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michael sam wild

Oldest Melody In The World?

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I looked upthis piece of music on Youtube a hymn to Nikkal fertility goddess, deciphered by Prof Anne Kilmer ( after a piece in the newspaper. 1400BC from Ugarit, now Syria, found on clay tablets. Edited by michael sam wild

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Something about this fills me with skepticism. I have been involved in performances of much more recent (but ancient: Hildegarde, for instance) music and it is impossible to know for sure what they were driving at. We may have their notation, but do we know how their scales were tuned? What rhythmic or phrasing conventions they followed?

 

And note the lyre at 1:57 in the video with the 20th century tuning machines.

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We know a LOT about how their scales were tuned. There is far more music theory and instruction manuals for harpists surviving from that period than there is actual tunes.

 

Rhythm is trickier. The ancient Greeks were precise about it (among other things, they invented the rest) but earlier civilizations weren't. The rhythm in that video plods and I don't find it very convincing.

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I've often wondered about lyres as portrayed they look a bit basic but hearing kora players shows what can be done with a 'bridge ' harp made of simpe materials.

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I've often wondered about lyres as portrayed they look a bit basic but hearing kora players shows what can be done with a 'bridge ' harp made of simpe materials.

 

Seek out performances by Benjamin Bagby and/or his group, Sequentia.

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