Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/130

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

l'Atlantique Septentrional et project d'un Service Télégraphique International relatif à cet Océan, Copenhagen, 1880 (Study of the Storms of the Northern Atlantic, and Project for an International Telegraphic Service relative to that Ocean); "and up to the very last" says Nature, "he never ceased to use his utmost efforts for the establishment of a meteorological telegraphic service with America, via the Faroes and Iceland"

Besides enjoying the honors and positions already named, Hoffmeyer was Secretary of the International Polar Commission; an honorary member of the Royal Meteorological Society of London; and Danish Commissioner to the Fisheries Exhibition, in London, in the summer of 1883. While performing the duties of the last position, he complained of great weakness of the heart. He had suffered from occasional attacks of rheumatic fever; was ill for some time in December of the same year; and was finally attacked in January, 1884. He continued to work at the duties of his position, whenever he was able, till the last. His biographer, in Nature, says that, "to all who knew him, the memory of his eager readiness to assist fellow-workers, the urbanity of his manner, his joyous nature, and the unusual warmth of his friendship, can not but awaken the keenest feelings of regret for his early death."


Dr. J. Walter Fewkes exhibited to the National Academy of Sciences, at its recent meeting in New York, specimen reproductions of Indian sounds and mnsic obtained by means of the phonograph. Some of the Indian languages are becoming extinct; the sounds of some can not be satisfactorily represented by any system of transliteration. The phonograph affords the only good means of preserving these. Cylinders were displayed containing records which the author had obtained last summer among the Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine and the Zuñis of New Mexico. From the former he had got sacred songs, religious rituals, folklore, and counting-out rhymes. Many of these will perish with this generation, for they are known to a few only of the older men. From the Zuñis he obtained in the phonograph their ancient religious rituals and formulas, their prayers, their songs at the corn-dance and other festivals, and their war-cry, which were reproduced for the benefit of the Academy. A difference was noticeable in the reproduction of the songs of the Passamaquoddys and of the Zuñis. Major Powell and Prof. E. S. Morse were of the opinion that the former was the music of one who had come in contact with civilization, while the latter was that of the aboriginal savage. The difference was in the intervals. It appeared by Dr. Fewkes's statement that the Maine Indians had been to a school and had learned from some "Sisters." The scale of Indian music, like that of the Zuñis, Major Powell said, can not be reproduced on our common staff, for they have intervals of one tenth, and even one twentieth. The Zuñi music had a sort of monotonous basis, broken by a succession of sharp sounds. Sometimes the movement was rapid, sometimes it was slower, but the essential characteristic was the monotone with lugubrious and unearthly variations.