Observations placeholder

Engel, C - The Khoikhoi and celestial music



Type of Spiritual Experience


The Khoikhoi ("people people" or "real people") or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (or San, as the Khoikhoi called them). They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD and, at the time of the arrival of European settlers in 1652, practised extensive pastoral agriculture in the Cape region, with large herds of Nguni cattle. European settlers labeled them Hottentots, in imitation of the sound of the Khoisan languages, but this term is today considered pejorative.

And they played musically what they 'heard'.

A description of the experience

Musical Myths and Facts Volume II – C Engel

Professor Lichtenstein, who during his travels in South Africa in the beginning of the present century, investigated the music of the Hottentots, asserts that these people sing the interval of the Third slightly lower than the major Third, but not so low as the Minor Third; and the Fifth and Minor Seventh likewise lower than in our intonation. He found that the same deviation from our intervals exist on the Gorah, a favoured stringed instrument of the Hottentots

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Listening to music
Singing spells