Sounds of the Past

Posted: May 5, 2013 in History, Music
Tags: , ,

It amazing what you can find when you aren’t looking for it. The other day I was perusing youtube when I noticed something in the suggested video lists – something called The Oldest Known Melody (Hurrian Hymn no. 6 – c.1400BC)

Intrigued, I clicked on the video and was met with the following.

As always I did a bit of looking up on it, and discovered a bit more. In 1950 in the ancient port city of Ugarit (preset day Syria), a series of clay cuneiform tablets were discovered which contained fragments of noted music, the Hurrian Songs. The most complete was the Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal, or Hymn no 6, the oldest surviving substaitally complete noted music in the world. It turns out that while it is notated, no one can agree as to how exactly to translate it, and their are at least 5 rival, substantially different interpretations of it.

Even so, listening to something that may have been played 3400 years ago is an amazing thing.

The oldest complete musical composition in the world is the Seikilos Epitath, from somewhere between 200BC and 100 AD.

In the image of it, you can see the notations above the lyrics that accompanied it.

It sounds like this.

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