Music and Instruments of Rome

Masada Project: How it was Made

I have an interest in both Band and Latin, so I decided for this project I would join the two. Throughout the movie Masada, instruments are shown being used by the military for many reasons. I chose to make one of the three most known "brass" instruments, the Cornu, because it really stuck out to me and I thought it was interesting. It looked like a challenge and was, so my father was a huge help in making it.

Supplies/How to Make it

For the horn, we needed a long circular tube, but we could only find a REALLY long tube, so we had to cut a chunk of it off. For the mouthpiece and bell parts, we needed something pre-made, so we ordered from Amazon a plastic stadium horn/noisemaker, commonly used at soccer and football games, and cut it in half. We used the Metallic Spray Paint to make the entire horn gold, resembling brass. For the connecting rod, we used a wooden trim and stained it with a Masters Wiping Stain. Then we put the pieces together, mouthpiece part, then tubing, bell, connecting rod, and rope and decorations.

Final Product

Even after waiting for parts and figuring out what materials to even start to make a home-made instrument, it only took a day to put together and paint. This is the final Cornu.

Uses for the Cornu

The Cornu was used in the military for the movements of soldiers, but in civilian life it was used for assembling people for meetings, announcing the emperor, at the theater, and at gladiator fights.

Other Instruments

There are many other instruments too. Some more brass are the Tuba (looks like modern trumpet), Lituus (tuba with curved bell), Buccina/Bucina (similiar to Cornu, some even say was the same instrument). There were also "wood"wind instruments like the Aulos (tibia in Latin; similiar to a flute or clarinet; sometimes depicted as a double flute), Syrinx (fistula in Latin; connected to the god Pan, his Panpipes), Askaules (similiar to the modern bagpipes). There were string instruments, organ-like instruments, cymbals, tambourine, drums, and many others.


Music was thought to reflect the orderliness of the cosmos, and was associated with mathematics and knowledge. Romans based most of their instruments and music from the Greeks (hence the Greek names). The music wasn't very interesting, and was very monophonic (melody without harmony, or one note at a time). I had a hard time finding some Roman sheet music, so I decided to just take some of my Mellophone stand tunes from marching season.  

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