of the gamut, of time, of oriental melody, rags, and mginees, (givinga longcatalogue of compoundrags,)instruments, vocal compositions, and of the peculiarities of manners and customs exemplified in the songs of Hindustan. Then follows a brief account of the most celebrated musicians, a copious glossary of musical terms, and copperplate tables of the varieties of time or metre with their native characters and values.
“ The musicians of Hindustan never appear to have had any determined pitch by which their instruments were regulated, each person tuning his own‘ to a certain height, adapted by guess, to the power of the instrument and quality of the strings, jhecapacity of the voice intended to be accompanied, and other adventitious circumstances. From this it may be observed that it is immaterial which note is designated by which letter.” Sir WILLIAM Jonss makes the Kharaj, or key-note, on the Vin, to correspond with A, but the author thinks it would be more systematic to tune it to at or C, the key-note of the natural scale of Europe. This depends upon whether it was the intention to speak of the diatonic intervals, or of the absolute pitch of the instrument. “ The notes of an octave are divided into 22 minor subdivisions instead of twelve semitones, as is done with us : these are called sniti, and each of them has a distinct name assigned as follow :
notes are divided into four parts; those between the second and third, and sixth and seventh, each into three parts ; and those between the third and fourth, and meventh and eighth, which with us are reckoned semitones, each into two parts."
Captain WILLARD asserts under the division ‘ time,’ notwithstanding the authority of TARTINI and Dr. BURNEY, that no musician can execute measures of five notes in a bar,—“ There is beautiful melody in Hindustan comprising seven and other unequal number of notes in a measure, and that they have musicians in abundance that are able to execute it." We should much doubt this fact. _
Indian Harmony is mostly confined to a monotonous repetition of the keynote during the flights of their vocal or instrumental melody ; for it is melody which has ever constituted the soul of the national music in India as among the Greeks and Egyptians. Our author has the following general observations on this subject.
1. Hindoostanee melodies are short, lengthened by repetition and variations.
2. They all partake of the nature of what is denominated by us Rondo, the piece being invariably concluded with the first strain, and sometimes with the first bar, or at least with the first note of that bar.
3. A bar, or measure, or a certain number of measures, is frequently repeated with slight variation, almost ad lib. "
4. There is as much liberty allowed with respect to pauses, which may be lengthened at pleasure, provided the time be not disturbed.
The author corrects Sir WM. J orms’ rendering of rdg by the expression ‘ mode, or key, for which the Hindus have the distinct word t’h
The personification of M98 and raginees, and the series of pictures called ragmalas, are too well known to require any remarks ; it would have increased the interest of the work to European readers had the descriptions of these been accompanied by engravings of a selected series of drawings, but we are aware that this could not have been easily done in India. The sixteen melodies set to music (al. ways excepting the impossible 7-quaver airs) form however, an interesting part of the author’s labour; the eiiect of metre is strikingly marked in some of these airs.
We cannot resist pointing out the close resemblance of the 9th (a Persian gha
zal,)' to the hexameter verse ; by transposing the first and second section in each line and adding one long foot the metre becomes perfect :
Mr. TREVELYAN has done an eminent service to literature, and to the Asiatic Society in particular, by standing forth as the advocate of Sir WILLIAM J ones’ mode of expressing native characters in the Roman Alphabet. The cause had nearly become desperate, both from the influence and popularity of the Gilchris
tian system", and from the adoption of a modification of the latter by the Gov.
* These are the only two radicall vowels as the most obvious test : t nnuor importance.
y opposed systems, taking the characters of the he numerous modifications of the consonants are of
I ernment in its surveys and records ;—-when,we may say, the scale has been turned by
one whose oflicial situation,and whose zeal in the cuuse,promise all the success that human eflorts can command. The scheme has been printed and circulated extensively ;—it has been adopted in the Persian ofiice :—and in school-books now printing by the promulgator: while on the other hand all the learned oriental societies and their members have ever pursued it, and will rejoice in lendingit their renewed support. The distinctions and marks introduced to discriminate the different classes of letters (guttural, nasal, &c.) are judicious, and can hardly be esteemed a departure from Sir W1Lr.1AM’s scheme, while their occasional omission will be no stumbling block to the scholar, whose memory will recur to the original orthography of the word in the oriental character, We wish that all contributions to the Journal could be made to conform to the system; but with Europeans this necessarily presupposes an acquaintance with the native characters, otherwise the fallacious car must ever continue to ghide the trave1ler’s pen as he puts down names and places in his notebook. The promulgation of our author’s scheme will however now
serve the double purpose of teaching the European alphabet to the natives, while\
it makes theirs known to us in return. That it will have the further effect of displacing the Nagari and Persian alphabets as expected by the‘ originator, is a point of which the discussion may be safely postponed for a few hundred years I It is not contended that existing knowledge can or ought to be suppressed ;—th_at during the transition period,books are not to be furnished in every type for which there is a demand ;—but it is assumed that the superiority of the reformed system will be gradually perceived, and that “ the native alphabets, retiring before the R0man, and being naturally displaced by its incumbent and increasing weight, will eventually without violence or alarm, disappear from' oil the land.” ‘
We feel no disposition to contend against the speculative possibility : the question requires too many concurrent data, to be made the subject of rational argument :and as to the abstractadvantages of an universal a.lphabet,they will he as readily granted by all men as those of an universal language.——All we would maintain is, that efforts should not be relaxed in spreading the blessings of education through the medium of the native languages and the native alphabets, in anticipation of the sudden and miraculous substitution of a type utterly foreign to the vast majority
Remarks on the Report of the First and Second Meetings, (1831 and 1832) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. By D. Butter, M. D., Surgeon, Bengal Establishment.
Four years ago, BABBAGE and Bnswsrnn sounded the alarm of “British science in danger 1" and well have the philosophers of England responded to the summons. The recent publication of this admirable report will constitute an important era in our history: it is indeed imposssible to calculate the full results of this organization of the scientific strength of the country. The plan adopted, of publishing an account, by the most competent associate, of the recent history and actual state of each department of science, is a signal boon conferred upon its admirers in all parts of the world, more especially upon residents in the more distant parts of the empire, where the original sources of such information are inaccessible. The peculiar excellence of these treatises consists in their shewing, upon good authority, flnd up to a recent date, the exact points where knowledge terminates and
ignorance begins; thereby indicating the most promising lines of investigation
for future explorers, and obviating all the useless and ungrateful labour of rediscovery.
Perhaps the most finished of these essays is Mr. Amv’s astronomy. He notes, as characteristic of its progress in England, during the present century, an exclusive attention to the perfection of instruments, and a ‘zeal for accumulating observations, which remain useless until they are reduced and applied by the expert and ingenious analysts of the continent. But how many thousands of these must be lost in their original form, for ever unknown to the skilful metallurgists, who could extract the valuable metal from this heap of ore! The public gratitude will not be withheld from those who thus sacrifice fortune, time, and health, to the comparatively humble toil of observation, and it will be long before the Baconian mode of seeking for truth can be undervalued; but surely there is a savour of ultraism in this blind devotion to the occupation of storing up barren facts, to the total neglect of moderate generalization. It should not be forgotten that, in nearly all the physical sciences, several of the most brilliant discoveries have been the result of happy guesses, which gave a new and infinitely more productive direction to the views of investigators. Astronomy, in short, is in want of what Lvnu. has so ably done for geology. Conclusions, bearing to each other the most striking relations of analogy, are allowed to stand as ultimate and isolated facts ; while by connecting them, not only would their own authenticity be more firmly esta. blished, but they would directly lead to others which might without this aid be unattainable.
Thus the recent annals of astronomy are full of scattered evidences of a con. stant process of uncompensated attraction, whereby nebulae are converted into stars, and separate stars converted probably into binary or multiple systems. Instead of regarding the proper motion of the stars as merely the result of the universal law by which they all tend to approach one another in times inversely proportional to their respective masses, and to the squares of their respective distances, even the enlarged mind of Sir JOHN Hnnscrinn has been employed in a fruitless attempt to shew that the only real change of this kind now in progress is the mutual approach of our sun and Hercules, and that the proper motions of other stars are merely a perspective appearance occasioned by their being situated at very difierent distances from our system. There can be no doubt that many of them depend upon this cause; but this attempted restriction of a universal law to a single case is a retrograde step in generalization, and an admitted failure. It seems, on the contrary, highlyprobable that all the stars of the greater magnitudes are approaching our sun in nearly right lines, and are destined, millions of ages hence, to form multiple systems with our sun, and some of the stars in the constellation of Hercules; whence would arise the necessity of a new creation of organized beings, fitted to exist in the temperatures which would be produced by this new order of things. The complication of attractions to which each star is exposed during this accelerated approach must render the case of actual collision between any pair of them a very uncommon occurrence; instead of impinging upon, they will pass each other, and will thenceforth revolve in ellipses having their common centre of gravity in one focus. That such a process of condensation is going on, we have not only the evidence of the otherwise inexplicable apparent separation of the stars of Hercules ;—-the rest of our nebulais undergoing the same change, themilkyway visibly “breaking up,” as Sir W. Hanscanr. expressed it, in many places into similar detached groups. This is the unavoidable result of the subjection of a finite universe of moveable bodies to the law of gravitation, uncompensated by any projectile force acting tangentially to the radius of the system.
The precipitation of meteoric stones upon the earth is,in all probability, another cpnsequence of inadequately restrained gravitation. The cloudy form in which they first appear in the heavens, the light and detonation which precede their fall, and the ignited and occasionally simi-fluid state which they immediately afterwards present, all go to prove that, until their immersion in the earth’s atmosphere, and their subjection to its pressure, these bodies existed in a gaseous form, and were cometary satellites of the earth, invisible when at a great distance, by reason of the smallness of their size. It seems therefore reasonable to conclude, that in the event of any portion of a great comet being drawn within the sphere of the earth's attractions, the result would be a precipitation of meteoric dust, and stones of various magnitudes, from the smallest aerolite up to the largest meteoric blocks, such as have been found in Greenland and on the plains of Russia and America.
A cause, which will accelerate the fall of these bodies, especially of those which confine their gyrations to one sun or planet as a focus, is the long doubted, much ridiculed, but now universally acknowledged nrrrna of Sir Isnsc Nnwron, whose bold and fortunate conjectures regarding the existence of this medium, and the combustibility of the diamond, will ever be remembered, among the proudest triumphs of the human intellect. By opposing to the projectile force of these vapoury masses a continual resistance, greater‘ perhaps the nearer to the sun and planets, their centrifugal force will at last he so far weakened that collision with a sun or planet must ensue. As meteoric dust and stones have in all ages fallen upon the earth, so will the comets of Encxn and BIELA, now entangled within our sun’s exclusive? attraction, be finally thrown upon that luminary: the chances of their striking a planet or even approaching so near to one as to sutfer a deflection of course, which would again throw them out of the solar system, are too minute for calculation. That the dense planets themselves and their satellites similarly suffer a constant retardation, constantly approach their foci, and would in time come in contact with them, cannot be doubted without calling in question the universality and equality of the law of gravitation; but their comparatively great inertia makes the change so slow as to escape observation, and the major axis of each planet’s orbit is practically considered as of invariable lengthi.
* Encxs’s comet has been observed to contract its diameter as it approaches the sun, whence it may be inferred that the etherial medium has there a greater density, occasioned by its gravitation to the sun, and consequently a greater pressure upon the gaseous mass of the comet, and a more powerful resistance to its motion.
1- It may be conjectured that many of the comets of immense period never have their perihelion twice round the same sun, but travel in azigzag course over‘ the whole extent of our nebula in the milky way ; their projectile force being always sufliciently great to carry them within the attraction of stars different from those where they had their last perihelia.
I The resistance of the ether must give an eccentric form to the earth’s atmosphere, and increase the pressure upon that side of the earth which is most forward in its orbit, The same resistance must tend to retard the earth’s revolution round its axis, but a
counter-balancing agent is here at work—the shrinking of the earth by cooling, which would have an opposite efl'ect.