How early men introduced music making with flutes in Europe some 40,000 years ago

Stephen Nartey November 23, 2022
Bone flute. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Cangminzho

The flute was made from the bone of a griffon vulture, with five incisions creatively-made holes to allow for air to generate beautiful melodies. This was an attempt by prehistoric men who migrated from Africa to Europe to entertain themselves after a hard day’s work.

The griffon vulture flue was discovered at the cavernous halls of the Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura mountain range of southwestern Germany which had been buried for tens of thousands of years. This is evidence of the early men from Africa’s disposition to music some 40,000 years ago before their exodus to Europe and other parts of the world, according to Kassa Flutes.

The baggage of prehistoric men had the flute when they were migrating some 40,000 to 45,000 years from Africa through the corridors of the Danube River valley to Hohle Fels cave. This finding is considered the oldest musical instrument linked to early African men which gives an insight into their life and cultural innovations.

The age of the flute was arrived at after it was subjected to radiocarbon dating of the fragments of the griffon vulture bone and other artefacts. The researchers indicated that the flute is one of the earliest inventions of prehistoric men when it comes to the development of musical instruments.

Flutists Historians indicate that for such an innovation to be spearheaded 40,000 years ago requires an understanding of the capacity and skill of early men to develop such a complex musical instrument. It begs to wonder why it became necessary for flutes to be made, and where they developed the knowledge from at such an early period in history.

The researchers say these findings require an in-depth understanding of the early inventions centering on flutes, the quality of sound they produced and the ambiance they evoked when played. There is the possibility that because the flute is a universal instrument that is why it was adopted in many cultures and it is easy to play to generate a harmonious sound that reverberates with everyone present.

The mystery of early flutes lies in how a feature as key as air can evolve into beautiful musical tunes. The historians find it intriguing how prehistoric men could make use of their knowledge of fragments such as wood, bone and air to create something as essential as music for their relaxation and comfort.

The flute is a basic musical instrument, but, when one does not follow the natural laws of its creation, it will produce bad sound. It is an embodiment of its creation with regard to shape and design that allows air through to produce sound waves and musical notes.

Historians argue that, from afar, a flute may appear quite simple, but the art and crafting it to generate melodies sound is no walk in the park. It is a complex science that requires an understanding of its complicated physical properties to establish what sound it will produce once it is finished.

Without following the rules of flute making in terms of the tube’s diameter to its length, shape and angles of the blowhole, the carver is bound to produce an instrument that is the best fit for decoration and not melodies.

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