Song of Seikilos - Ancient Greek Music
Buy and Download >
Song of Seikilos
The song of Seikilos is one of the few preserved compositions of ancient Greek music. It is engraved into a grave pillar that was found 1883 in Aydin in Turkey and is dated between 200 BC and 100 AD.
On the tombstone is an indication that the music composition and poem were composed and written by one Seikilos, for his wife, who presumably is buried there. The opening epitaph states:
I am a portrait in stone.
I was put here by Seikilos,
where I remain forever, the
symbol of timeless remembrance.
The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100. While older western music with notation exists (for example the Delphic Hymns), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition.
The music for Song of Seikilos is inscribed with a short poem. Here are two versions of the poem.
As long as you live, laugh
sing, be joyful
For you are here only for a short time
and time will then carry you away.
While you live,
dance, play, sing
don't grieve too much
For life is much too short
to waste it sad
and your time here will
soon come to a certain end.
of the Song of Sekilos
We have prepared 4 PDF files with notation of various versions of the Song of Seikilos. These basic instrumental arrrangmnts can be used to create various versions of this unique melody.
PDF 1. The basic melody with the lyric translation above.
PDF 2. A multi-part arrangement of the song.
PDF 3. A keyboard transcription.
PDF 4. A solo guitar transcription (with tablature).
You can listen to MP3 samples of this notation at: