Music

Ancient Music Wednesday : Seikilos Epitaph

Since I started this Ancient Music Wednesday, I have notice the tendency to claim a musical composition as being the oldest. While I share the eager curiosity of many musical academics out there, sometimes I do wish there is a working timeline where I could place where an ancient music is from along with its complementary information.

Anyway, I am rather happy to learn about this piece of Seikilos Epitaphs. The Seikilos epitaph is, thus far,  the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey (not far from Ephesus). The find has been dated between 200 BC to  AD 100.

The stele is now housed at Nationalmuseet in Denmark. The photo was taken by Aaron Reed.  http://viennachoralsociety.org/vcs-blog/visiting-the-real-seikilos/

The stele is now housed at Nationalmuseet in Denmark. The photo was taken by Aaron Reed

The following is a transliteration of the words which are sung to the melody, and an English translation:

Hoson zēs, phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou;
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei
While you live, shine
Don’t suffer anything at all;
Life exists only a short while
And time demands its toll.
Here is performed by the music group : SAVAE

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