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Showing posts from July 30, 2012

Music in Ancient Egypt

Although music existed in prehistoric Egypt, the evidence for it becomes secure only in the historical (or "dynastic" or "pharaonic") period--after 3100 BCE. Music formed an important part of Egyptian life, and musicians occupied a variety of positions in Egyptian society. Music found its way into many contexts in Egypt: temples, palaces, workshops, farms, battlefields and the tomb. Music was an integral part of religious worship in ancient Egypt, so it is not surprising that there were gods specifically associated with music, such as Hathor and Bes (both were also associated with dance, fertility and childbirth).
All the major categories of musical instruments (percussion, wind, stringed) were represented in pharaonic Egypt. Percussion instruments included hand-held drums, rattles, castanets, bells, and the sistrum--a highly important rattle used in religious worship. Hand clapping too was used as a rhythmic accompaniment. Wind instruments included flutes (double…