The OLDEST complete song in History – LIVE! |


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The oldest complete piece of written music and lyrics so far discovered, in HISTORY!

This video features the LIVE performance for two lyres & vocals, of the “Epitaph of Seikilos” – the only COMPLETE example of an Ancient Greek melody with lyrics so far discovered. Although earlier pieces of notated ancient Greek music have been found (for example, a fragment of a chorus from the Athenian tragedian; Euripides’ “Orestes” of 408 BC), or going back even further, to the Bronze Age; the Hurrian Hymns dating to circa 1,400 BC), these are in fragments – the “Epitaph of Seikilos” is UNIQUE, as it is the only complete example of any surviving song from Classical Antiquity, which can be performed TODAY!

It was written sometime between 2nd Century BC – 1st Century AD. In this video, the song is beautifully sung in the original ancient Greek, by Bettina Joy de Guzman (; accompanied by the wonderful pure & harp-like timbre of my Marini 10-string lyre ( & Betttina’s replica ancient Greek Phorminx (handmade in modern Greece by Luthieros:

Engraved on an ancient Burial Stele at Tralles, Asia Minor, this beautiful poem with concise musical notations was discovered and published by Ramsay, 1883. Musical signs deciphered by Wessley, 1891. The stone itself, long preserved in the collection of Young at Doudja, disappeared after the burning of Smyrna (September 1923). It is now in the Copenhagen Museum, Inv. No. 14897.

This song is notated in ancient Greek alphabetical musical notation; in short, above the text of the song, the pitch is indicated by modified ancient Greek alphabetical symbols. The tune is in the ancient Greek Hypophrygian Mode (the equivalent intervals as G-G on the white notes of the piano). Rythm is easily inferred by the corresponding syllables of the text of the song.

The ancient Greek burial stele on which it was found bore the following epitaph:

“I am a stone icon. Seikilos placed me here, a mark of immortal remembrance throughout time.”

The words of the song are:
Ὅσον ζῇς φαίνου
μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ
πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶ τὸ ζην
τὸ τέλος ὁ χρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.“

“While you live, shine
Have not much grief
Life is for a short while
Time requires an end.”

NB! The original studio version of the 2017 recording of my collaboration with Bettina Joy De Guzman of “Epitaph of Seikilos” IS AVAILABLE FROM ALL THE USUAL DIGITAL MUSIC PLATFORMS:

Filmography: Christos Sagias



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