Music in ancient Egypt was an important aspect of their culture.The Ancient Egyptians developed a unique form of music and instruments that are still in use today.
According to Egyptian mythology, the deity Thoth was the true creator of ancient Egyptian music, which was employed in the underworld by the god Osiris.
Musical instruments in Egyptian civilization
The ancient Egyptians used many types of musical instruments, including string instruments like the Herb and guitar, and wind instruments like the flute and Mizmar.
In ancient Egypt, full bands of musicians and dancers were composed in order to play at the feasts and religious ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians knew the musical scale, which consists of five tones.
Music and singing in ancient Egypt had great importance since the 1st dynasty in 3400 B.C.
The high priests and kings paid great attention to music because of its role in religious life, as it was used in the prayers, rituals, and hymns.
The music in ancient Egypt gained a lot of appreciation because the priests were responsible for this type of art.
The Old Kingdom’s musical life
The inscriptions and sceneries were the first to reveal a great deal about music in ancient Egypt, including how it was played and sung.
The complexity of constructing musical instruments at this extremely ancient age is shown in these inscriptions.
During the 5th dynasty ,The hand-signs of singing first arose d; the performer would put his left hand behind his ear and his right hand on his chest to make his voice stronger; this sign is still in use today.
On the walls of temples, there were also inscriptions with the names of composers and singers. Names like these belonged mostly to the palace’s artists. Women, as well as males, had the right to work as singers and songwriters.
The Middle Kingdom’s Ancient Egyptian Music
The sceneries and inscriptions on the temples and tombs reveal that the musical system in middle Egypt, including religious and amusement music, was similar to that of the Old Kingdom, with the exception of a few musical instruments, such as the harp.
Couples were the distinctive feature of a musical band in the period. As a guy played the harp with a singing lady, or as a man played the flute with a woman playing the harp, The number of vocalists changed with time. The harp was the preferred instrument of the ancient Egyptians.
The harp was involved in prayers, rituals, and delivering offerings at temples in ancient Egyptian music, and it also played an essential part in joyous social occasions, since it brought joy and gladness to the listeners.
The lyre was also introduced during this time period and became a symbol of ancient Egyptian music. At the time, the musical band had a leader who stood in the midst of the band and did not play any instruments.
Sometimes the band had two leaders: one to manage the players with his hands and the other to modify the beat using his hands, snapping fingers, or hitting his knees.
Ancient music in the New Kingdom
The temple became a whole metropolis of culture, science, education, employment, and rituals as the number of temples multiplied, their territory became greater, and the lifestyle inside these temples became more varied.
Music had a significant role during this time, as it is a vital aspect of religious rites.
The involvement of Asian people in the sphere of ancient Egyptian music and singing was due to diplomatic contacts between Egypt and other nations and the exchange of gifts such as odalisques and prisoners in the New Kingdom.
There were two musical bands in the pharaohs’ palaces during this time: Egyptian and Assyrian bands. The sorts of musical instruments utilized by those Asiatic people, as well as their way of playing, are depicted in the New Kingdom inscriptions.
Music in ancient Egypt FAQs