The oldest musical instrument in the world | Classical music
In 2009, an ancient flute, believed to be the oldest musical instrument in the world, was discovered in a cave in Germany. Made from vulture bone, the instrument dates back to when humans began to colonize Europe, around 33,000 BC. The discovery by a group of scientists led them to believe that humans played music much earlier than previously thought.
Fragments of three flutes were discovered in the Hohle Fels cave in southwestern Germany by a team from the University of Tübingen. The nearly complete vulture bone flute is 20cm long, has five finger holes and v-shaped notches that would have served as a mouthpiece. Scientists believe that the instrument would have been held like a recorder, but the player would have blown on it like a flute. The other two flutes unearthed by archaeologists are made of ivory, thought to come from mammoth tusks.
The discovery of flutes suggests that music was an important part of everyday life for early modern humans. And playing music may have helped maintain beneficial social networks, perhaps helping to explain why modern humans survived while the Neanderthals they coexisted with died out.
“Music was used in many kinds of social contexts: maybe religious, maybe recreational – much like we use music today in many kinds of contexts,” says professor Nicholas Conard from the university. from Tubingen to BBC News. “Modern humans who came to our region already possessed a whole range of symbolic objects, figurative art, representations of mythological creatures, many types of personal ornaments and also a well-developed musical tradition.”
Top image by Getty Images