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Re: Znammeny Chant

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  • Nikita Simmons
    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
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 30, 2008
      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
      academic ensembles.

      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 ustav@yahoogroups.com, 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
      stichera
      > > 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
      >
    • stephen_r1937
      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
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 2, 2008
        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 Bokšaj 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 Prešov 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
        melodies.


        --- In ustav@yahoogroups.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
        been
        > 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
        blessing to
        > change what we sing, but I'd like to learn whatever I can.
        >
        > In Christ,
        >
        > Reader Silouan
        >
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