Ancient Mesopotamian Music


Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 6:00pm


Northwest Building, Lecture Hall B103, 52 Oxford Street

Special Event with Richard Dumbrill, Director of ICONEA (International Conference of Near Eastern Archaeomusicology) at the Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, and Professor of Archaeomusicology, University of Babylon, and Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper, The British Museum

Respondent: Professor Piotr Michalowski, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 

Some of the earliest known examples of musical notation have been found in the region of modern-day Syria and Iraq and date back almost four thousand years. These early compositions—recorded in cuneiform script on clay tablets—have become better understood in recent years. This program will trace the history of early musical composition and discuss advances in the theory of its interpretation. The speakers will demonstrate the sound of this music using reconstructed instruments and show how these were built and played in the Bronze Age. Earlier recordings and video clips will illustrate shifts in the understanding of the compositions, as scholars have gone from interpreting them through a lens of Hellenistic tradition to recognizing them as early examples of the Near Eastern musical tradition and direct ancestors of the Oriental musical system.

Presented in collaboration with the Harvard Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and the Harvard Department of Music, with the support of the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

The Lecture is free and open to the public.

Tickets are sold out for the Ancient Mesopotamia Cuisine Reception.

Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

See also: Lecture