Hurrian Hymn

Hurrian Hymn


The earliest surviving written music is a Hurrian hymn which dates to approximately 1400 BC.


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The Hurrian songs are a collection of music inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets excavated from the ancient Amorite Canaanite city of Ugarit which dates to approximately 1400 BC. One of these tablets, which is nearly complete, contains the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal, making it the oldest surviving substantially complete work of notated music in the world. While the composers' names of some of the fragmentary pieces are known, h.6 is an anonymous work.

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), in a stratum dating from the fourteenth century BC, but is the only one surviving in substantially complete form. An account of the group of shards was first published in 1955 and 1968 by Emmanuel Laroche, who identified as parts of a single clay tablet the three fragments cataloged by the field archaeologists.


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