Isis and the Seven Scorpions (Egyptian Myths)

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Sing differently? What subtext do these different costumes give to the story? The Stone is carved with a decree written in two forms. Our understanding of Ancient Egyptian language, mythology and culture has grown from this first amazing discovery. There is pictorial evidence that Ancient Egyptian musical culture included both pitched instruments for example flutes, harps, and trumpets and non-pitched instruments for example cymbals, drums, and rattles. Rhythmic music was at the core of Egyptian religious practices and was always used in ritual processions.

In Ancient Egypt, most of the highly trained percussionists who performed for the entertainment of wealthy and noble people were women.

The Scorpion in Ancient Egypt

Over time, percussion music from Egypt and the Middle East continued to play an important role in the religious, military, and cultural life of the region, and even began to influence the music and culture of other areas in the world. The music is characterized by its use of extra percussion instruments, including the bass drum, cymbals, triangle and one instrument that is similar to the sistrum: the crescent.

The Turkish crescent is a handheld stick with lots of bells and jingles hanging from crescent-shaped crossbars. During the 18th century, military bands all over Europe copied the Janissary style, and imported the instruments used by the Janissary bands. By the end of the century European composers had begun using percussion instruments such as the bass drum, cymbals, and triangle in their orchestral compositions. One instrument that was used in rituals associated with Isis was the sistrum. The sistrum, called seshesht in Egyptian, was a type of shaker and considered sacred to Hathor, goddess of the sky, love, beauty, and music.


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The instrument originally consisted of cut papyrus stems, but evolved into a more advanced and decorative metal rattle. The sound that it produced was thought to attract the attention of the gods. In this lesson, students explore opera through reflection and active participation, and practice listening skills. With younger students, fill out the table as a class, or in groups.

The Scorpion in Ancient Egypt

Use what was written above to prompt answers. What makes an opera different from a play? A ballet? A pop concert? When finished, each group picks one of the excerpts, and creates three tableaux describing the story they have identified in that excerpt. Groups take turns performing them for the class and classmates must guess which excerpt they are dramatizing. Discuss what differences students notice in volume, tempo, etc.

Students use reading comprehension skills to analyze a myth and identify selected characters, concepts and vocabulary.

Video of Serqet

Visual art and language skills are used in creating and defining their own hieroglyphs. Students will choose one particular myth from this culture to focus on. A sistrum is an Ancient Egyptian metal shaker used extensively in religious and royal ceremonies. What are some examples of instruments people played in Ancient Egypt?

Isis and the Seven Scorpions (Egyptian Myths)

On what occasions was music played, and why? INPUT 1. A week in advance, ask students to bring in toilet or paper towel rolls from home that they will use to construct a sistrum. Read the students the synopsis of the opera or have the students take turns reading aloud.

Pay special attention to the banquet for Osiris. Teach students to distinguish between beat and rhythm in a simple song.

Identify different tempi faster and slower speeds , and identify examples of dynamics loudness and softness and discuss how they are achieved. Create a template for students to work from and give instructions for how to create the sistrum. Upon completion, work as a group to experiment with different rhythm patterns, tempi and dynamics with your new instruments.

Divide the students into two groups. Designate two conductors. Have them each conduct their own group. How does this change the sound? Have students sit in a circle facing each other. Brainstorm what kinds of sounds you might hear in a desert oasis. Distribute some found objects, e. Give students a few minutes to think of a unique sound they would like to produce, e.

Tell the students you are going to be the conductor for their sounds. When you move your hands palms up , their sounds get louder. When you lower your hands palms down their sounds get softer.

Isis and the Seven Scorpions - Mythology of Ancient Egypt

When you move your hands in a wave-like motion quickly, they are going to speed up their sounds. When you wave slowly, they slow down their sounds. Did it connote a different feeling or mood? Alternatively, divide the students into two groups and have each group follow a different hand with different commands.

As a group, brainstorm the different types of sounds that a group of archaeologists might hear while exploring an Ancient Egyptian tomb.

Make a new soundscape based on this idea. Some examples of sounds include the tomb door opening, the sound of footsteps, the sound of a chest opening slowly. This could be an add-on activity post-performance. Attempt to create the soundscape without using visual communication. Instead of looking to a conductor for instructions, tell students to close their eyes. The conductor taps students once on the head to indicate that they should begin to make their individual sound. To find out more, visit our website at coc. Though her voice was occasionally lost in ensemble numbers, it was moving and crystal-clear everywhere else, particularly during the more dramatic moments when she was singing as Isis, the Goddess of Healing.


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  4. Curtis Bannister was a goofy Professor Hornby and perfectly toed the line between sinister and silly as Set. Julia Hardin and Matthan Black gamely performed three roles each. Hardin has a great physical ease onstage and her expressive voice was especially lovely when she sang as Nephthys. Matthan Black was especially charming as a gung-ho Osiris and all seven scorpions. Black has a fantastic sense of comic timing and his physical humor elicited giggles from children and adults alike.

    I wish the cast and crew of this production the best of luck as they take this show out of the theater and into schools across Chicago! Interested in getting a monthly recap of all the interesting things happening in the land of opera? Ancient Egyptian religion. Dedi Djadjaemankh Rededjet Ubaoner. Book Ancient Egypt portal. Categories : Egyptian mythology Numerology. Hidden categories: Articles needing additional references from November All articles needing additional references Wikipedia articles needing clarification from November Namespaces Article Talk.

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