Best answer for: when was the first written music made?

The first written music dates back to ancient Mesopotamia around 2000 BCE. It consisted of cuneiform tablets with notations for hymns and incantations.

When was the first written music made

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The first written music can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia around 2000 BCE. This remarkable achievement marked the beginning of a new era in human history where musical compositions were not only performed but also preserved for future generations to appreciate.

Cuneiform tablets were used as the medium for recording these early music notations. These tablets contained intricate symbols that represented various musical elements such as rhythm, pitch, and melody. Scholars deciphered these ancient inscriptions, shedding light on the musical practices of ancient Mesopotamia.

To delve deeper into the significance of this milestone, let’s explore some interesting facts about the first written music:

  1. Musical notation emergence: The development of a written language allowed the Mesopotamians to think beyond spoken words and capture the nuances of music on tablets.

  2. Complexity of cuneiform notation: The cuneiform notations used in early written music were highly sophisticated, capable of conveying intricate musical details. This involved using different symbols and markings to represent specific musical elements.

  3. Hymns and incantations: The first written music primarily consisted of hymns and incantations, which were integral parts of religious ceremonies and rituals in ancient Mesopotamia.

  4. Multicultural influences: Mesopotamia was a melting pot of diverse cultures and civilizations. As a result, the written music of that time showcased influences from Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian traditions, creating a rich and diverse musical landscape.

  5. The Epic of Gilgamesh: Some of the oldest surviving notations that have been discovered on cuneiform tablets are related to the epic tale of Gilgamesh. This ancient poem, dating back to around 1800 BCE, contained musical notations alongside the text, providing insights into the musical accompaniments during recitations of the poem.

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As Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” The advent of written music in ancient Mesopotamia marked a significant turning point in the history of music. It allowed compositions to transcend time and space, enabling future generations to experience and appreciate the beauty and power of music created by their ancestors.


Here’s an example of a simple table showcasing some of the symbols used in the cuneiform musical notations:

Symbol Meaning
( High pitch
) Low pitch
Sustained note
. Staccato note
Rest (silence)
:: Repeat

Through the documentation of musical compositions on cuneiform tablets, ancient Mesopotamia paved the way for a written musical tradition that continues to evolve and inspire musicians and scholars even in the present day.

In this video, you may find the answer to “When was the first written music made?”

This video explores the origins and development of sheet music, the graphic representation of musical parameters. Prior to the invention of the phonograph, notation was the only way to record music heard. It is believed that ancient Egypt and other cultures attempted to preserve music in written form. The Greeks developed a fully developed and deciphered notation system using letters for pitch and symbols for duration. European monasteries in the 9th century developed a new form of notation for Gregorian chant using neumes. Notation allows for the expression of new melodies and complex works exclusively in writing. Modern times have also seen the development of a different kind of notation to describe unusual sound effects.

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The earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform tablet that was created at Nippur, in Babylonia (today’s Iraq), in about 1400 BCE. The tablet represents fragmentary instructions for performing music, that the music was composed in harmonies of thirds, and that it was written using a diatonic scale.
This is the first known song ever written. Its is called Hurrian Hymn no.6. Originally composed by Syrians about 3400 years ago

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What was the first song ever written?
Answer: The melody, known as “Hurrian Hymn no. 6,” is thought to be from around the 14th century B.C.E. To give you an idea of just how old it is, it predates the use of the Gregorian Calendar (the system we actually still use today).

In respect to this, Who started written music? The response is: It all started with the Ancient Greeks.
Sadly, there are very few examples of written music from Ancient Greece – but we do know that the Greeks were crucial in setting the groundwork for music theory.

What was the first #1 song ever? The first number-one song of the Billboard Hot 100 was "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson, on August 4, 1958. As of the issue for the week ending on July 8, 2023, the Billboard Hot 100 has had 1,149 different number-one entries.

Then, What is the oldest record of music? In reply to that: The oldest surviving written music is the Hurrian songs from Ugarit, Syria. Of these, the oldest is the Hymn to Nikkal (hymn no. 6; h. 6), which is somewhat complete and dated to c. 1400 BCE. However, the Seikilos epitaph is the earliest entirely complete noted musical composition.

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Fact: The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BCE. [32] Antiquity Main articles: Music of Egyptand Music of Greece
And did you know: The first forms of music could have occurred in the Stone Age, about 3 million years ago. It is about the time when humans made use of stone to create tools. The creation of stone objects and tools, and activities such as crushing seeds, roots and even the collision of stones may have generated the first instrumental musical rhythms. Cailloce L (2018).
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With music in my soul