"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
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Whistles and flutes around 25,000 years old have been found at Upper Paleolithic sites of the Aurignacian Period. (source)
The first recorded use of the flute, clarinet, oboe, and trumpet was in ancient Egypt.
The first pipe organ was made by Archimedes in 220 B.C. (source)
The longest hymn is Hora novissima tempora pessima sunt; vigilemus by Bernard of Cluny, which is 2,966 lines long. (source)
The earliest known example of musical notation was found on a clay tablet in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), dated to around 1,800 B.C.
"Old King Cole" was a real person. Coel is supposed to have been a third-century British prince. Coel appreciated music, which may be why the nursery rhyme makes mention of "his fiddlers three". (source)
The Gregorian chant was named after Pope St. Gregory I.
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687), the first documented conductor, was the first musician to use a baton. It was a heavy, six-foot-long staff that he pounded on the ground in time to the music. One day, at a concert to celebrate the king's return to health, he accidently stuck the staff into his foot. He developed gangrene and died. (source)
Before the invention of the mechanical clock in the 14th century, the most complex machine in existence was a pipe organ in the cathedral in Winchester, England. It was installed by Bishop Aelfeg around 950 A.D. It had 400 pipes, and 70 men were needed to operate the 26 bellows. (source)
Only one person walked with Mozart's coffin from the church to the cemetery where Mozart was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. (source)
Mozart's middle name was not Amadeus. His full name was Johann Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He called himself Wolfgang Amade (not Amadeus) or Wolfgang Gottlieb—both Amade and Gottlieb mean the same, in Latin and German respectively, as the Greek name Theophilus. (source)
In contrast to Mozart, who by his death at age 35 had written 41 symphonies, Johannes Brahms did not publish his first symphony until he was 43 years old.
Mozart had a significant role in the development of the modern piano, as he had expressed approval for Johann Andreas Stein's "Viennese" mechanism. Mozart's piano had been made exactly according to Stein's specifications. (source)
Ludwig Van Beethoven's last words were: "I shall hear in heaven!". Beethoven was deaf for the last few years of his life. (source)
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Hungarian musician Franz Liszt received so many requests for locks of his hair that he bought a dog and snipped off patches of fur to send to admirers.
Mendelssohn left the score for his A Midsummer Night's Dream overture in a cab, and was able to rewrite every note from memory.
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse all died at age 27. (source)
Because the middle finger on both of his hands was considered too short, Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famous Polish pianist, composer, and statesman, was told by a teacher that he could never expect to be a competent pianist.
The largest musical instrument in the world is the organ in the Municipal Auditorium, in Atlantic City. Designed by U.S. senator Emerson L. Richards and completed in 1930, the organ has 33,112 pipes ranging in length from 6 millimetres to 19.4 metres.
While bagpipes are today identified with Scotland, they date from ancient times and may have been introduced into the British Isles by the Romans. (source)
Tchaikovsky suffered from many mental breakdowns and neuroses. He believed that his head would fall off, so when conducting an orchestra he would hold his chin with his left hand. (source)
The world's shortest opera is Milhaud's The Deliverance of Theseus, which was first performed in 1928 and is only 7 minutes 27 seconds long. (source)
After attending the first performance of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, the Emperor Joseph II's only comment was "Too many notes". (source)
American composer John Cage (1912–1992) composed a work in 1952 entitled 4' 33", which consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. (source)
A 1964 piece of music written by avant-garde American composer Lamonte Young is called "The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as They Were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gang, Illustrated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot, and the High-tension Line Stepdown Transformer". (source)
At only four lines long, the Japanese national anthem is the shortest national anthem. The national anthems of Jordan and San Marino are also four lines long. The longest is the Greek national anthem at 158 verses long. (source)
The American Film Institute has named composer John Williams' score for Star Wars as the greatest film score of all time. (source)
The largest drum ever made was 12 feet in diameter for the Boston World Peace Jubilee of 1872. It weighed 600 pounds. (source)
Originally, the first line to Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" was "I'm sitting by a pool in Beverly Hills dreaming of a White Christmas." A friend suggested dropping the reference to Beverly Hills, and the song went on to become the most commercially successful song ever. (source)
The first hydraulic organ was built by Ctsebius, a Greek mechanic, in the third century B.C. (source)
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