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 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