The Oldest Written Melody in History: 1400 BC

The clay tablets above are among the world’s oldest known pieces of musical notation, from the Hurrian civilization (see map below). The tablets record a tune called the “Hymn to Nikal,” in honor of the Moon God’s wife. The musical record was written about 1400 BC in the cuneiform script of the Hurrian language.

There is something amazing to me about the fact that humans can record something as ephemeral as a tune and transmit that information using only clay tablets across the violent, tumultuous distance of 3400 years. The tune as reconstructed below is quite pleasant and sophisticated.

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