Above: Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, Western Thebes
From Wiki: “The music of Egypt has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians credited one of their gods Hathor with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world. The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predynastic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played. Percussion instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom. Cymbals frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egypt today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi dhikr rituals, are the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved many of its features, rhythms and instruments.
Blind harper, a dancer, and Tawi – the singer with lotus flowers.
Tomb of Nakht, a scribe at the Karnak Temple, and his wife Tawi.
XVIII Dynasty, 1570-1320 BC. New Kingdom, Necropolis at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, The Valley of the Nobles, Western Thebes.
They also played recorders and clarinets. In general, modern Egyptian music blends these indigenous traditions with Turkish, Arabic, and Western elements. Arabic music is usually said to have begun in the 7th century in Syria during the Umayyad dynasty. Early Arabic music was influenced by Byzantine, Indian and Persian forms, which were themselves heavily influenced by earlier Greek, Semitic, and ancient Egyptian music. The tonal structure of Arabic music is defined by the maqamat, loosely similar to Western modes, while the rhythm of Arabic music is governed by the awzan (wazn, sing.), formed by combinations of accented and unaccented beats and rests. Typically ancient Egyptian music is composed from the phrygian dominant scale, phrygian scale, Double harmonic scale (Arabic scale) or lydian scale. The phrygian dominant scale may often feature an altered note or two in parts to create tension. For instance the music could typically be in the key of E phrygian dominant using the notes E, F, G sharp, A, B, C, D and then have a A sharp, B, A sharp, G natural and E to create tension.” Wiki
Musicians and dancers, detail from the tomb of Nebamun, Thebes, Egypt, Dynasty XVIII, ca. 1400–1350 BCE. British Museum, London.