Sunday, July 17, 2016

Music to Nikkal’s ears

It’s been about 3,500 years since anyone dusted off a lyre to play this Hurrian hymn (H6) dedicated to the Akkadian goddess Nikkal-wa-Ib, the goddess of orchards whose name means “Great Lady and Fruitful.”

Tablet with Hurrian hymn H6
The words and music were discovered about 60 years ago in the ruins of Ugarit, an ancient Syrian city. It took about 20 years to interpret the inscriptions on the cuneiform tablets.

Michael Levy, a musician/composer whose specialty is ancient musical instruments, has embedded the original melody (listen here) in this composition with several themes, performed on a replica of an ancient lyre.

It’s not “Lay Down Sally” and it’s not “White Christmas” and it’s not “Take Five.”

It is an intriguing offering of what the Akkadians might have listened to when they were in the groove, when they were celebrating the festival of Nikkal.

It’s so easy for this music of the Bronze Age to survive for centuries.

It’s so easy to listen.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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