The Oldest Written Melody in History:1400 BC

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posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 07:07 AM
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The clay tablets above are among the world's oldest known pieces of musical notation, from the Hurrian civilization (see map below). The tablets record a tune called the "Hymn to Nikal," in honor of the Moon God's wife. The musical record was written about 1400 BC in the cuneiform script of the Hurrian language.





There is something amazing to me about the fact that humans can record something as ephemeral as a tune and transmit that information using only clay tablets across the violent, tumultuous distance of 3400 years. The tune as reconstructed below is quite pleasant and sophisticated. As I listen to it, I imagine the spaces and places it was played long ago, marveling perhaps more at the fact that the song has been transmitted to us than at anything else. Enjoy.





posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 08:09 AM
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Awesome find. Wow music from 3400 years ago. What a haunting melody. Incredible find.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:11 PM
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Amazing find! I loved that piece, I am curious as to the timing, if he was playing slower or faster than the timing that it was originally played in.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:00 PM
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How amazingly wonderful! I am so happy you posted this! I love music and this is so beautiful to me. Even if I didn't particularly care for the sound of the music, which I do, it is amazing just to know that they wrote it down for future generations to be able to hear it also! Oh! So amazing. Thank you again, and sorry I have nothing more to say.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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>>>Interesting, but how did they translate the scale?



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:13 PM
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I love the music...

I have my favorites and least favorites of course but on the grand scale (no pun), if I were to attribute human being's all time greatest accomplishments with a scale, music would be in the top bracket.

Great post OP!



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:23 PM
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4:56-5:42

The begginning of Rock and Roll?
edit on 24-3-2012 by The_Phantom because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 04:00 PM
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will humanity be playing lady gaga 3,400 years from now. i doubt it.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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our desire to express ourselves through sound lives on 3400 years later, not much has changed.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 04:15 PM
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Originally posted by randomname
will humanity be playing lady gaga 3,400 years from now. i doubt it.


They will reconstruct our brains in vats from DNA and make our twitching neural flesh manifest the tunes endlessly. It will be like having "Poker Face" stuck in your brain for all eternity!

edit on 24-3-2012 by TheXoor because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by randomname
will humanity be playing lady gaga 3,400 years from now. i doubt it.

God I hope not,it's bad enough that it'll still be playing in 34 minutes time
.

I'm not a big musical expert,but that to me just sounds way too modern,in fact I'm sure I've heard that melody somewhere before?
It's easy to be cynical,but the guy in the video has a DVD to sell and is advertising it through Youtube,this to me sounds like a good excuse to use some songwriters licence.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by The_Phantom
4:56-5:42

The begginning of Rock and Roll?
edit on 24-3-2012 by The_Phantom because: (no reason given)


Yeah !....that part was the best, should continue from there with other instruments joining.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 06:01 PM
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certainly gives a new meaning to the expression "blast from the past".

Great thread op



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 06:27 PM
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Beautiful!

This reminds me of a lot of doom metals!



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 07:40 PM
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The fellow's performance is lovely, and this is an intriguing idea. I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, and only want to insert a little healthy scepticism.

I have two music theory degrees, and can say that interpretation of ancient melodies (and especially a full composition such as this) is highly speculative. Before this, the oldest supposedly reconstructed example was the Epitaph of Seikilos

en.wikipedia.org...

from Classical Greece. It is just a melody in the reconstruction, and no one knows how accurate the transcription is; it is just a best guess. The 6/8 meter is also just an educated guess. I'm not saying these attempts at reconstruction aren't useful or interesting, but ancient, verbal musical notation is not the same as Western standard notation, unchanged since well before J.S. Bach, that gives a totally accurate recording of the musical notes as the composer conceived them, apart from performance interpretation as to tempo, phrasing, or emotion.

What we have here, then, is a best guess of the approximate pitches of a melody, rhythm and phrasing unknown, and the chords are almost certainly the performer's own work. I'm not saying I don't like it; it is lovely, and for all I know the ancient melody might have been similar, I'm just saying no one can say for sure.
edit on 24-3-2012 by godspetrat because: semicolon.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by godspetrat
 


I agree with you that it may be a highly speculative interpretation. Yet, speaking as a musician, couldn't we say that we (musicians) all tend to have an innate feel for rhythm, tempo, and meter?



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 08:54 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 

Awesome. Humans have always made music... but I never took the time before to consider what they may have shaped as instruments and what kind of tune they might carry with it. So I giggled Lyre and...

Images

...was amazed at the variety and shapes. How do you suppose they came up with stringed instruments in the first place? Dried sinew? Dunno... This one looks like an inside out guitar.

For just a moment as I listened to the flow of the song I saw a moment in time when a fire lit up a scene where an instrument burst forth and captivated all who were present with its tune. As the fire crackled the notes wafted above the sound of the flame and the muffled conversation whilst the music played. Then as now, it comes to our ears across this distance of time. Longest running single in history. I wonder what he would think?



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 09:03 PM
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Originally posted by SumerianSoldier
reply to post by godspetrat
 


I agree with you that it may be a highly speculative interpretation. Yet, speaking as a musician, couldn't we say that we (musicians) all tend to have an innate feel for rhythm, tempo, and meter?


Yes. I have also participated in good old rock and roll and folk (bass player and very basic guitarist) as well as classical. Still, the fact is that these old notational systems might have been more accurately interpretable by someone contemporary to the time, but do not provide enough information for modern interpretation. Some alien 50,000 years from today could discover a Mozart symphony, or a Led Zeppelin album (recording!) and recreate the music after study. All the information is there. In the Epitaph of Seikilos, we have verbal indications of what we think are probably said pitches in the Mixolydian mode, and we think the meter is like modern 6/8. If it were 4/4, however, even that would make a real difference. Even tabulature for a rock song can lead to an approximate interpretation by a talented amateur guitarist, but we have much less information than that for these ancient things. Our musician's innate feel is not enough. Obviously, the guy in the Youtube video has created real music, but I fear it is mostly his own music.
edit on 24-3-2012 by godspetrat because: spelling.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 09:24 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


Silent Thunder!
This is absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing this great find! I loved every second of him playing... How cool it is to hear what others ears heard hundreds of years before us..
Star & Flag! Good find again!



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 09:35 PM
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Not bad for being a million years old, but I think I could make a better song if I farted in a kazoo......That was pretty bad even for a caveman........I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the original probably didnt sound anything like that, but we will never know....





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