In the 1950ies there has been found a Sumerian fragment of music in Syria:

enter image description here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurrian_songs

The complete song is one of about 36 such hymns in cuneiform writing, found on fragments of clay tablets excavated in the 1950s from the Royal Palace at Ugarit (present day Ras Shamra, Syria),[5] in a stratum dating from the fourteenth century BC,[6] but is the only one surviving in substantially complete form.

  • I wonder: Do we know how it did sound? Are there attempts to reconstruct this music?

1 Answer 1


The history of music is as old as humanity itself. Archaeologists have found primitive flutes made of bone and ivory dating back as far as 43,000 years, and it’s likely that many ancient musical styles have been preserved in oral traditions. When it comes to specific songs, however, the oldest known examples are relatively more recent. The earliest fragment of musical notation is found on a 4,000-year-old Sumerian clay tablet, which includes instructions and tunings for a hymn honoring the ruler Lipit-Ishtar. But for the title of oldest extant song, most historians point to “Hurrian Hymn No. 6,” an ode to the goddess Nikkal that was composed in cuneiform by the ancient Hurrians sometime around the 14th century B.C. The clay tablets containing the tune were excavated in the 1950s from the ruins of the city of Ugarit in Syria. Along with a near-complete set of musical notations, they also include specific instructions for how to play the song on a type of nine-stringed lyre.


Listen to the world's oldest song: The Hurrian Hymn:


  • 1
    I actually like the sound of it. I wonder whether it is due to the absence of parallel fifths :)
    – NickQuant
    Oct 22, 2019 at 9:52
  • Now we can all speculate as to what frequency Concert-A their lyre was tuned to :-) Oct 22, 2019 at 13:43
  • yes, this would be very interesting, but I'm afraid you will vote close this question as off-topic ;) Oct 22, 2019 at 13:59

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