Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jericho - Trumpets on the Go

In the Bible, the story of the battle at Jericho is an example of musicians on the go. Whether or not the Bible is part of your beliefs, this passage gives us historical information about how ancient instruments were used. Here is the verse that explains the role of the instruments.

Joshua 6:3-5, 20

New International Version (NIV)
3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.
20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

The trumpet/ram's horn that the priests were playing while marching around Jericho is also known as a shofar. This instrument is similar to our brass instruments because sound is created by buzzing the lips. The shofar, however, can only play a few notes of the harmonic series.  Here is a video that shows calls on the shofar. 

Since the traditions of the shofar have been preserved by the Jewish people, we can assume that the sounds in this video are very much like those made at the battle of Jericho.  

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