Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Video: Music from a Neanderthal flute

Found by archeologist Ivan Turk in a Neanderthal campsite at Divje Babe in northwestern Slovenia, this instrument made from the femur of a cave bear is estimated to be 43,000-80,000 years old. The flute’s four finger holes seem to match four notes of the diatonic (Do, Re, Mi…) scale.   In the video, Macedonian musician Ljuben Dimkaroski plays a clay replica of the flute.

The prehistoric instrument does indeed produce the whole and half tones of the diatonic scale, so completely, in fact, that Dimkaroski is able to play fragments of several compositions by Beethoven, Verdi, Ravel, Dvořák, and others, as well as some free improvisations “mocking animal voices.”  Dimkaroski says that he figured out how to play the instrument in a dream.

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10 comments on “Video: Music from a Neanderthal flute

  1. erikleo
    April 7, 2015

    Extraordinary. To hear Ode To Joy played on a 60,000 old flute is moving beyond words!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theshammuramat
    March 31, 2015

    Reblogged this on theshammuramat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wjacobr
    March 16, 2015

    The fragment for Le Sacre du Printemps gave me a chuckle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Music from the ages | Jacob Russell's Magic Names

  5. bigstarlet
    March 16, 2015
  6. Jay
    March 15, 2015

    I would like to get a reproduction of this ‘flute’ myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Tieman
    March 15, 2015

    I read about the Neanderthal flute decades ago. I’ve always had an interest in ethnomusicology, and, when I went to play the notes clearly possible on the Neanderthal flute, I was transported by the fact that they were both diatonic and chromatic. I can still clearly remember the feelings I had, the intensity of the emotions, knowing that I was reproducing the very notes played so long ago. Whether or not the Neanderthal’s played Albinoni’s “Adagio” is another question. I like the way VP makes this — I think for most people — obscure bit of musicology accessible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael Simms
      March 15, 2015

      Thanks, John. Vox Populi is, as one reader put it, an “eclectic” mix of posts. We try to appeal to the imagination through poetry, music, and film. And we also try to have an ongoing discussion of political power and how it plays out in issues of the environment, law enforcement, race, and war and peace… The dialogue between imagination and power continues…

      Like

  8. Bud Johnson
    March 15, 2015

    Amazing how we’re all connect in fragments.

    Like

  9. kailashkatheth1
    March 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on kailashkatheth1's Blog.

    Like

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This entry was posted on March 15, 2015 by in Art and Cinema, Music and tagged , , , , , , , .
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