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Now playing: Meet it is 17th Century Valaam Chant

The Cycle of the Eight Tones

Performance Practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Brief History of Orthodoxy

Founded at Pentecost (Acts Ch. 2) Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils
1st in Nicea (325 AD) Nicene Creed 7th in Nicea (787 AD) Confirmation of Icons

Originally governed by five patriarchs

Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria 1054 marks the Great Schism Rome separates from Eastern Church

Brief History of Orthodoxy

988 Baptism of Russia Moscow becomes 5th Patriarchate in 16th century Orthodoxy is official religion of the Byzantine and Russian Empires There are now 15 autocephalous Orthodox Churches world-wide 2nd Largest Christian Denomination in the World

Role of Music
Singing is an integral part of every service Every part of the service is chanted or sung, with the exception of the sermon
When texts are read, they are chanted

All music is a cappella Text is most important aspect of music All participate in singing Clergy chanter choir congregation

Orthodox Church is Liturgical Three types of services
Daily Services Liturgies (Eucharist services) Other offices
Wedding, Baptism, Unction, Akathist, Molieben, etc.

Divine Liturgy of St. James (c. 60 AD) Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (4th century) Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Typica (read in place of liturgy)

Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

By St. Gregory Dialogus Used only during Great Lent

Daily Services
Nocturnes (Midnight Office) Matins (Morning Service) 1st Hour (6am) 3rd Hour (9am) 6th Hour (Noon) 9th Hour (3pm) Vespers (Evening Service) Compline

Cycle of Services
Books that prescribe hymns
Horologion (Book of the Hours) Octoechos (Book of Eight Tones) Menaion (Daily services) Triodion (Lenten services) Pentecostarion (Easter and Pentecost)

Types of Hymns
Troparion Kontakion Sticheron Prokeimenon Irmos

The Octoechos
Book of the Eight Tones Contains Hymns for each day of the week
Sunday Resurrection Monday Angels Tuesday John the Baptist and other Prophets Wednesday The Cross and Christs Betrayal Thursday Apostles Friday Crucifixion Saturday Saints and Martyrs/Commemoration of the Dead

The Octoechos
Byzantine Chant
Each tone is a different mode (scale) Troparia & Stichera tones are similar In contemporary Greek practice, there are no tones for prokeimena, as they are read

Russian Chant
Now, several tones are in the same mode Troparia & Stichera tones are different There are several melodies for prokeimena

Byzantine Chant
There is only one set of Tones in all Byzantine traditions Tones 1-4 are related to tones 5-8
Tone 5 = Plagal 1st Tone 6 = Plagal 2nd Tone 7 = Grave Tone Tone 8 = Plagal 4th

Russian Chant
There are several sets of Tones from Russia; Kievan, Znameny, etc. There is no correlation between the eight tones

How does the Octoechos Work?

The Eight Tones rotate on an eight week cycle, beginning with the 2nd Sunday of Pentecost The Tone of the Week is used for all daily hymns in each service Hymns from other books, such as the Menaion, are also added into the daily services, depending on the time of year These hymns are also assigned a specific tone, but not necessarily the tone of the week Set hymns for each service, from the Horologion, can also be assigned a different tone

Daily Vespers: an outline

Usual Beginning set of prayers for opening most services Psalm 103 Read by chanter Great Litany Priest/Deacon & Choir Kathisma Reading from Psalter Little Litany Priest/Deacon & Choir Lord, I have cried Psalms 140, 141, 129, 116; sung in tone of the week
Contains hymns from the octoechos and possibly the Menaion or other book, depending on the time of year

Daily Vespers (cont.)

Gladsome Light Choir Prokeimenon Priest/Deacon & Choir Prayer read by chanter Litany of Supplication Priest/Deacon & Choir Aposticha Sung in tone of the week Prayer of St. Simeon read or sung in Tone 6 Trisagion prayers read by chanter Troparia of the day Sung in different tones Augmented Litany Priest/Deacon & Choir Dismissal Priest & Choir

Byzantine Chant
Basis for all forms of Orthodox music Stems from chant of the synagogue Until 16th century, Byzantine Chant was monophonic The ison, or drone, was added in the midsixteenth century There are two ways to chant and two centers for Byzantine Chant throughout history


Seat of Orthodoxy during Byzantine Empire There was a distinct Grand Cathedral style of worship Chant was performed by professional chanters that also composed many of the hymns that have been passed down.

Mount Athos

Athonite Tradition
There are Twenty monasteries on Mount Athos Monastic life includes all daily services Each monastery has its own style of chanting Monastic style of worship was different from the Constantinopolitan worship Today, the Greek Church still follows Constantinopolitan practice to some degree, while the Russian Church has mostly adopted the Athonite style of worship

Two styles of Byzantine Chant

1) One chanter sings the melody, while the others all chant the ison 2) Half of the chanters sing the melody, and the others all chant the ison Style 1 allows for more ornamentation Both styles involve two choirs singing antiphonally

Style 1
Monks of St. Anthonys Monastery Rich men have become poor Grave Tone (Tone 7)

Style 2
Monks of Simonopetra Monastery Rich men have become poor Grave Tone (Tone 7)

Byzantine Notation
Uses signs to indicate intervals, dynamics, accents, pace, ornamentation, voice inflections Cannot be accurately transferred to Western notation At first, symbols were just added to texts to show the tones, and chanters would have them memorized To conserve lost melodies, Byzantine notation was created to be as specific as possible

Two Samples
Sticheron to St. Anthony at Lord, I have cried Tone 1 Troparion to St. Anthony Plagal 1st Tone (Tone 8)

Russian Chant
Inherited from Constantinople in 10th Century Was mostly monophonic until 17th Century Early chant Znameny (neumes or signs)
Simple melodies Evolved in 17th Century to include parts Demestveny Chant used for feasts
More complicated melodies

Russian Chant
Reforms by Patriarch Nikon in 17th Century caused split in the church
Western harmony was introduced Old Belivers split off and use only single part Znameny melodies

Znameny Notation
Similar to Byzantine notation Signs are mostly vertical, as opposed to Byzantine notation Square note notation was introduced as well, and manuscripts represent both styles

Znameny Samples
Troparion of the Cross Tone 1
15th Century Znameny Chant

Troparion of the Cross Tone 1

17th Century Znameny Chant

Other forms of Russian Chant

Monastic communities in Russia compose their own chant melodies
Valaam Chant island monastery on Lake Ladoga Trinity-Sergius Chant Patriarchal Monastery near Moscow Kievan Chant Monastery of the Kiev Caves
From Kievan Chant comes Obikhod (Common)

Obikhod Chant
Developed by Bakhmetev and Lvov
court composers against classical composers writing church music in Western style

4 part harmony Sticheron tones in Obikhod chant are based on Kievan chant melodies Troparion tones are based on Greek Chant Prokeimena tones are based on Znameny chant Irmos Tones are combination of all three styles

Troparion Obikhod Tone 1

Based on Greek chant Best known Russian melody Used by Tchaikovsky for 1812 Overture

Two Listening Examples

Kievan Chant Tone 6
Having Beheld the Resurrection of Christ St. Vladimirs Seminary Male Chorus

Obikhod Chant Tone 6

Thy Resurrection, O Christ our Savior St. Vladimirs Seminary Clergy

Other Russian Traditions

Many feasts for saints or events are written to special melodies, or podoben Peter the Great and the Westernization of Russia
Brought in Italian architects and musicians Italian opera was performed in the Russian court Giuseppe Sarti become the official court music director Dmitri Bortniansky takes over and adds Italian techniques to Russian traditions
Becomes one of the most prolific composers of Russian church music Develops the Sacred Concerto non-liturgical piece sung during clergy communion

Other Russian Traditions

Composers of art music begin to write sacred music Imperial Chapel censors much of it Settings of the Divine Liturgy and All-Night Vigil start appearing from Tchaikovsky and others
Many of these are not used in Liturgical worship Condemned as too Western

Golden Age of Russian Choral Music

From late 19th Century until 1917 Between 15-20 composers write settings of the Divine Liturgy and All-Night Vigil Pavel Chesnokov composes almost 200 pieces of Sacred music Others are Kastalsky, Archangelsky, Gretchaninoff, Rachmaninoff, Kalinnikov Ends with Bolshevik Revolution
Sacred music is practically banned

In America
Due to multiple ethnic groups in the U.S., Orthodox churches now combine musical aspects of both traditions into their services A typical service might feature hymns in Byzantine, Kievan, Obikhod, Znameny, and other chant systems

Listening Examples
Paschal Canon Ode 1
Byzantine Chant Performed by Eikona

Paschal Canon Ode 1

Russian Greek Chant Performed by St. Vladimirs Male Chorus

Exit Music
Psalm 103 Russian Greek Chant Arr. by Kedrov