Is There Any Way to Better Determine the Oldest Musical Instruments?

Is There Any Way to Better Determine the Oldest Musical InstrumentsA musical instrument earns its property from being able to produce sounds. In the beginning, humans used their body to make sounds—by clapping, for example. The first musical instrument was born when ancient humans shifted from using their body to produce sounds to using tools or objects around them. The first musical instruments were perhaps used by humans to mimic the sounds that nature makes—and therefore, their function could be ritualistic in nature. The idea of making music as a form of entertainment was of a relatively new invention.

Many parts of the world have been found to produce archeological evidence of musical instruments found by researchers. Some are so old that their musical functions are a subject of debate. Most of these findings were made of durable materials while it is possible that early instruments were of non-durable ones, making it pretty difficult to better pinpoint and determine the first of the bunch. One such contender for the earliest or even the oldest musical instruments would be the Divie Babe Flute, found in Slovenia by archeologist Ivan Turk in July 1995. The flute seems to have been carved out of a piece of bone. The flute comes with four holes that musicologist Bob Fink thought were used to play at diatonic-scaled four notes.

The Divie Babe Flute is estimated to be between 43,400 and 67,000 years old. As such, it could be the oldest instrument and the only one that is connected to the Neanderthal culture. It was because of this estimated age of the flute that its legitimate status as a musical instrument has been disputed. The more commonly accepted musical instruments in this subject are flutes made of mammoth and swan bone found in the Swabian Alps, estimated to be 30,000 to 37,000 years old and made in the age of Upper Paleolithic.