Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Could all the drum-circle guys be wrong?


Could it be that the first instrument was not a drum, but actually a flute? And does that mean that the first reaction to music was not to shake one’s ass but to nod gently and meditatively, Carradine-style? Or since it was in Germany, would it have been more like Krautprog?

At least 35,000 years ago, in the depths of the last ice age, the sound of music filled a cave in what is now southwestern Germany, the same place and time early Homo sapiens were also carving the oldest known examples of figurative art in the world....

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 the wing bones of a mute swan. In the same cave, archaeologists also found beautiful carvings of animals.

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