Painted relief depicting a flute player and a singer at a funerary banquet, from the Tomb of Nenkhefetka, Saqqara, Old Kingdom, ca. 2400 BC; (wall painting), 5th Dynasty ca. 2494-2345 BC. Now at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
This is where the guitar comes from - Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian wall painting (Thebes ,1420 BCE) show ancient Egyptians playing harps and tanburs (also flutes and percussion). These instruments are the forefathers of the guitar. From them came the oud which the Moors took with them to Spain. There the Europeans added frets and called it the lute (from the Arabic Al’ud meaning wood). From the lute came the first of the Spanish four coursed guitarra and our modern day guitar.
Arched Egyptian Harp, New Kingdom, 16th-11th Century BC
During the 4th Dynasty (2613 to 2494 BC) harps became popular in Egypt. Two types were common; the curved or arched-neck like this one and angular models with a perpendicular neck. The oldest forms of arched harps had four or five strings; this example however has sixteen. Very rare.
Excavated from the Malkata palace at Thebes, dating to the New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, circa 1390-1353 BC. Made of faience, bronze or copper alloy, glass, agate, carnelian, lapis lazuli and turquoise.
A menat necklace consists of a heavy, keyhole-shaped counterpoise (menat) and many strands of beads. Although the necklace is sometimes shown being worn, it was more often carried by females participating in religious ceremonies. It functioned as a percussion instrument that was shaken to create a soothing noise that was thought to appease a god or goddess. In the New Kingdom the menat necklace and the systrum were attributes of women who held the title “Singer of Amun-Re.”
Egyptian Faience Sistrum of the Goddess Hathor, Late 26th Dynasty c. 600-525 BC
In the form of a Hathor-head capital wearing a broad collar and striated wig bound in horizontal bands, uraei on her shoulders, the rattle above in the form of a naos supported on a cavetto cornice and containing on both sides a uraeus above a frieze of smaller uraei, the faces of Hathor each with finely delineated eyebrows and cosmetic line.
A sistrum is a percussive musical instrument that was played in ancient Iraq and Egypt. They were usually made of bronze and had a U-shaped frame with a few crossbars that had small metal rings on them. When shaken the small rings of thin metal on its movable crossbars produce a sound that can be from a soft clank to a loud jangling.
Hathor was an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. She was worshiped by Royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth, as well as the patron goddess of miners. She is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns in which is set a sun disk with a uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace.