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Journal Article

Use and Sonority of a 23,000-Year-Old Bone Aerophone from Davant Pau Cave (NE of the Iberian Peninsula)

Juan José Ibáñez, Jesús Salius, Ignacio Clemente-Conte and Narcís Soler
Current Anthropology
Vol. 56, No. 2 (April 2015), pp. 282-289
DOI: 10.1086/680437
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/680437
Page Count: 8
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Use and Sonority of a 23,000-Year-Old Bone Aerophone from Davant Pau Cave (NE of the Iberian Peninsula)
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Abstract

The production of sound is a significant human capacity that is used, through the generation of feelings and emotions, for conditioning social and biological reproduction. Despite this elevance and although several hundred instruments have been attributed to the production of sound along the Upper Paleolithic, our knowledge of how and in what contexts music was played during this period is still quite limited. In this paper, the aerophone found in the Davant Pau excavation, in the northeast part of the Iberian Peninsula, dated to 23,000 years cal BP, is studied to infer, through experimentation and microwear analysis, how it was made and used. It is a whistle-type instrument that would have allowed the production of an almost monotonic sound, which could be acutely syncopated, generating a fast rhythm. This is a type of sound most probably used in collective ceremonies in which the coordination of the participants was important, as observed in several ethnographic studies of hunter-gatherer groups.

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