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Fragments of Science.

Pre-Columbian Musical Instruments in America.—In a recent article in the Popular Science Monthly u(November, 1898), entitled Was Middle America Peopled from Asia? I insisted that if there had been any invasion, peaceful or otherwise, sufficient to have affected even in the slightest degree the arts, customs, and religious beliefs of middle America, then, associated with these influences, we should find traces of Asiatic utensils, implements, structures, such as sandals, weapons, pottery, wheels, plows, roofing tiles, etc.; in other words, just those objects most intimately associated with man. I especially considered the absence of stringed musical instruments and coincided with Dr. Otis T. Mason in the belief that there was no evidence of a pre-Columbian stringed musical device. This question has been variously discusssd and the following references bear on the subject: A short note in the American Antiquarian for January, 1897, by Dr. D. G. Brinton, entitled Native American Stringed Musical Instruments. The author frankly admits, however, that the cases cited may all have been borrowed from the whites or negroes. Mr. M. H. Saville in the American Anthropologist for August, 1897, described A Primitive Maya Musical Instrument, though he makes no pronounced statement of its pre-Columbian origin. Dr. Mason, in the American Anthropologist for November, 1897, discusses the question under the title Geographical Distribution of the Musical Bow, and in this paper says, "I have come to the conclusion that stringed musical instruments were not known to any of the aborigines of the western hemisphere before Columbus." In my paper I insisted that "had this simple musical device been known anciently in this country, it would have spread so widely that its pre--