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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Only with the Beluch instrument the oscillations are slower


After

travelling in Persia, where one climbs down a good deal in one's ideas of luxury and comfort and is glad to put up even in the most modest hovels, it seemed to me quite the zenith of luxury and comfort to set foot inside a real whitewashed rest-house, with mats on the floor and a fire blazing in a real chimney. News had come that I should arrive that afternoon, and the levies with the _Jemadar_ in their best clothes all turned out to receive me, which involved considerable hand-shaking and elaborate compliments, after which I was led into the room that had been prepared for me.

Said Khan, who has been employed by the Government to look after the postal arrangements and other political work on the Persian side of the frontier, was also here parading with the others, as can be seen in the illustration.

Said Khan was a tall, intelligent, black-bearded, fearless person, wearing a handsome black frock-coat, a mass of gold embroidery on the chest, and a beautiful silver-mounted sword--which, by the way, he wore in a sensible fashion slung across his shoulder; with his well-cut features, strong, almost fierce mouth, finely chiselled nostrils and eagle eyes he was quite a striking figure.

The _Duffadar_, who stood on his right hand, had a most honest and good-natured face, and he, too, looked very smart in his uniform, cartridge bandolier, silver-handled sword and Enfield rifle. His

men were also armed with this rifle which, although of old pattern, is very serviceable.

With the exception of Said Khan, the people represented in the illustration formed the entire stationary male population of Robat, but some small black tents could be seen in a gully a little way off inhabited by nomad Beluch.

On hearing that I was much interested in music, the _Duffadar_, who was a bit of a musician himself, arranged a concert in which all the local talent took part. On this and many other later occasions I heard Beluch music and singing and saw their dancing, and as I also heard a good deal of Persian music while in Persia I daresay a few words upon the music and dancing of the two countries will not be out of place. In many ways they are akin.

A large instrument called the _Dumbirah_ or _Dambura_--something like an Italian mandola--was produced which was handsomely carved and inlaid in silver. It had three strings, two of which were played as bass; on the third the air was twanged in double notes, as the thumb and first finger are held together, the first finger slightly forward, and an oscillation is given from the wrist to the hand in order to sound the note twice as it catches first in the thumb then in the first finger. The effect obtained is similar to that of the _Occalilli_ of Honolulu, or not unlike a mandoline, only with the Beluch instrument the oscillations are slower.

The movement of the favourite Beluch melodies resembles that of a Neapolitan tarantella, and these airs are generally more lively than melodies of most other Asiatic people. Endless variations are made on the same air according to the ability and temperament of the musician. The notes of the two bass strings of the instrument are never altered, but always give the same accompaniment on being twanged together with the violin string on which only the actual melody is picked out.


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