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ancient Egyptians. A figure of it is found among their hieroglyphs, signifying "good." It occurs in representations of concerts dating earlier than from B.C. 1500. The no/re affords the best proof that the Egyptians had made considerable progress in music at a very early age ; since it shows that they understood how to produce on a few strings, by means of the finger-board, a greater number of notes than were obtainable even on their harps. The instrument had two or four strings, was played with a plectrum and appears to have been sometimes, if not always, provided with frets. In the British museum is a fragment of a fresco obtained from a tomb at Thebes, on which two female performers on the nofre are represented. The painter has distinctly indicated the frets.
Small pipes of the Egyptians have been discovered, made of reed, with three, four, five, or more finger-holes. There are some interesting examples in the British museum; one of which has seven holes burnt in at the side. Two straws were found with it of nearly the same length as the pipe, which is about one foot long. In some other pipes pieces of a kind of thick straw have also been found inserted into the tube, obviously serving for a similar purpose as the reed in our oboe or clarionet.
The sebi, a single flute, was of considerable length, and the performer appears to have been obliged to extend his arms almost at full length in order to reach the furthest finger-hole. As sebi is also the name of the leg-bone (like the Latin tibia) it may be supposed that the Egyptian flute was originally made of bone. Those, however, which have been found are of wood or reed.
A flute-concert is painted on one of the tombs in the pyramids of Gizeh and dates, according to Lepsius, from an age earlier than B.C. 2000. Eight musicians (as seen in the woodcut) are performing on flutes. Three of them, one behind the other, are kneeling and holding their flutes in exactly the same manner. Facing these are three others, in a precisely similar position. A seventh is sitting on the ground to the left of the six,