Re: Znammeny Chant
- It should be kept in mind, that the Small Znamenny (Samoglasen)
melodies, as well as the Znamenny Podobny melodies, are never sung
exactly according to the versions found in the neumatic books and
manuscripts. When one encounters these "model melodies" (including the
single Samoglasen sticheron that is given for each Tone), one is
seeing an "idealized" version of the melody. However, these idealized
melodies can be somewhat awkward to apply to the other stichera which
follow the first notated sticheron, and this has lead to the
augmentation or simplification of the melody to make it more adaptable
to different texts. Almost every Old Rite parish in the world has its
own slightly different interpretation and application of the
Samoglasny and Podobny melodies, although the similarities are usually
easy to hear.
As an example, one parish might sing these melodies with a heavy use
of raised leading tones, while another might avoid them altogether.
Another example: "parish A" might sing a particular cadence as
F-E-D-C-D (according to the book) or as F-E-D-C#-D (with raised
leading tone), while "parish B" might sing it as F-E-D-E-D, and
"parish C" might sing it as F-E-F-G-D. This great amount of variation
is not the result of improvisation, but due to the written model being
committed to memory and subsequently entering the oral tradition with
more fluidity and adaptability.
I would venture to say that if you hear the Znamenny Samoglasny and
Podobny melodies sung *exactly* as notated, then you are listening to
a well-trained "re-creationist" ensemble, where the singers are trying
to revive a dead tradition. On the other hand, the living traditions
of the Old Believers sound quite a bit different from these dry
It really is too bad that there are almost no recordings of Znamenny
Samoglasen singing available. This is a project I am working on here
in Oregon, and God willing, I will have a learning CD (and
accompanying booklet) available sometime in the upcoming year.
- Nikita Simmons
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Jopi Harri <jopi.harri@...> wrote:
> On 29.11.2008 23:27, Gabriel Sanchez wrote:
> > I am sure this has been asked before, but since we're on the topic of
> > Znamenny Chant...
> > Has anyone undertaken the task of transcribing the Small Znamenny
> > melodies (Samoglasny) into Western notation?
> I have (with Nikita Simmons). I have now uploaded them to my site
> http://ecmr.t5.fi/ . A direct link:
> http://ecmr.t5.fi/Transcripta/StihirySamoglasnyGrig.pdf .
> - Jopi Harri
- Reader Silouan, you have put your finger right on it; and Jopi Harri
has recently pointed out that the St Petersburg chant provides for
stichera what is obviously a variant of the "Kievan" chant. There is
indeed a "Kievan" family.
To stick with just the samohlasen melodies, The "Kievan" chant found
in the chant books of the Russian Holy Synod, published beginning in
the eighteenth century, represent the way the melodies were sung in
Moscow after they had been learned from Kievan singers in the
seventeenth century. The printed chant books of the Kiev Caves Lavra
contain a setting for monastic choir, representing the way the
melodies were sung in the Lavra in the late nineteenth century (after
the imposition of the Nikonian text in the middle of that century,
which required some revision). The St Petersburg chant represents the
way they were sung in, well, three guesses. The printed Irmologia of
L'viv and Pochaev represent the way they were sung in those centers in
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The several books of Galician
chant supplementary to the irmologion contain versions from several
centers in Galicia. The Bokaj Prostopinije provides the version of
the cathedral in Uzhhorod at the beginning of the twentieth century;
the Khoma Prostopinije, that of the Mukachevo monastery ca 1930; the
Bobak Prostopinije, that of Preov in the mid-twentieth century.
Vorobkevych provides the version sung in Bukovyna. &c. The manuscript
Irmologia sometimes supply further variants, from locales in
Bielarus', Ukraine, & Carpathian Rus'.
These melodies have been transmitted mostly orally, with books playing
an ancillary roll. That is also true of the Lesser Znamenny Chant,
which clearly shares a common ancestry with the Kievan chant but
developed differently over a number of centuries. The existence of
local variants described by Nikita in this thread attests to the
primacy of oral tradition here. If we ever have reprints or good
on-line versions of the rather numerous diocesan and monastic chant
books published in Russia in the later nineteenth century and down to
the Bolshevik coup ("Great October Revolution"), we shall surely find
a number of further variants of both Lesser Znamenny and Kievan
--- In email@example.com, Philip Silouan Thompson <himself@...> wrote:
> stephen_r1937 wrote:
> > While there is growing interest both in Russia and in North America,
> > the standsrd in both countries is the St Petersburg chant,
> > unsatisfactorily labelled "Obikhod."
> Our parish was founded ten years ago by a few Orthodox families who
> moved here and attracted a bunch of inquiring Protestants. Those
> Orthodox folks brought with them the "Kievan" chant melodies they'd
> taught when their congregation became Orthodox.
> Now that I've heard how most ROCOR and OCA parishes here in the US
> northwest sing, it appears that the "Kievan" melodies we use are
> virtually identical to the "Obikhod" melodies everyone else uses, only
> our version has added flourishes and often a different final line.
> Is there in fact a "Kievan" family of chant melodies, distinct from the
> St. Petersburg/"Obikhod"? (If so, I wonder if what we're calling
> "Kievan" is really something else entirely.) I haven't got a
> change what we sing, but I'd like to learn whatever I can.
> In Christ,
> Reader Silouan