Few years ago, I read this amazing article about the song of Seikilos. It's the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, which says
" I am a tombstone, an image. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance "
Once I heard the music after restoration on youtube, I had this weird sensation of familiarity as if I heard it before. Different from the morden day ancient Greek film BGM, the melody, is so pure clam and simply beautiful, moved me deeply inside. With drum, flute and harp accompaniment , I can almost imaging an warm summer evening, the folks of ancient Greek gathered together at one small square in the city with marble stairs, not far way, the food market was just closing down, People took fish, vegetables and bread back into the basket prepared for tomorrow. In the corner of square sat a small group of people with music instruments, wind gently lift up their sleeves as they were arranging the position to sit or stand and carefully turning the strings. Then the nightfall, the sound of flute and harp raised, music started. And I was the strange listener stood on a distance hill, so far way that it took the music note 2000 years to reach me. But it did, eventually, without knowing a single world of ancient Greece somehow I feel that I can understand it.
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.
Later on I found the translation of the lyric ( above, with English translation ) and that's exactly what I feel about this song. Sun rise sun set, moon rise moon set, earth spinning day and night. Days, months, years and decade pass, we come and go, nothing changes.
So I did a little drawing according to ancient Greek vase design while listen to this song.
Also you can click the audio track below to hear the beautiful Song of Seikilos.