ancient-music 2023 years ago
Ancient Music #Music Madness

Greece | The Seikilos Epitaph (200 BCE)

The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The epitaph has been variously dated, but seems to be either from the 1st or the 2nd century CE.

The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found in 1883 engraved on a pillar (a stele) from the Hellenistic town of Tralles near present-day Aydın, Turkey, not far from Ephesus. It is a Hellenistic Ionic song in either the Phrygian octave species or Iastian tonos. While older music with notation exists (for example the Hurrian songs), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition.

Although usually referred to as an epitaph, it is possible (according to a suggestion put forward by Armand D'Angour) that it does not mark a tomb, but was merely a monument erected by Seikilos himself to commemorate his skill.

Ancient Music
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