Technology is often a source of great new innovations that create practical things for us like faster computers and stronger bridges. Technology can also create new innovations in the arts, as well. We can see this most clearly when we look at examples of technology like the invention of the printing press. This huge innovation paved the way for the invention of the novel as an art form, which of course made for a whole new means of human expression. Another amazing example of technology is looking to the musical instruments that we invent to make pleasing tones. These devices are often just as technological as anything in our society.
The Electric Guitar
Perhaps the most famous of modern instruments is the electric guitar. This instrument uses a pickup system of electric magnets to sense the vibration of strings and transmit them as electrical information. These strings vibrate as different pitches because their lengths and thicknesses vary. When a string is plucked, it releases a wave that is equal in wavelength to the length of the string.
The DivjeBabe Flute
Though they may seem simple, musical instruments can be remarkably complex. But how long ago did humans create the first musical instrument Archaeologists have discovered a bone with hollowed holes that many think is a flute. The date of the object is between 37,000 and 67,000 years old. This flute, called the Divje Babe Flute, was found in Slovenia in July 1995. It is currently the oldest found instrument, though many scholars doubt if it was actually intended to be played as a flute.
Instruments at Ur
The most undisputed early finding of musical instruments is in the great city of Ur in a burial mound. These harps, lyres, flutes, and cymbals were linked with graves that were dated to 2500 BC. A cuneiform tablet (an early form of writing used by the Sumerians) also found nearby is the earliest example of music notation.
It is clear that some time between the 37,000 year old flute and the highly complex instruments of Ur, music technology had changed. Even today as new instruments in the forms of electronic beat machines and new devices like the latest iPod shape the way that we experience and appreciate music.
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