fun stuff, journal

The World’s Oldest Song

Q: What sort of fish is the most musical fish?

A: A piano tuna!

(Learnt this when I was 8 from my Year 3 teacher and I thought it was lame even then. It is a free Dad joke for anyone adding to their repertoire that makes everyone groan.)


I’ve been dabbling around on an old piano I found for a steal on Gumtree, which is like Craigslist (I think) or TradeMe but for Australians. It is noticeably out of tune when you get to the higher registers, and its re-tuning is a work in progress (pending and not by me), but it makes noises that are non-offensive enough, so that’s cool.

Out of curiosity, this evening I Googled, “what is the oldest song in the world?”

Turns out that the oldest known piece of music is called Hurrian Hymn Number 6*, and dates to approximately 1400BCE, and is from modern day Syria.

The sheet music isn’t like anything we would recognise, because it was actually transcribed from Cuneiform.

An example of Cuneiform, probably. Image from pexels.com

How some clever musicologists figured out how to convert 3000+ year old dents in clay into an actual playable melody is beyond me. But its awesome that they did, because now we can hear what music from then sounded like.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the oldest known song in the world:

YouTube also has a version, and the comments are pretty good. Top comment is someone saying the song was so metal, it created the Bronze Age.**

Thoughts on the tune? What instruments and/or music do you like? Any idea how to start interpreting Cuneiform? Know any good puns/jokes, of the fatherly kind or otherwise?


*No. 6 is the only surviving hymn of 36, according to Wikipedia.

**Bronze Age: 3300 – 1200 BCE.

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22 thoughts on “The World’s Oldest Song

  1. To go along with your fish joke, in 1978 the rock band REO Speedwagon released an album titled You Can Tuna a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish (I have it on vinyl LP–it’s a good album). 😀 I was self-taught on guitar at age 16 and for years it was my dream to be in a band (rock, metal, blues), record albums and tour. My deafness ended that dream, but I still have my three guitars–I’ll never let them go. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that! How cool that you taught yourself. Guitars are still neat to have around the house, they just look good! I have tried to learn guitar but it was as effective as trying to write something on water 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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