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Hurrian Hymns: The Earliest Notated Music

Roughly three millennia before the standardization of western musical notation, the Hurrians had recorded transcriptions of some 36 hymns. Presumably, their language was dying; and this may have been part of an attempt to preserve an aspect of their culture.

I find it remarkable that several of these works are attributed to specific composers, making them the earliest known composers to be published by any means. In this video, however, we hear a hymn of anonymous origin — a hymn to Nikkal, a goddess of the orchards. It is performed on a lyre thought to be faithful in design to the instruments of the region and period.

 

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