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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

World's oldest preserved song dates back to 1400 B.C.

Have you heard the oldest song in the world? Discovered decades ago, the oldest song was found inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets, and dated back to the period around 1400 B.C. The translated text allows a lyrist to play the tune as it contains specific instructions on how it is to be played.

An example of cuneiform script.

An example of cuneiform script.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

4/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Music

Keywords: Hurrian Hymn No. 6, world's oldest song

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The discovery of the song isn't news, however like many interesting discoveries of the ancient world, it has been forgotten in the intervening years and business of the modern age. Thankfully, the music was successfully transcribed and listeners can now hear it on YouTube.

The song is a hymn to the moon god's wife, Nikal and is written in Hurrian, an ancient language spoken by people who live in lands that now cover the border regions between Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The tablet was discovered in what is today the town of Ras Shamra on the Syrian coast. It was likely collected by the Assyrians and incorporated into one of their libraries, the Assyrians had a fondness for libraries and filled them with work collected from across their empire.

The tablets feature musical notations along with precise instructions on how to tune the lyre. They also contain instructions for a singer to accompany the music.

You can listen to a modern recreation of the melody on YouTube. The tune moves slowly at first, rising and falling like gusts of wind over the mountains of Anatolia. Then, like a sudden shower, the music increases tempo and falls off once again. Around 5:00, the song approaches its climax, peaking with a final, frenzied conclusion which suddenly ends.

The tune is known as the "Hurrian Hymn No. 6" and you can listen by clicking to play the video above.


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