The World’s Oldest Music

This is a pagan hymn from about 1400 B.C., produced by an ancient Near Eastern people we call Hurrians. The music score is in cuneiform, preserved on a clay tablet. The instrument on which it is played, here, is a reproduction of a lyre, as reconstructed by archaeologists. If the translation of the tablet is accurate, then we are listening to a piece of music from 3,400 years ago.

Was this similar to the music Saul heard, when David played for him? When David first composed the Psalms, did he set them to music that sounded like this?

It’s possible that what we have here is a true window into the remote past, and a live connection with a portion of the Bible. It may be as close as we can ever come to actually hearing the Psalms as David sang them.

Which is really, really something, when you think about it.