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With a cabinet exhibition in the Neues Museum, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection is dedicated to the theme of music. Numerous objects from the depots, hitherto only rarely or never exhibited, supplemented by highlights from the permanent exhibition, offer an insight into the diversity of the musical culture of Ancient Egypt.

Veranstaltungen in Berlin: Klangbilder – Musik im Alten Ägypten
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ägyptische Museum und Papyrussammlung / Foto: Sandra Steiß

The focus of the exhibition is on the original musical instruments, which can be divided into four main groups: Idiophones (self-ringers), Membranophones (fur ringers), Aerophones (air ringers) and Chordophones (string ringers). Of these, the museum's holdings include particularly interesting specimens, such as rattles in the shape of human forearms, the sistrum, which can be described as typically ancient Egyptian, a horse-headed lyre, or an aulos from the Greco-Roman period, on which the key could be changed by means of a metal ring.

The sound of these instruments and the melodies of ancient Egyptian music can only be reconstructed to a very limited extent. Information is provided by the very rare notations that have survived from the Greco-Roman period onwards, such as a sheet of music with several pieces of music that can be sung to. Insights into the collection's holdings on the history of music in ancient Egypt The musical instruments are complemented by pictorial and figurative representations of instruments and musicians, thus placing them in their cultural context. Representations of music on reliefs and in wall paintings are shown in the original or reproduced.

The aim of the exhibition is not so much to provide a comprehensive overview of the history of music in Ancient Egypt, but rather to provide an insight into some facets based on the collection holdings of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection. The occasion for the exhibition was a music day planned for 2020, but cancelled due to the pandemic, in collaboration with the Stuttgart composer Radoslaw Pallarz, which will now be held as a finissage.

Parallel to this presentation in the Neues Museum, the Collection of Classical Antiquities is showing an exhibition in the Altes Museum entitled "Sound Pictures - Music in Ancient Greece." The Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Museum of the Ancient Near East are participating with loans and references in their respective permanent exhibitions.

Exhibition publication
A richly illustrated accompanying brochure to the exhibition has been published under the title "Klangbilder - Musik im Alten Ägypten" (ISBN: 978-3-88609-855-2). The exhibition is sponsored by the "Verein zur Förderung des Ägyptischen Museums Berlin e. V." and "Museum & Location".

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Additional information
Price info: Neues Museum.

Price: €12.00

Reduced price: €6.00