Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Ankh: Sound of Ancient Egypt
Genres: World Music, New Age, Pop
The catalyst for Ankh: The Sound of Ancient Egypt was an exhibition - Life and Death in the Land of the Pharaohs, developed by the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, The Netherlands. The exhibition came to the Au... more »
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The catalyst for Ankh: The Sound of Ancient Egypt was an exhibition - Life and Death in the Land of the Pharaohs, developed by the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, The Netherlands. The exhibition came to the Australian Museum in 1998. It provided the challenge of producing a creative reconstruction of ancient Egyptian music and the inspiration for a longer term research project.The first stage of the project began with a response to the contents of the exhibition itself, followed by a delving into the ever-increasing output of Egyptological scholarship, to establish a broader musical context. The big questions loomed large: what did the music sound like? How were the instruments tuned? Was the music polyphonic? One must proceed by conjecture and deduction, using the literary and visual record in conjunction with an examination of surviving instruments. The answers remain elusive, mainly gleaned from instruments housed in museums, along with iconographic and literary evidence. There is no surviving music notation, nor any musical theory which might instruct one about pitch, rhythm and timbre.In approaching the composition and performance of the music, Michael Atherton drew on his experience in playing medieval monophony, eastern European and Turkish folk music, as well as his participation in intercultural music projects.Atherton primarily uses 5, 6, and 7 note scales based on specific pitches, resulting in a combination of Moroccan ramal mai mode and Persian afshari. He also gravitates toward pentatonic scales and major modes. The melodies move in small steps. The setting of the hymns is monophonic, with the inclusion of call and response development. Sung items include interpolated recitations, as a means of acknowledging a deep connection between language and music.Ankh: The Sound of Ancient Egypt is a contribution to giving a voice to the vivid images of a dynamic musical culture.
Could Have Been Done Better
Christina Paul | Anamosa, IA USA | 06/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Atherton's "Ankh" is a good showcasing of the instruments of the ancient world - however the vocals leave alot to be desired. Although he uses "ancient Egyptian" words in the spoken chants and singing in some of the songs, his choice of vocalists is incorrect for the subject matter. In short they sound far too "Western". The vocalists were far better suited to hymns with the Sunday Choir in a cathedral than in the columned halls of Ancient Egypt. Had Atherton used vocalists with a touch more passion and ethnicity, along the lines for example of Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance(Soundtrack for Gladiator) or Azam Ali ofthe group Vas, this album would have worked."
Overall Very Excellent!
Christina Paul | Anamosa, IA USA | 02/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Atherton did an excellent job re-creating the music of Ancient Egypt or what it might have sounded like in antiquity. A very relaxing CD oveerall.The only shortcomming was the female vocals. The singers, though good, sounded far too much like the Nuns of St. Hildegard of Bingen rather than more middle eastern sounding vocals. Had Atherton used vocalists similar to Azam Ali of Vas, or even from India or Egypt then this CD would have been absolutely perfect.Very well done otherwise."
Excellent insight into the distant past
Richard N. Schultz | Orlando, FL USA | 09/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us interested in the spendor of the distant past will appreciate the purity of this CD. Stripped of the clutter of stylized production, the sound of the instruments carries one mentally into the period. I would recommend listening to this CD several times (with open mind) as 'background' music before consentrating on the musical structure. The unusual nature of the ancient style should be absorbed until 'familiar' to the ear. The fascination begins when one begins to really 'listen' to this marvelous recreation of musical history."