earliest known written melody- Syria 1400 BC
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:
So wonderful to hear this surviving music that was actually played on lyre in Syria almost 3,500 years ago. ..
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.