The Oldest Written Music

According to Wikipedia,

The Hurrian songs are a collection of music inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets excavated from the ancient Amorite -Canaanite city of Ugarit, a headland in northern Syria, which date to approximately 1400 BCE. One of these tablets, which is nearly complete, contains the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal (also known as the Hurrian cult hymn or A Zaluzi to the Gods, or simply h.6), making it the oldest surviving substantially complete work of notated music in the world. While the composers’ names of some of the fragmentary pieces are known, h.6 is an anonymous work.

. . .

The tablet h.6 contains the lyrics for a hymn to Nikkal, a Semitic goddess of orchards, and instructions for a singer accompanied by a nine-stringed sammûm, a type of harp or, much more likely, a lyre. One or more of the tablets also contains instructions for tuning the harp.

There are several versions of the music on YouTube based on different transcriptions.

The Time Rock & Roll Saved Free Speech (YouTube)

Nice video from the Foundation for Economic Education recounting the tale of the Parent’s Music Resource Center.

I’d forgotten about the Filthy Fifteen list of songs that the PMRC put out in 1985 as being most objectionable.

  1. Prince “Darling Nikki”
  2. Sheena Easton “Sugar Walls”
  3. Judas Priest “Eat Me Alive”
  4. Vanity “Strap On ‘Robbie Baby'”
  5. Mötley Crüe “Bastard”
  6. AC/DC “Let Me Put My Love Into You”
  7. Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
  8. Madonna “Dress You Up”
  9. W.A.S.P. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)”
  10. Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”
  11. Mercyful Fate “Into the Coven”
  12. Black Sabbath “Trashed”
  13. Mary Jane Girls “In My House”
  14. Venom “Possessed”
  15. Cyndi Lauper “She Bop”

C-SPAN has a video of the nearly 5-hour long testimony on September 19, 1985 before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. A full transcript plus additional materials is available here.

Steam’s Ridiculous Handling of Music Purchases

I had been waiting for Stardew Valley’s release for several months now, and when I finally played the game I was especially impressed with how good the music was. So impressed, that I paid $4.99 to purchase the Stardew Valley Soundtrack on Steam.

Steam Stardew Valley Original Soundtrack Screenshot


Okay, so I purchased the music, but how do I actually listen to it?

Well, first I tried clicking “Play” on the screen above, but that simply launched the game itself.

Hmmm. So then I remembered that there was “Music” option in the Steam Library. So I head over there, but there’s no Music in my Steam library at all.


Steam Library Music Screenshot

So I clicked on the Music Library settings option, but that screen left me scratching my head. Since Steam didn’t give me any indication of where it might have put the music (and it isn’t showing up in my library), I’m not sure what I need to do here.

Steam Library Music Setup

After a Google search, it turns out that Steam “helpfully” puts music in a subdirectory under the main game installation directory. So, if a game like Stardew Valley is installed here:

/SteamLibrary/steamapps/common/Stardew Valley/

then the soundtrack is located here:

/SteamLibrary/steamapps/common/Stardew Valley/StardewValleyOST/

Eventually my Steam client restarted for an update and it automatically added the soundtrack when scanning at startup. Apparently if I had clicked the “Scan Now” button, that would have likely added it to my library.

This. Is. Stupid.

I buy almost all of my video games through Steam because it is so easy to use and works well at keeping everything organized. My experience buying music from Steam, however, was a visit to frustration-ville.

The product page for the soundtrack should at a minimum include a clickable link that will open up the directory where the music is stored on the local machine, and I cannot for the life of me understand why Steam doesn’t automatically add any music I’ve purchased and installed from Steam onto the music list automatically. I shouldn’t have to restart my client or click through configuration screens to find a button to rescan my music collection.