This is the oldest known piece of keyboard music
16 February 2017, 11:34
The Robertsbridge Codex is a manuscript from around 1360 and it contains the earliest surviving music written specifically for keyboard.
Picture: a page from the Robertsbridge Codex. Credit: British Library
The Robertsbridge Codex includes a rich variety of music, including a few vocal motets, a transcription of an Italian dance, but perhaps most excitingly, there's also a piece for keyboard – and it's the earliest surviving music for a keyboard instrument.
The music is an 'Estampie', which was a popular medieval dance. The word "Retrove" is also written at the top of the manuscript… though no one knows quite why.
Watch a performance of the earliest piece of keyboard music ever written
(from pianist Alberto Chines)
The earliest piece of keyboard music ever written
Music from the Robertsbridge Codex – played by Alberto Chines, piano
Here's more from pianist Alberto Chines on YouTube (some lovely Stravinsky from him there, if you now fancy something more recent!)