YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=vxlste3JucU
Previous: Walking the Red Carpet: Thoughts from Los Angeles
Next: Understanding the Central African Republic

Categories

Statistics

View count:632,196
Likes:21,756
Dislikes:393
Comments:1,632
Duration:04:00
Uploaded:2014-04-18
Last sync:2018-05-13 18:10
In which Hank sings the oldest song we know of...the Seikilos Epitaph. Most songs from this period were written with only the lyrics, but the Seikilos Epitaph, buried as part of a funeral, contained an unmistakable chord chart. And so, 2000 years later, I can still sing it for you.

Here the Seikilos song on the lyre...possibly a little bit more likely of an interpretation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xERitvFYpAk

And here's Hurrian Hymn #6, the oldest piece you're ever likely to hear, though it's incomplete. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpxN2VXPMLc

And here's where you can buy my album:
Explicit: http://dftba.com/product/1803
Clean: http://dftba.com/product/1802
Good morning John. Earlier this week I was listening to some oldies and I was like ‘These are oldies, but how old is the oldest song?’ On the scale of things, really, oldies are newies. They’re very new. Of course, this is an impossible question to answer. The oldest song was probably sung by a bird, maybe a dinosaur, you don’t know! But I don’t think anybody else has got, like, the music in their soul.
(Singing) ‘Music gonna make you wanna move it all night long, all night long!’
It’s just us, and it is innate, like there are no cultures on Earth that do not sing. All humans sing that, well… all cultures sing. There are some humans, particularly ones named John Green, who probably should maybe just not.

Definitely the first human songs are well and truly lost. They were probably improvised, so the first melody was probably lost immediately after it was created. But the oldest song that we can still play today is called Hurrian Hymn #6. It’s incomplete but it was pressed into cuneiform tablets 3500 years ago and you can still listen to it. There’s clips of it on YouTube. That’s amazing! Archaeologists can let us get a glimpse at what the past looked like: the buildings and the tools people used and their pots and their weapons, but being able to hear back in time... For some reason that makes these people who existed distantly in the past much more real to me and, like, much more human to me.

However, the oldest song that we have in its entirety is a brief composition. The coolest thing about it is not only is it music, it also the lyrics, which is really unusual. It’s on a burial cylinder, probably placed into the grave of a man’s wife by the man. It was not originally played with an acoustic guitar accompaniment, but that is how I’m gonna play it because I don’t have a lyre nor do I nor how to play one.

Hoson zēs phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei

Hoson zēs phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei

While you live, shine on
Be joyous and dance
And seize the day
We’re only here until we’re gone
And time, time demands to be paid

Hoson zēs phainou
Mēden holōs sy lypou
Pros oligon esti to zēn
To telos ho chronos apaitei

That’s the oldest song we have, and the theme is basically YOLO. The more things change!

I have some news. In the scope of musical history, the first album of Hank Green and The Perfect Strangers, which is called Incongruent, is not going to be significant. It is, however, going to come out at the end of April or beginning of May, and I’m very excited about it, it rocks. I feel weird talking about how great my album is but you will hear more of it. There’s already some of it on my Tumblr. If you want to check that out there’s a song called ‘I F$*%king Love Science’ and it is available to pre-order at dftba.com. John, I will see you on Tuesday.

(Song at end)

T-shirt and jeans that’s right
It doesn’t mean anything
People who don’t know that I
Try not to say too much just with my clothes
If you wanna get to know me, man
We’re gonna have to talk about…