In what is thought to be the oldest song ever created, a ‘sheet’ of music was discovered in the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit and referenced back to around 3400 years ago.
Professor Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, who works as the curator at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley, spent fifteen years deciphering the clay tablets which were uncovered and excavated in Syria by French archaeologists in the early 1950s. The tablets, it has been confirmed, formed “a complete cult hymn and is the oldest preserved song with notation in the world.”
Kilmer, who is also the professor of Assyriology at the University of California, worked alongside her colleagues Richard L. Crocker and Robert R. Brown to create a definitive record and booklet about the song which has been called the ‘Sounds From Silence’.
“We are able to match the number of syllables in the text of the song with the number of notes indicated by the musical notations,” Kilmer pointed out. “This approach produces harmonies rather than a melody of single notes. The chances the number of syllables would match the notation numbers without intention are astronomical.”
Richard Crocker, Kilmer’s colleague, added: “This has revolutionised the whole concept of the origin of western music.”
Listen to the song, below.