New discovery: Humans playing the flute for at least 35,000 years

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posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 12:34 PM
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Carved flutes dating back some 35,000 years were discovered during a dig last summer at an Upper Paleolithic site in southwestern Germany, making them among—if not the—oldest documented musical instruments, reports a study published today in Nature (Scientific American is part of the Nature Publishing Group).

These flutes, from the Early Aurignacian period, show that there was "a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe," write the study authors from the University of Tübingen. The most complete, five-holed flute is made of bone from griffon vultures and is about 8.6 inches (21.8 centimeters) long. Other flute fragments are ivory.

www.scientificamerican.com...

Yet more compelling evidence that our ancestors where much smarter than generally believed.

Creating and playing a flute requires some level of skill that most humans even today would not be able to do.

Surprise, surprise.



[edit on 24-6-2009 by warrenb]




posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 12:39 PM
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Now this is just amazing! I would assume that the first real instruments where two bones struck together as a percussion device....but to have FLUTES that are 35,000 years old is totally amazing!



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 12:54 PM
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KUDOS on this. S&F for you. I have long been a proponent of the Lost History theory that states we have advanced and declined in the tech tree many times over the years but that most of it is lost.

I would say this is another step along the line to proving that. A musical instrument, especially one that plays in good pitch, indicates an understanding of math and abstract concepts, at least on a nacent level. I would have to wonder if perhaps this is from the beginnings of the prior age of man?



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 12:57 PM
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Wow a flute 35,000 years old and grain bins 11,000 years old on another thread..............



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by warrenb
 
Hiya, your threads tend to have a focus on proving that our earlier ancestors were intelligent and adaptable to technology. Have you noticed that everyone that replies already accepts that information? This isn't a criticism, just an observation that you're 'preaching to the converted.' Personally, I'm always happy to see A&LC getting new and interesting threads.

Flutes and instruments have been known about for some years. The Neanderthal 'flute' fragment is dated to around 35kya also. Despite the possibility that the holes are teeth marks, I favor the flute identification. There's a VERY extensive article that involved reconstructing the 'flute'...NEANDERTHAL FLUTE Oldest Musical Instrument's 4 Notes Matches 4 of Do, Re, Mi Scale. I'll be honest, I don't know enough to know what it was, I just prefer the flute idea.

There's a fairly interesting paper about whether Neanderthals and early humans sung...it makes the interesting point about rhythm...


Among singing primates, rhythm is unique to humans (Geissmann, 2000). As we explain next, this signature feature of music could be accounted for by a correspondingly unique aspect of human territorial defense and a consequent group-analog of sexual selection.
Did Neanderthals and Early Humans Sing?

It's hard to imagine how the first guys made the connection between blowing through an old bear leg bone and then drilling holes to make notes. Sound and music would be very important during 'downtime' and probably helped to unite populations. I read recently that some areas in caves we used have a higher amount of red ochre in areas of higher resonance. They could have been humming or chanting in the same way as medieval monks in churches.

One thing I'd bet the farm on is that their tunes were fairly awful! I'm thinking a warm up by infants in recorder practice at school



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 01:21 PM
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Oh snap. Thats fantastic, thanks for that.

I am now thinking that bones are very important in a sense of a conduit of subtle energy forces ( with which interaction by humans, I believe kickstarted human evolution around 35,00 years ago). Are bones good instruments so to speak? I am just thinking in terms of the organisations of the molecules relevant to reverbarations etc...



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
It's hard to imagine how the first guys made the connection between blowing through an old bear leg bone and then drilling holes to make notes.


a guy notices one day that a hollow reed makes a sound when the wind blows across it that can be heard far away, he does a little bit of experimentation and finds that he can blow across the top to get the same sound. some other guy works out that different sounds can be made by covering or uncovering a hole in the stem. someone else figures out that a range of sounds can be made by making extra holes. someone else realises that his reed keeps getting broken and he could make a stronger one from wood or a hollow bone.......



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by warrenb
 


Interesting article. I do think that music and singing are very old indeed. Whales and other creatures do a form of singing, so why should it be considered relatively new?



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
It's hard to imagine how the first guys made the connection between blowing through an old bear leg bone and then drilling holes to make notes. Sound and music would be very important during 'downtime' and probably helped to unite populations. I read recently that some areas in caves we used have a higher amount of red ochre in areas of higher resonance. They could have been humming or chanting in the same way as medieval monks in churches.


This is explained for me by what I mentioned earlier, the exaplantion that turned humans from being just like all the other animals, to being a species that developed culture art and music seems to be altered states. And altered states are intrinsically linked by vibrational changes of sound and instruments and geometric shapes and composition.

Do you think that this could be the case? Or that humans just started to get more intelligent?



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by Majestic23
 
There's a lot of theories about how we became more intelligent than our primate cousins and everything else. One of them is 'the Great Leap Forward,' that suggests there was a gene mutation that swept populations and appeared around 50kya. It's probably the most widely accepted theory. Others think that we simply developed by trial and error. I prefer the latter idea. We've been using tools for ten times longer than the 50kya date. We've had communication for even longer...the advent of sophisticated language would be a massive help to our survival. It's just hard to say if it was a sudden development or gradual...

This site is worth a look and has video, narrative etc...Atlas of the Human Journey. It helps to get an idea of the ages it took for us to develop and migrate across the lands.

I think our distant ancestors were planning ahead, using tools and communicating very early. We aren't alone in using tools or planning ahead...monkeys and chimps exhibit all this behavior...



Monkey tool usage: Monkey tool usage: Hammer and Anvil

Notice that they use tools and plan ahead by having piles of stones to throw at the jaguar.



It might just be a matter of time before we see footage of chimpanzees with rhythm!

reply to post by pieman
You're more than likely right. Observation and experience combine to create the flute. Everything we know was an idea someone had that appealed to everyone else...

EDIT to add link for YT being awkward


[edit on 24-6-2009 by Kandinsky]



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 02:57 PM
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Hey, that flute sure would go quite well with my mini-movie transcript.

Mind if I borrow it for a sec?

Basically, it's about how early Man used musical instruments to send the aliens underground.

link here



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 04:17 PM
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post removed because the user has no concept of manners

Click here for more information.



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 06:17 PM
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We underestimate our ancestors, they were just as smart as we are, if not more so. I don't know where this sudden boom in technology came from, nor where the sudden boom resulting in civilized Europe came from, but I don't think it takes 35,000 years to figure out how to harness energy. We've done this all before



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 06:21 PM
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I think that we will continue to find hints of human society further and further back in time, possibly up to 150 thousand years. I also believe that the pyramids and sphinx and possibly other megaliths are much older than we think they are.



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


I think you hit on an interesting idea. Yes, they had musical instruments...but were they to make pretty music, or for another purpose? Let me explain...

The red ochre in the caves was used to signify areas where specific sounds were achieved. Like a resonant type of harmony was created with a drum beat or something, and was used by the shaman to enter a trance like state so he could do whatever it was he was doing (seeing the future, for example).

The rhythmic pounding is known to induce a trance, and specific rhythms work better, especially depending on the resonant frequency created in each specific area.

So, my thought is, would these flutes, etc, possibly been used in the same way? Could spiritual use have been the Genesis for musical capability?

I would be interested to see the frequencies that these instruments were playing at. What notes, etc?



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 06:33 PM
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I was likely a percussionist for a few lifetimes and collect drums, but we also collect primitive and handmade flutes. Not counting the very professional instruments we have. My wife is a concert classical oboist, english horn and flutist. She teaches kids too.

Thanks for a heads up. She will find this a perfect historical note to pass on to her young padawan's.



ZG



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 06:52 PM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
reply to post by Kandinsky
 


I think you hit on an interesting idea. Yes, they had musical instruments...but were they to make pretty music, or for another purpose? Let me explain...

The red ochre in the caves was used to signify areas where specific sounds were achieved. Like a resonant type of harmony was created with a drum beat or something, and was used by the shaman to enter a trance like state so he could do whatever it was he was doing (seeing the future, for example).

The rhythmic pounding is known to induce a trance, and specific rhythms work better, especially depending on the resonant frequency created in each specific area.

So, my thought is, would these flutes, etc, possibly been used in the same way? Could spiritual use have been the Genesis for musical capability?

I would be interested to see the frequencies that these instruments were playing at. What notes, etc?


I might agree. My wife and I studied early music and the ancient shamanic uses since university in the 80's. We studied the "Raga" as a transforming musi-gen.

I might have read about early flute, but mostly drumming trances induced through rhythmic redundancy. Flutes do regulate breathing in the playing, and as such can alter the users awareness through that, but I don't have direct reference for the flute in altering states of consciousness.

Remember the myth of the Pied Piper?

A good book on the subject is "Through Music to the Self"by Peter Michael Hamel. He talks about masters on Tablas coming down from the hills and playing to huge crowds, eliciting profound emotional and transformative states and reducing hundreds to tears from the shear mastery and amazing drumming. You never hear recordings of this. These are shamans /yogi musicians who shun such meaningless fame. They play for spiritual connections and are unmatched masters.

In the Indian culture such musical art is a spiritual path and practice. The same for flute and other instruments there in a correctly educated society.

I can only imagine what a connected spirit can do with a flute. Rampal would dim in comparison. No lack of respect for Rampal, just the intent is more my flavor of choice.

ZG



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 07:36 PM
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I don't really care how long we've been playing the flute. It's a simple minded stupid instrument. How long have we been playing the guitar for?



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 08:38 PM
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This is really interesting. I'm sure they had a bunch of different but similar instruments. I'm also one of the believers that civilization is much older than commonly accepted and I'm sure that sound plays a vital role then and now. I know that there are frequencies and sounds that will give me a headache or make me sick. I'm sure they used sound for a plethora of different reasons and I've heard of the "healing alchemy frequencies," although I don't know much about that. If reincarnation is real though, now I know exactly why I was planted first chair flute for 5 years of band. It just came naturally, lol.



posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


I remember the original article in "nature" about the neanderthal musical instruments, there wasnt only a flute but several other items that may have been musical as well.
There is a reeally good documentary, i think it was called "the history of music" hosted by stewart copeland of "The Police".
he travelled around the world in search of the origins of music, and he visitid a place in kenya? where there is a huge iron/nickle meteorite sticking out of the ground. The thing is big, the size of a small building and for eons people have come to it to bang on it and make music.
There are spots on it that correspond to different tones, and they have been pounded on so long there are divots in the iron/nickle of the meteorite. It was a preety cool sight to see a couple of dozen people sitting on the rock banging away at it making music
One of the other things i learned is that rythym based music has its origins in africa, compared to asian music which is tone based.





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