Souls of the Singing Dead

Souls of the Singing Dead

Marius Schneider (1903– 82), the Alsatian musicologist and ethnologist observed that in the indigenous cultures where music is still used as a magical force, the making of an instrument always involves the sacrifice of a living being. That being’s soul then becomes part of the instrument, and in the tones that come forth from it the ‘singing dead’ who are ever present with us make themselves heard. He’d heard that in times of war and conflict the dark powers of the instrument were called forth, and the singing masters of the wood would call to the daemons who would scatter the enemy in fear and trepidation. Others that at night in the depths of the great forests the night demons would be brought forth to ride the winds and howl among the tents of the sleeping enemy infecting them with such fear and dread that the men would kill each other till all were dead.

Legends of the Makers: Musical Instruments through the Ages

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