Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I can hear trumpets!

One of the stranger things found in Tutankhamun's tomb - at least from my point of view, which regards canopic jars and amulets as perfectly ordinary - was a trumpet. The Egyptians left us many pictures of musical instruments, often guitars or a percussion instrument called a sistrum, but I don't recall seeing many trumpets. It's probable that the item was actually a signalling device used in battles, rather than a musical instrument. If so, that'll make what's coming up next sound a little less weird.

tutankhamun trumpet

There were actually two found in the tomb, a silver one and a bronze one. They were tuned differently. People being what they are, they were determined to play them to see what they sounded like. The silver trumpet was played on BBC radio in 1939, using a modern mouthpiece, whereupon it promptly split apart. The bronze trumpet survived being played in 1939 and in 1941, the last time without a mouthpiece inserted. Of course, there's no available recording of the 'real' trumpet. The general consensus was that the trumpets made poor musical instruments are were probably used rhythmically in their mid-range for signalling purposes.

In the folder named trumpet here, you can listen to or download an mp3 of Bandsman Tappern sounding the crap out of the silver one, just before it split. Unfortunately, being a bandsman, melody is not his strong point. Since that may be what the instrument was originally intended for, I suppose I can't complain. Shame we don't have one of the guitars.

Egyptian Guitar

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin
I sometimes mention a product on this blog, and I give a URL to Amazon or similar sites. Just to reassure you, I don't get paid to advertise anything here and I don't get any money from your clicks. Everything I say here is because I feel like saying it.