The Oldest Known Melody in the World



The 3,400 year old melody was reconstructed from a clay tablet found in the area of the world formerly known as Phoenicia. It is one of many academic interpretations of the notation found on the tablet; the notes obviously do not correspond to the notation used in modern-day Western music and like all translations and interpretations, much is left up to the person doing the translation or interpretation.  Included on the tablet were instructions for an accompanying singer and how to tune the instruments.

The hymn is dedicated to the moon goddess Nikkal and has revolutionized what was previously believed about the evolution of music in the Western tradition. Harmonic, polyphonic variation was believed to be a much later invention You may read more about the history of this melody and the society that created it here. Another musicologist talks about theory concerning the tablet here.

About Claudia Christophe

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