Chourmouzios the Archivist

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Chourmouzios the Archivist, also Chourmouzios the Chartophylax or Chourmouzios (Georgiou) Chartophylax, was a composer and scribe in the Church of Constantinople who participated in the adoption of the New Method of Byzantine notation in the early nineteenth century. The Ecumenical Patriarchate bestowed on him the title chartophylax (archivist).

Life

Chourmouzios was born about the year 1770 on the island of Halki. Little is known of his life as a youth. He became fluent in the Arab and Persian traditions of secular music in the Ottoman empire. He was a student of Iakovos Protopsaltes and George Kris. He also studied Byzantine chanting with Georgios of Crete and the patriarchal cantors Petros Byzantios and Jakobos Peloponnesios. Yet, during his early years he seemed to have not held a major office among the singers of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He became archcantor of the Church of St. Demetrios at Tatavla, of St. John of Galata, and at the monastic dependency (metochion) of St. Catherine's Monastery of Mount Sinai at Valata.

After the patriarchate accepted the New Method of notation in 1814, Chourmouzios began to collaborate with Chrysanthos of Madytos and Gregory the Protopsaltes on the refinement and dissemination of the reformed notation. While these three teachers, as they became known, served together as instructors at the Patriarchal School of Music from 1815 to 1821, Chourmouzios began to work in parallel on the transcription of the received repertory from St. John of Damascus until Manuel Protopsaltes into the new Chrysanthine notation. While Gregory's efforts were cut short by his early death in 1821, Chourmouzios worked steadily on the project until his own death. He died in 1840 at Halki.

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