Hurrian Hymn – The Oldest Known Written Melody


Ever wondered what was the first song that was written? Well, as far as knowledge goes the Hurrian Hymn was the first song that was ever written. Or you can say it was the first melody that was ever written. The Hymn dates back to around 1400 B.C.E.

The Hymn was discovered during the 1950s. It was written on a clay tablet and was found in Ugarit, which is now part of Syria. The story goes that the Hymn was dedicated to Nikkal, the Hurrian Goddess of Orchards. The Hymn is almost 3400 years old and is the oldest hymn known to man.

Thirty other such clay tablet fragments were discovered along with this one. But the fragments were not readable and only this Hymn could be reconstructed. It is a wonderful feeling that we have a melody that old. But unfortunately, the composer’s name is not available now.

The music notations on the tab are not like regular music notes. They are a set of instructions of tunes and intervals to be followed. It is based on a heptatonic diatonic scale. The lyrics are almost impossible to translate. It is said that an academician has come up with a version fo the lyrics as best to his understanding.

You can find several versions of the Hymn being played on a lyre. People have videos of playing the song. The Hurrian Hymn is soothing and a treat for the ears and I’m sure the goddess would have loved it.


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