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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. 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.