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Byzantine Chant

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'''ψαλμωδία''', the'''Chant of Constantinople''', more commonly known as '''Byzantine Chant''' is the sacred [[Church Music|chant]] of the Orthodox churches in the former lands of the eastern [[Byzantine Empire|Roman Empire]] and many of their ecclesiastical offshoots beyond those areas. This tradition, encompassing the Greek-speaking world, developed in [[Eastern Roman Empire|Byzantium]] from the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 until [[Fall of Constantinople|its fall]] in 1453. It is undeniably of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical age, on [[Judaism|Jewish]] music, and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early Christian cities of Alexandria, Antioch, and Ephesus. In the [[Orthodox Church]] today, many churches use Byzantine Chant as their primary musical tradition, including the Churches of [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]], [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]], [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]], [[Church of Serbia|Serbia]], [[Church of Romania|Romania]], [[Church of Bulgaria|Bulgaria]], [[Church of Cyprus|Cyprus]], [[Church of Greece|Greece]], and [[Church of Albania|Albania]].
With the end of creative poetical composition, Byzantine chant entered its final period, devoted largely to the production of more elaborate musical settings of the traditional texts: either embellishments of the earlier simpler melodies, or original music in highly ornamental style. This was the work of the so-called ''Maistores'', "masters," of whom the most celebrated was St. [[John Koukouzeles]] (active ca. 1300), compared in Byzantine writings to St. John of Damascus himself, as an innovator in the development of chant. The multiplication of new settings and elaborations of the old continued in the centuries following the [[Fall of Constantinople]], until by the end of the eighteenth century the original musical repertory of the medieval musical manuscripts had been quite replaced by later compositions, and even the basic model system had undergone profound modification.
[[Chrysanthos of Madytos]] (ca. 1770-1846), [[Gregory Protopsaltes the Byzantios|Gregory the Protopsaltes]], and [[Chourmouzios the Archivist]] were responsible for a much needed reform of the notation of Greek ecclesiastical music. Essentially, this work consisted of a simplification of the Byzantine musical symbols which, by the early 19th century, had become so complex and technical that only highly skilled chanters were able to interpret them correctly. Despite its numerous shortcomings the work of the three reformers is a landmark in the history of Greek Church music, since it introduced the system of neo-Byzantine music upon which are based the present-day chants of the Greek Orthodox Church.
==General Information==
The current usage of Byzantine chant Chant is built upon eight modes (tones), each mode with its own specific tonality. The modes change sequentially from week to week, starting the Monday after the [[Sunday of St. Thomas]], with mode 1. Within [[Bright Week]] itself, the mode changes each day, thus: :Sunday – mode 1, :Monday – mode 2, :Tuesday – mode 3, :Wednesday – mode 4, :Thursday – mode plagal of the first (5), :Friday – mode plagal of the second (6), :Saturday – mode plagal of the fourth (8).
===Resurrectional Cycle===The grave mode (7) was chosen as the mode modes change sequentially from week to be left out due to its heavier soundweek, considered least appropriate for starting the festal period among Monday after the eight modes. Since [[PentecostSunday of St. Thomas]] falls on the Sunday when the grave mode would have been used in the normal sequence, the mode is once again skipped and the hymns of Pentecost are used. The sequence resumes the following week with plagal of the fourthFirst Mode (1).
The corresponding mode of the week thereafter starts with Great Vespers on Saturday Evening, which is the Great Vespers service commemorating Christ's Resurrection on Sunday.
At Great Vespers, typically the Kekragarion (Lord I Have Cried & Let My Prayer Arise), the following verses, the Stichera of the Resurrection and the Aposticha of the Resurrection all correspond to the mode of the week. Great Vespers is also dismissed with the Apolytikion (Troparion) of the Resurrection in the appropriate mode of the week. Orthros and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday likewise follow the mode of the week with certain hymns and readings. Services starting with Sunday Vespers to the end of the week all rely on whatever daily commemoration and festal commemoration is called for in the liturgical rubrics.
===Bright Week===
Within [[Bright Week]] itself, the mode changes each day, thus:
:Bright Sunday – First Mode (1),
:Bright Monday – Second Mode (2),
:Bright Tuesday – Third Mode (3),
:Bright Wednesday – Fourth Mode (4),
:Bright Thursday – Plagal of the First Mode (5),
:Bright Friday – Plagal of the Second Mode (6),
:Bright Saturday – Plagal of the Fourth Mode (8).
The Grave Mode (7) was chosen as the mode to be left out due to its heavier sound, considered least appropriate for the festal period among the eight modes. Since [[Pentecost]] falls on the Sunday when the grave mode would have been used in the normal sequence, the mode is once again skipped and the hymns of Pentecost are used. The sequence resumes the following week with Plagal of the Fourth Mode (8).
===Festal Changes===
In the time between a [[Great Feasts|great feast]] and its [[Leavetaking|leave-taking]], for example, during the week following Pentecost, the hymns of the feast are chanted rather than the hymns pertaining to the mode of the week.
*[ Ecclesia] The chanting page of the official website of the Church of Greece
*[ Orthodoxia Radio] - Source for information and recordings of Byzantine chant as sung in the Church of Antioch
*[http://www.jamilsamaraantiochian.comorg/sacredmusicmusic/music.asp library Sacred Music (Orthodox Liturgical Music)Library] - Official Antiochian Archdiocese site for free music downloads, including many Byzantine chant
*[ Learn Byzantine Chant] - A simplistic flash presentation from the [[Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, Massachusetts)|Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology]]
*[ Byzantine Chant Resources] - The homepage of the Byzantine Choir of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. There are many links for learning byzantine notation and for new and transcribed hymns in byzantine notation.
[[fr:Chant byzantin]]
[[ro:Cântarea bizantină]]
--[[User:Orthophil|Orthophil]] 12:27, April 16, 2011 (UTC)
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