Listening to the Music of Ancient Sumer


(Video Link)


Philip Neuman, Gayle Stuwe Neuman, and William Gavin are three musicologists who have reconstructed music from ancient societies and performed them in front of living audiences. Their Ensemble De Organographia, as the group calls itself, used remnants of Sumerian musical notations to make the above recording.

Link via Geek Dad

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Uh, pure speculation. There is no way to know how their music sounded. You cannot reproduce the instruments. We may see illustrations in Sumerian artwork but we have no real way of guessing what sounds they made.

I guess some people have to make a name for themselves somehow, even if it's all make-believe.

Sigh.
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About 30-years ago, I attended the concert (I believe at UC Berkeley) where a musician played the first one on a harp. It had just be deciphered from one or more cuneiform tablets by linguists and was big news at the time. These guys are just playing the published sheet music.
Number 1 with a slingshot.
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@iandberg:

Bear in mind that Sumer's civilization declined a good 2000 years before Pythagoras, who -- through his exploration of ratios -- was considered the inspiration for Western music theory sensibilities. (Pythagoras supposedly lived about 500 BCE.)

Sumer was also about 2800 miles away from Greece, which was a bit of a backwater in those days.

Anyhow, a lot can happen in 2000 years, is all I'm sayin'. The Sumerians had some very different ideas about life, the universe, and everything than the Greeks of Pythagoras' day.
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Hmm - I was reminded how the interval of the third wasn't accepted by Western ears until the Middle Ages. Hearing thirds in this selection could mean these early societies were ahead of the trend.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_(music)#Consonant_and_dissonant
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