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The discovery of the world's oldest musical instrument -- a 35,000-year-old
flute made from a wing bone -- highlights a prehistoric moment when the mind
learned to soar on flights of melody and rhythm.
Researchers announced last week in Nature that they had unearthed the flute from
the Ice Age rubbish of cave bear bones, reindeer horn and stone tools discarded
in a cavern called Hohle Fels near Ulm, Germany. No one knows the melodies that
were played in this primordial concert hall, which sheltered the humans who
first settled Europe. The delicate wind instrument, though, offers evidence of
how music pervaded daily life eons before iTunes, satellite radio and Muzak.
The Flutists of the Caves

All told, the researchers have found eight flutes of the same Ice Age vintage
at three different caves in the region. "It is becoming completely clear that
music was a normal part of life then," says archaeologist Nicholas Conard at the
University of Tubingen, who led the research team. "They must have clapped and
danced and sang."
Parrots dance to the beat. Sex-starved mice sing for love, new research shows.
But true music, from rap to Rachmaninoff, is a unique human invention that
resonates in us all, striking neural chords of memory, emotion, motor control,
timing and meaning -- and transforming us in ways that scientists are only
beginning to understand.

Scientists have new evidence that human ancestors were making music 35,000 years
ago with the discovery of what they believe is the world's oldest instrument.

Some of this information comes from The Wall Street Journal, P.A9, and some from the BBC news and other news channels.


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Thank you for the post Inda.

This is truly an amazing discovery. I never thought that humans had the ability to play a musical instrument so long ago.The craftmanship is also incredible, considering what simple tools they had at their disposal.

There is more information here

AFP/DPD – Prehistorian historian Nicholas Conard presents the bone flute from Hohle Fels to journalists in the … by Marlowe Hood Marlowe Hood – Wed Jun 24, 1:39 pm ET
PARIS (AFP) – Stone Age humans may have ripped raw meat from the bone with their teeth but they also played music, according to a study reporting the discovery of a 35,000-year-old flute, the oldest instrument known.

Found in the Ach Valley of southern Germany, the nearly intact five-hole flute was meticulously carved with stone tools from the hollow wing-bone of a giant vulture, says the study, published Thursday in the British journal Nature.

Fragments from three ivory flutes unearthed at the same site, along with nearby instruments not quite as old, suggest that humans who had then only recently migrated to the Upper Danube enjoyed a rich musical culture.

And a stunning female figurine from the same period found only a couple paces from the bone flute, reported last month, points to a broader artistic flowering.

Indeed, the area within the cave that yielded the flutes reveals a veritable artist's atelier.

There is debris from the flint tools used to chip the instruments; traces of worked bone and ivory from mammoth, horse, reindeer and bear; and burnt bone, one of the ingredients -- along with minerals, charcoal, blood and animal fats -- used by Stone Age humans for cave painting.

"We can now conclude that music played an important role in Aurignacian life in the Ach and Lone valleys," commented Nicholas Conard, a professor at the University of Tubingen and lead author of the study.


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Thank you for your replies.
This little musical instrument is really unique.

Conard unearthed the new finds last year, including several flutes of ivory and bone. One of these was found in 12 separate pieces, but once they were recovered and united, the insturment proved to be remarkably complete. It was so beautifully preserved that we can even work out its source - its maker fashioned it from the arm bone of a griffon vulture, a large species with long bones that make for good wind instruments.

The flute is just 8mm in diameter and has five finger holes along its 22cm length. Around each hole, there are up to four precisely carved notches, which Conard thinks were measurement markers that told the tool-maker where to chip an opening. Two deep, V-shaped notches were also carved into one end, which was presumably where its maker blew into to make sweet, prehistoric music...

...That strongly suggests that the humans who lived in the ancient Ach valley had a rich musical life. Judging by what we've discovered so far, musical traditions appeared at about the same time as many other innovations such as figurative art and new styles of personal ornaments - remains of these too have been recovered from the German sites.
Last edited by Inda
Great topic! Thanks Inda and all! Kiss

from: Boston Globe

954 wrote:
Intersting article. I'll bet that the prehistoric peoples and their flutes would have loved Benny Goodman.
I'll also bet what these prehistoric peoples played on their flutes was better than much of the primeval "music" we hear today with pounding beats, obscene lyrics, and no hint of musical talent.

Just because I never leave my computer, are you calling me a cave man?

Love and lightness, Teom Aaah Doggy Laughing

Have the heart of a gypsy, and the dedication of a soldier -Beethoven in Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Thanks Teo.
You are absolutely right

I'll also bet what these prehistoric peoples played on their flutes was better than much of the primeval "music" we hear today with pounding beats, obscene lyrics, and no hint of musical talent.

Rater than evolving we seem to be de-evolving in many ways.

Enjoy the music


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Thank you yogionefromobie.

I suppose there are reasons not to blow on the original item. It gives a new meaning to old music.

Blowing on the original item would shatter the old music to bits. This might also produce a new and))))))) ear-piercing sound(((((((, not unlike some of the present day music.
Last edited by Inda

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