Can Music Be Reconstructed?

edited 2020-06-11 14:48:54 in General
Is it possible to truly recover the sounds of the ancient world?  Discuss here.

Also, despite the anachronism of the microphone and the green-screen background of Babylon rather than Sumer, this is probably the best attempt of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld in terms of pronunciation and music. (even though it confuses the Epic of Gilgamesh with Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld).

Additionally, here are three versions of the Song of Seikilos, which is the oldest complete melody we might actually have (or perhaps we've got the timing and rhythm all wrong, and the stresses incorrect).


  • edited 2020-06-11 15:31:17
    Acid Mammoth!!!!
    I don't know to what extent we can reconstruct ancient music, but at least this stuff is better than any current "hit" music

    in my humble opinion, don't take this comment too seriously
  • Acid Mammoth!!!!
    they didn't use what we consider standard musical notation back then, of course. Makes we wonder what it is they did use, and how we can decipher it.
  • Darkness is ever the herald of dawn.
    There are primitive forms of musical notation, and there are poems which go in certain meters, and there are birdsongs that can be compared.  There are other things, but, all in all, it's not a lot to go on.  The Seikilos stone does have notation on it (so we know notes, but not timing or rhythm or all the stress).  I assume that there are some primitive sorts of musical notation that the Sumerians must have used.

    Still, though, having the notes and the lyrics "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" doesn't let you know what it actually sounds like.

    One could argue that, even after modern musical notation became a thing, our idea of what certain songs sounded like is wrong (Beethoven's timing marks would seem to indicate that certain of his pieces, especially his fifth symphony, are possibly intended to be played much faster than they usually are, in fact, almost too fast to be physically possible at parts).
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