söndag 29 maj 2016

Seikilos epitaph

The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving complete musical composition.

"As long as you live, shine,
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure.
For your life is short,
and time will claim its toll."

The Seikilos epitaph’s survival in one piece, as it were, no doubt owes something to its shortness. The Greeks could carve the entire thing onto the surface of a tombstone, exactly the medium on which the modern world rediscovered it in 1885 near Aidin, Turkey.

The surface also bears an explanatory inscription about — and written in the voice of — the artifact itself:  “I am a tombstone, an image. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance.”