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History & Heritage


The Egyptian Museum in Cairo celebrates World Music Day!

This Monday, June 21, the whole world was celebrating music day! In Egypt, if most of the population was dancing in the streets, the Cairo Museum decided to honour the traditional and historical instruments used in ancient Egypt. A look back at a grandiose exhibition…

Musical instruments from the past … 

This museum had only one objective in mind when it came to participating in the music festival: to design one of the most beautiful exhibitions of musical objects specially selected to tell the story of music in ancient Egypt.

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There were three predominant genres of music in ancient Egypt: celebratory music, funeral music and music of everyday life. These three genres are represented in our exhibition” said museum curator Shreen Amin. 

Throughout the exhibition, the museum presents different types of well-documented instruments from ancient Egypt, including a number of percussion, string and wind instruments that have been uncovered over the decades. 

The exhibition, which has 22 pieces in total, also includes flutes of various sizes, a sistrum (a percussion instrument originating in ancient Egypt) and an ancient form of zills (called sagat in Arabic), which are small cymbals played by striking two fingers against each other.

To artistic works commemorating music… 

But that’s not all! To go further and learn more about ancient Egypt, the museum also wanted to showcase all sorts of items made from different materials and decorated in different artistic styles such as amulets. 

In the exhibition, you can see amulets in the shape of people wielding musical instruments, and we have included an example of each of the most important instruments used in ancient Egypt.” 

Historically, amulets were symbolic pieces that people took with them to the afterlife. “Each amulet was supposed to preserve some aspect of a person’s life after death,” explains Amin.

To all traditional music lovers, go for it!

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Published on 23 June 2021