In times of drought the Guanches drove their flocks to consecrated grounds, where the lambs were separated from their mothers in the belief that their plaintive bleatings would melt the heart of the Great Spirit.
The music, vocal and instrumental, is generally of little compass, and in the minor key; it is therefore plaintive, and strikes a European ear as somewhat monotonous, though often possessing a simple beauty, and the charm of antiquity, for there is little doubt that the favorite airs have been handed down from remote ages.
In this way, although the ancient ballads are not forgotten, new words are also fitted to the plaintive folk-tunes (fados) which every farm-hand knows and sings, accompanied sometimes by a rude clarinet or bagpipes, but more frequently by the so-called Portuguese guitar - an instrument which resembles a mandolin rather than the guitars of Italy and Spain.
From the tents came now loud angry cries and now plaintive groans.
The plaintive moan of reproach was drowned by the threatening and angry roar of the crowd.