Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A 3,000-year-old trumpet


One of Tutankhamen's trumpets was among the rare artifacts stolen from the Cairo Museum during the recent uprising. Tut’s tomb contained a trumpet made of silver and one of copper. The copper trumped has vanished. The 3,000-year-old instruments are rarely played, but a 1939 BBC radio recording captured their haunting sound.

Listen to it here.


In the BBC recording, soldier and bandsman James Tappern was chosen to play the instrument. Just before the instrument was about to be played all the lights in Cairo went out and the broadcast had to take place by candle light. The broadcast was heard by 150 million listeners’ world wide. This had to have been the most amount of people to ever hear this ancient instrument being played. Shortly after the broadcast World War II broke out.

Due to the very delicate state of the trumpets they have only been played a handful of times. Once just before the first Gulf War and once just before the latest Egyptian uprising by a member of staff in the Cairo Museum. The curator of the Tutankhamen section of the Cairo museum claims the trumpet is responsible for causing these wars.

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