Oldest Known Musical Notation from Mesopotamia
Although no lutes are preserved from the Old Babylonian period in Mesopotamia, this tablet records a notation system for the four-stringed lute. The notation records two ascending heptatonic scales (i.e., a scale with 7 pitches per octave, like the major scale) to be played on the lute, and tablet has headings labelled “intonation” and “incantation”. Aside from being the oldest known record of musical notation, the tablet attests to the use of frets whose tones were purposefully calculated and to the presence of a musical curriculum in education. (Source)
Old Babylonian, c. 2000-1600 BCE.
Schoyen Collection, MS 5105.