Instead, the ode normally begins with the irmos. The troparia that follow are each introduced by a brief refrain which is again determined by the subject of the canon. For example, in a Canon of the Resurrection the refrain is, "Glory, O Lord, to thy holy Resurrection"; in a Canon to the Most Holy [[Theotokos]] the refrain is, "Most Holy Theotokos, save us"; and in the most general case it is "Glory to thee our God, glory to thee." For the last one or two troparia, the refrain is replaced by the doxology "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen." However, during Sunday Matins the ''[[Magnificat]]'', which forms half of the ninth Biblical ode, is usually sung in its entirety before the irmos.
The total number of troparia is determined by local usage. Theoretically there are as many as fourteen for each ode with some troparia repeated if the service books do not prescribe enough of them and some conjoined if there are too many. This makes the canon too lengthy for typical parish use, so often the number of troparia actually read is reduced
-- in some practices, to as few as three per ode.
Although it is intended that the troparia be sung this is impractical in most cases, so it is usually done only during the Matins of [[Pascha|Pascha]]. The troparia are most often read ''recto tono'' by a single [[Reader|reader]] as are the refrains that precede them
-- though the [[Irmos|irmoi]] and [[Katavasia|katavasiae]] are still normally sung. Often two readers will read the refrains and troparia anitphonally.