Music History

The Oldest Known Song in the World is 3,400 Years Old. Listen.

Humans have been making music for tens of thousands of years but precious few of the super-ancient songs have survived. If you’re looking for the Oldest Oldie of All Time (which I’m sure is in the public domain by now), we have to go back to the Hurrian songs found inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets that were dug up from the Amorite Canaanite city of Ugarit. Today, that’s coastal Syria.

After much translating, it was determined that one tablet features a hymn to Nikkal, a Semitic goddess of orchards. Instructions say it should be performed by a singer accompanied by a sammûm, a nine-stringed harp/lyre instrument. There are even directions on how to tune the harp.

Hymn of Ugarit

There are many other known Hurrian hymns, but we only have fragments. This one is pretty much intact–and it goes like this.

Would someone now please Goth that up?

Thanks to Tom for the link.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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