Molars
17Oct/17

Music from before there was music

Gyða Valtýsdottir's Epicycle is a collection of influences and inspirations, and included on the album is this recording of the Seikilos Epitaph, one of the oldest complete notated pieces of music. The music was inscribed around 100 AD on a tombstone near the town of Tralles (which is in modern-day Turkey), and the song's lyrics have a carpe-diem/memento mori vibe (surprising to me for some reason, even though the lyrics are part of a grave). I'd never heard of the existence of the epitaph before, and it is thrilling to hear music this old, even if there may be no way to know exactly how it originally sounded. Valtýsdottir (who some may known from múm) has included some challenging and beautiful pieces of music on Epicycle (Harry Partch compositions, a hymn by St. Hildegard) that you probably don't encounter very often, and it's nice to have that feeling of being guided by an expert. Following Valtýsdottir's enthusiasms makes for a good listen.

[BUY Epicycle]

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