Monday, January 5, 4314

Egyptian Old Kingdom (2686 BC) - Clarinet

Egypt is a country in North Africa. The Sinai Peninsula is part of Egypt, but forms a land bridge to Asia. Covering an area of about 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,660 sq mi), Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. The northern coast borders the Mediterranean Sea; the eastern coast borders the Red Sea.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 80,300,000 live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited.

Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.

In Egyptian mythology, the Ogdoad (Greek - the number eight) were eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, dated between 2,686 to 2,134 B.C. First it was a cult having Hathor and Ra; later changing to a cult where Hathor and Thoth were the main deities over a much larger number of deities; and even later, Ra was assimilated into Atum-Ra through a merger with Atum of the Ennead cosmogeny.

The eight deities were arranged in four female-male pairs, the females were associated with snakes and the males were associated with frogs: Naunet and Nu, Amaunet and Amun, Kauket and Kuk, Huh and Hauhet. Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the female goddess from the male god in a pair; indeed, the names of the males are merely the male forms of the female name. Essentially, each pair represents the female and male aspect of one of four concepts, namely the primordial waters (Naunet and Nu), air or invisibility (Amunet and Amun), darkness (Kauket and Kuk), and eternity or infinite space (Hauhet and Huh).

Together the four concepts represent the primal, fundamental state of the beginning, they are what always was. In the myth, however, their interaction ultimately proved to be unbalanced, resulting in the arising of a new entity. When the entity opened, it revealed Ra, the fiery sun, inside. After a long interval of rest, Ra, together with the other deities, created all other things.

Egyptian music has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians credited the god Thoth with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world.

[Egypt - Zummara Improvisation]

Thoth was considered one of the most important deities of the Egyptian pantheon, often depicted with the head of an Ibis. His feminine counterpart was Seshat.

His chief shrine was at Khemennu, where he led the local pantheon, later renamed Hermopolis by the Greeks (in reference to him through the Greeks' interpretation that he was the same as Hermes).

He was considered the heart and tongue of Ra as well as the means by which Ra's will was translated into speech.

He has also been likened to the Logos of Plato and the mind of God.

In the Egyptian mythology, he has played many vital and prominent roles, including being one of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat.

He has further been involved in arbitration, magic, writing, science, and the judging of the dead.

The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predyanstic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes, and double clarinets were played.



The term double clarinet refers to any of several woodwind instruments consisting of two parallel pipes made of cane, bird bone, or metal, played simultaneously, with a single reed for each. Commonly, there are five or six tone holes in each pipe, or holes in only one pipe while the other acts as a drone, and the reeds are either cut from the body of the instrument or created by inserting smaller, slit tubes into the ends of the pipes. The player typically uses circular breathing.

Double clarinets are found primarily in Middle Eastern music, but also in India; there are different versions and names in different countries. In Yemen, the double clarinet is called a mizmār (a word used for other types of instruments in other countries). More common terms are zamr, zammāra, arghūl, and mijwiz. The first two of these names have the same linguistic root as mizmār.

In Albania the instrument is called a zumare. It has five holes in each pipe, and a bell.

In Egypt the instrument is known as a zummāra. Both tubes are about thirty to thirty-five centimetres long; one may have four to six holes while the other has none and acts as a drone, or both can have holes. Its range is very limited, about a fourth.

The arghūl is primarily an Egyptian instrument, having a melody pipe with five to seven holes and a longer drone pipe without holes. It occurs in several sizes. In one specimen the melody and drone pipes are about 80 and 240 centimetres long, respectively, though the drone has removable sections to alter its pitch.

The Iraqi double clarinet is also called a zummāra, although this term also is used for a single-tube simple clarinet. It is similar to the Syrian mijwiz.

In Morocco and Tunisia the instrument, called zamr, has a single or double bell. The Moroccan instrument has six holes in each pipe. The Moroccan mizmār or zamr rīfī is over 100 centimetres long, again with six holes in each pipe, ending in two bull's horns.

The double clarinet in Syria, western Iraq, Lebanon, northern Israel, and Jordan is called a mijwiz. It is about thirty centimetres long, typically with six holes for each tube. Melodies are played in unison on both pipes, often with one pipe tuned slightly higher than the other to produce acoustic beats.

The Yemeni instrument is called a mizmār. It is attached to the player's mouth using a muzzle.

In Italy, the Sicilian zampogna bagpipe, also called a "ciaramedda," is additionally referred to as a "doppio clarinetto" (double clarinet), because of its two equal length single reed chanters.

Double clarinet might refer to an organ stop, also known as the bass clarinet or bass clarionet. ("Double" is here used in the old-fashioned sense of a double-length and hence lower-pitched version of an instrument, e.g. "double bassoon" meaning contrabassoon.)

Concertos for two clarinets are known as double clarinet concertos.

[Egyptian New Kingdom / 4314 Egyptian New Kingdom / Huang-Ti]