Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Polyphony and Instruments in Church

Expand Messages
  • Alexandros Andreou
    I found an enlightening article by Dr. Ivan Gardner about the spiritual and psychological reasons why Orthodox music should be neither instrumental nor
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 26, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      I found an enlightening article by Dr. Ivan Gardner about the spiritual
      and psychological reasons why Orthodox music should be neither
      instrumental nor polyphonic:
      http://www.homb.org/Music%20in%20Orthodox%20Divine%20Services.pdf
      The file is 12 pages and only 50 kb.
      Perhaps the advocates of instrumental polyphonic music in the GOA who
      take their Orthodox faith seriously will reconsider their stance if they
      grasp what Dr. Gardner is saying.
      -Alexandros
      --
      Alexandros Andreou
      aalexandros@...

      --
      http://www.fastmail.fm - Access all of your messages and folders
      wherever you are
    • Stan Takis
      Dear Alexandros: First, before I critique this article, let me briefly state my practice on instrumental music and polyphony in the Church. My choir always
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 28, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Alexandros:

        First, before I critique this article, let me briefly state my
        practice on instrumental music and polyphony in the Church. My choir
        always chants, unaccompanied, heirmological things, such as litanies,
        antiphons, troparia, and megalynaria. The only time I use harmony with
        my choir is in papadic hymns, such as the Cherubic or Communion. (I
        will also use harmony during the distribution of Communion, even on a
        heirmological hymn such as "Tu Dhipnu Sou.") I only use the organ on
        long hymns where I feel the choir may lose pitch or place. The organ
        is not a feature, is played softly, and is only a support for the
        voices. I never use the organ for petitions, antiphons, or troparia.
        We take our pitch from the intoning of the priest. Most of these are
        either in Plagal Fourth or Second Tone. In Plagal Fourth, our ison is
        a fifth below the priest, and in Second Tone, it is the same pitch as
        the priest. We have two priests. One always hits Dhi on the right
        pitch. The other is usually lower and sometimes modulates unknowingly,
        but we follow him anyway. This creates a seamless dialogue between
        priest and people. We encourage congregational singing, so the choir
        sings simple chant melodies, (mostly those of Sakellarides), and the
        main purpose of our choir is the lead the congregation.

        I use harmony in the papadic hymns as a kind of kalophonia. My singers
        are not skilled enough to do a real Byzantine Cherubic hymn with all
        the long melismas and ornaments, so we ornament it with triads. We are
        able to do this. It also has the added advantage of giving those who
        are used to Western harmony and who favor it, a chance to actually use
        it in the Liturgy. I would say a big majority of American Greek
        Orthodox Christians feel that four-part harmony is their traditional
        Church music and they want to use it.

        We chant in both Greek and English, but since English is the language
        that almost everybody understands, I make sure that apolytikia and
        festal troparia and megalynaria always get an English rendition, even
        if it has to be repeated after the Greek.

        Now, as for the article, the thing I agree with him the most is the
        importance of the text when it comes to prayer and instruction. Most
        of the hymns of the Divine Liturgy fall into one of those two
        categories or incorporate elements of both. There are other hymns that
        are exhorations, e. g. "Let us lay aside all earthly cares," or
        "Praise the Lord in the highest." It is the exhortations that are
        usually found in the Papadic hymns, and for this reason, since they
        are not strictly prayer or instruction, and since they are familiar
        and repeated at every service, these words often do take a subordinate
        role to the music, which is made ornamental and elongated. At these
        times the music itself does take a primary role and there are reasons
        for this and an important place for it as well. The author of the
        article seems to think that music in and of itself has no role in the
        Liturgy, but I would take issue with this.

        Being from the Russian tradition, the author makes no comment on the
        terirems, or wordless chants, of the Byzantines. According to his
        arguments, they would have no place in worship. I also think the
        author treads on dangerous ground when he makes statements such as,
        "In the West, the text plays a subordinate role. This, it seems,
        appeared as a consequence of the ascetics of Roman Catholicism in
        general, and in particular, the spurning of the edifying aspect of
        Divine services." I would think Catholics would take serious offense
        at these statements, and I think they do border on an Orthodox
        condescension and a holier-than-thou attitude. In reality, all
        Catholic music, including contrapuntal polyphony, has a base of unison
        chant. In the Catholic chants, the text takes the predominant role.
        Polyphony, in Catholic churches, is an oramentation of the fundamental
        chant.

        As to pure, wordless instrumental music, it does not play a large role
        in ANY Christian church. If it exists, it is a side show. Even in the
        modern American Protestant "praise" services, the instruments
        accompany songs, in which the words are an important part, along with
        the styles of singing, which are supposed to inspire emotion and
        feelings of praise for God. In other words, it's not worth making an
        argument against it, because it just isn't found in 99.99% of Orthodox
        worship services. There have been plenty of Divine Liturgies written
        for Choir and Orchestra, but they are usually only performed at
        concerts, festivals, or auspicious occasions. They are really no
        threat to common worship.

        In the end, I feel the author goes to great lengths to delve into the
        psychology and anatomy of prayer and then tries to manufacture a
        scenario where instrumental music and polyphony are the antidotes to
        true spirituality and effective worship. I do not think he is
        convincing. The effect of music upon prayer and worship is really
        ineffable, and it's hard to make general statements about it. I think
        it's something that is also very much affected by the cultural climate
        in which it exists. We can make explanations and justifications for
        our Orthodox musical traditions and we can be very right about it. But
        when we start comparing it to other religions, denominations, or
        cultures, we can be way off in our assessments.

        I prefer to think of it in the way Metropolitan Maximos once said
        about the correctness of the Orthodox Church. He said, "We know where
        God is, but we do not know where He is not." It may be that for some
        people in this world, knowledge of God is in instrumental music or
        polyphony. As Orthodox Christians, we may not know this, because we
        KNOW God is in our chants and our hymnography, and upon that basis, we
        start to make assumptions about others. But even hell, which Orthodox
        theologians have described as a place where God is absent, was visited
        by the Lord on the second day after his crucifixion, so God can be
        anywhere he chooses to be.

        I only know that there is something God-like, in a triune way, in a
        musical triad. Three separate tones join together to form one unique
        sound. Take one tone away and the special creation is gone. Just as a
        Byzantine mode can be destroyed by adding chords, a triad is destroyed
        if one of the three notes is taken away. Polyphony is a natural
        phenomenon, based upon the overtone vibrations of any fundamental
        sound. Triads and even non-harmonic tones are a psychological part of
        every timbre--of every sound. They exist, even in monophony. They were
        created by God. Even though I am Orthodox and I respect the traditions
        of my Church, I do not think the author of this article has convinced
        me that there is no place for triads or other timbres in worship. In
        Second Chronicles, we read that both vocal and instrumental music had
        a crucial place in the tent that held the Ark of the Covenant. Psalm
        150 exhorts us to praise the Lord with harp, tambourine, trumpets, and
        stringed instruments. So there must be something about these that can
        edify the worshipers, even if they are not prescribed for the Orthodox
        Divine Liturgy.

        I think the author, who by the title of the work, is supposed to be
        speaking only of the Divine Liturgy, makes generalities and references
        to Western Christianity that belie his intentions, and place the use
        of instrumental music and polyphony on a much more universal basis,
        and that is why his arguments do not have the ring of truth for me.

        Stan
      • aalexandros888
        Dear Stan, It is true that the words becomes subordinate to the music in slow pieces such as the cherubic hymn, but this doesn t mean that we can allow just
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 29, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Stan,

          It is true that the words becomes subordinate to the music in slow
          pieces such as the cherubic hymn, but this doesn't mean that we can
          allow just any music for those pieces. If we examine the origin of
          the kind of polyphony used in the GOA, we will see that it is a
          direcet descendent of the harmonizations done in Vienna back in the
          early 1800s. In order to keep up with the latest fad, the Greeks in
          the two parishes there hired a German musician (who was definitely
          not orthodox, unless he was an orthodox Jew) to harmonize some hymns
          for them. Even though it was condemned by the Patriarchate and
          everyone else who respected true Greek Orthodox tradition, this trend
          spread to Paris and London, and later infiltrated its way into Greece
          with the support of the ruling kings of Greece, who were greatly
          influenced by Western European culture. What I'm trying to say is
          that anyone who claims that the music we do today in the GOA is "our
          own tradition" is either pitifully naive and/or incapable of
          discerning the difference between what is genuinely orthodox and what
          is not.

          You said: "I would say a big majority of American Greek Orthodox
          Christians feel that four-part harmony is their traditional Church
          music and they want to use it." To me this almost sounds as if you
          know they are wrong, but at the same time you are unwilling to be the
          bad guy that breaks the bad news to them. As a result you're
          inadvertently encouraging them to continue believing their delusion,
          instead of coming straight out at telling them the truth.

          You wrote: "My singers are not skilled enough to do a real Byzantine
          Cherubic hymn with all the long melismas and ornaments, so we
          ornament it with triads." You know your choir members better than I
          do so I will assume you are correct. But it does seem hard for me to
          believe that they wouldn't be able to learn even one single Byzantine
          cherubic hymn if you gave them a recording of it and then did the
          same one every Sunday until they got it right.

          The arguement that three-part music is symbolic of the Trinity in
          unity doesn't seem any more valid that an arguement claiming churches
          should be built three stories high. If this was a valid theological
          point, why did the great theologian Church Fathers miss it? It's not
          like they never heard a chord before.

          It is true that instruments were used in Old Testament worship, but
          several Holy Fathers agree that God was condescending to their
          immature spiritual state. Therefore, citing these excerpts from the
          Old Testament has no more validity for us than the dozens of other
          excerpts one could find regarding ancient Jewish practices that
          Christians no longer apply to their lives. But if you're trying to
          say that the majority of people in the GOA need instruments because
          of their spiritual immaturity, well you might have a point there. But
          if that is the case, we should at least have the honesty to admit
          that we are spiritually immature and not ready to follow the
          teachings of the Holy Fathers yet, rather than claim that organs
          are "our own tradition" that Byzantinophiles should respect.

          You wrote: "Polyphony is a natural phenomenon, based upon the
          overtone vibrations of any fundamental sound. Triads and even non-
          harmonic tones are a psychological part of every timbre--of every
          sound. They exist, even in monophony. They were created by God."
          There is a huge difference to the human ear between a chord and a
          single note that has overtones, although a computer might think they
          are the same thing since they would both have more than one peak in a
          spectrum analysis. This arguement and the previous arguement you
          presented by quoting the Old Testament practice, give me the
          impression that you are frantically trying to grasp any possible
          justification for polyphony no matter how far fetched it is. Let's
          just be honest and admit that the traditional practice of the Greek
          Orthodox Church is a capella monophony, and that instrumental
          polyphony is a heterodox innovation.

          One last thing, it is incorrect to say that the texts of papadic
          melodies are usually exhortations as opposed to prayers or
          instructions. If we look at the texts used for the communion hymns of
          feast days (all of which are traditionally chanted papadically) we
          will see several instances which are clearly prayers and
          instructions. For example, on Mid-Pentecost we sing: "He who eats my
          flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, said the Lord."
          This is clearly an instructive text. On Monday of the Holy Spirit we
          sing the prayerful text: "Take not your Holy Spirit away from us, we
          pray, O Friend of Man." Besides, in the fifteenth century the entire
          Anastasimatarion was chanted to old sticheraric melodies, which have
          so many notes per syllable that we would label them as papadic.

          -Alexandros
        • byzmusic
          Dear Alexandros, You have some good arguments, but if you are implying that instruments could be allowed in Orthodox liturgical music as a concession, then I
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 29, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Alexandros,
            You have some good arguments, but if you are implying that
            instruments could be allowed in Orthodox liturgical music as a
            concession, then I would have to disagree with you. Using instruments
            in Orthodox worship is such a blatant break from tradition and so
            clearly opposed to the phronema of the Holy Fathers (as I mentioned
            in my article at:
            http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Intro3.htm )
            that I fail to see how it could be justified from a theological or
            spiritual point of view. I suppose there's nothing wrong with
            discreetly using a keyboard to help the choir start on the right
            pitch, but to actually play it is going a bit too far, in my opinion
            at least.
            in Christ,
            +Fr. Ephraim

            --- In greekorthodoxmusic@yahoogroups.com, "aalexandros888"
            <aalexandros@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Stan,
            >
            > It is true that the words becomes subordinate to the music in slow
            > pieces such as the cherubic hymn, but this doesn't mean that we can
            > allow just any music for those pieces. If we examine the origin of
            > the kind of polyphony used in the GOA, we will see that it is a
            > direcet descendent of the harmonizations done in Vienna back in the
            > early 1800s. In order to keep up with the latest fad, the Greeks in
            > the two parishes there hired a German musician (who was definitely
            > not orthodox, unless he was an orthodox Jew) to harmonize some
            hymns
            > for them. Even though it was condemned by the Patriarchate and
            > everyone else who respected true Greek Orthodox tradition, this
            trend
            > spread to Paris and London, and later infiltrated its way into
            Greece
            > with the support of the ruling kings of Greece, who were greatly
            > influenced by Western European culture. What I'm trying to say is
            > that anyone who claims that the music we do today in the GOA
            is "our
            > own tradition" is either pitifully naive and/or incapable of
            > discerning the difference between what is genuinely orthodox and
            what
            > is not.
            >
            > You said: "I would say a big majority of American Greek Orthodox
            > Christians feel that four-part harmony is their traditional Church
            > music and they want to use it." To me this almost sounds as if you
            > know they are wrong, but at the same time you are unwilling to be
            the
            > bad guy that breaks the bad news to them. As a result you're
            > inadvertently encouraging them to continue believing their
            delusion,
            > instead of coming straight out at telling them the truth.
            >
            > You wrote: "My singers are not skilled enough to do a real
            Byzantine
            > Cherubic hymn with all the long melismas and ornaments, so we
            > ornament it with triads." You know your choir members better than I
            > do so I will assume you are correct. But it does seem hard for me
            to
            > believe that they wouldn't be able to learn even one single
            Byzantine
            > cherubic hymn if you gave them a recording of it and then did the
            > same one every Sunday until they got it right.
            >
            > The arguement that three-part music is symbolic of the Trinity in
            > unity doesn't seem any more valid that an arguement claiming
            churches
            > should be built three stories high. If this was a valid theological
            > point, why did the great theologian Church Fathers miss it? It's
            not
            > like they never heard a chord before.
            >
            > It is true that instruments were used in Old Testament worship, but
            > several Holy Fathers agree that God was condescending to their
            > immature spiritual state. Therefore, citing these excerpts from the
            > Old Testament has no more validity for us than the dozens of other
            > excerpts one could find regarding ancient Jewish practices that
            > Christians no longer apply to their lives. But if you're trying to
            > say that the majority of people in the GOA need instruments because
            > of their spiritual immaturity, well you might have a point there.
            But
            > if that is the case, we should at least have the honesty to admit
            > that we are spiritually immature and not ready to follow the
            > teachings of the Holy Fathers yet, rather than claim that organs
            > are "our own tradition" that Byzantinophiles should respect.
            >
            > You wrote: "Polyphony is a natural phenomenon, based upon the
            > overtone vibrations of any fundamental sound. Triads and even non-
            > harmonic tones are a psychological part of every timbre--of every
            > sound. They exist, even in monophony. They were created by God."
            > There is a huge difference to the human ear between a chord and a
            > single note that has overtones, although a computer might think
            they
            > are the same thing since they would both have more than one peak in
            a
            > spectrum analysis. This arguement and the previous arguement you
            > presented by quoting the Old Testament practice, give me the
            > impression that you are frantically trying to grasp any possible
            > justification for polyphony no matter how far fetched it is. Let's
            > just be honest and admit that the traditional practice of the Greek
            > Orthodox Church is a capella monophony, and that instrumental
            > polyphony is a heterodox innovation.
            >
            > One last thing, it is incorrect to say that the texts of papadic
            > melodies are usually exhortations as opposed to prayers or
            > instructions. If we look at the texts used for the communion hymns
            of
            > feast days (all of which are traditionally chanted papadically) we
            > will see several instances which are clearly prayers and
            > instructions. For example, on Mid-Pentecost we sing: "He who eats
            my
            > flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, said the
            Lord."
            > This is clearly an instructive text. On Monday of the Holy Spirit
            we
            > sing the prayerful text: "Take not your Holy Spirit away from us,
            we
            > pray, O Friend of Man." Besides, in the fifteenth century the
            entire
            > Anastasimatarion was chanted to old sticheraric melodies, which
            have
            > so many notes per syllable that we would label them as papadic.
            >
            > -Alexandros
            >
          • Stan Takis
            Dear Alexandros, ... I m sure you know more about the history than I do, but let me just ask, where did kalophonia come from? It is agreed that it was an
            Message 5 of 12 , Nov 29, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Alexandros,

              >It is true that the words becomes subordinate to the music in slow
              >pieces such as the cherubic hymn, but this doesn't mean that we can
              >allow just any music for those pieces. If we examine the origin of
              >the kind of polyphony used in the GOA, we will see that it is a
              >direcet descendent of the harmonizations done in Vienna back in the
              >early 1800s.

              I'm sure you know more about the history than I do, but let me just
              ask, where did kalophonia come from? It is agreed that it was an
              innovation of John Koukouzelis, isn't it? How do we know for sure that
              the source wasn't outside of Orthodoxy? I've read the stories of how
              Koukouzelis' mother sang him Bulgarian folk songs and the like when he
              was young. And what is exactly the conclusive evidence that there was
              no Turkish or Arabic influence on Byzantine chant since the fall of
              COnstantinople? Western European music derived from Gregorian chant,
              which, considering the dates of its origin, is an Orthodox Christian
              form of music, is it not?

              >anyone who claims that the music we do today in the GOA is "our
              >own tradition" is either pitifully naive and/or incapable of
              >discerning the difference between what is genuinely orthodox and what
              >is not.

              Well, then that naivete or incapability comes directly from the
              Church, because they grew up with that music and that's all they knew.
              It's a tradition to them because no priest or hierarch stood up and
              told them it wasn't. In fact the hierarchs of the GOA were praising
              left and right the Divine Liturgy music of this years Clergy-Laity
              Congress, a harmonization of Sakellarides which is the most
              Protestant-sounding one yet.

              Allow me to quote from the Liturgical Guidebook of some of the
              descriptions of Divine Liturgy arrangements offered to American Greek
              Orthodox Churches. Keep in mind that the National Forum does not write
              these descriptions. They are sent in by the composers and publishers.
              Also, when ther word "traditional" is used, it mostly means Sakellarides.

              For the Bogdanos liturgy:

              "Written for mixed chorus in the Byzantine modal ethos. SATB with some
              plain chant with ison or organ harmonic background..."

              For the Cardiasemos liturgy:

              "Traditional melodies...SATB...The setting is modal throughout. For
              the most part, the work has been written for a mixed choir of 4-6
              parts, with a few examples of chant with ison. The chant melody found
              in the primary Trisagion was constructed and composed based on 12th
              Century chant formulas and style, and then harmonized..."

              For the Desby liturgy:

              "Traditional material as a basis...The 'ethos' of each melody has been
              kept in mind in the harmonization in order to retain the modal
              characteristics. Except for a few chants with ison, the work has been
              written for a mixed choir of 4-6 parts..."

              For the George liturgy:

              "...based on traditional melodies. It also incorporates music by Dr.
              S. A. Spathis as arranged and adapted for any size mixed choir, with
              or without accompaniment...It opens in D, moves to G...and finishes in
              Eb..."

              For the Harmand liturgy:

              "This is a choral Liturgy, with some of the music adapted and arranged
              from Mozart. It has an organ part..."


              For the Kanaracus liturgy:

              "The first completely original setting of the Divine Liturgy composed
              in the U. S. Basic key is G major with excursions into related keys.
              Some attention is given to the Greek idea of 'ethos'..."

              For the Kypros liturgy:

              "Liturgy of Peace...Original music combines eastern and western
              musical flavors. SATB..."

              For the Rev. Mendrinos liturgy:

              "Choral Arrangements and Keyboard Accompaniment...This four-part
              accompaniment and choir arrangement follows page by page the Divine
              Liturgy Hymnal described under the Ernest Villas listing..."

              For the Revezoulis liturgy:

              "This Liturgy offers something out of the ordinary...The material is
              original...it incorporates various musical elements and styles: Greek
              liturgical music, Greek demotic music, and music of the Renaissance
              and Middle Ages. It is modal and has a chant-like quality. In general,
              it suggest the style of music of the early church. The setting is
              challenging."

              There's more, but I'm sure you get the idea. No one has told any of
              these people the "bad news."

              >To me this almost sounds as if you
              >know they are wrong, but at the same time you are unwilling to be the
              >bad guy that breaks the bad news to them. As a result you're
              >inadvertently encouraging them to continue believing their delusion,
              >instead of coming straight out at telling them the truth.

              I've never shied away from telling people my opinions in regards to
              Church music. I was also a history major in college (my other majors
              were humanities and music) and to me, history is just telling what has
              happened with no opinions stated, so sometimes I'm relating opinions
              and sometimes I'm relating history. My comments on American Greek
              Orthodox music are history. Are these people deluded? I don't know. I
              just know how they feel.


              >The arguement that three-part music is symbolic of the Trinity in
              >unity doesn't seem any more valid that an arguement claiming churches
              >should be built three stories high. If this was a valid theological
              >point, why did the great theologian Church Fathers miss it? It's not
              >like they never heard a chord before.

              I've heard this idea expressed before, although after I came up with
              it myself. I don't see anyting God-like in the idea of a three-story
              church. I do in a triad. It's one of my opinions.

              I'm not going to get into how spiritually immature you have to be to
              use instruments in worship. I'm also not going to try and pick and
              choose which parts of scripture we can ignore because they've been
              trumped by New Testament theologions. All I know is that the Psalms
              are an important part of Orthodox worship, and some of the psalms tell
              us to use instruments. Now, they don't specifically say we should use
              them in the Divine Liturgy. I'll give you that.

              >This arguement and the previous arguement you
              >presented by quoting the Old Testament practice, give me the
              >impression that you are frantically trying to grasp any possible
              >justification for polyphony no matter how far fetched it is. Let's
              >just be honest and admit that the traditional practice of the Greek
              >Orthodox Church is a capella monophony, and that instrumental
              >polyphony is a heterodox innovation.

              First, I don't think justification for the use of polyphony is
              far-fetched. It's obviously used quite a bit both in Orthodoxy and
              throughout Christendom. Also, I'm not frantic to justify anything. I'm
              perfectly relaxed about using modest, homophonic harmony occasionally
              with the Western-trained singers of my choir. I'm also relaxed about
              trying to teach them to chant, as miserably qualified as I am for that
              notwithstanding.

              >One last thing, it is incorrect to say that the texts of papadic
              >melodies are usually exhortations as opposed to prayers or
              >instructions...

              I didn't mean to imply that all of the papadic hymns in the lexicon
              are that way. I was only referring to the normal Sunday Divine Liturgy
              Cherubic and Communion hymns. The Divine Liturgy, actually, is the
              only service of the Orthodox Church that my choir is qualified to
              chant for.

              Respectfully,

              Stan


              Dear Papa Ephraim:

              >I suppose there's nothing wrong with
              >discreetly using a keyboard to help the choir start on the right
              >pitch, but to actually play it is going a bit too far, in my opinion
              >at least.

              Well, at least my organist doesn't improvise harmony if there isn't
              any. I instruct her just to play the melody and ison, and only on the
              longer and more difficult hymns. My choir has wonderful people, but
              they are mostly not formally trained in music. Regardless, I would not
              expect any less of an uncompromising position from you, and I truly
              find your consistency and integrity inspiring. Much as I would like to
              be, I cannot be like you in this matter. Pragmatism has solved many
              dilemmas for me regarding the modernists and the traditionalists.
              Sometimes compromise is not a bad thing, but I'm still trying to
              figure out when that is.

              Respectfully,

              Stan
            • Alexandros Andreou
              Dear Stan, Thanks for presenting all those quotes from the Liturgical Guidebook. It amazes me to see how so many of them want to claim that their music is
              Message 6 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear Stan,

                Thanks for presenting all those quotes from the Liturgical Guidebook. It
                amazes me to see how so many of them want to claim that their music is
                based on tradition, when in reality they disregard the basic tenets that
                make the Byzantine music tradition what it is. If we make a list of what
                aspects of traditional Greek Orthodox music they have kept and what they
                have discarded, I think it would go something like this:

                Kept:
                * The original words
                * The original melodic line (when in Greek)

                Discarded:
                * a capella singing
                * single melodic line with ison
                * traditional "hyphos" (style) of singing
                * traditional intervals and attractions
                * the eight modes
                * proper application of formulas (when in English)
                * traditional notation
                * traditional tempo

                With so many basic elements changed, it amazes me that they still have
                the audacity to claim that their music is still traditional and some of
                them even label their music as "Byzantine". It is about as absurd as
                calling a Native American Indian dance "based on tradition" even if it
                is done to the music of Michael Jackson, with strobe lights and electric
                guitars on MTV!

                > I'm sure you know more about the history than I do, but let me just
                > ask, where did kalophonia come from? It is agreed that it was an
                > innovation of John Koukouzelis, isn't it? How do we know for sure that
                > the source wasn't outside of Orthodoxy? I've read the stories of how
                > Koukouzelis' mother sang him Bulgarian folk songs and the like when he
                > was young. And what is exactly the conclusive evidence that there was
                > no Turkish or Arabic influence on Byzantine chant since the fall of
                > COnstantinople? Western European music derived from Gregorian chant,
                > which, considering the dates of its origin, is an Orthodox Christian
                > form of music, is it not?

                We could say that the roots of the classical music of Bach, Mozart,
                Beethoven, etc. can be traced back through the Baroque, Renaissance, and
                Medieval periods into Gregorian and other forms of (Orthodox) Christian
                chants. But in the exact same way we could also say that the roots of
                Pentecostalism can be traced back through Protestantism and Roman
                Catholicism back to Orthodoxy. Does this mean that we Orthodox can
                incorporate Pentecostal traditions without harm? Of course not. Does
                this mean we can incorporate classical music traditions without harm? Of
                course not.

                As far as the liturgical arts of Orthodoxy are concerned, change is
                inevitable. I am not scandalized by the fact that the so-called
                Byzantine music we do today is different than what was chanted in
                Byzantium 1500 years ago. Nor am I scandalized to see that so-called
                Byzantine iconography of today has a different style than the icons
                written 1500 years ago. The same applies to styles in liturgical dress,
                church architecture, etc. But I am scandalized when I see that there is
                a sudden break in tradition done by a small minority in the Church. So
                when I see an "orthodox" church that looks weirder than a flying saucer,
                I am scandalized. When I see an "orthodox" icon that looks like a
                Renaissance painting, I am scandalized. And when I hear an "orthodox"
                liturgy based on Mozart with organ and all, I am scandalized.

                We are not in a position to say precisely how Bulgarian St. John
                Koukouzelis' music is or exactly how Turkish neo-Byzantine music is. But
                it is comforting to know that the church as a whole accepted those
                developments. It is equally discomforting to know that while Greek
                Orthodoxy as a whole has rejected instruments and polyphony, the Greek
                Orthodoxy in America has immortalized the fad of Western influence that
                was rabid in Greece in the early 20th century. Greece was fortunate to
                have strong spiritual leaders with a deep understanding of tradition so
                as to help people get over that fad and return to traditional
                iconography and liturgical music. America has been unfortunate to lack
                such spiritual leaders, which is why we are still 60 years behind the
                times, sort of like in a time capsule. Thank God, we have caught on in
                terms of Byzantine iconography. All that we need now is to return to our
                traditional musical roots as well.

                > I'm also not going to try and pick and
                > choose which parts of scripture we can ignore because they've been
                > trumped by New Testament theologions. All I know is that the Psalms
                > are an important part of Orthodox worship, and some of the psalms tell
                > us to use instruments.

                Fortunately, the Orthodox Church has not left it up to us to pick and
                choose which parts of the Old Testament are applicable today. In regards
                to this verse in the Psalms and the use of instruments, we can rely on
                the opinions of St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom, St.
                Isidore of Pelusium, St. Theodoret of Cyrus, and the Rudder itself. We
                can't call ourselves Orthodox if we choose to interpret a verse in
                scripture while ignoring their unanimous opinion of it. Protestant yes,
                Orthodox no.

                -Alexandros
                --
                Alexandros Andreou
                aalexandros@...

                --
                http://www.fastmail.fm - IMAP accessible web-mail
              • Stan Takis
                Dear Alexandros: ... If the Church could accept the non-Orthodox contributions to the liturgical music of the Turks and the Bulgars, why can t it accept the
                Message 7 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Dear Alexandros:

                  You wrote:

                  >We are not in a position to say precisely how Bulgarian St. John
                  >Koukouzelis' music is or exactly how Turkish neo-Byzantine music is.
                  >But it is comforting to know that the church as a whole accepted those
                  >developments.

                  If the Church could accept the non-Orthodox contributions to the
                  liturgical music of the Turks and the Bulgars, why can't it accept the
                  musical descendants of Gregorian chant? Or am I just not understanding
                  you here?

                  Stan
                • Alexandros Andreou
                  Dear Stan, It is one thing for the Orthodox Church to allow subtle influences from heterodox music and another thing entirely for her to abruptly discard her
                  Message 8 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Dear Stan,

                    It is one thing for the Orthodox Church to allow subtle influences from
                    heterodox music and another thing entirely for her to abruptly discard
                    her own traditional music and to adopt heterodox music virtually
                    unchanged. As I demonstrated in my list of things kept and discarded,
                    most contemporary composers in the GOA throw out the window almost every
                    aspect of traditional Greek Orthodox music. They keep only the bare
                    necessities (and occasionally not even that!) If we were able to make a
                    comparable list of things kept and discarded by the Church musicians
                    under the Turkish yoke, we would probably see that out of those ten
                    aspects I listed, only two of them (at most) might have changed: the
                    hyphos of singing and perhaps the tonal attractions. I will pass over in
                    silence the arguement by Ballindras that it was Turkish music that was
                    influenced by Byzantine music rather than vice-versa. So even if we
                    concede the point that these two aspects changed, that is still only two
                    out of ten aspects. But in the case of those contemporary GOA composers,
                    EIGHT out of ten aspects are changed. Therefore, the two instances are
                    completely different phenomena, and one cannot justify the latter by
                    citing the former.

                    But even if they were comparable, the bottom line is that the Church as
                    a whole DID accept the supposed Bulgarian and Turkish influences, while
                    the Church as a whole has NOT accepted the importation of Western
                    European music. And I don't think it ever will, considering that it
                    directly contradicts the phronema of all those saints I mentioned. On
                    the other hand, the subtle Bulgarian or Turkish influences (that some
                    people claim affected Byzantine chant) were never condemned by the
                    Church or by her saints.

                    -Alexandros


                    On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 19:51:38 -0000, "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
                    said:
                    > Dear Alexandros:
                    >
                    > You wrote:
                    >
                    > >We are not in a position to say precisely how Bulgarian St. John
                    > >Koukouzelis' music is or exactly how Turkish neo-Byzantine music is.
                    > >But it is comforting to know that the church as a whole accepted those
                    > >developments.
                    >
                    > If the Church could accept the non-Orthodox contributions to the
                    > liturgical music of the Turks and the Bulgars, why can't it accept the
                    > musical descendants of Gregorian chant? Or am I just not understanding
                    > you here?
                    >
                    > Stan
                    >
                    >
                    --
                    Alexandros Andreou
                    aalexandros@...

                    --
                    http://www.fastmail.fm - Access all of your messages and folders
                    wherever you are
                  • Stan Takis
                    Dear Alexandros: Right. The only thing is, up until 1054 the Church as a whole included Western Europe, and by then the Western European musical tradition
                    Message 9 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Dear Alexandros:

                      Right. The only thing is, up until 1054 the "Church as a whole"
                      included Western Europe, and by then the Western European musical
                      tradition was already moving in another direction from that of the
                      East. The eventual flowering of Western European music was probably
                      more influenced by its history up to 1054 rather than any heretical
                      theological influences of the Roman Catholics and Protestants.

                      Stan
                    • Alexandros Andreou
                      Dear Stan, Those statements of yours are very misleading. First, it would be rather simplistic to believe that everything in the West until 1053 was perfectly
                      Message 10 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Dear Stan,

                        Those statements of yours are very misleading.

                        First, it would be rather simplistic to believe that everything in the
                        West until 1053 was perfectly Orthodox, and everything after 1054 was
                        Roman Catholic. The heresies of the filioque, papal supremacy, etc., had
                        been brewing in the West for centuries before they culminated in the
                        Great Schism in 1054.

                        Second, if we research the history of ecclesiastical polyphony, we will
                        see that it wasn't until the 11th and 12th centuries that it starting
                        developing. Likewise, if we look into the history of the use of
                        instruments in church, we will again see that, according to the Catholic
                        Encylcopedia: "For almost a thousand years Gregorian chant, without any
                        instrumental or harmonic addition, was the only music used in connection
                        with the liturgy."

                        The fact that polyphony and instruments start getting their "foot in the
                        door" of church around the same time as the Great Schism is no
                        coincidence, and this fact strengthens my arguement that these aspects
                        of worship are foreign to genuine Orthodoxy.

                        -Alexandros

                        On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 22:27:17 -0000, "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
                        said:
                        > Dear Alexandros:
                        >
                        > Right. The only thing is, up until 1054 the "Church as a whole"
                        > included Western Europe, and by then the Western European musical
                        > tradition was already moving in another direction from that of the
                        > East. The eventual flowering of Western European music was probably
                        > more influenced by its history up to 1054 rather than any heretical
                        > theological influences of the Roman Catholics and Protestants.
                        >
                        > Stan
                        >
                        --
                        Alexandros Andreou
                        aalexandros@...

                        --
                        http://www.fastmail.fm - I mean, what is it about a decent email service?
                      • Stan Takis
                        Dear Alexandros: Well, you are right about that. The Church did not become schismatic over night. It took a couple of hundred years or more. I still think the
                        Message 11 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Dear Alexandros:

                          Well, you are right about that. The Church did not become schismatic
                          over night. It took a couple of hundred years or more. I still think
                          the music is shaped by the language more than the theology and the
                          differences between Latin and Greek are the main reasons for the
                          differences in the two chants and subsequent elaborations.

                          It would be interesting to see what would happen, in terms of music,
                          if reconciliation did occur, as Pope Benedict indicated this week, it
                          is one of his primary goals.

                          By the way, don't you find it odd that the mainstream media is
                          ignoring the real reason for the pope's trip to Istanbul and is
                          billing it as a clash of "cultures," i. e. Catholicism vs. Islam?
                          There is hardly any mention of it as a mission of Christian
                          reconciliation, which, in a historical sense, would be a much larger
                          story.

                          Stan
                        • Alexandros Andreou
                          If language was a primary factor in shaping the music, it wouldn t have taken them 1000 years to realize that Latin is supposedly more compatible with
                          Message 12 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            If language was a primary factor in shaping the music, it wouldn't have
                            taken them 1000 years to realize that Latin is supposedly more
                            compatible with polyphony and instruments. The fact that both Greek and
                            Latin can be set to either polyphony or monophony and can be sung either
                            a capella or with instruments leads me to believe that language has
                            little to do with their adoption of polyphony and instruments. It seems
                            to be much more expressive of their cultural tastes, which is evident
                            also in the style of art the Latins prefer. The sensuous art of the
                            Renaissance period matches their sensuously elaborate music.
                            But don't get me started on the Patriarch's spineless betrayal of
                            Orthodoxy with all his polite words to the Pope implying that the
                            Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches are equal "sisters". It takes
                            someone with the guts of a confessor (like St. Mark of Ephesus, St.
                            Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, or St. Nectarios of Aegina to name a
                            few) to condemn Roman Catholicism as the heresy it really is. Too bad
                            St. Cosmas of Aitolos isn't around, since he was the one who warned
                            people: "Curse the Pope, because he will be the cause [for the end to
                            come]"!
                            -Alexandros

                            On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 02:24:01 -0000, "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
                            said:
                            > Dear Alexandros:
                            >
                            > Well, you are right about that. The Church did not become schismatic
                            > over night. It took a couple of hundred years or more. I still think
                            > the music is shaped by the language more than the theology and the
                            > differences between Latin and Greek are the main reasons for the
                            > differences in the two chants and subsequent elaborations.
                            >
                            > It would be interesting to see what would happen, in terms of music,
                            > if reconciliation did occur, as Pope Benedict indicated this week, it
                            > is one of his primary goals.
                            >
                            > By the way, don't you find it odd that the mainstream media is
                            > ignoring the real reason for the pope's trip to Istanbul and is
                            > billing it as a clash of "cultures," i. e. Catholicism vs. Islam?
                            > There is hardly any mention of it as a mission of Christian
                            > reconciliation, which, in a historical sense, would be a much larger
                            > story.
                            >
                            > Stan
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            --
                            Alexandros Andreou
                            aalexandros@...

                            --
                            http://www.fastmail.fm - mmm... Fastmail...
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.