Music and drawing are the most ancient languages of worship  which  have  led  man  towards  the  heavenly atmosphere, and helped him in his fellowship with God. Copts inherited a very ancient musical tradition from their ancestors the Pharaohs.


Dr. Raghab Meftah,  a  Copt  of  some  wealth,  who
devoted his life and fortune to recording and analysing the
Coptic Music, says: [Scientific research has proved that the
music of the Coptic Church is the most ancient ecclesiastical
music which exists, and it constitutes the oldest school of
music which the world now possesses. The Coptic Church
owes the preservation of this monumental and priceless
heritage of her ecclesiastical music to her conservative nature
which she has inherited from ancient times1.]

Dr. Drioton, the Egyptologist, writes: "The key to
the mystery of Pharaohic music will be found then in a good
edition of Coptic ecclesiastical music in use in our days." The
English musicologist, Ernest Newlandsmith of Oxxford and
London universities, who spent winters in Egypt (1927 -
1936), invited by Dr. Meftah, especially noted our hymns,


[Coptic music is a great music and may be called one of the seven wonders of the world, and, indeed, if a Caruso filled with the spirit of God, were trying to sing some of the Coptic themes in the form of a great oratorio, it would be enough to re-kindle Christendom (spiritually).]







[This music, which has been handed down from untold
centuries within the Coptic Church, should be a bridge
between East and West, and would place a new idiom at the
disposal of the Western musicians. It is a loft, noble and
great art, especially in the element of the infinite which is
lacking today."]


[Western music has its origin in ancient Egypt2].



1. During Good Friday (1971) a western pastor in
the city of Queens, N.Y., was astonished at how can the
Copts practice their worship on that day from seven o'clock
in the morning to sunset and return back at eleven o'clock

P.M. to continue until morning. When he attended the
service, he knew how our worship on that day with its
pathetic hymns comforts the soul. In Egypt the majority of
children participate in this service all the day joyfully. Truly
our pathetic hymns of the Holy Week, Good Friday and
funerals, are the most ancient and the most sublime part of
our music. Dr. Meftah says, [No other music however

classical can be compared with the pathetic music of the Coptic Church, nor with the tremendous power it has on the human soul and the passions which it awakens in it.]

2. The ancient music of the Copts remained entirely vocal until the introduction of the cymbal and the triangle in the Middle Ages.

3. In the Coptic Liturgy the people are not just mere
listeners, but they participate in it. Because it is the whole
church's divine service. This attitude gives a chance to the
people to use music and chant hymns. The priest conducts






the choir of deacons and the people play a vital role in
response, in contrast to the Greek and Roman traditions.


4. Some Coptic tones bear the names of ancient towns like: Singari, a town in the north of Delta known in the time of Ramses 11: Adribe from Atribis, a town which formerly existed in Upper Egypt.

5. Dr. Meftah presented a new trend with his choir at
the Institute of Coptic studies in Cairo in which he chanted
some pathetic hymns in the inner sanctuary of the Great
Temple of Hours at Edfu in the (palace) place reserved for
the high priest. The singing was distinctively heard even in
the open courtyard which was reserved for the people. The
voice was distributed with equal intensity or degree of tone
throughout the whole temple. He says, [Indeed, this was a
miracle of voice distribution which deserve serious study.]

Moreover, in the Coptic Church we find a kind of harmony between the Coptic music, the architecture of the church, and the church rites etc. This has been realized by the guidance of the Holy Spirit which sanctifies our human culture for the sake of our spiritual edification.


1. Ragheb Moftah: The music of the Coptic Church

2. London "Morning Post" 22nd April, 1931

3. Atiya: Hist. of Eastern Christianity, Indiana 1968,p.139

4. Murad Kamel: Coptic Egypt. p.64.

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