Resources for Auditories 2

Since the power went down all over Cairo (OK, so it maybe wasn’t that unusual!) just before the first broadcast of the trumpets being played, you may like to listen to this by candle light if your health and safety and blinds permit.

Tutankhamun’s trumpets

Tutankhamun’s trumpets are a pair of trumpets found in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun, king of Egypt. The trumpets, one of sterling silver and one of bronze are considered to be the oldest operational trumpets in the world, and the only known surviving examples from ancient Egypt. The trumpets were found in 1922 by Howard Carter. Both of them were sounded for the first time in over 3,000 years to a live audience of an estimated 150 million listeners through a BBC broadcast aired on April 16, 1939. The trumpets were played by a Bandsman, James Tappern of Prince Albert’s Own 11th Royal Hussars regiment. The recording was recently featured, and can be heard on the BBC Radio program series “Ghost Music.”

Claims of Magical Powers

There have been some claims made by Zahi Hawass, former Minister of State for Antiquities Affair, and Egyptologist Hala Hassan, curator of the Tutankhamun collection at the Egyptian Museum, that the two trumpets contain “magical powers” and have the apparent ability to summon war. The evening they were first played in 1939, the power cut out at the Cairo museum five minutes before the scheduled air, and the BBC were forced to record the sounding of the trumpets by candle light. Five months after the radio broadcast, Britain entered World War II and the war in Europe began. The trumpets were again said to have been played before the 1967 Six-Day War, before the 1990 Gulf war, and most recently, the bronze trumpet was played one week before the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 by a Cairo museum staff member to a Japanese delegation. This same bronze trumpet was subsequently stolen from the Cairo museum during the Egyptian looting and riots of 2011, yet was mysteriously returned to the museum some weeks later.