The first known musical instrument

Archeologists have found a hollowed-out bird bone, into which was carved five finger holes and a mouthpiece, making a flute. Scientists dated it at more than 35,000 years ago, which means it was made in the last major ice age. It was found in a cave in Germany that contained wall paintings and sculptures. This link gives the story and also something to click so you can hear what it sounds like.

stone age flute

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s a link to the original online article in Nature, “New flutes document the earliest musical tradition in southwestern Germany” (Nicholas J. Conard, Maria Malina & Susanne C. Munzel, Nature, Advanced online publication, June 25, 2009).

    BTW, the music played on NYTimes link is not from a replica of the newly discovered bone flute, but rather a replica of a 3-hole ivory flute discovered in 2004 by Conard and shown in figure 2 of the Nature article.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s a link to the original online article in Nature, “New flutes document the earliest musical tradition in southwestern Germany” (Nicholas J. Conard, Maria Malina & Susanne C. Munzel, Nature, Advanced online publication, June 25, 2009).

    BTW, the music played on NYTimes link is not from a replica of the newly discovered bone flute, but rather a replica of a 3-hole ivory flute discovered in 2004 by Conard and shown in figure 2 of the Nature article.

  • http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/ wcwirla

    Strangely, this primitive flute was found next to a Kenny G recording.

  • http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/ wcwirla

    Strangely, this primitive flute was found next to a Kenny G recording.

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Rev. Cwirla,

    I know! Won’t that guy ever disappear?

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Rev. Cwirla,

    I know! Won’t that guy ever disappear?

  • http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/ wcwirla

    @Eric R.
    Please make it stop!

  • http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/ wcwirla

    @Eric R.
    Please make it stop!

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Rev. Cwirla.

    Maybe this will help… Every time I accidentally hear Kenny G. in some elevator or coffee house, I have to inoculate myself immediately by listening to some really hard-core jazz like Thelonious Monk (“Well You Needn’t”) or Dizzy Gillespe (“Manteca”). If I can’t manage to do that within a reasonable amount of time, then musically, the rest of my day is shot, which is not a good thing for a trumpet player.

    And if you haven’t read this anti Kenny G. tirade, do enjoy. The language is a bit rough, but if you don’t like his pseudo-jazz soprano sax stylings, this rant is definitely worth a read.

    http://www.saxon.com/stephen/pat-story.htm

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Rev. Cwirla.

    Maybe this will help… Every time I accidentally hear Kenny G. in some elevator or coffee house, I have to inoculate myself immediately by listening to some really hard-core jazz like Thelonious Monk (“Well You Needn’t”) or Dizzy Gillespe (“Manteca”). If I can’t manage to do that within a reasonable amount of time, then musically, the rest of my day is shot, which is not a good thing for a trumpet player.

    And if you haven’t read this anti Kenny G. tirade, do enjoy. The language is a bit rough, but if you don’t like his pseudo-jazz soprano sax stylings, this rant is definitely worth a read.

    http://www.saxon.com/stephen/pat-story.htm

  • Crypto-Lutheran

    It proves one thing: the western scale (in this case the Ionian mode being used on the flute) is not inherently “European” – it corresponds with the upper harmonic sequence dictated by the nature of acoustic physics. Next time some tries to blame the western musical scale as being culture-bound and euro-centric, show them the musical clip in the link. The Ionian mode is at least 35000 years old and used by primitives.
    CL

  • Crypto-Lutheran

    It proves one thing: the western scale (in this case the Ionian mode being used on the flute) is not inherently “European” – it corresponds with the upper harmonic sequence dictated by the nature of acoustic physics. Next time some tries to blame the western musical scale as being culture-bound and euro-centric, show them the musical clip in the link. The Ionian mode is at least 35000 years old and used by primitives.
    CL

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Eric R. #5, Thanks for the link – quite the rant! You’re a trumpet player? Me too, mostly at Easter – always wish there was a little quintet around that would let me play or practice with them. Oh well.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Eric R. #5, Thanks for the link – quite the rant! You’re a trumpet player? Me too, mostly at Easter – always wish there was a little quintet around that would let me play or practice with them. Oh well.

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Bryan

    Do you live near a university with a music program? You could find some of the non-music majors who want similar involvement. Go especially to the marching band in the spring because they will be more likely to want to have some kind of ensemble involvement. Might work; might not.

  • http://lionswardrobe.blogspot.com Eric R.

    @Bryan

    Do you live near a university with a music program? You could find some of the non-music majors who want similar involvement. Go especially to the marching band in the spring because they will be more likely to want to have some kind of ensemble involvement. Might work; might not.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    that’s a good thoughtful tip – in the spring, eh? We’ll see. Thanks.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    that’s a good thoughtful tip – in the spring, eh? We’ll see. Thanks.

  • Steve in Toronto

    For those Kenny G fans out there

    Cheers
    Steve in Toronto

  • Steve in Toronto

    For those Kenny G fans out there

    Cheers
    Steve in Toronto

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