earliest known written melody- Syria 1400 BC

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,395 posts

Yep  that's from Michael's plan CD.  I don't think it weighs a pound.  Michael's a real artist, for sure, and the driving force behind the whole Lyre Revival of the last decade and more.  

The only horses here are seahorses, and it's really tough braiding their tails to make strings.  Uke strings work well.  Next time I re-string it, I'm going to find the translucent uke strings so it looks more like gut strung...

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,700 posts

Wow, that's lovely Ken!...you made it, from Michael King's plans?

You have nylon uke strings on it?

Michael made my beautiful tagelharpa (jouhikko) years ago...he's a real artist.  Mine has a hard maple body as well.  I made horsehair strings for my tagelharpa.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,395 posts

Here's a picture of my Cologne Lyre.  It's 18" from top to bottom.   I got the plans on CD from Michael King years ago.   It is 'gut' strung, with six uke strings for a soft sound.  I have it tuned Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La, Do*(higher).  Non-traditional woods -- the hollowed body is Maple, the front is Mango and the tailpiece is Lychee.  The bridge is real Baltic Amber.

 

 

COLOGNELyre-1.jpg
COLOGNELyre-1.jpg  •  26KB

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,700 posts

Dusty, here is some more info (and yet more links within them), on the stone tablet and its interpretation by historical musicologists:

http://phoenicia.org/music.html

http://ancientlyre.com/the_oldest_written_melody_in_history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurrian_songs

The lyrics were written above the two parallel scribed lines, and with the lyre playing instructions/notes indicated directly below it. They were able to match the number of syllables in the words of the lyrics to the notes or intervals indicated for the lyre, so I guess that's 'some' sort of indication of rhythm.  Though you may well be right about the more complex rhythm, Dusty.  It's a song praising a Goddess of orchards. 

 




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
9 months ago
858 posts

That sounds remarkably recognizable as middle eastern music. It is indeed really cool to find this connection to ancient peoples

But I am skeptical about how much of what is being played is actually indicated on the original tablet that has this music. Music from the middle ages did not indicate note duration or measure lines, so I doubt this source from 1000 years earlier did.  I think there is a lot of interpretation here, which translates the music into something our modern ears can recognize. (I guess that's inevitable, isn't it?) All that switching time signature is likely a modern imprint on music that was not measured as precisely as our music is.

 




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Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
9 months ago
839 posts

Cool, Strumelia!  I wonder whether the earliest plucked zither music sounded anything like this. 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,700 posts

How many strings does your smaller lyre have, Ken, and how do you tune it?




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,395 posts

Nice playing.  I like his Kinnor -- ancient Israeli style lyre.  I play a smaller Carolingian era lyre, replica of one from an archeological dig near Cologne, Germany.

Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
9 months ago
347 posts

This is fascinating Lisa, thank you for this history of music. I enjoyed seeing the Lyre played. 

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,700 posts

Brian turned me on to this-

The Oldest known musical melody performed by Michael Levy on the Lyre. This ancient musical fragment dates back to 1400 B.C.E. and was discovered in the 1950's in Ugarit, Syria. 

(keep in mind that's 1400 BC, not 1400 AD)!

here is a poor quality video showing him playing it on the lyre:

...and here is the downloadable modern standard notation for it, so you can follow along while listening if you read music:

http://www.clintgoss.com/flutopedia.com/pdf/HurrianTabLtd.pdf

 

So wonderful to hear this surviving music that was actually played on lyre in Syria almost 3,500 years ago...  what

In some ways it sounds pretty edgy and modern.  What surprises me most is that it switches very often between 2/4, 4/4, and 3/4 time.  That's rather complex rhythmically, and it wouldn't be what I'd expect.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 07/10/16 12:24:18PM