Re: Organs and choirs
- Dear Dana:
Right now I don't mind this being back and forth between you and me.
I know there are a handful of lurkers here, but I hope your post on
the Byzantine Chant board will inspire more folks to post here.
I think at the time Anastasiou wrote his hymnal, women singing in the
choir was still a contentious issue. It still is today in Greece. So,
anyway, I believe the arrangements in his hymnal are for male choir.
However, if you read all of the stuff he wrote at the beginning and
end of the hymnal, Anastasiou indicated that for mixed choirs, women
and men were to double the written parts. He also goes into a long
endorsement of the organ and claims with pride to have introduced it
I had a chuckle over your comment about the "organ apichima."
- --- In email@example.com, "Stan Takis"
>Same here, on all counts. :-)
> Dear Dana:
> Right now I don't mind this being back and forth between you and me.
> I know there are a handful of lurkers here, but I hope your post on
> the Byzantine Chant board will inspire more folks to post here.
I do think that this is a much more appropriate place to discuss the
musical woes of the GOA (as well as other musical aspects of the GOA)
than one of the lists that focuses on specific types of music (such as
> ... if you read all of the stuff he wrote at the beginning andLooking at p. 325, in the back, I see that he had it in mind for the
> end of the hymnal, Anastasiou indicated that for mixed choirs, women
> and men were to double the written parts.
Sopranos and Tenors to double on the upper part in the treble clef,
the "Contralti" and "Baritoni" to double on the lower part in that
clef, and the "first and second Bases" [sic] to sing the two parts on
the bass clef.
Well, this at least would offer additional voices for those 3-note
(and sometimes 4-note) chords that show up in the treble clef ...
(Dana shakes his head, trying to believe his eyes)
> He also goes into a long endorsement of the organ and claims withYes ... he does, and he does.
> pride to have introduced it in America.
> I had a chuckle over your comment about the "organ apichima."Yeah, that goes in the I Kid You Not department.
But what I was getting at, with all that, is that we can grow to
depend upon the organ, when our choir sings music *that was written to
have organ accompaniment*. If the organ has moving parts while the
choir holds sustained notes ... then when the organ stops playing,
something will feel "missing".
I have only just noticed this -- just a few days ago, in my parish
choir where we stopped using the organ a couple of years ago. No one
seriously misses the organ, perhaps because we *can* double (most of)
the organ's music. For us, it's not a serious loss.
I don't have a wide acquaintance with today's GOA organ-and-choir
repertoire; I really know little more than my own choir's repertoire,
and I have only a nodding acquaintence with other composers and
compositions. But it struck me that this was a situation that
composers *could* paint their music into (dependence upon the organ).
I wonder whether any others (other composers than Anastasiou, whom we
have already discussed) have?
- Dear Dana:
We stopped using the organ in our parish (Flint) last year. The choir
couldn't sing in tune with it, oddly enough. Now we get the pitch
from Father Stavros's chant and adjust to it. We do a simple liturgy
that Nancy and I put together that is a combination of Sakallerides-
style 3-part harmony in the 2nd Tone hymns and the Communion hymn
(this was my contribution and it was because the choir couldn't
handle 2nd Tone), and the rest of it is Byzantine Chant, mostly
Plagal Fourth, First, and Plagal First (Nancy's contribution.)
I don't miss the organ at all, and I thought there for a moment that
the choir didn't either, until this past Christmas when we sang a few
Christmas Carols for the kid's pageant and Nancy accompanied on the
organ. A couple of choir members got nostalgic for the old days and
wondered aloud if we could go back to accompanying the liturgy with
That won't happen, but, hey, our organ is a Baldwin classical organ
and it sounds nice.