In memoriam

Mahmoud Effat


This project is dedicated to three people now missing without whom it would not have been born. They are Dr. Ahmed Kadry, Mahmoud Effat and the father Abraham Ragheb. Dr. Ahmed Kadry has been the very nice chairman of the Organization of Egyptian Antiquities for several years, Mahmoud Effat, a talented professional musician Egyptian player of nay (Eastern flute), and Abouna Abraham a priest who embodied far better than piles of erudite books the astonishing continuity of an oral tradition in Egypt, from Antiquity till today.


Sounds of ancient Egypt 

They are the original sounds of ancient musical instruments belonging to the collections of the museums of Cairo and the Louvre. Improvisations carried out on some of the instruments have been added to this collection of sound samples. The recordings took place in three times:

In October 1987 with the museum of the Louvre, in November 1987 and 1991 with the Egyptian museum of Cairo.

The third series of recordings, realized with the museum of Cairo in 1991 around S.E. Professor Fathi Saleh, is described in detail in the communication made with the Congress of Egyptology of Turin in September 1991 which is reproduced on the site.

As for the recordings of the Louvre, they were carried out with the authorization of Mr. de Cenival and under the responsibility of Mrs. C Ziegler. Christiane Ziegler who is today the general curator of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre is the author of the Catalogue des instruments de musique égyptiens1 of the museum. She helped and took part, with the egyptologist Pierre Grandet and the "sound designer"Jacques Lennoz, in attempts at reconstitution of musical moments of pharaonic Egypt2 .

The recordings took place in the showrooms of the Egyptian collections of the museum, as well as in a small side room being used as reserve. Dominique Maurin, player of nay, pupil of the Master Aka Gündüz Kutbay, prepared the wind instruments and played with some.

Philippe Pelet, composer, musician and computer scientist played the percussion instruments.

The recording equipment was the following: Nagra 4/2, 38cm/s, micro M160 and M88.

Recorded Instruments:

Wind instruments:
Nay N 1463, Double clarinet N 1714 a-b, Double oboe N 1447 a-b, Oboe? Does E 5404 have, Hautbois E 5404 C, Double aulos? E 10962 a and b, Aulos E 11747.

Percussion instruments:
Castanets: E 12220 b, N 1474, E 628, E 18561 and E 18562, E 22282 b (ivory)., Bells: E 11925., Small bell: SN 17., Crotales: 205095 b, E 15095 b, E 12567 a, E 13548, E 12568 a, AF 6875., Cymbals: AF 616, N 1444., Sistrum: E 22262.

The recordings of November 1987 carried out in the Cairo museum were it with the authorization of Dr. Ahmed Kadry, president of the Organization of Egyptian Antiquities, and under the responsibility of Dr. Mr. Mohsen, general manager of the Cairo museum.

The recordings took place in the showroom of the first floor of the Museum where is the main part of the musical instruments, as well as in one room of the reserves.

Mahmoud Effat, who has been introduced in the above-mentioned communication of Turin, played the flutes/nays and Jacques Lennoz played the percussion instruments.

The recording equipment was identical to that used in the museum of the Louvre.

Recorded instruments:

Wind instruments:
Flutes/nays: 69819, 69824.

Percussion instruments:
Bells: 69251 a and b., Cymbals: 69251 a and b, 69255 a and b., Handbells: 69277, 69280., Beating sticks: 692050 a and b, 69237 a and b.

(1) Les instruments de musique égyptiens au Musée du Louvre, Christiane Ziegler, Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris 1979 [Retour]
(2) If this site arouses interest in its visitors, some documents resulting from this period of research will be presented there later on.


Sound environments of ancient Egypt

Musical data processing allows, via a sampler, a master keyboard, a sequencer and a recorder to listen to many original instruments at the same time. Tests were carried out in this direction, of 1987 to 1990, at the time of the above mentioned attempts at reconstitution of musical moments of already pharaonic Egypt. Voices were added to the instrument samples and were meant to give an account of some assumptions on the possibilities of vocalization of the old Egyptian.

During stays in Egypt, after having noticed on several occasions acoustic qualities of certain places in the ancient sites, Jacques Lennoz carried out there in 1994 and 1997 some tests of vocal recordings.

Among these places: Khons' temple in Karnak, Horus' temple in Edfu, the vaults of Sesostris I in Karnak and Amon-Re in Medinet Habu, the tombs of Thutmosis III and Rekhmire in the theban necropolis, the "red pyramid" of Snefru in Dahchour, Abydos' Osireion.

All these documents were to be used, from 1987, for the elaboration of sound environments conjuring up very freely ancient Egypt. The only ambition of these musical recombinings is to allow another presentation of existing materials.

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