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instrument

Detail of a hurdy gurdy

Hurdy Gurdy Man: Rock Star of the Medieval Music Scene

The hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument, or more precisely, a string instrument, that traces its origin to the Middle Ages of Europe. The hurdy gurdy was initially used to play sacred music, before...
https://www.ancient-origins.net/users/ed-whelan

Ancient Tattoo Tool Rewrites the History of Native American Ink

A Ph.D. student has made an astonishing discovery - the earliest known Native American tattoo artifact. It is estimated that it is 2000-years-old and came from the very important Basket-maker II...
The reconstructed Bull’s Lyre.

A Bull-Headed Lyre: Reconstructing the Sound and Style of Ancient Mesopotamia

A musician may have strummed its strings all the way back in the 3rd millennium BC. This means that the Bull’s Lyre, aka the Golden Lyre of Ur, is one of the oldest string instruments in the world...
An ancient mouth harp found in the Altai Republic of Russia.

This Musical Instrument Still Works 1,700 Years After a Hun Nomad Crafted it!

The nomadic musician looked fondly upon the latest of the completed instruments – a mouth harp carefully crafted by splintering the rib of a cow, or was it a horse? No matter, the sound it made when...
Gerard van Honthorst's 1623 painting ‘The Concert.’

Band Posters of the Renaissance: How Medieval Music Fans Showed off Their Taste

Tim Shephard / The Conversation Did you once put a poster of your favorite music artist on your bedroom wall? Are there a few faded gig T-shirts in your bottom drawer? Have you ever bought an LP or...
The Mysterious Lithophones of Vietnam: Descendants of the First Musical Instruments?

The Mysterious Lithophones of Vietnam: Descendants of the First Musical Instruments?

The word ‘lithophone’ is derived from two Greek words, ‘lithos’ and ‘phone’. The first can be translated as ‘stone’, whilst the second means ‘sound’. Therefore, a lithophone may be said to be a ‘...
Sweet Ancient Melodies of the Ney: One of the Oldest Musical Instruments Still in Use

Sweet Ancient Melodies of the Ney: One of the Oldest Musical Instruments Still in Use

For proof that the ney (also spelled nay) is one of the oldest musical instruments still in use, you need look no further than the great Sumerian city of Ur. Archeologists have found the delicate...
Carnyx from the recently discovered Tintignac group.

The Carnyx: Ancient Trumpet Leading Celtic Warriors to Battle

The carnyx is an ancient musical instrument that best-known to have been used by the Celts during the Iron Age. Between 300 BC and 200 AD, the carnyx was used in many parts of Europe. In the ancient...
Ancient Irish Musical History Found in Modern India

Ancient Irish Musical History Found in Modern India

An archaeologist studying musical horns from iron-age Ireland has found musical traditions, thought to be long dead, are alive and well in south India. The realization that modern Indian horns are...
The Mystical Pentatonic Scale and Ancient Instruments, Part I: Bone Flutes

The Mystical Pentatonic Scale and Ancient Instruments, Part I: Bone Flutes

One of the ancient technologies that is often overlooked is the creation of musical instruments. The purpose, development and in some cases the techniques used to develop music remains a mystery...
A traditional imzad instrument, made by local craftswomen and played only by women.

Reviving the Music of their Foremothers: A Traditional Tuareg Instrument for Women Makes a Comeback

A traditional stringed gourd instrument of the Tuareg people in Africa, played only by women because of the threat of a curse upon men who play it, is making a comeback. Only two women were known to...
“Tourist art” bullroarer decorated with a kangaroo design.

The Bullroarer: An Instrument That Whirls Through Cultures and Time

Music is believed to have been made by human beings since prehistoric times. Paleolithic tombs suggest that one of the earliest and longest-surviving artifacts that can be called a ‘musical...
Mayan Music: A painted image of a file of Mayan musicians playing rattle, ocarina, and trumpets while a theatrical scene goes on.

The Music of the Maya: Mysterious whistles Confound Experts

Music has held a special role in human society for thousands of years. In ancient China, for instance, sets of bronze bells were played for entertainment and ritual purposes at court. The...
Aztec ritual human sacrifice portrayed in the Codex Magliabechiano

Aztec Death Whistles Sound like Human Screams and May Have Been Used as Psychological Warfare

When odd, skull-shaped grave items were found by archaeologists decades ago at an Aztec temple in Mexico, they were assumed to be mere toys or ornaments, and were catalogued and stored in warehouses...
600-year-old astronomical sketch

600-year-old astronomical sketch brought to life in fully functional model

A 600-year-old astronomical document is now moving into the modern era, with a symposium at the Whipple Museum titled ‘The Equatorie of the Planetis: Manuscript, Models, and Digitisation’ on 28 th...