We have investigated the lattice dynamics of a wurtzite GaN single crystal by inelastic x-ray scattering. Several dispersion branches and phonons at high-symmetry points have been measured, including the two zone-center Raman- and infrared-inactive silent modes. The experiments have been complemented by ab initio calculations. They are in very good agreement with our measurements, not only for phonon energies, but also for scattering intensities, thus validating the correctness of the eigenvectors. Other phenomenological and ab initio theories exhibit significant differences.