Sunday, August 5, 2012

Playing the Neanderthal Bone Flute Music

Image via Wikipedia
The Divje Babe flute is said to be the oldest musical instrument we know of, although this is somewhat controversial.  I guess that it's not surprising that there's rather a lot of uncertainty regarding Neanderthal artifacts.

The flute is thought to have been fashioned from the femur or a cave bear.  The bone was clearly fashioned by man - no other animal leaves this sort of mark.  It took skill to put these holes in the bone without splitting it.  There is considerable speculation and controversy over the spacing of the holes, and whether it fits any recognizable musical scale.

To me, the speculation is, well, speculation.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating, after all, and the proof of the flute is in the playing.  The music here is modern, of course - the Neanderthals left no known musical inscriptions.  This recording is not the Divje Babe flute itself which is safely ensconced in a museum in Ljubljana, Slovenia/

But it is music played on a reconstruction of the flute, and it sure does sound like a flute.  What ancient man played for music, and whether this was religious or for pleasure, whether it accompanied ancient tales told around the fire - alas, no reconstruction can ever tell.


No comments:

Post a Comment