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Basic Knowledge

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  • Mikey
    Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have been helping in
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
      Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have been helping in Church and trying to learn what I must but know I have som much to learn yet. I'd like to be able to say 'Oh, this Kontak in the 1st tone sounds like this.....' If I have music I can site read well enough to get a near hit, I'd like to do better. What else do I need to know? I am buying A manual of the Orthodox Church's divine services by Dimitriĭ Sokolof per my priest's recommendation. Do you have a reccomendation as well?
    • Steve Robinson
      Hi Mikey, A basic knowledge of the tones (as your priest/parish sings them, they are not universal by any means). That said, a priest s tolerance level for
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
        Hi Mikey,
        A basic knowledge of the tones (as your priest/parish sings them, they are not universal by any means). That said, a priest's tolerance level for lack of singing ability will vary. I've been reading for 12 years but I'm not a musician and when we get to a service that is a "tone festival" I can get lost easily. The other important thing is to know the basic structure of the services your parish regularly does. You may not need to know all of the daily variations, festal, Lenten and Holy Week services, but you need to know your way around the service books and how to interpret them to be able to put a service together. You should also know your way around the Horologion, the Octoechos, the general menaion, the Festal Menaion, the Triodion and the Apostol and how those are used and where they fit and intersect with each other in the structure of the services. Of course a lot of that you learn the hard way, by actually putting the services together and leaving stuff out etc. If you have a tonsured reader, you need to be at the kliros with him and watch what he is doing, ask questions and help out. If you don't attend the services you'll never learn them, you cannot "get it" out of books.
        Sdn. s-p

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Mikey
        To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 9:34 PM
        Subject: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge



        Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have been helping in Church and trying to learn what I must but know I have som much to learn yet. I'd like to be able to say 'Oh, this Kontak in the 1st tone sounds like this.....' If I have music I can site read well enough to get a near hit, I'd like to do better. What else do I need to know? I am buying A manual of the Orthodox Church's divine services by DimitriiÌ? Sokolof per my priest's recommendation. Do you have a reccomendation as well?





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Michael McBride
        The books you mentioned were also mentioned by my priest. I am ordering som books and will likely start with the one i mentioned and will include the
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
          The books you mentioned were also mentioned by my priest. I am ordering som
          books and will likely start with the one i mentioned and will include the
          Horologion and others as $ permits. Matushka has a certificate from St Herman's
          Seminary as a reader and does the work so far. The 2 of them are recording some
          of the tones for me to listen to.


          btw ... I'll share our cold wet summer for some of the sun and heat you guys
          have had!

          Mike McBride

          O God do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to
          your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good. - Abba Arsenius





          ________________________________
          From: Steve Robinson <stevenpaul4@...>
          To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sat, August 28, 2010 9:07:47 PM
          Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge


          Hi Mikey,
          A basic knowledge of the tones (as your priest/parish sings them, they are not
          universal by any means). That said, a priest's tolerance level for lack of
          singing ability will vary. I've been reading for 12 years but I'm not a
          musician and when we get to a service that is a "tone festival" I can get lost
          easily. The other important thing is to know the basic structure of the
          services your parish regularly does. You may not need to know all of the daily
          variations, festal, Lenten and Holy Week services, but you need to know your way
          around the service books and how to interpret them to be able to put a service
          together. You should also know your way around the Horologion, the Octoechos,
          the general menaion, the Festal Menaion, the Triodion and the Apostol and how
          those are used and where they fit and intersect with each other in the structure
          of the services. Of course a lot of that you learn the hard way, by actually
          putting the services together and leaving stuff out etc. If you have a tonsured
          reader, you need to be at the kliros with him and watch what he is doing, ask
          questions and help out. If you don't attend the services you'll never learn
          them, you cannot "get it" out of books.

          Sdn. s-p

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Mikey
          To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 9:34 PM
          Subject: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge

          Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one
          needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have been helping in
          Church and trying to learn what I must but know I have som much to learn yet.
          I'd like to be able to say 'Oh, this Kontak in the 1st tone sounds like
          this.....' If I have music I can site read well enough to get a near hit, I'd
          like to do better. What else do I need to know? I am buying A manual of the
          Orthodox Church's divine services by DimitriiÌ? Sokolof per my priest's
          recommendation. Do you have a reccomendation as well?

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Philip Sokolov
          ... I would say there are four components to the full package Reader: 1. Read pleasantly. 2. Sing well. 3. Know the rubrics. 4. Give the pitch and direct the
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
            Mikey wrote:

            > Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge
            > that one needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have
            > been helping in Church and trying to learn what I must but know I have
            > som much to learn yet. I'd like to be able to say 'Oh, this Kontak in
            > the 1st tone sounds like this.....' If I have music I can site read
            > well enough to get a near hit, I'd like to do better. What else do I
            > need to know? I am buying A manual of the Orthodox Church's divine
            > services by Dimitrii Sokolof per my priest's recommendation. Do you
            > have a reccomendation as well?

            I would say there are four components to the "full package" Reader:

            1. Read pleasantly.
            2. Sing well.
            3. Know the rubrics.
            4. Give the pitch and direct the choir.

            Of course, that's in an ideal world. Often enough one is tonsured a
            Reader with proficiency in only one or two of the above. Hopefully the
            ordination is taken seriously and the Reader masters as many of the
            above skills as his talents allow.

            So, some advice:

            1. Take music reading lessons/classes. Often piano lessons are the
            easiest way to started reading music. In addition, there are
            "musicianship" and "music theory" classes at every college, teaching
            solfege or similar systems which will allow you to actually sing the
            correct notes just from looking at sheet music. (This will also make it
            a snap to give pitches.)

            2. Take private voice lessons. Pretty much everyone has "errors" in
            their vocal production. Not every Reader must be operatically trained,
            but a basic understanding of how to use your God-given instrument will
            pay off for the rest of your life.

            3. Memorize the "script" for reading the Epistle at Divine Liturgy in
            all its variations.

            4. Listen carefully when other readers read, and when you read,
            meticulously emulate them. Don't invent your own "chant". Pay attention
            to such details as how fast things are read (psalms fast and an Epistle
            slow, for example) and how melodiously (some things almost completely
            monotone, some things according to patterns with very melodic movement,
            and various degrees in-between).

            5. Anything in your parish that is sung from text--usually Stikhera,
            often Troparia/Kontakia, sometimes other things as well--memorize its
            music. This means you definitely need to have at least the 8 Stikheron
            Tones memorized cold, both the melody and the part that is most
            comfortable to your voice category.

            6. Take conducting lessons/classes.

            7. Learning rubrics isn't easy, but you can do it if you have the right
            books and actually put together the services. If you just download a
            service off the internet, it's just not the same. You may be able to
            borrow books from your parish, but it really wouldn't hurt to build your
            own library. I recommend collecting (over time, not all at once!):

            - The Order of Divine Services
            - The Festal Menaion
            - The Lenten Triodion
            - The Sunday Octoechos
            - Sundays and Feasts of the Pentecostarion
            - The Lenten Triodion Supplementary Texts
            - The Full Menaion ($$$)
            - The Full Pentecostarion ($)
            - The Full Octoechos ($$)

            Probably more information than you wanted, but I hope it helps!

            --Philip Sokolov
          • Steve Robinson
            Those should all be in the kliros at your parish, so its not necessary to own a personal copy of each, it can get real expensive. You should be able to take
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
              Those should all be in the kliros at your parish, so its not necessary to own a personal copy of each, it can get real expensive. You should be able to take them home and go through them during the week. The other thing you should get is a copy of your archdiocese's service outline book put out for the liturgical year. They usually run about 25.00.
              s-p

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Michael McBride
              To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 10:24 PM
              Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge



              The books you mentioned were also mentioned by my priest. I am ordering som
              books and will likely start with the one i mentioned and will include the
              Horologion and others as $ permits. Matushka has a certificate from St Herman's
              Seminary as a reader and does the work so far. The 2 of them are recording some
              of the tones for me to listen to.

              btw ... I'll share our cold wet summer for some of the sun and heat you guys
              have had!

              Mike McBride

              O God do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to
              your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good. - Abba Arsenius

              ________________________________
              From: Steve Robinson <stevenpaul4@...>
              To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sat, August 28, 2010 9:07:47 PM
              Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge

              Hi Mikey,
              A basic knowledge of the tones (as your priest/parish sings them, they are not
              universal by any means). That said, a priest's tolerance level for lack of
              singing ability will vary. I've been reading for 12 years but I'm not a
              musician and when we get to a service that is a "tone festival" I can get lost
              easily. The other important thing is to know the basic structure of the
              services your parish regularly does. You may not need to know all of the daily
              variations, festal, Lenten and Holy Week services, but you need to know your way
              around the service books and how to interpret them to be able to put a service
              together. You should also know your way around the Horologion, the Octoechos,
              the general menaion, the Festal Menaion, the Triodion and the Apostol and how
              those are used and where they fit and intersect with each other in the structure
              of the services. Of course a lot of that you learn the hard way, by actually
              putting the services together and leaving stuff out etc. If you have a tonsured
              reader, you need to be at the kliros with him and watch what he is doing, ask
              questions and help out. If you don't attend the services you'll never learn
              them, you cannot "get it" out of books.

              Sdn. s-p

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Mikey
              To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 9:34 PM
              Subject: [orthodox-readers] Basic Knowledge

              Hello everyone. I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one
              needs prior to becoming a Reader. If so, what is it? I have been helping in
              Church and trying to learn what I must but know I have som much to learn yet.
              I'd like to be able to say 'Oh, this Kontak in the 1st tone sounds like
              this.....' If I have music I can site read well enough to get a near hit, I'd
              like to do better. What else do I need to know? I am buying A manual of the
              Orthodox Church's divine services by DimitriiÌ? Sokolof per my priest's
              recommendation. Do you have a reccomendation as well?

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Philip Silouan Thompson
              ... Most of it you ll pick up from standing at the kliros with whoever now builds and leads the services. If you can, arrange to meet with that person for a
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 28, 2010
                Mikey wrote:
                > I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader.

                Most of it you'll pick up from standing at the kliros with whoever now
                builds and leads the services. If you can, arrange to meet with that
                person for a few weeks and watch them build the services. That'll give
                you an idea of where to look in which service book to learn the class of
                the fest, how many verses from which book, and so on.

                If you're going to buy one book, get "The Order of Divine Services"
                http://amzn.to/9BO1wR -- it follows ROCOR practice but the OCA and
                Moscow practice are pretty much identical. It systematically lays out
                what we sing when. Any time we plan a service I'm not totally familiar
                with, I refer to this book.

                As for the melodies, every region and parish has its own variations.
                Don't try to learn all eight tones, with the various melodies within
                each tone, all at once. If you read music, you can borrow whatever music
                your parish has and sing it at home until you're comfortable with only
                tone 1, before going on to the next. You could also download music from

                * http://dowoca.org/resources/liturgical-music/
                * http://www.orthodoxtwopartmusic.org/
                * http://music.russianorthodox-stl.org/
                * http://www.oca.org/MDmusic.asp?SID=13

                If you don't read music, try flagging down a member of your family or
                parish who plays piano, and have them plunk out the melody from the
                sheet music into the microphone of your tape recorder or laptop. After
                you know a melody the sheet music makes much more sense :-)

                But above all, hang out at the kliros, watch, take notes, and ask
                questions. Readers are often detail nerds and love to share the details
                of what goes into an apparently effortless service :-)

                - Silouan
              • sustain_ability@123mail.org
                Hello and Blessed Sunday, everyone! The only thing I can add to this useful discussion is the Reader s Service in the absence of any priest. Does anyone have a
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 29, 2010
                  Hello and Blessed Sunday, everyone!

                  The only thing I can add to this useful discussion is the Reader's
                  Service in the absence of any priest. Does anyone have a ready link to
                  this? If not, I'll try to scan my copy and put it in the Group file.

                  In Christ,
                  GeorgeYuri

                  > Mikey wrote:
                  > > I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader.

                  --
                  http://www.fastmail.fm - One of many happy users:
                  http://www.fastmail.fm/docs/quotes.html
                • Steve Robinson
                  Fr. John Whiteford s site seems to be the gold standard for reader s services. I ve used them for years in Missions work.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 29, 2010
                    Fr. John Whiteford's site seems to be the "gold standard" for reader's services. I've used them for years in Missions work.
                    http://www.saintjonah.org/services/
                    Sdn. s-p


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: sustain_ability@...
                    To: Orthodox Readers
                    Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:16 AM
                    Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re: Basic Knowledge




                    Hello and Blessed Sunday, everyone!

                    The only thing I can add to this useful discussion is the Reader's
                    Service in the absence of any priest. Does anyone have a ready link to
                    this? If not, I'll try to scan my copy and put it in the Group file.

                    In Christ,
                    GeorgeYuri

                    > Mikey wrote:
                    > > I am wondering if there is a basic body of knowledge that one needs prior to becoming a Reader.

                    --
                    http://www.fastmail.fm - One of many happy users:
                    http://www.fastmail.fm/docs/quotes.html





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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