The critics agree in holding that this piece was made on occasion of the duke of Kâu's completing his instruments of music for the ancestral, temple, and announcing the fact at a grand performance in the temple of king Wăn. It cam hardly be regarded as a sacrificial ode.
There are the blind musicians; there are the blind musicians; In the court of (the temple of) Kâu. 1
There are (the music-frames with their) face-boards and posts, The high toothed-edge (of the former), and the feathers stuck (in the latter); With the drums, large and small, suspended from them; And the hand-drums and sounding-stones, the instrument to give the signal for commencing, and the stopper. These being all complete, the music is struck up. The pan-pipe and the double flute begin at the same time 1.
Harmoniously blend their sounds; In solemn unison they give forth their notes. Our ancestors will give ear. Our visitors will be there;--Long to witness the complete performance.
323:1 The blind musicians at the court of Kâu were numerous. The blindness of the eyes was supposed to make the ears more acute in hearing, and to be favourable to the powers of the voice. In the Official Book of Kâu, III, i, par. 22, the enumeration of p. 234 these blind musicians gives 2 directors of the first rank, and 4 of the second; 40 performers of the first grade, 100 of the second, and 160 of the third; with 300 assistants who were possessed of vision. But it is difficult not to be somewhat incredulous as to this great collection of blind musicians about the court of Kâu.
324:1 All the instruments here enumerated were performed on in the open court below the hall. Nothing is said of the stringed instruments which were used in the hall itself; nor is the enumeration of the instruments in the courtyard complete.