Paleomusicologist and litophone specialist Erik Gonthier plays a prehistoric litophone. (AFP/Jacques Demarthon)
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Thousands of years after they resonated in caves, two dozen stone chimes used by our prehistoric forefathers will make music once more in a unique series of concerts in Paris.Known as lithophones, the instruments have been dusted off from museum storage to be played in public for the first time to give modern man an idea of his ancestral sounds.Dubbed "Paleomusique," the piece was written by classical composer Philippe Fenelon to showcase the mineral clang and echo of instruments from beyond recorded time.They will be played xylophone-style by four percussionists from the French National Orchestra gently tapping the stones with mallets.The instruments, carefully crafted stone rods up to a meter in length, have been in the museum's collection since the early 20th century.The instrument was the result of a "grain-by-grain" chipping process that could have taken as much as two years to complete.Importantly, the instruments are short and slim enough to be carried easily in one hand – the earliest example of a portable sound system.
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