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Re: Some historical insights into polyphony & the organ...

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  • Stan Takis
    Thank you, Dr. Combitsis. I m hoping also for more primary evidence. The citation of Wellesz does require some conjecture. I m particularly intrigued by the
    Message 1 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
      Thank you, Dr. Combitsis. I'm hoping also for more primary evidence.
      The citation of Wellesz does require some conjecture. I'm
      particularly intrigued by the word "secret."

      I am assuming that if we accept the given interpretation of this
      passage that it is perfectly acceptable to have organ preludes and
      postludes in our Church. Correct?

      Stan
    • Dana Netherton
      ... Yes, secrets are always intriguing, aren t they? ;-) We happen to know that the Emperor received dignitaries (such as foriegn ambassadors) in a setting
      Message 2 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
        --- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "Stan Takis"
        <takistan@y...> wrote:
        >
        > Thank you, Dr. Combitsis. I'm hoping also for more primary
        > evidence. The citation of Wellesz does require some conjecture. I'm
        > particularly intrigued by the word "secret."

        Yes, secrets are always intriguing, aren't they? ;-)

        We happen to know that the Emperor received dignitaries (such as
        foriegn ambassadors) in a setting that included music without visible
        musicians. (Presumably in an adjacent room, perhaps hidden by a
        curtain). It is possible therefore that the "organon" was "secret"
        in the sense that it was not visible to the Emperor and those with
        him. Perhaps the "organon" was outside the building?

        > I am assuming that if we accept the given interpretation of this
        > passage that it is perfectly acceptable to have organ preludes and
        > postludes in our Church. Correct?

        "Perfectly acceptable" sounds like an over-eager leap to a very
        uncertain conclusion! The example given appears to present secular
        music (1) that is being used to mark the transition to secular
        pursuits, and (2) that might be played *outside* the naos.

        The closest modern example I can think of would run like this: on
        the Sunday of a parish's Parish Festival weekend, at the conclusion
        of the parish's Sunday morning worship, the festival's Greek band
        strikes up a tune -- outside the church, but within earshot of those
        inside -- thus setting the musical scene for the shift from worship
        to Festival.

        By very sharp contrast, "organ preludes" and "organ postludes" are
        distinctly worship-oriented: as Diana pointed out, they can set the
        mood for going in/out; and of course the organ is firmly fixed
        *inside* the church.

        No, Stan, I would feel *very* uneasy about justifying that Western
        worship practice by pointing to this passage.

        -- Dana Netherton
      • dianakg2003
        Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it is probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and departure from church may have
        Message 3 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
          Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it is
          probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and departure
          from church may have had ceremonial or processional aspects, for
          which the organ may have been played. Nowawdays, when people go up
          for antidoron, things get chatty and chaotic, Sunday School lets out,
          traffic jams, etc. And people drift in to church for the first 45
          minutes. In our small church I play the organ then to keep the
          atmosphere solemn. I noted that in the RC church,the congregation
          leaves following the priest, almost in procession. It is fairly
          quick and a bit more orderly.

          I have found a reference to organ use in the church in Rome which
          notes pre-schism use(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11297a.htm.)
          Also one Pope, Sylvester II, circa 999AD built an organ during this
          time. Apparently the spread of the organ to more western countries
          was facilitated when the water mechanism (which would freeze) was
          replaced by bellows. Some of this spread was pre-schism. Another
          interesting comment in the reference is that polyphonic vocal music
          was called organum... so it is thought that perhaps the organ
          stimulated polyphonic singing. ( or maybe it was the other way
          around?? who knows..)

          If one steps back and looks at the whole picture, what is interesting
          historically is that during pre-schism years, several different
          traditions emerged in the different centers of the church - be it
          Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, etc. Whether it be
          antiphonal singing, full congregational singing, unison, etc. Maybe
          things would have been different if they all had a cell phone or e-
          mail?! By the time a message reached another city center of the
          church, a practice may have been going on for awhile and hence was
          not adaptable to discussion...and one could imagine that when the
          organ arrived in the West as a peace offering gift from
          Constantinople, that it might have been placed in the church to
          recognize the gift as a symbol of peace... or perhaps it was assumed
          or misunderstood that it was being used in the church in
          Constantinople... ( not to raise another separate thorny issue, but
          the recent hubub on the gnostic Gospels raised the question that
          Christian worship may not have been as standardized as we have
          thought.., however we don't need to even go into that topic to see
          that even within Orthodox history there were separate practices in
          use)

          In any case, the RC church has strict rules for organ playing
          regarding that it can not replace the spoken prayer (the prayer must
          be audibly recited), cannot be used during the Creed, and that it can
          not be played during certain solemn calendar periods (Lent and
          others). One can read this in their online dictionary at the above
          link. They mention its appropriateness during entance and
          recessional.

          D.



          --- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "Stan Takis"
          <takistan@y...> wrote:
          >
          > Thank you, Dr. Combitsis. I'm hoping also for more primary
          evidence.
          > The citation of Wellesz does require some conjecture. I'm
          > particularly intrigued by the word "secret."
          >
          > I am assuming that if we accept the given interpretation of this
          > passage that it is perfectly acceptable to have organ preludes and
          > postludes in our Church. Correct?
          >
          > Stan
        • Stan Takis
          ... Either overly eager or tongue-in-cheek. I was the latter, but maybe it didn t come through. Stan
          Message 4 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
            > "Perfectly acceptable" sounds like an over-eager leap to a very
            > uncertain conclusion!

            Either overly eager or tongue-in-cheek. I was the latter, but maybe it
            didn't come through.

            Stan
          • Stan Takis
            ... There is a series of long tomes on the history of the Liturgy by Robert Taft. He also produced a single smaller book which is a synopsis of these volumes.
            Message 5 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
              --- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "dianakg2003"
              <kizzymail51@h...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it is
              > probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and departure
              > from church may have had ceremonial or processional aspects, for
              > which the organ may have been played. Nowawdays, when people go up
              > for antidoron, things get chatty and chaotic, Sunday School lets out,
              > traffic jams, etc. And people drift in to church for the first 45
              > minutes. In our small church I play the organ then to keep the
              > atmosphere solemn. I noted that in the RC church,the congregation
              > leaves following the priest, almost in procession. It is fairly
              > quick and a bit more orderly.
              >

              There is a series of long tomes on the history of the Liturgy by
              Robert Taft. He also produced a single smaller book which is a
              synopsis of these volumes. I've read this book, but not the long version.

              Constantinople was in love with processions. St. John Chrysostom had
              to add them to the Liturgy to compete with the popular processionals
              of the heretics. There were two processionals to the Ayia Sofia, that
              of the emperor and that of the patriarch. They began miles away and
              included several stations. Hymns were composed to accompany the train.
              When they met at the church, each dignitary entered from a side of the
              church and the laity through the Narthex. This is really the reason
              for the cruciform of the building.

              In the modern Liturgy, the remnants of this procession are found in
              the Trisagion Hymn and the Small Entrance. The Cheruvikon is the other
              processional hymn.

              Stan
            • Dana Netherton
              ... Ceremonial/processional aspects is one thing. Playing the organ as a matter of routine ( prelude/postlude style) is something else. You don t *have* to
              Message 6 of 19 , Feb 9, 2005
                On 9 Feb 2005 at 19:31, dianakg2003 wrote:

                > Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it is
                > probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and departure
                > from church may have had ceremonial or processional aspects, for which
                > the organ may have been played.

                Ceremonial/processional aspects is one thing.

                Playing the organ as a matter of routine ("prelude/postlude" style)
                is something else. You don't *have* to play an organ, to have a
                procession. :-)

                You said ...

                > Nowawdays, when people go up for antidoron, things get chatty and
                > chaotic, Sunday School lets out, traffic jams, etc. And people drift
                > in to church for the first 45 minutes. In our small church I play the
                > organ then to keep the atmosphere solemn.

                As I mentioned earlier, I did that in my little Episcopalian mission.
                Don't need it, in my current GOA parish. Why?

                1. When the Liturgy is winding up, the Greek cantor and I come down
                out of the choir loft, and go back up to the chanter's stand. We
                might sing the katavasias from Orthros (which most people didn't
                hear), or something else in the Church's repertoire. Two voices,
                with mikes, can be heard as well as an organ. :-)

                BTW, a month or two ago our Greek cantor got tired, and handed it
                over to me ("sing what you want"). So I pulled out St Nectarios's
                Agni Parthene Despota (sp?) -- a metrical translation *in English*,
                something that had never been heard in that church before.

                You could have heard a pin drop.

                2. Our people do drift into church during the first 45 minutes of the
                Divine Liturgy ("they're on Greek time"), but of course the service
                is running; the priest and the choir (or cantors, sometimes) are
                singing. No chit chat.

                If they drift in during the 45 minutes *before* the Divine Liturgy
                ... then they're a half-hour late for the start of Sunday Orthros, of
                course. ;-) And, again, the service is running, the priest an the
                cantors are singing. No chit chat.

                If anybody drifts in during the 45 minutes before Sunday Orthros ...
                they're welcome to be chatty. Our Sunday Orthros starts at 8:30 am.
                d:-D

                > I noted that in the RC church, the congregation leaves following the
                > priest, almost in procession. It is fairly quick and a bit more
                > orderly.

                In most Western churches I belonged to, the clergy makes a bee-line
                for the entry door, at the end of the service. Why? So he can shake
                hands with everyone who's trying to get out ... creating a "receiving
                line", whether they wanted him to "receive" them or not. ;-)

                Concerning the greater "orderliness", there are likely to be some
                cultural issues at work, as well. Remember what I said about "Greek
                time"?

                > If one steps back and looks at the whole picture, what is interesting
                > historically is that during pre-schism years, several different
                > traditions emerged in the different centers of the church - be it
                > Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, etc. Whether it be
                > antiphonal singing, full congregational singing, unison, etc.

                Oh, yes indeed. For that matter, universal clerical celibacy seems to
                have become "the done thing" in the West quite early -- Western
                councils in the 300s laid down such requirements.

                The East criticized it, and it became a point of contention at the
                Quinisextum Council in 691-92 ("the Council in Trullo"), whose canons
                the Pope refused to accept.

                (Mr) Dana Netherton, dana@...
                -------------
                Polonius: My Lord, I will use them according to their desert.
                Hamlet: God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man after
                his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
                (Act II, scene ii)
              • dianakg2003
                Perhaps the mikes help in your case. In our parish, which is a start up, we don t have mikes , and the choir and psalti and small organ are all in one
                Message 7 of 19 , Feb 10, 2005
                  Perhaps the 'mikes'help in your case. In our parish, which is a
                  start up, we don't have 'mikes', and the choir and psalti and small
                  organ are all in one corner near the altar. The congregation of 50
                  families is mostly 3rd generation and mixed marriages (this is
                  largely the congregation in America now). And, the children- about 75-
                  are predominantly under 12 years old. When our organ was broken we
                  tried the chanting approach, and people just yapped right by us. I
                  was amazed. In any case, when I play the organ, during antidoron,
                  they are quieter and most whisper to me to play more. For the most
                  part the only other playing I do is during communion and Cherubikon,
                  in between the repeats, to give a break to the 6 of us singing,and
                  maintain solemnity. On Good Friday evening, before services start, I
                  play one of the hymns as people arrive to venerate the Epitaphion and
                  take their seat. So it is not a theatrical performance as may have
                  evoled in some western chuches, and the vocals clearly predominate.
                  For Hymns of the day, I just give the starting note. Then after
                  service concludes, I play the hymn of the day, or the special if
                  there is one. Sometimes I will sing it instead but I find the
                  chatting during this to be offensive. Maybe a mike would add more
                  emphasis. (I have a trained voice, which I have been told is
                  excellent, though my own opinion differs...) When our organ broke
                  there was a Parish Council discussion on what to do and our priest
                  strongly felt we should have one to assist our choir, and it is truly
                  used as an aid and not a substitute- and sounds more subdued than the
                  little pitch pipe.

                  Regardless, I think the crucial thing is that in the early church,
                  be it Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, or Rome, the singing was
                  congregational from start to finish- some responsorial, some in
                  unison- and we have lost that: we lost the people in the service -
                  which was the objection to the organ. The Antiphonal singing in
                  Alexandria required everyone to be ready with 'their part'- so you
                  had to pay attention and everyone had a role. I believe that the
                  bigger issue is loss of this tradition of congregational
                  participation. I have noted one start up parish online that is using
                  this approach, which is good. Evangelical churches also involve the
                  congregation more... and surprisingly the GOA director of Family &
                  Marriage said that it is the only church growing in membership in
                  America, all of the others are shrinking, based on the stats he saw.
                  The Orthodox church is struggling to 'stop the bleeding' or 'exodus'
                  if you will. There is a desperate spiritual need to assist people in
                  prayer, and that is what the church is working to find. Before 1453,
                  the church went through numerous periods of change and evolution and
                  became static after 1453 during Turkish rule. I often wonder what the
                  progression would have been had it not been shut off from the rest of
                  the world. Would the faith have been the answer during the
                  Reformation movement? What would it have done to reach people
                  dissatisfied with the Papacy? We have a Christian reformation
                  movement now right here in America... how come we are not the faith
                  of choice for most of those seeking a deeper spiritual Christian
                  experience? The church is working to answer that question.

                  D.




                  --- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "Dana Netherton"
                  <dana@n...> wrote:
                  > On 9 Feb 2005 at 19:31, dianakg2003 wrote:
                  >
                  > > Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it
                  is
                  > > probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and
                  departure
                  > > from church may have had ceremonial or processional aspects, for
                  which
                  > > the organ may have been played.
                  >
                  > Ceremonial/processional aspects is one thing.
                  >
                  > Playing the organ as a matter of routine ("prelude/postlude" style)
                  > is something else. You don't *have* to play an organ, to have a
                  > procession. :-)
                  >
                  > You said ...
                  >
                  > > Nowawdays, when people go up for antidoron, things get chatty and
                  > > chaotic, Sunday School lets out, traffic jams, etc. And people
                  drift
                  > > in to church for the first 45 minutes. In our small church I play
                  the
                  > > organ then to keep the atmosphere solemn.
                  >
                  > As I mentioned earlier, I did that in my little Episcopalian
                  mission.
                  > Don't need it, in my current GOA parish. Why?
                  >
                  > 1. When the Liturgy is winding up, the Greek cantor and I come down
                  > out of the choir loft, and go back up to the chanter's stand. We
                  > might sing the katavasias from Orthros (which most people didn't
                  > hear), or something else in the Church's repertoire. Two voices,
                  > with mikes, can be heard as well as an organ. :-)
                  >
                  > BTW, a month or two ago our Greek cantor got tired, and handed it
                  > over to me ("sing what you want"). So I pulled out St Nectarios's
                  > Agni Parthene Despota (sp?) -- a metrical translation *in English*,
                  > something that had never been heard in that church before.
                  >
                  > You could have heard a pin drop.
                  >
                  > 2. Our people do drift into church during the first 45 minutes of
                  the
                  > Divine Liturgy ("they're on Greek time"), but of course the service
                  > is running; the priest and the choir (or cantors, sometimes) are
                  > singing. No chit chat.
                  >
                  > If they drift in during the 45 minutes *before* the Divine Liturgy
                  > ... then they're a half-hour late for the start of Sunday Orthros,
                  of
                  > course. ;-) And, again, the service is running, the priest an the
                  > cantors are singing. No chit chat.
                  >
                  > If anybody drifts in during the 45 minutes before Sunday
                  Orthros ...
                  > they're welcome to be chatty. Our Sunday Orthros starts at 8:30
                  am.
                  > d:-D
                  >
                  > > I noted that in the RC church, the congregation leaves following
                  the
                  > > priest, almost in procession. It is fairly quick and a bit more
                  > > orderly.
                  >
                  > In most Western churches I belonged to, the clergy makes a bee-line
                  > for the entry door, at the end of the service. Why? So he can shake
                  > hands with everyone who's trying to get out ... creating
                  a "receiving
                  > line", whether they wanted him to "receive" them or not. ;-)
                  >
                  > Concerning the greater "orderliness", there are likely to be some
                  > cultural issues at work, as well. Remember what I said
                  about "Greek
                  > time"?
                  >
                  > > If one steps back and looks at the whole picture, what is
                  interesting
                  > > historically is that during pre-schism years, several different
                  > > traditions emerged in the different centers of the church - be it
                  > > Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, etc. Whether it be
                  > > antiphonal singing, full congregational singing, unison, etc.
                  >
                  > Oh, yes indeed. For that matter, universal clerical celibacy seems
                  to
                  > have become "the done thing" in the West quite early -- Western
                  > councils in the 300s laid down such requirements.
                  >
                  > The East criticized it, and it became a point of contention at the
                  > Quinisextum Council in 691-92 ("the Council in Trullo"), whose
                  canons
                  > the Pope refused to accept.
                  >
                  > (Mr) Dana Netherton, dana@n...
                  > -------------
                  > Polonius: My Lord, I will use them according to their desert.
                  > Hamlet: God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man after
                  > his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
                  > (Act II, scene ii)
                • Diana Grina
                  Stan, Do you have the name of the book? I will try to find it. I ve often wondered about that when I look at the use of the fans in the Entrances during
                  Message 8 of 19 , Feb 10, 2005
                    Stan, Do you have the name of the book? I will try to find it. I've often
                    wondered about that when I look at the use of the fans in the Entrances
                    during liturgy, and also, the vestments which make me think of a Byzantine
                    emperor. I find research in this area fascinating and Byzantium always held
                    a curiosity for me even as a teen. I've found Wellesz's book fascinating
                    and there are a few others that are interesting. Every time I think of the
                    fall of Constantinople I get the shivers! Such intellect, grandeur, passion,
                    and faith all roled into one and then poof.... I have found a reference
                    written at the time of and about the donation of the hydraulis to King Pepin
                    by Emperor Constantine V. In it the writer states that the Byzantines
                    always acted superior because they had the hydraulis and now the West was
                    going to be equal in supremacy with it...( the tone in the text is like...
                    "so there, hmph..") There are some other references about the crowning
                    ceremonies of the Emperor and Empress that took place in the church for
                    blessings- and use of the organ with the religious hymns during this
                    ceremony. Some of the acclamations are similar to the petitions during DL to
                    protect our country leaders... Archbioshop... and country etc. Of course
                    this was not a liturgy, but faith was tied into ceremony and it seems to
                    have been used in here even with the religious acclamations.

                    Diana
                    >From: "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
                    >Reply-To: greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com
                    >To: greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com
                    >Subject: [greekorthodoxmusic] Re: Some historical insights into polyphony
                    >& the organ...
                    >Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 05:21:21 -0000
                    >
                    >
                    >--- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "dianakg2003"
                    ><kizzymail51@h...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Stan, I had a similar perception when I read the excerpt. And it is
                    > > probably not a stretch to imagine that the entry into and departure
                    > > from church may have had ceremonial or processional aspects, for
                    > > which the organ may have been played. Nowawdays, when people go up
                    > > for antidoron, things get chatty and chaotic, Sunday School lets out,
                    > > traffic jams, etc. And people drift in to church for the first 45
                    > > minutes. In our small church I play the organ then to keep the
                    > > atmosphere solemn. I noted that in the RC church,the congregation
                    > > leaves following the priest, almost in procession. It is fairly
                    > > quick and a bit more orderly.
                    > >
                    >
                    >There is a series of long tomes on the history of the Liturgy by
                    >Robert Taft. He also produced a single smaller book which is a
                    >synopsis of these volumes. I've read this book, but not the long version.
                    >
                    >Constantinople was in love with processions. St. John Chrysostom had
                    >to add them to the Liturgy to compete with the popular processionals
                    >of the heretics. There were two processionals to the Ayia Sofia, that
                    >of the emperor and that of the patriarch. They began miles away and
                    >included several stations. Hymns were composed to accompany the train.
                    >When they met at the church, each dignitary entered from a side of the
                    >church and the laity through the Narthex. This is really the reason
                    >for the cruciform of the building.
                    >
                    >In the modern Liturgy, the remnants of this procession are found in
                    >the Trisagion Hymn and the Small Entrance. The Cheruvikon is the other
                    >processional hymn.
                    >
                    >Stan
                    >
                    >
                    >

                    _________________________________________________________________
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                  • Stan Takis
                    Diana: I think it is something like, The History of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and it is in several volumes. I got my condensed copy from the
                    Message 9 of 19 , Feb 11, 2005
                      Diana:

                      I think it is something like, "The History of the Divine Liturgy of
                      St. John Chrysostom," and it is in several volumes. I got my condensed
                      copy from the Hellenic College/Holy Cross bookstore in Brookline,
                      Mass. They also have the larger volumes.

                      You can look here:

                      http://store.yahoo.com/yhst-27718179058433/index.html

                      I haven't, but this is the website for the bookstore.

                      Stan
                    • Stan Takis
                      OK, Diana. St. Vlad s has it on the Internet. This is the book I read: http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_10&products_id=2415 Stan
                      Message 10 of 19 , Feb 11, 2005
                        OK, Diana. St. Vlad's has it on the Internet. This is the book I read:

                        http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_10&products_id=2415

                        Stan
                      • dianakg2003
                        Stan thank you...I will need to get it.. this looks like a great resource! In Christ, Diana - -- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, Stan Takis ...
                        Message 11 of 19 , Feb 16, 2005
                          Stan thank you...I will need to get it.. this looks like a great
                          resource!
                          In Christ,
                          Diana -
                          -- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "Stan Takis"
                          <takistan@y...> wrote:
                          >
                          > OK, Diana. St. Vlad's has it on the Internet. This is the book I
                          read:
                          >
                          > http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?
                          cPath=43_10&products_id=2415
                          >
                          > Stan
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