Lost sounds of the past brought to life (w/ Video, Audio)

August 31, 2009
An audience experiences “the sonic scenario of the past.” Image courtesy Luca Petrella

Salpinx, barbiton, aulos, syrinx. Never heard them? Never heard of them? Neither had anyone else, for centuries. Until now.

These were all musical instruments, familiar to ancient civilizations but long since forgotten.

Ancient instruments can be lost because they are too difficult to build, or too difficult to play, but they can be heard again thanks to the ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) team. These researchers accomplish this feat using computer modeling and grid technology - the shared resources of a distributed network of hundreds of computers.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Having successfully reconstructed the sound of an earlier called the “epigonion,” ASTRA is working on a whole host of other lost instruments including the salpinx (a kind of ancient trumpet), the barbiton (an ancient base guitar), the aulos (an ancient oboe) and the syrinx (a pan flute).

More ancient instruments are to be heard soon, after the organization’s official Lost Sounds Orchestra finishes its preparations for a unique performance towards the end of summer.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Epiginion playing the Scarlatti Sonata in D Minor

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Epiginion playing the Scarlatti Sonata in G Major
In many respects, ASTRA’s Lost Sounds Orchestra is like any other orchestra — with real musicians, rehearsals and performances — except its goal is to offer its audience a completely new world of . The sounds of the barbiton and the salpinx are currently being finalized, while a guitar player is familiarizing himself with both the epigonion and the barbiton using his specially adapted electric MIDI guitar, which has been programmed with the lost sounds. The sounds of even more instruments, such as an ancient lower Mediterranean frame drum, should also be completed by the end of summer.

More information: www.lostsoundsorchestra.org/

Source: Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE)

Explore further: DISSCO makes 'music' for Argonne, UIUC researchers

Related Stories

DISSCO makes 'music' for Argonne, UIUC researchers

June 21, 2005

A mathematician and a musician have teamed up to create a new computer program that both composes music and creates the instrumentation to play it. The software is available for free from SourceForge.net.

'Chameleon Guitar' blends old-world and high-tech

February 3, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Natural wood, with its unique grain patterns, is what gives traditional acoustic instruments warm and distinctive sounds, while the power of modern electronic processing provides an unlimited degree of control ...

Recommended for you

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

The couple who Facebooks together, stays together

July 27, 2015

Becoming "Facebook official" is a milestone in modern romance, and new research suggests that activities on the popular social networking site are connected to whether those relationships last.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.