Me: As King approached the village, he could hear music in the distance.
HTM: It was when he turned back from the river that King heard the music. It was swamp music, primitive as the creeping of dark, secret creatures through tangling vine and sucking morass. It was a music as old as creation, old as the Nile, the mourning sob and keen and arpeggio of a people despised and rejected since time began. In mud huts in the shadow of the palaces of the Pharohs, in the reeking deeps of slave ships, the moan and timbre and ululation of it would have been the same, the melodic plaintive heartbreak of a homeless people.....
I would never think to use words like arpeggio and ululation. They are not part of my everyday vocabulary.
This is from a small book called "After The Glory", written by Helen Topping Miller in 1958. It takes place in Tennessee, and tells the story of a family & a community in the months following the end of the civil war - reconstruction, in other words. It was a pretty rough time for most people, no matter what their station in life. As is always the case, it was rougher on some than others. The music the character was hearing was coming from a community of recently freed slaves.
I'm not sure if this book would be classified as great literature, it's certainly inconsistent with it's use of dialect, in my opinion, and is no threat to the likes of John Steinbeck or Mark Twain, but its well above my capabilities. It tells an interesting story, and I thought that was a neat passage, an interesting way to describe a person approaching a small village, worn out by war.