Byzantine Chant

Chant of Constantinople more commonly known as Byzantine Chant is the sacred chant of the Orthodox churches in the former lands of the eastern Roman Empire and many of their ecclesiastical offshoots beyond those areas. This tradition, encompassing the Greek-speaking world, developed in Byzantium from the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 until its fall in 1453. It is undeniably of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical age, on 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 Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, and Albania.

First Class Year

On the notes and their characters. Continuous transgressive ascent and descent. – Composition of characters. – Martērēa (Sign) of the notes. – Tone meizon (major), elasson (minor), and elachistos (minimum). – Natural diatonic scale of Νη. – Parallagē (Solmization). – Time and its characters. – Rhythm; meter of two beats (dēsēmos), of three beats (trēsēmos), and of four beats (tetrasēmos). – Division of the time into two parts (gorgon), three parts (dēgorgon), and four parts (trēgorgon). – The argon, the hymiolion, and the dēargon. – Continuous ascent and descent according to the rules of orthography. – On the characters of expression and their duties. – Olēgon and petastē as characters of expression.

The apostrophos as a character of time (continuous elaphron). – On the temporal vacancies. – Siopai (rests) of one beat, of two beats, of three beats, and of four beats. – On the fthores of the diatonic notes. – Slow and fast tempo change (hronēkē agogē). On the syncopation and breathing. – Rhythmic reading. – Division of the scale into two tetrachords. – On the semitones. – On the signs of alteration of the tones: flat (hyphesis), sharp (diesis). – Flat of Ζω. Sharp of Γα.

Practical Part: Various exercises on the application of the abovementioned theoretical lessons, performed through a simple counting of the characters, through rhythmic reading, and through parallagē. – Exercises on the short heirmologic melos (melody) of the Plagal of the Fourth Mode on the base Νη, of the Varys (Grave) Mode on the base Γα, and of the Plagal of the First Mode on the base Κε. – Exercises on the slow heirmologic melos of the Fourth Mode on the base Βου. – Exercises on the short sticheraric melos of the First Mode on the bases Βου and Πα, of the Plagal of the First Mode on the base Πα. – Also exercises of the Fourth Mode on the base Δι, and final ending the note Δι, and on the base Ζω from final endings of the diatonic Varys Mode.

Beyond these, exercises on the blackboard on all the taught theoretical lessons and correspondence between all the schemes of the Byzantine music and the respective schemes of the European music.