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30 Day Music Meme: Day 19

Day 19: A song you're currently obsessed with

I wouldn't say 'obsessed with', but definitely I am intrigued by my next choice, catalogued as "Ancient Egypt - Music In The Age of the Pyramids - Hymn To The Seven Hathor" on YouTube. I have no idea how accurate this reconstruction is, but if it comes anywhere near what ancient Egyptian music sounded like then I'm completely blown away by it. To think that 3,000 or more years before Gregorian chant was (re)invented, people already knew how to practise polyphonic choral singing! And the scales and rhythms sound so close to our own, too! I don't know why, as I've never really thought about it, but if I had I probably would have thought that it would have been more closely related to current North African and Middle Eastern (Arabic) music where one tends to sing on the offbeat more than in the West...and embroiders a lot. But this is very diffent from that, and very beautiful.



Jun. 21st, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like this a lot.

I know I haven't been commenting,but this is a very interesting meme.
Jun. 21st, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Isn't it amazing? I had no idea musicologists could reconstruct music going this far back in time.

That's okay, comments aren't always required ;-) It's a fun meme, though.

I heard about the Buncefield verdict just the other week; I couldn't believe it'd been 5 years already since you gave us your eye witness report. You showed me the site a year later; it was still a shambles then, has it been redeveloped since?
Jun. 21st, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
Somehow, beautiful though it is, it's not quite ringing true to me though. It sounds later than I would expect, maybe Byzantine. But then I know nothing, I'm probably very wrong.

I'm sure there are some people directly affected by Buncefield that are happy, but the area has moved on, no one has said a thing about it. Having said that, there's been repair work and some building here and there, but in the main it looks much the same as when you saw it. One of the burnt out warehouses is even still up!

We have a nice commemorative sculpture though: http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=5741
Jun. 22nd, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
Somehow, beautiful though it is, it's not quite ringing true to me though.

Well yes, that's exactly what I think. I have no idea what the music of ancient Egypt should sound like, except that from the extant texts we know there to have been cymbals, sistrums, and some kind of harp-like instrument involved; but as I tried to convey in my post, the rhythm, melody and polyphony sound far more medieval to me than anything else (and I am quite familiar with medieval music). So I don't know...but I do like it.

A nice commemorative sculpture? Nice to see the council having their priorities in order! We had a similar thing happen in the Netherlands a few years earlier, when a fireworks factory exploded, only it was worse as it obliterated a residential area and happened on a Sunday when most people were at home; the area was redeveloped, rebuilt and regenerated in no time and the commemorative plaque wasn't installed before the last surviving resident had moved back in.
Jun. 22nd, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
I think the money for the sculpture is coming from a different place and companies have to be willing to site themselves next to the depot. Jobs are the main issue, but then there are empty building all over the estate.

This music sounds like it's supposed to be sung somewhere that resonates like a cathedral. Maybe the temples of Egypt had the same quality, I don't know, but weren't these temples spaces limited to a male priesthood?

Jun. 22nd, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
No, there were priestesses in ancient Egypt, too; some of very high status even (the ḥm.t nṯr n ỉmn, or Great Adoratrice of Amun, e.g.). And there are still a few depictions of both male and female musicians and singers on some of the remaining temple walls.

Egyptian temples do consist of dark, lofty, closed-in spaces that would resonate like a cathedral...so it's not too difficult to imagine them doing so with ceremonial song at certain times of the day or month or year. But despite anyone's best efforts, I don't think we'll ever know for certain what those songs sounded like exactly. For one thing, even if since Champollion we've learned to read ancient Egyptian, there's still no consensus on how the words were actually pronounced.