The Earliest Musical Instrument is 35000 Years Old

I can’t help it, from time to time I get excited by some story that reminds of my former and first enthusiasm for science… Sometimes I get hooked on a TV show, a reading, a website or a blog that get my full attention for a science news! When this happens, I get so excited that I drop almost everything to go for some digging and more related-news hunting! Even the urgent tasks are postponed!! Thank you Factran from the Manufacture Française d’Harmonie de Précision for bringing this news to my attention… ArrrRRRrrrgh…

So, on June 24, Professor Nicholas Conard from the University in Tuebingen held a press conference to show what is considered as the oldest musical instrument made by humans. A 35000 years old flute carved in a bird bone that they found in a cave in South Germany!

flute0235000 years!! A 22 centimeter long flute with 5 holes!! 5 holes for 5 notes… Does this mean that they were using the pentatonic scale?!? I don’t know about that, as I didn’t get my hand on the original article and as the article I’m referring to doesn’t give the information. However, they made a copy of the flute to play it, and they did some recordings of songs such as the Star Spangled Banner. If some of you can bring some highlights on the harmony underlying this song… Feel free to leave a comment!

35000 years!! Music as human activity is probably older than this assessment, but this discovery is an evidence for a complex and well established musical culture and technique 35000 years ago! Right in the Homo sapiens and the Homo neanderthalensis overlapping period… Which species built this instrument? The authors of this research work seems to bet on our sapiens ancestors though the admit that this is because of the lack of evidence for the alternative hypothesis. A sort of educated guess or a gut feeling…

Well, of course this is not comparable to the level of modern instruments crafting… But wow… 35000 years!!

As Factran said to conclude his post…

I wish I could hear some prehistoric humans sing!!

You bet I would too my friend…

The Associated Press via La Manufacture Française d’Harmonie de Précision

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

One comment

  1. Oui, pourquoi le Star Spangled Banner ?
    Peut-on faire des dive-bombs avec, voilà la vraie question.

    Intéressant en tout état de cause.

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