on yesterday’s daf (=page)
discusses a number of different types of musical instruments that were used in the Temple
as part of the Temple service. Thus we find that between 21 and 48 trumpet
blasts were sounded every day, there were between two and six harps that were used daily, a halil
(=flute) was played together with certain holiday sacrifices. Finally, the Mishnah teaches that “they did not play on an abuv
(=pipe) of bronze but on a reed pipe, because its tune is sweeter.”
discusses these instruments as well as others that, according to tradition, were used in the Temple. The Gemara on today’s daf
Rava bar Sheila quoted Rav Mattanah in the name of Shmuel, who said: There was a magrefahin the Sanctuary; it had ten holes, each of which produced ten different kinds of sounds, with the result that the whole amounted to one hundred kinds of sounds. A Tanna taught: It was one cubit long, one cubit high, from it projected a handle, which had ten holes. Each of them produced one hundred kinds of sounds, amounting for the whole to one thousand kinds of sounds.
Although Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak
declares the baraita‘s
teaching to be an exaggeration, from the description of this instrument it appears that this was a type of box that contained in it pipes of different lengths and widths, and with holes in them of different sizes that were spaced differently. Sounds were produced by means of pumping air into the pipes and covering the different holes.
Some suggest that the description of the Gemara may refer to this instrument which was used in the Roman period, and its invention is credited to a Greek engineer who lived in Alexandria in Egypt. The top part of this instrument has pipes of different sizes, through which air is blown, which causes the sounds to be produced. (A similar instrument can be seen in this mosaic.)