Musical Instrument Timeline

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  • 41000 BCE - 32768 BCE
    First known musical instrument, a bone flute (found in modern-day Germany).
  • c. 5000 BCE
    The first aulos musical instruments are carved from bone.
  • 2700 BCE - 2300 BCE
    The first depiction in art of the aulos musical instrument appears in Cycladic sculpture.
  • 2000 BCE
    The first examples of the lyre in the Bronze Age Aegean occur in the Cyclades and on Minoan Crete.
  • 1500 BCE - 1450 BCE
    The 'Harvester Vase' of Minoan origin depicts a sistrum player.
  • 1420 BCE - 1300 BCE
    Clay dancing figures including a rare female lyre player are made in Minoan Palaikastro.
  • c. 1400 BCE
    Lyres across the Aegean assume S-shaped arms and become more decoratively carved, most often with sculpted birds.
  • 1250 BCE - 1200 BCE
    A Linear B tablet from Greek Thebes mentions lyre players as members of the royal palace staff.
  • 600 BCE - 550 BCE
    The silver stater coin of Calymna in Caria depicts a tortoise shell lyre on its reverse side.
  • c. 550 BCE
    The silver drachma of Delos depicts a lyre - symbolic of Apollo - on its reverse side.
  • c. 400 BCE
    Theban musicians invent a more sophisticated aulos with metal keys.
  • 328 BCE
    Herodoros of Megara wins the first of ten consecutive trumpet competitions at the Olympic Games.
  • c. 100 BCE
    Coins of Kos and Thespiai depict a lyre on their reverse side.

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41000 BCE 40500 BCE 40000 BCE 39500 BCE 39000 BCE 38500 BCE 38000 BCE 37500 BCE 37000 BCE 36500 BCE 36000 BCE 35500 BCE 35000 BCE 34500 BCE 34000 BCE 33500 BCE 33000 BCE 32500 BCE 32000 BCE 31500 BCE 31000 BCE 30500 BCE 30000 BCE 29500 BCE 29000 BCE 28500 BCE 28000 BCE 27500 BCE 27000 BCE 26500 BCE 26000 BCE 25500 BCE 25000 BCE 24500 BCE 24000 BCE 23500 BCE 23000 BCE 22500 BCE 22000 BCE 21500 BCE 21000 BCE 20500 BCE 20000 BCE 19500 BCE 19000 BCE 18500 BCE 18000 BCE 17500 BCE 17000 BCE 16500 BCE 16000 BCE 15500 BCE 15000 BCE 14500 BCE 14000 BCE 13500 BCE 13000 BCE 12500 BCE 12000 BCE 11500 BCE 11000 BCE 10500 BCE 10000 BCE 9500 BCE 9000 BCE 8500 BCE 8000 BCE 7500 BCE 7000 BCE 6500 BCE 6000 BCE 5500 BCE 5000 BCE 4500 BCE 4000 BCE 3500 BCE 3000 BCE 2500 BCE 2000 BCE 1500 BCE 1000 BCE 500 BCE  
 
 
41000 BCE - 32768 BCE: First known musical instrument, a bone flute (found in modern-day Germany).
 
 
5000 BCE: The first aulos musical instruments are carved from bone.
 
 
2700 BCE - 2300 BCE: The first depiction in art of the aulos musical instrument appears in Cycladic sculpture.
 
 
2000 BCE: The first examples of the lyre in the Bronze Age Aegean occur in the Cyclades and on Minoan Crete.
 
 
1500 BCE - 1450 BCE: The 'Harvester Vase' of Minoan origin depicts a sistrum player.
 
 
1420 BCE - 1300 BCE: Clay dancing figures including a rare female lyre player are made in Minoan Palaikastro.
 
 
1400 BCE: Lyres across the Aegean assume S-shaped arms and become more decoratively carved, most often with sculpted birds.
 
 
1250 BCE - 1200 BCE: A Linear B tablet from Greek Thebes mentions lyre players as members of the royal palace staff.
 
 
600 BCE - 550 BCE: The silver stater coin of Calymna in Caria depicts a tortoise shell lyre on its reverse side.
 
 
550 BCE: The silver drachma of Delos depicts a lyre - symbolic of Apollo - on its reverse side.
 
 
400 BCE: Theban musicians invent a more sophisticated aulos with metal keys.
 
328 BCE: Herodoros of Megara wins the first of ten consecutive trumpet competitions at the Olympic Games.
 
 
100 BCE: Coins of Kos and Thespiai depict a lyre on their reverse side.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
41000 BCE 33000 BCE 25000 BCE 17000 BCE 9000 BCE

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