What is behind the Sounds of the High Priest’s Golden Bell?
The reconstruction of the sound reveals surprising insights about the ancient cultures in our region.
Article: Muriel Salinger – an expert on ancient music
The journey following the sound of the golden bell belonging to the High Priest draws us an ethno-musical map of ancient civilizations in the Middle East in general, and the Land of Israel in particular, and proves how advanced the cultures of the region were in understanding the theory of acoustics and sound oscillation.
The reconstruction of the bell’s sound was conducted based on a recording of the sample of the movement of the bell after cleaning the sound and reconstructing angles in 3D, and according to the description of the High Priest’s coat in the Bible. It is written in the verses that 72 bells were sewn on the hem of the high priest’s coat and that 71 “rimonim” (pomegranate-shaped finials) were sewn between each bell, to stop the vibration of the sound of each bell individually. The rimon would act as a damper and silence the vibrato of the sound.
The test was conducted by a monophonic electro-acoustic frequency meter. Since the bell is closed, it was not necessary to measure external air pressure.
The test shows that the note played by the bell is B3, and that the frequency is 240 Hz.
From the X-rays that were taken, it was found that the golden bell was a produced through calculated construction, and had a wire holding the 4 millimeter teardrop-shaped bell so that the sound would be precise and hit in the wide part of the bell’s diameter. If they wanted to make a different sound, the designers of the priestly vestments would build the bell in a different way.
What does the note B3 symbolize for the Jews of that time?
According to ancient ethno-musical literature, the note B3, that which was sounded by the bell, was popular among both Egyptians and Jews during the time of the Second Temple.
Further, in the olden days, writing musical notes relied on planetary systems, with each planet representing a scale. The planet Saturn represents the note played by the high priest’s bells. The days of the week are also each represented by a planet, and the planet Saturn, which represents the Sabbath, also represents the chosen note sounded by the high priest’s bells.
Nor was the bell frequency chosen at random. The 240 Hz frequency is important in various fields – in the field of medicine, communications (the first experiment with radio waves was carried out by Guglielmo Marconi at a frequency of 240 Hz), technology and more.
It is interesting to note that the gematria of the word bell denotes a missing letter – “Pa’am(o)n”:
P = 80 AA = 70 M = 40 N = 50 _____ 240 (Hz)
Book XXXVII of Dio Cassius – Roman historian and gematria specialist.
The French musicologist researcher, Felix Clement, the head of ancient music research in his book Histoire de la musique depuis les temps anciens jusqu’à nos jours
*The author is a musicologist who recreated the sounds of the golden bell found by archaeologist Eli Shukrun in the City of David.
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