Mediæval Byzantine Music Author(s): H. J. W. Tillyard Source: The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Apr., 1937), pp.

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ERRATA SLIP MEDIEVAL BYZANTINE MUSIC The Musical Quarterly,April 1937

Mode III ...." is the LaudamusSalvator p. 206 The example belonging with "2. Hymn from the Octoechuzs. ' " "3. A Proper Hymn for Christmas.Mode IV . . ." is the Huc adeste, can P. 207 " " "4. A Polychronism .... Mode IV" is the Multi sint anni, printed on .. .." ."
p. 208 " " " 5. Hymn from the Octoechts. Mode I ...." ""6.
.

is the Auctorem summum,

....."

"

"

Canon for Saturdayin Holy Week. Mode II, plagal. . ." is the Flu 7. . . hymn for the last Sunday after Epiphany.Mode IV, plagal .. " is t

"Since my articlewas written, the Committeeof the MonumentaMusice By recommendedthat b-flat should always be marked as an accidental,not as

H. S. W. TILL

MEDIAEVAL BYZANTINE MUSIC'
By H. J. W. TILLYARD

T

HE MUSICof the Eastern OrthodoxChurchin the MiddleAges,

which is what I mean by Byzantine music, is clearly distinguished both from ancient Greek music and from the music of the Greek Church at the present day. The early Christianhymn from Oxyrhynchus,probablydating from the fourth century, is in a Greek mode and in Greek notation; and its characterproves, as Professor Mountford has pointed out, that Hebrew music cannot have been the sole origin from which the early Christian melodies were derived. Though our evidence for the early ages of church music is vague and scanty, it seems more than likely that the church inherited the Greco-Roman musical tradition, but incorporated Syrian and Hebrew elements as well, avoiding, however, the chromatic ornamentations of pagan musicians, which were regarded as meretricious and sinful. The modal system must be regarded as a simplification of ancient Greek theory. St. John of Damascus (VIIIth cent.) may have been one of the earliest composers who wrote systematically in all the modes. Older hymns that did not fit exactly into the scheme may have been assigned to whatever mode their finalis seemed to indicate. In the early Middle Ages the Eastern and Western churches had virtually the same musical theory, as is shown by the Byzantine names of the Gregorian modes, and by the application, or rather misapplication of ancient Greek names, like Dorian and Phrygian, to both series. Both the Western and the Byzantine neumes are descended from the Ecphonetic notation, used to regulate the musical reading of the Scripturelessons. This resemblance,however, does not help much in practice. For, at the earliest stage, neither the Byzantine nor the Gregorian neumes can be exactly deciphered: their meaning can be only partially inferred by comparisonwith later versions. And when we reach a definitely legible notation-the four-line staff in the West and the Round System in the
1 A paper read before the Western New York Chapter of the American Musicological Society, May i6, I936, by Gomer L1. Jones, Commonwealth Fund Fellow at the Eastman School of Music from Cardiff, Wales. 201

202

The Musical Quarterly

East-, it is clear that each sectionhas gone its own way and only a generallikenessremains.This also appliesto the Russianneumes. In the eleventhand twelfthcenturies they seemto be almosta copyof the stage-namely the Byzantine.Butwhen theyreachthefully intelligible Late Sematicnotation(or Kryuki,i.e. "Hooks")-, the melodiesshow the strongest from the Byzantine divergence originals. The Round or Middle Byzantinesystem,inventedin the twelfth and century,survivedthe Latin conquestof Constantinople flourished the age of the Palaeologi. this long stretchof time the In throughout whole hymnodyof the churchwas recorded a notationthat can be in read with virtualcertaintyin all its main features. The fall of Conin broughta suddenend to stantinople I453 and the Turkishconquest the production musicalmanuscripts. is not until the latersevenof It teenthcenturythata notablerevivalcanbe seen,bothin the copyingof cenold hymnsand in the composition new tunes. In the eighteenth of the Greekmusiciansat Constantinople were the minstrelsof the tury Sultan's orientalquality. This court,and theirwork had a thoroughly to musicintendedfor Greekaudiences.Thus, about naturallyspread were and his associates I82I, when the Archimandrite Chrysanthus reformingthe notation,they found a music in use whose theoryand The new notation,adaptedfor practicewere mainly Arabo-Persian. and providedwith a speciesof sol-fa,soon established itself; the print more easilyas the previousor Late Byzantinesystemwas falling into disuse. Butthey did not try to reformthe musicitself;and theirtheory is a strangemixture of Easternnotions with ill-digestedscraps of ancientGreektreatises. Therefore,when anyone speaksof the conGreekmusicas "Byzantine," meansonly that it is nonthis temporary The Greekchurchmusic of the MiddleAges, resembling European. the Gregorian, properlydeserves name Byzantine;and in this senseI shalluse it. such as The folk-songs modernGreece(of which Greekscholars of Mme. Merlier,Prof. Psachos,and M. Pachtikoshave publishedadmirable collections)aremidwaybetweenthe two traditions-lessoriental than Chrysanthine Churchmusic,becausethey were the work of music and not courtminstrels, lessdiatonicthanByzantine simplemen, of Turkishswayleft theirmarkon the had been,because centuries the songsas on the languageof Greece. melbe It need scarcely pointedout that the modernharmonized odiesof someGreekcity churches a loan from the West. They are are

Mediaeval ByzantineMusic

203

who wish to standfast muchdeplored Prof.Psachos his followers and by musicwas the I82I tradition. too, in the MiddleAges, Byzantine So, by musicfromthosetimes unisonicand unaccompanied. instrumental No has come down to us.
* *

In the absence an oraltradition of olderthanthe eighteenth century, music we aredrivento the manuscripts our knowledgeof Byzantine for in the MiddleAges. Not only haveseveral handbooks varyingmerit of come down to us, but the collections hymnsaffordvaluableinternal of notation evidence;so that the rulesof the Roundor MiddleByzantine in havebeenpromulgated aregenerally scholars Westand by accepted ern Europe.Theserulesformedthe subject discussion the Copenat of in was reachedconcerning Conference 1931, where agreement hagen the interpretation the rhythmicalsigns and some other details,of of which an exactdemonstration couldnot be effectedas can be donewith the interval In thisnotation, firstnoteof everyhymnis shown the signs. the signature, which varieswith the mode. Thesesignatures, which by sometimesadd an intonation,have been tabulatedand explainedin numbers.The restof the melodyis givenby a chainof interval adequate at the end of which the finalisis regained.This suppliesa check signs, on our reading. The valuesof the intervalsigns are given in the mebut diaval handbookcalledPapadike, the rhythmical signs could only be interpreted generalgrounds-hence the need for an agreedsyson recommended.2 tem, such as the Conference of the Furthermore, Conference forwarda list of publications, put which a splendidbeginninghas beenmadeby the issuein facsimileof a musicalmanuscript Vienna. This, the first volumeof the Monuat menta Musice Byzantince, broughtout by the Danish Academy was with the help and approval the World'sUnion of Academies.It is a of i.e. a collectionof the ProperHymns for the fixed and Sticherarium, movableholy days of the whole year,with certainsmallergroupsof of hymnsat the end. A greatmany manuscripts this classare extant, we can verify doubtfulreadingsand correctmistakes. The whereby date of the Vienna manuscript is I217. Anotherclassof musicalmanuscripts calledHirmologus, conis and
2 For a full description of the Round notation, see my books "Byzantine Music and Hymnography" (London: The Faith Press, 1923) and "The Middle Byzantine Musical Notation" (Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, I935).

204

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tainsthe typicalversesof the Canons,arranged modes. A Canonis by a hymnwith eight (or in Lent nine) odes,basedon the Canticles.The most famousCanonis that for Easterby St. Johnof Damascus(The translated J.M. Neale). earth,tell it out abroad, day of Resurrection: by Few Hirmologiare extant,the bestbeing at Grottaferrata, dated 1281. Whereasthe ProperHymns show remarkable of text and uniformity clearlygo back to a common original,the Canonsshow greaterdismusical whichamounts different sometimes an altogether to agreement, It will be requisite, to examinein detaileveryknown setting. therefore, Hirmologus. The third mediavaltype of musicalmanuscript containsthe Conof tacia,or Kovxdxta, St. Romanus(earlyVIth cent.) and others,but was form that is still in use. Romanus the greatonly in the mutilated est of all Byzantinehymn-wrights, his narrative-odes, religious or and ballads,have a fervor, simplicity,and power, of which later Greek strife in the early hymnodyshows little trace. After the iconoclastic seventhcentury, liturgical the bookswerealtered St. Johnof Damasby cus or his followersand only the preludes the odesof Romanus were of left. The originalmusic consequently and the surviving disappeared; of portions the odeswereset,at an unknowndate,in a veryfloridstyle. to and They are found in veryfew manuscripts aremost difficult read. In the fifteenthcenturywe find othercollections-includingwhole services, Lauds,Vespers,the Liturgiesof St. Basiland St. Chrysostom, and many exercisesfor the trainingof precentors.At this time the of composition new melodies,usuallyflorid,for older hymns begins; and this was carriedstill further in the seventeenthand eighteenth
centuries.
* *

The ancientlaws of quantitywere dead by the sixth century;and the spokenlanguagewas pronounced, modernGreek,by accent. like and Butmen of lettersstill wroteepigrams lyricalpoemsin the ancient meters;and St. John of Damascususes the ancientiambicmeter for some of his Canons. This, however,was a literaryand technicalfeat. Most Byzantinehymnodyis either basedon the numberof syllables odes andtheposition the chiefaccent(like the narrative of Romanus) of or, moreoften, it is in rhythmical prose,dividedinto cola or versicles, like the Psalmsand Canticles.The music follows the words, and is than melody. The rhythmis free. The cadences, more like recitative

Mediaval Byzantine Music

205

which are typical of the modes, and certain conventional ornaments, help to make the music lucid.3 All the Byzantine modes were diatonic in the Middle Ages. An accidental b-flat is sometimes needed to avoid an augmented fourth. Short passages in the chromatic genus (tetrachord e-flat, f-sharp, g, a; or g, a-flat,b, c') are sometimes found; but not before the seventeenthcentury do we find a whole hymn in this genus. The authentic modes nominally begin from the notes a, b, c', d', in order. But Mode IV usually begins from g (as it would otherwisebe too high) and borrows b-flat from the fourth plagal. The third mode usually ends on f, but avoids b near a cadence. The first plagal and third plagal (or Grave Mode; Barys) are the easiest,being like d-minor with a flat seventh, and f-major. The fourth plagal is the most complicated and expresses the highest emotion. The first mode is plain and straightforward. We give a few examples below, copied from the manuscriptsby the writer and transcribedinto staff notation. With any music of past ages we can never be sure that our manner of singing is in agreement with the composer's intention. When we have read the neumes, there still remain details of voice-production,expression, phrasing, and style, for which the manuscripts give us no guidance. Nor can we say when or how far the oriental practice of sliding from note to note (which often gives the illusion of quarter-tones) had established itself. The nasal singing, often remarked by nineteenth-centurytravellersin the Levant, may be a fairly recent introduction from the East. Further, there is no proof that the method of singing, even in the Middle Ages, was the same all over the Byzantine empire, in which many local influences were always at work. Hence, as the manuscriptsare our only guide, we are bound to follow them as faithfully as possible.
* *

EXAMPLES OF BYZANTINE MUSIC

i. The first ode of a Canon for Christmas by St. John of Damascus, from the Hirmologus at Grottaferrata. Mode I. (Crypt. date 128I.) The iambic meter is ignored by the composer. The accentual correspondence is carried through every ode, and possibly St. John intended this and not the quantities to be the basis of the music. A final cadence on d is very frequent in this mode.
3 Any attempts to add vocal harmonies would be out of place, but a simple accompaniment may be a help to some singers. It is also useful to have a Latin version in readiness for a singer ignorant of Greek.

_

-

206
Allegro

The Musical Quarterly

'E - oa Mi - ra -

o

aes

- lis

Xa - ov

gen-

uV - la - TovQ - yv tem Do - mi - nus

o - -

ser

6 - va

-

-

vit,

-yQOv O a - quo - sis

da-Xaun -

or dis

xv - Ia pon- ti_

XEQ sic -

0 oao ca -

tis

nd -aXa---o - lim,

- V

et

spon - te

T

-

na - tus

OEit

pu -

?X

X6

-

el

-

pQs;

la

per - vi - am

TQ - 6ov

a

- riv

se

-

mi - tam

X>
xo - ov

>

z~_
TI-l

coe - li

q -

V

-

red-

di-

dit

no - bis;

tv-

;

xa' v quem per

o6 sub -

o

-

stan-

av ti - am

ae -

;_

ov tF Qi * 30aT quum Pa - trlau -

o -d xca 6Qo - Ti; da - mus et mor - ta-

-li

o--

-

-

v. bus.

2. Hymn from the Octoechus. Mode III. This mode is very difficult, and is mostly avoided in the Proper Hymns, where the composer could choose his own mode.

-r

I^-rs^ t I VL *__= ^J~~~~~I N J --I~~_
A

Andante

Mul?

floX- AX
Mul - ti
Lr== I

Ta

-

Trl

-u iaTV V-wv6a

.
gum, mul~*TT4371 Jjg

.no -X
ti
j

J L-U_ M--:1 ^s -=C_
-

. . . sint
J

an

^_jP

ni

re

- ol -

sint

' an

-

T

td)v

-

ni-

-

6a

-

oL

Xi

-ov-

noX

Te

-

T

V

re

-

gum,

mul - ti

sint

an

-

ni

6 re

-

1

-

-

v.

-

gum.

'II-

v 6v

-

-

vv

Fo o Io F -

- a--TOo

V

-Co; C1

-

xal

av - TO-

o

-

han

-

nis

pi- is- si-mi

re-gis

et

im-per-a-tor-is

Ro -

man - o

xed - TO-QOg 'Po)-pai-ov,

-

rum,et

TOu na-at-

Pa-lae-o o - l - gi;

o -

6 -yov-

xai Ma -

- ao-6eo-Tr - T t; a; Egn et Ma- ri-ae, Ma-ri-ae pi-iss-i-mac

Av- yow-Tr Au-gus-tae

noAXX mul - ti

Ta&

sint

- Tn an-ni;

'I I

-

o -

-

cp seph

TcOU

-

i

sane-tis-si

a YL

-o -

4

5p
et

ppppp -h
et
O oe - Xcu- pm - ni-

h ..
pa - tri - ar-

J

1

Ta

mi

oe - cu - me - ni-

ci

ci

pa - tri -ar - chi mul -

chi

mul

-

At

ti

to sint

E - I-. an - ni.

Medieval Byzantine Music

207

3. A Proper Hymn for Christmas. Mode IV. The tune, being in the lower region of the mode, borrows b-flat from the fourth plagal. Adagio molto

Om - ni-po-tensDo-mi-ne, t)e ,w Li e,t

no I

-

-

vi

quan-tumprae-va - le -

ant la-

.... cri- mae, He-ze-chi-amquae

a

fo-

ri-bus

mor-tis

re- de - ge - rint,

et pec - ca

-

tri-cem

a

ve

-

te

-

ri-bus

cri- mi-

ni-bus e - ri - pu - e - rint,

et pub-li- ca-nun

prae

Pha- ri-sae-

o

iu-sti -

fi-ca-

ve - rint; qui-bus-cumme nu-mer-ans

mi-se-re- re pre-cor,Do - mi-ne.

4. A Polychronism, wishing long life to a Byzantine emperor. Mode IV. Allegro

X,;;
Hue

2ffi
ad - es - te,

;ffi

J '.
ma - trem ru-it_vir - go;

0-_;
sal - va sal-ve

r
to ris, fi- ca

ca - ni - te

quae postpar-tum

rur-sus

ap-pa

urbs vi-vi-

Re-gisnos-tri

et

De-i,_--

ub-i Chris-tus ha -bi-tans

sa-lu-tem

ef - fe

-

cit;

cumGa-bri-e- le

cc

-

le-bram-uste,

iuxta pas-tor-

es re-so-na-bi-mus,cla-man-tes:

De-i

Mat-er o - ra_.

Sal-va - to-rem a te na-tum pro sa-lu

-

te

nos-tra.

208

The Musical Quarterly

5. Hymn from the Octoechus.Mode I, plagal.
Adagio nontroppo
-"I

- 4wrf-? .J IJ--n h2
Fluc-ti-bus qui ma * ris

I f o-per-u

^
- it-quon-damper-se-cu-to-rem I J, Ai I re -gem,

A

IV -^ *e

h t<J _d
ter-ra

I ~~J7i-z Ii -M
o-peri unt

> :~

,

j-r h I Ir -j__~
re-demp-to-rum +*_S f

.

r _.

pii vivace j

IJ

r
i;

I)
nos rall.

^ op. F r*, rr - F _
au-tem sic - ut mu -

fi - li * > n; ;

li - e - res

can - te-mus Do-mi - no;

glo-ri-o-se

mag-ni-fi-ca

- tus

est.

6. The first ode of a Canon for Saturdayin Holy Week. Mode II, plagal. Words ascribedto Casia.
A .

km
(l)'YL -vo

7

,rL r
-

' r
TO 0)-

.

Lan-da-mus

r7 lev

?

Sal- va - to- rem,

. . r _ Tq - Qa, (2) TOv

If

r
Ex

ru P
{aaQ-

L

P P ,t. .
- vov

p

Is_

e - nim e

TYi;

pu - el -

la

in - car

Ea@

- xo

{v

-

na - tus,

to,

(3) bt'

et pro

fi - p

Eya&Q orav no - bis_ cruo-

-

i - fi

Q

-

-

xs

(4) xai

T

ter

-

ti-a

TQj - Tf

di-

e

n-

re-sur- re

eL-Qq' dv -

-eo

-.

-

J,(5&o) - QOV JAe-voS

xit,

do- nans no-bis

-o. - a - Liv To - yE mag-nam mi- se - ri - cor - di - am.

7. A ratherpathetichymn for the last SundayafterEpiphany. ModeIV, plagal. the This hymn comes from a fifteenth-century manuscript, words being by Casia. Observethe common formula, a b d' c' b (thematismuseso) and b a g a f a g f down a majorthird. (thema haploun).This examplehas been transposed

MediaevalByzantine Music

209

Tov

do - Xn - yv
-

rT

Auc - to

rem

sum-mum

oo - Tn -ci

-

c
tis

il
nos -

sa - lu

v, XPQo- TO trae, Chris-tum

o bo o- too fi mag-ni-

yi
ca

o - bi

-

tev. Av - TOV
mus. Hoc en -

y&a0 X ab im

v v - a - Tav VEX sur- gen in - fer-nis

-

-

To te

s xoo -

o;

mun-dus

- OOd- V tI. Xai - QL XO - O; X er- ro -re ser-va-tur. Gau-det an-ge-lo

- rum cho-rus,

bcac- s6 (iy - Y - AOv uPFU-YEt

fu-git

de- mo

vowv jrX - v. num er-ror.

'A -ba&t nE - ov A-dam lap-sus

v - ia re - sur

-

ta t b - a di- a git,

-

-

- e10 - Y - Tat. 60- % xao de - vin - ci - tur. bo-lus

8. A joyful hymn in praise of the Martyrs. Mode IV, plagal. (Grottaferrata E. Gamma II.) Allegro moderato

Lae - ta - bun - di

iu - bi - le - mus, lae - ta

men - te

ce - le - bre-mus.

I

DJ ^kJ%; 1JXQ?.; DJ
Mar-ty-rum sol-lem - ni - a,

qui in mun-do mor - i - en - tes, sed
rrall.

in

Chris - to

L J

- tes, re- nasre- nas-cen - tes,

so-la so-la

g - riantes, ntlo-ri-a. s vi e cru-ce glo - ri - an - tes, e - ius vi - vunt glo-ri - a. cr-ce

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