Saturday, October 13, 2007

Not quite so contemporary music

Many of you will be familiar with the archaeological work done by Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur, Mesopotamia, in 1929. Among his findings were a lyre and pipes from the time of the patriarchs which were deposited in museums at Baghdad and Philadelphia. My understanding is that the lyre was partially damaged during the American invasion of Iraq.

This video is an interesting duet between the reconstructed lyre of Ur and some reconstructed silver pipes found in the same grave. It gives us an idea what the music of Ur may have sounded like 4500 years ago, in the time of Abraham.

The video was made to support the Lyre of Ur project at


Steve said...

Here's a good tip: watch the video to the end and then click on the "related videos" links at the bottom to hear the sound of a lyre from King David's time.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Steve....but I think I would rather listen to the bagpipes - but even better - Robin Mark or Sons of Korah!!

Steve said...


I was actually thinking that the sound of the pipes was remarkably similar to a chanter (the part of the bagpipes which plays the melody), and watching the video I noticed that the fingering was similar, as were the grace notes. Of course, that could simply mean that the person playing the pipes from Ur was influenced by celtic music/instruments. No one knows for sure how instruments from Ur were actually played as the cuneiform tablets don't include musical notation.