I've recently asked when the polyphonic music came up. Now I've encountered this accompaniment of Seikilos Epitaph. This sounds exactly like I was imagining that the Greeks would have accompanied their songs, as they had lyres with different tuned strings that could have played chords.

I also remember a movie about King David playing the Psalms to heal Saul from sickness. The sound was quite like this one:


Are these examples just fakes, or did the antique music sound like this?

And if they were able to accompany chords like this they also could be able to sing the voice lines of the chords: this would mean that the Greek choir songs were heterophony?


The transcription of the melody of the Seikilos Hymn is correct as far as it goes, although the Greeks would not have used equal temperament. The accompanying chords are fantasized- we know nothing about how they performed such music.

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    But it‘s a nice fantasy ;) When I looked at the tune I actually thought it is chord based (with this harmonization): built on two triad progressions! You must agree this melody is really touching - like the lyrics too, btw. Oct 22 '19 at 18:18
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    I agree, the melody lends itself well to chordal accompaniment. You can even play it as a canon and it sounds pretty convincing. And yes, it's a great tune, and good lyrics too: So lange du lebst, strahle, denn das Leben ist kurz, und die Zeit fordert das Ende ein. Oct 23 '19 at 16:05
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    Yes, this is the motto of my life :) Oct 23 '19 at 16:08

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