Dating musical instruments

Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony.Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment.Some finds are 67,000 years old, however their status as musical instruments is often in dispute.Consensus solidifies about artifacts dated back to around 37,000 years old and later.Instruments can be classified by their effective range, their material composition, their size, etc.However, the most common academic method, Hornbostel-Sachs, uses the means by which they produce sound.

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However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin.Comparing and organizing instruments based on their complexity is misleading, since advancements in musical instruments have sometimes reduced complexity.For example, construction of early slit drums involved felling and hollowing out large trees; later slit drums were made by opening bamboo stalks, a much simpler task.However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition and the relative instability of materials used to make them.Many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone, wood, and other non-durable materials.

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