Music & Ritual: Bridging Material & Living Cultures

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 1

Sound and Ritual in Levantine Art: A Preliminary Study

Margarita Díaz-Andreu and Carlos García Benito

Acoustic experiments performed with different types of sounds in Valltorta Gorge indicate that the places with more painted motifs have better acoustics than those with fewer of them. There also appear to be clear acoustic differences between the decorated areas and the adjacent sectors of the gorge where no prehistoric rock art is found. The positive results obtained in the tests suggest that acoustics may have been a key factor in the choice of sites at which to produce Levantine rock art in Spain. We propose that there is a high probability that music—vocal or instrumental—was used at the Valltorta rock art sites. The acoustic properties of the sites would have enhanced the music produced through reverberation and echoes, thus increasing the perceptual impact among those experiencing it. In this article we distinguish between outward and inward signification of acoustics, differentiating between shallow inward signification and deep inward signification.

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