Believe it or not, there was most definitely music in ancient times. While written records and notations telling us exactly what the music might have sounded like don't exist, there were enough clues left behind to let us know that music did indeed exist. Stef Conner is a performer, composer and musicologist who is working with a group that recreated an ancient lyre and is trying to reverse engineer music from the 2nd millennium BC. Originally from Sussex, England, Conner has performed across multiple continents to critical acclaim all along the way. With a PhD in composition, she has studied jazz, classical and many other forms of music. Her training and worldly musical experiences have definitely helped prepare her for what many would consider an amazing challenge: How to write music that sounds like what ancient music would have really sounded like
Conner was able use her skills and knowledge to make the long leap from modern folk music to possible ancient love songs by teaming up with Andy Lowings, and the Gold Lyre of Ur Project. This project actually built a replica of a 4,550-year-old Mesopotamian gold lyre and asked Stef to compose music for the lyre. When asked how she attempts to best write compositions that might sound something like ancient Mesopotamian music, Conner states:
"I propose to look for features that recur frequently in living music linked to Mesopotamia. The point is to look for the most consistent features in a widely dispersed collection of music. The most commonly occurring will be those most likely to have been features of Mesopotamian music, either because they have been preserved through musical lineages branching out from Mesopotamia, or because external influences have caused them to be invented over and over."
Last year, Conner and the Gold Lyre of UR Project recorded the results—an album of contemporary music, sung in Babylonian, called The Flood, which will be out December 2014.
We originally learned about Stef and her ancient music project via Slate Magazine - Babylonian Music Recreated . To reach Stef Conner directly you can go to her website Stef Conner - The Lyre Ensemble .
I'll leave you with a short video clip from the Gold Lyre of Ur Project which by the date appears to possible before Conner was involved. Some fascinating pictures of ancient artifacts straight from British and other museums along with some ancient sounding melodies. Please enjoy and we'll see you for another post very soon!
Music, Love & Laughter,
Vincent James @ LoveSongs.com