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Pharaonic music and dances

black african dancer

 Ancient egyptian dances

Pharaonic music: Hatshepsut
Preface: One thing is for sure: nothing remains of Pharaonic dances in Khemet (ancient Egypt). Many people from many places occupied Egypt and no accurate record of ancient Egyptian dance remains in the folklore. My own research on this matter goes in an entire different direction and I will expose it more in the future.

Dances in pharaonic times - when Egypt was called Kemet - were on many occasions merely religious dances or semi-religious like celebrating the harvest.
The relief in the tomb or mastaba of Ti, Saqqara (5th Dynasty) shows male dancers doing the eye of Horus or wedjat, a religious dance. Apart from other explanations usually given to this symbol, the original meaning of of the wedjat or oudjat is that we are all the divine eyes of God. Horus was being represented as a falcon, indicating the superiority of sight as the falcon has one of the sharpest views. The symbol was later found back on the dollar. The dance was performed to transmit the idea that The Supreme being can see all your actions as He looks through your own as well through your fellow beings' eyes.
Rhythms and ancient Egyptian musical instruments were totally different of what is used in nowadays oriental music. Oriental music is exactly what it says, 'music from the east' and it's origins were in may cases Ottoman where the uneven rhytms that were frequently used up to the 19th century in Egyptian music, such as 10/8 or 5/4 are also found in Turkish classical music. The turkish 'devri hindi' rhythm (in 7/8) even points out the origin in the name. Also the tone scales and melodic modes are Middle Eastern and Central Asian of origin.

Ancient egyptian music extensively used harps and other string instruments like the xalam still used in west-africa. Also percussion instruments like the sistrm were used. Sistrum are used in religous ceremonies in Ethiopia. The flute also played a prominent role in the melodic compositions of pharaonic composers and musicians. Pharaonic flutes were longer than the ney still widely used in the middle east. The closest does this kind of flute come to an indigenous ethiopian flute up to now used by some Ethiopian tribes.

faraonic acrobatic dancefemale faraonic dancers

Listen to HATSJEPSUT, faraonic music (mp3-file)

Male faranonic dancersThe walls of the tomb of Ti are painted with scenes out of the life of the desceased.
Here a row of female dancers having their arms above their heads in a bow, perform a synchronous choreography.

The mastaba of Ti is situated near the pyramid of Sakkara (5 th dynasty).

Archaeologist Auguste Mariette (1821 - 1881) discovered the mastaba of Ti in 1865. Ti was a noble court official who had served under three different Pharaohs. He was a hairdresser to the royalty during the early V Dynasty as well as controller of the farms and stock that belonged to the royal family. His wife was related to the royal family so his children were referred to as royal descent. He was not given this title.

mastaba-of-Ti (568K)