My interview on the Paul Franks Show, BBC Radio WM 95.6, about my arrangement for solo lyre, of the world's oldest song - as also recently featured in the Daily Mail Online:
The oldest surviving written melody so far discovered in History which can actually be reconstructed, dating back 3400 years ago to the Bronze Age, was Hurrian Hymn Text H6. The musical notation for the oldest known melody in the world, was discovered in Ugarit, Northern Canaan (now forming the Southern part of modern Syria) in the early 1950s, and was preserved for 3400 years on a clay tablet, written in the Cuneiform text of the ancient Hurrian language.
Thought to be 3,400 years old, this relic has been in Damascus since 1955, following its discovery by a group of French archeologists in the coastal town of Ugarit.
The artefact records the Hurrian Hymn, a song directed to the goddess Nikkal [wife of the moon god]. Ugaritans worshipped a number of deities, each one specific to the various parts of their lives. Nikkal, meaning "Great Lady and Fruitful", was the goddess of the orchards.
For now, at least, the exact lyrical content of the Hurrian Hymn remains partly concealed, although a translation undertaken by Hans-Jochen Thiel in 1977 is considered closest to the original's spirit:
(Once I have) endeared (the deity), she will love me in her heart,
the offer I bring may wholly cover my sin,
bringing sesame oil may work on my behalf in awe may I ...
The sterile may they make fertile.
Grain may they bring forth.
She, the wife, will bear (children) to the father.
May she who has not yet borne children bear them."
For full details, please also see my website blog: