The First Song in Human History, Estimated To Be 3,400 Years Old

Andrei Tapalaga
The notes transcribed from ancient hieroglyphicsPhoto byHistory of Yesterday

Recent research has shown that the use of music for enjoyment is far older than previously thought—approximately 3400 years. A scrap of paper from the Syrian city of Ugarit has led to this discovery. A French archaeologist discovered and unearthed clay tablets in Syria in the early 1950s.

Professor Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, the curator of the Lowie Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley, spent fifteen years translating the tablets.

“a complete cult hymn and is the oldest preserved song with notation in the world.” (Quote by Anne Draffkorn Kilmer)

With the idea of a more silent time when music was unknown to most people, Professor Kilmer from the University of California, along with her colleagues Richard L. Crocker and Robert Brown, have worked to create a recording of the song found on the discovered tablet, which has been named "Sounds from Silence." They achieved this by matching the number of notes indicated by the musical notations with the number of syllables in the song's text.

Professor Kilmer was able to define harmony using the method used rather than a melody made up of single notes. The likelihood that the number of syllables would coincide with the notation numbers accidentally is quite low. The idea of the origins of music and western culture has undergone a revolution due to this comprehensive investigation. Here is a more recent reproduction of the song.

This song is thought to have been performed on the flute, which is also thought to be the oldest instrument. The origin of flutes was dated as far back as 67,000 years ago, which is also very interesting and raises doubts about the song's age.

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