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The earliest Early music?

Emma B 24 Jun 09 - 01:34 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 01:37 PM
Emma B 24 Jun 09 - 01:40 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 01:42 PM
Emma B 24 Jun 09 - 01:45 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 01:46 PM
Tug the Cox 24 Jun 09 - 02:12 PM
Jack Campin 24 Jun 09 - 02:19 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 24 Jun 09 - 03:32 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 07:13 PM
Sandra in Sydney 24 Jun 09 - 07:41 PM
Jack Campin 24 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM
Peace 24 Jun 09 - 08:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jun 09 - 05:07 AM
GUEST, Sminky 25 Jun 09 - 05:34 AM
Tug the Cox 25 Jun 09 - 05:42 AM
SteveMansfield 25 Jun 09 - 06:02 AM
Ernest 25 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM
wysiwyg 25 Jun 09 - 01:09 PM
Ernest 25 Jun 09 - 01:21 PM
Jayto 25 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM
GUEST, Sminky 26 Jun 09 - 05:21 AM
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Subject: The earliest Early Music?
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:34 PM

'Archaeologists reported Wednesday the discovery last fall of a bone flute and two fragments of ivory flutes that they said represent the earliest known flowering of music-making in Stone Age culture.
They said the bone flute with five finger holes, found at Hohle Fels Cave in the hills west of Ulm, was "by far the most complete of the musical instruments so far recovered from the caves" in a region where pieces of other flutes have been turning up in recent years.

A three-hole flute carved from mammoth ivory was uncovered a few years ago at another cave, as well as two flutes made from wing bones of a mute swan

Although radiocarbon dates earlier than 30,000 years ago can be imprecise, samples from the bones and associated material were tested independently by two laboratories, in England and Germany, using different methods. Scientists said the data agreed on ages of at least 35,000 years old.

The most significant of the new artifacts, the archaeologists said, was a flute made from a hollow bone of a griffon vulture, skeletons of which are often found in these caves. The preserved portion is about 8.5 inches long and includes the end of the instrument into which the musician blew. The maker had carved two deep, V-shaped notches there, and four fine lines near the finger holes.'

From Stone Age Flutes Are Window Into Early Music
- in todays NY Times


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:37 PM

Were the flutes able to make a scale of some sort? That is, is there any indication that the people understood math?


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:40 PM

From the same article

'Friedrich Seeberger, a German specialist in ancient music, reproduced the ivory flute in wood. Experimenting with the replica, he found that the ancient flute produced a range of notes comparable in many ways to modern flutes. "The tones are quite harmonic," he said.

A replica is yet to be made of the recent discovery, but the archaeologists said they expected the five-hole flute with its larger diameter to "provide a comparable, or perhaps greater, range of notes and musical possibilities." '

I guess that's a tentative 'yes'?


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:42 PM

Wow.

I expect you're aware Emma that there is a mathematical precision to the construction of instruments. It would be interesting to hear the notes that the five-hole instrument makes.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:45 PM

Peace, the reproduction was played briefly on the BBC news programme this evening, I don't know if this is available on listen again but I'll check


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:46 PM

Thanks, Emma.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:12 PM

You need to know any maths, just have a goos ear. because these things can be explained mathematically, and maths used to replicate them, ot does not follow that their design was originally mathematical.
   Englisg academics scorned vaughan Williams when he reported collecting folk songs in Dorian Mode. How could peasants understand the niceties of Modal singing? Cart before the horse or what?


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:19 PM

Were the flutes able to make a scale of some sort? That is, is there any indication that the people understood math?

There's no reason for a scale to involve any particular mathematics. Most flutes are made empirically, and the scale patterns used on them vary enormously - some are deliberately designed to not even play octaves, others play in a different scale from the singers and other instrumentalists in the same group at the same time. This even in quite technically sophisticated cultures. You can't conclude a thing from the natural scale of these flutes, even if you can work it out (which I am dubious about).


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM

And THAT is what I would like to know. Was it math, was it by ear, meaning in the case of a basic flute a question of trial and error until the note was found, etc.

Guys, relax. I wasn't trying to be 'pedantic'. Please don't you be.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 03:32 PM

I make bamboo flutes by burning the holes quite randomly; each flute has it's own voice, scale, harmonic possibility and random musicality which forces one to think outside the box. It also fucks up, quite nicely, the dominion of the tempered scale which is mostly bullshit anyway and a total compromise with respect of 'the math'. Do check Harry Partch for more on this; first time I heard one of his pure thirds I nearly wept a the resplendent beauty of the thing!


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:13 PM

Indeed. I am aware that all scales have their own beauty--and that all scales can be explained mathematically.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:41 PM

Pic & Story - 'Oldest musical instrument' found

Bone Flute Is Oldest Instrument, Study Says


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM

Just because you can measure something doesn't make the process of making it mathematical. An example: the gamelans of Indonesia. They use two different types of scale, neither of which has any pure intervals except octaves, and when a new one is made the tuning is chosen *not* to be exactly the same as any other known gamelan - making a copy is regarded as insulting to the model, so the maker introduces a random variation of both scales into every new one made. To make it even weirder, the flutes that play along with gamelans are never tuned the same way as the percussion (not even close).

With the amount of shrinkage you'd get in bone over 30,000 years, and the variability in pitch you can get with any small flute by changing embouchure and breath pressure, there's no way anybody could get any clear idea what scale a Palaeolithic flute was played in.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Peace
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 08:22 PM

Right. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:07 AM

and that all scales can be explained mathematically

Using maths to explain musical scales is rather like using chemistry to explain cooking or biology to explain sexual-intercourse - which is to say interesting up to a point, but way off when it comes to the actual experience of the thing.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:34 AM

Apparently, analysis of the earliest known human skulls reveals that our earliest ancestors were quite capable of singing.

Some archaeologists believe that song may have been used before language.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:42 AM

Still is, babies 'sing' their language before speaking it. French babble and English babble sound quite different.


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 06:02 AM

There's a recent (2005) book on the subject available through your retailer of choice:

Steven Mithen, The Singing Neanderthals.

I remember feeling it sometimes made some fairly large assumptive leaps on fairly flimsy evidence, but it's an interesting read, and no paleontological expertise is required.

I'd love to read a similar account of the earliest days of instrumental music but I guess (apart from rare evidential finds like the OP) that would be even more speculative ...


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Ernest
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM

Judging from the place where it was found this flute is from the famous "Hohler" brand.

If they would dig somewhat closer to a place called Trossingen they would probably have turned up with a bone harmonica!

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 01:09 PM

I believe the term "Early Music" has already been assigned, musicologically, to another time period.

There is also another thread running on this-- combine?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Ernest
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 01:21 PM

There are 3 threads already....one for Neanderthals, one for Cro-Magnon and the third for Australoptheci?

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: Jayto
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

The Aussies have my vote for the "real" folk lol


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Subject: RE: The earliest Early music?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 05:21 AM

Just out of interest - anyone know how old the Didgeridoo is?


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