Syria, the Country that Brought the World Song

Syria, the Country that Brought the World Song – 世界に歌をもたらした国、シリア

[World Pavilion – April 2024 Issue]


Exploring Syria is also a journey to explore the origins of humanity and the source of culture. “Mesopotamia,” meaning “between two rivers.” Syria is a nation that thrives at its heart. In that fertile region, nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, humanity’s first agriculture, writing systems, and legal codes were born.


In 1948, the world’s oldest music notation, written 3400 years ago, was discovered in Latakia (Ugarit), Syria. It consisted of 36 compositions inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets. It took approximately 20 years to translate, revealing both melodies and lyrics.


It is said that there were songs that evoke peaceful moments among people, not just hymns, such as barmaids selling beer to customers. Moreover, Syria has a long tradition of crafting musical instruments, including the lyre, which has influenced modern instruments like the oud and kanun.


Instruments like the Japanese drum, biwa, and koto traveled across the Silk Road to reach Japan, and it’s said that the roots of Noh theater can also be traced back to the Middle East. The origin of music lies in Syria, and 2017, Aleppo was recommended as a UNESCO Music City. We hope for the day when the music of peace resonates from Syria as soon as possible.


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