Ancient Egyptian Music By: AR

Essay by AnnaB6n6n6High School, 12th grade May 2005

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For many centuries, ancient Egyptian music has been played on a minor pentatonic scale, with five full tones. As time went by however, Egyptian music began to change due to the foreign invasion that brought Egyptians into contact with the Asiatic culture. During the third century BCE, the Greeks settled in Delta, and had an even greater impact on Egyptian music than the Asiatic culture. One such example is, Pythagoras, who developed music theory based on mathematics.

Among the very first instruments used in ancient Egypt were the flutes. Originally, these flutes were made of two parallel pipes and were called double flutes. However later on, the pipes were separated and set at an acute angle. One of the other inventions in wind instruments occurred in the second century BCE, when Alexander Ctesibios invented the hydraulic organ. This was an instrument that delivered air to the organ pipes by water pressure.

Since the Old Kingdom, harps were triangle or arc-shaped and developed from the hunting bow. The harp players were of both sexes and usually played the instrument sitting or kneeling. At this point in time, harps had eight to ten strings and the wood that they were made from was often decorated. As time went by, the number of strings on a harp increased and the quality of the sound boxes improved. Although harps with columns were still rare at this time, they were played at various ceremonial events along with other instruments such as rattles and double pipes. Another string instrument promininet in ancient Egyptian music was the lute. This was made from a small flat-sided box with six or eight holes and a long neck. The lute had four strings and was classified as a guitar because of its curving sides and flat back.

Percussion instruments were...



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