On the West Bank of the Nile at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings, stands the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, one of only a handful of women who served as Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. Excavated by Howard Carter in 1903, the temple was designed by architect and all around important advisor Senenmut, who, according to historian locker room gossip, may have been Hatshepsut’s someone special.
The rumor is far from substantiated, but there’s a little evidence that Senenmut might have caused the Pharaoh’s heart to flutter, the most overlooked of which, I think, is that fact that near his own tomb, across the river, Senenmut honored his hired musician by having him buried nearby.
The musician’s name was Har-Mose, and his coffin can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But that’s not the most impressive thing found in his tomb because buried with Har-Mose, about 3,500 years ago, was the oldest preserved guitar-like instrument that’s ever been found.
The instrument has only three strings, but it has an attached plectrum (or pick) as well as a carved cedar sound box and rawhide soundboard. In other words, it’s kind of a guitar. And like most rock stars, Har-Mose must have been pretty attached to his axe, since he was buried with it. Or, really, his employer Senenmut must have been attached, I’m guessing, because even in Ancient Egypt, a man with a guitar, had a good shot at getting the girl, even if she happened to be Pharaoh.
Okay, so that might be a stretch, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to impress the ladies that at the age of six, our oldest son informed us that he would like to start a rock band. He had it all figured out, he’d explained, providing us with a list of what he would need in order to accomplish his goal. He’d need an electric guitar, of course, as well as a bass guitar. He’d need amplifiers. BIG amplifiers. Naturally he’d also need a drum set, a keyboard, and a microphone.
We said, “How ‘bout let’s start with some piano lessons?”
He thought about it for a minute and agreed that could work. And though he’s been happily playing piano more or less ever since, he’s never really given up his dream of rock ‘n’ roll. He’s already decided he’d like to drum when it comes time to start in the school band, and he’s been dropping hints about that electric guitar.
I love music. I studied piano a little when I was young and played the alto sax for about nine years. I’m just not really a guitar person. By that I mean that while I certainly enjoy listening to the guitar, I don’t play it or know much about it.
But I love that my son loves music and I want to encourage his interests when I can, so when he turns ten this week, he is going to totally freak out over his new electric guitar and (not-so-big) amplifier. I have to say, of all the gifts we’ve ever given him, I’m the most stoked about this one.
I anticipate that as he grows and hopefully becomes a more accomplished musician, adding to his collection the rest of the pieces of his band, and probably a nicer guitar and a MUCH bigger amplifier, this gift will long remain meaningful.
And, yes, I realize he will likely use it someday to attract the attention of the ladies. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that I’m the main lady in his life and I can’t wait to hear the first butchered chords and failed attempts as he rocks out.