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Hurrian Song H6: The World's Oldest Song

The World's Oldest Song

In the last step, we saw how linguistic enquiry helped us to better understand Mitanni’s status and power in the Near East. We saved the best till last, though. The Mitannians can also be credited with the oldest written song ever documented, known as ‘H6’. It is written in a Hurrian form of Akkadian, in cuneiform on a clay tablet, and dates to approximately 1400 BCE, right in our period of interest.

In order to better understand the song and its significance, we visited a leading expert who has conducted considerable work on ‘H6’: Professor Richard Dumbrill, an Archaeomusicologist formerly of the University of London. In this video, Richard sets the scene, introducing Hurrian song H6, explaining the types of music predominant in the ancient Near East and describing the lyrical content of the song. The video ends with Richard’s interpretation of what the song sounded like.

For anyone wanting to go further into this subject Richard’s book, The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East has more information about ancient Near East music

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Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

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