Sumerian Music In The Modern World

Are you interested in listening to Sumerian music with its original instrumentation?

Some time ago, I shared a post about The Gold Lyre of Ur project, which is an assembly of music put together from the most ancient written music ever, annotated by… you guessed it: Sumerian musicians.

Today I have discovered that there is an entire album recorded of music from the ancient Sumero-Babylonian world.  In Sumer, music was highly prized.  As far as we know, the Sumerians were the first inventors of a written musical system and their music was associated with holy rituals.  Women in Sumer held the role of priestesses for certain gods and goddesses; they were also “singers” or performers whose career was to render hymns and ritual music through singing, playing instruments and dancing, and their roles as such was highly respected in the Sumerian hierarchy.

This track is a musical annotation of the Hurrian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story excerpt pertaining the Flood.  It is beautiful, haunting, and spectacularly rendered. Listening to it, confirms yet again to me just how much like us our ancient, ancient ancestors were.

Here is the track:

This track’s original music dates to 1400 BC and is Hurrian, not Sumerian, but it is the earliest complete piece of music that we have from the ancient world.  Its theme, the Gilgamesh Epic, was what we would now call the “best seller” of all times, with thousands of adaptations and performances spread throughout the ancient world for thousands of years since the first copy of the story emerged.

I suppose that Gilgamesh was the ancient equivalent of our Hamlet.

Here is more from Wikipedia on the complete musical tablets, their provenance, etc.

And here is where you can learn more about the CD now available on iTunes with this beautiful music.

(And here is another bonus track I just had to share:


Published by laura

I'm the author of two short story collections, a story cycle, and a collection of short memoirs. I am an educator, literary translator, journal editor, and writing coach.

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