Re: Why do we have choirs?
- --- In email@example.com, kjlawrence@... wrote:
> In the same way the Russians of the 17th century were influenced bythis
> Westernchurch music
> European musical tradition; once they were exposed to it their
> changed.end to
> (Alexandros, please be aware that this change did not "put a sudden
> their 700singing an
> year long tradition of monophonic chant," as they had already been
> indigenousDear Kevin:
> style of harmony for around 100 years.)
Maybe so, but the sudden end came in the 18th Century from the reforms
of Peter the Great, who in a few years time, built a new capital in
the West and
Westernized the culture. He banned the old music and hired Church
composers trained in Italy and patterned the music after the
Catholics. He and his successors pursued and persecuted the Old
Believers until, by the end of the 18th Century, they were almost out
of the country. The change was so sudden and complete and the old
chants were completely exterminated, that when, in the latter part of
the 19th Century a Slavic council sat down to correct the music and
install an eight-tone system, no one knew how the old modes sounded,
and they came up with an octoechos based largely on the Ukranian form
of chant. The reforms of Peter were indeed a sudden end and far from a
> Similarly, Sakellarides and Roubanispenetrated
> show the
> influence of Western European common musical practice, which had
> theYes, but they did not do away with the Byzantine octoechos. Desby
> cultural life of Greece during their time.
points out that Sakellaridis, with Tillyard in tow, tried to comb out
the "Turkish" trills, and Roubanis carefully wrote out the Byzantine
Orthros music into staff notation, neume by neume.
> I think the real questions which should occupy our energy, asopposed to
> questions which arepeople to
> more a dead end, would be along the lines of: how can we help our
> appreciate andcan we
> assimilate the great inheritance of Byzantine chant, and what music
> provide, truly inskills and
> keeping with the larger Orthodox tradition, to those who lack the
> resources to singI agree with this, and that's exactly what we trying to do on
> the Byzantine chant we may regard as ideal.
newbyz.org. Not just with the sheet music, but also with the articles
explaining to Americans the basic structure of the daily cycle of
services, the octoechos, and the hymnody. I know you are doing this as
well in most of your more recent arrangements which use less triadic
harmony and more drones.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Stan Takis" <takistan@...>
>(Responding late, sorry)
> --- In email@example.com, "dananetherton" <dana@>
> > One practical benefit has to do with the shortage of skilled
> > cantors.
> > Another is (let's be frank) the opportunity it affords our devoted
> > ladies to take an active role in the worship of the Church.
> Dear Dana:
> True. And let's not forget the assimilation issue. We are still
> assimilating. The US is overwhelmingly Protestant and Catholic, and
> there are many in our Orthodox Church who do not see why we cannot
> be more like them.
"Still assimilating" ... could be, could be. At the same time, of
course, Nia Vardolos fought off Hollywood attempts to change "My Big
Fat Greek Wedding" into something Jewish, or Italian -- because by gum
she *didn't* want the distinctively *Greek-American* elements in her
story to be assimilated into the generic "Mediterranean immigrant" story.
And thanks to the clout that Rita Wilson (producer, and Tom Hanks's
Greek-American wife -- on whose behalf *he* became Orthodox) had built
up in Hollywood, she didn't have to.
And Michael Constantine (for one) could finally *play* a Big Fat Role
that is in his own ethnic background -- perhaps his 5th "Greek"
character in a 35+ year career with 164 appearances (according to
This is consistent with what's happening with other ethnic groups in
America: the byword is no longer "melting pot", getting melted into
"Americans"; the byword is "diversity" and "heritage".
So the assimilation process no longer has to go on to the point where
visible Greek-ness (and visible Orthodoxy) disappears. The "Greek"
part of "Greek-American" (and by extension the "Orthodox" part of
"Greek Orthodox") no longer has to disappear in favor of the
Perhaps it's the younger generation (like Nia Vardolos and Rita
Wilson) that recognizes this, and the older generation that still
clings to the old model of assimilation?
But it's true that assimilation has been part of the history. Back
when I was regularly on Usenet, a cynical Greek-American who also
regularly posted there asserted that the GOA would be gone in another
generation or two -- as the young bail out to join the Protestant
churches, while the old insist on using Greek-and-only-Greek.
That mindset *can* cripple a parish -- I know an OCA parish in my
metro area that nearly perished because of it (different ethnic, same
Perhaps the younger generation -- those members who stick with the
Church despite these frustrations -- will be the ones to break free of
the "assimilation" approach to Orthodoxy. That's certainly the age
range where I see interest in learning Chant. And it's certainly the
age range where (in my own little parochial patch) I see zero interest
in joining the choir.
-- Dana Netherton