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[ustav] Re: positioning the singers

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  • Andrew Morbey
    ... This is brings to mind an interesting problem - the potential for acts of piety to interfere with Church Singing. Church Singers, it seems to me, have
    Message 1 of 21 , Sep 7 6:58 AM
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      Daniel Olson writes:

      > For another, it inhibits expressions of piety, such as the sign of the
      >Cross, bows, prostrations (where warranted), etc, by members of >the choir.

      This is brings to mind an interesting problem - the potential for acts of
      piety to interfere with Church Singing. Church Singers, it seems to me, have
      their job to do - and that job rather limits what they can do in terms of
      crossings, bowings, prostrations. Choir directors tell me that it irritates
      them no end - and distracts others - when individual choir members engage in
      such pious acts. The 'good order' of Church Singing can easily be disrupted.
      It seems to me that I have read somewhere rather explicit directions
      exhorting Singers NOT to take on all the pious gestures and postures of the
      Faithful.

      AA in O
    • Daniel Olson
      ... The use of music stands seems to be quite common in church choirs. In fact, the only time I have not encountered music stands was at special church
      Message 2 of 21 , Sep 7 8:48 AM
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        On 3 Sep 99, Janet M Damian wrote:

        >I would like some different opinions about positioning the singers in >the
        >choir. In our choir, we use seven non-adjustable wooden choir >stands for
        >about 20 - 22 people, so we have sometimes 2 people per >stand, or even
        >sometimes 4 people per stand depending on how many >people are present in a
        >section. Problems with this are: >especially for the men, the music
        >stands are either "short" or >"tall". Well, tenors come both short and
        >tall, and so do basses! so >then we have short basses barely peering over
        >the top of the "tall" >stand, and the tall tenor crouching to see the music
        >on the "short" >stand.
        >
        >I'd like to eliminate stands all together (!!!!!) not only for the
        >differences in height, but also the difference in people's width
        >sometimes makes it difficult for even 3 people to see music at one >stand.
        >
        >has anyone had any success with elimination of music stands? I know >I'll
        >need to provide music books to each person (thank God for >Kinko's), but
        >actually, when I sing with a secular chorus, we *never* >use stands. I
        >realize that some of the changeable parts will have to >be in loose pages,
        >but I think if they're stapled together, there >shouldn't be much problem.

        The use of music stands seems to be quite common in church choirs. In
        fact, the only time I have not encountered music stands was at special
        church celebrations where the choir was just too large to permit the use of
        stands.

        Personally, I find it uncomfortable to hold a music book. For one thing, it
        is tiring to do so throughout a lengthy service. For another, it inhibits
        expressions of piety, such as the sign of the Cross, bows, prostrations
        (where warranted), etc, by members of the choir. I also find that choir
        members, when holding their own music books, tend to keep their eyes more on
        the music than on the director. While this bad habit is not necessarily
        eliminated by using music stands, it does seem that stands help by forcing
        the singer to direct his attention more to the front. Finally, I find it is
        easier to establish the sense of "ensemble" with the members of one's own
        part while singing from the same sheet of music around the same music stand.
        This may be a subjective consideration; but perhaps it is worth
        considering.

        The use of music stands of some form or other is a quite venerable practice
        in the Church and undoubtedly goes back many long centuries. While such a
        practice undoubtedly reflects a time when music and texts were not so easily
        available as in our time (especially via xerox), it may also reflect the
        fact that singing in church has its own ethos and requirements, which are
        much different from those found in concert performances by secular choruses.

        A practical solution to the problem of short stands for tall people and tall
        stands for short people might be to invest in adjustable music stands that
        are quite readily available commerially.

        Daniel Olson



        ______________________________________________________
      • Michael Malloy
        Message 3 of 21 , Sep 7 9:31 AM
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        • David James
          Another option might be to enlarge the music. Most copiers today have an enlarging feature. In Russia I have observed entire choirs singing from one very large
          Message 4 of 21 , Sep 7 10:46 AM
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            Another option might be to enlarge the music. Most copiers today have an
            enlarging feature. In Russia I have observed entire choirs singing from one
            very large hand-copied book.

            Deacon David M. James
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Daniel Olson [SMTP:daniellector@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 1999 11:48 AM
            To: ustav@egroups.com
            Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers



            On 3 Sep 99, Janet M Damian wrote:
            >I would like some different opinions about positioning the
            singers in >the
            >choir. In our choir, we use seven non-adjustable wooden
            choir >stands for
            >about 20 - 22 people, so we have sometimes 2 people per
            >stand, or even
            >sometimes 4 people per stand depending on how many >people
            are present in a
            >section. Problems with this are: >especially for the
            men, the music
            >stands are either "short" or >"tall". Well, tenors come
            both short and
            >tall, and so do basses! so >then we have short basses
            barely peering over
            >the top of the "tall" >stand, and the tall tenor crouching
            to see the music
            >on the "short" >stand.
            >
            >I'd like to eliminate stands all together (!!!!!) not
            only for the
            >differences in height, but also the difference in people's
            width
            >sometimes makes it difficult for even 3 people to see music
            at one >stand.
            >
            >has anyone had any success with elimination of music
            stands? I know >I'll
            >need to provide music books to each person (thank God for
            >Kinko's), but
            >actually, when I sing with a secular chorus, we *never*
            >use stands. I
            >realize that some of the changeable parts will have to >be
            in loose pages,
            >but I think if they're stapled together, there >shouldn't
            be much problem.

            The use of music stands seems to be quite common in church choirs.
            In fact, the only time I have not encountered music stands was at special
            church celebrations where the choir was just too large to permit the use of
            stands.
            Personally, I find it uncomfortable to hold a music book. For one
            thing, it is tiring to do so throughout a lengthy service. For another, it
            inhibits expressions of piety, such as the sign of the Cross, bows,
            prostrations (where warranted), etc, by members of the choir. I also find
            that choir members, when holding their own music books, tend to keep their
            eyes more on the music than on the director. While this bad habit is not
            necessarily eliminated by using music stands, it does seem that stands help
            by forcing the singer to direct his attention more to the front. Finally, I
            find it is easier to establish the sense of "ensemble" with the members of
            one's own part while singing from the same sheet of music around the same
            music stand. This may be a subjective consideration; but perhaps it is
            worth considering.
            The use of music stands of some form or other is a quite venerable
            practice in the Church and undoubtedly goes back many long centuries. While
            such a practice undoubtedly reflects a time when music and texts were not so
            easily available as in our time (especially via xerox), it may also reflect
            the fact that singing in church has its own ethos and requirements, which
            are much different from those found in concert performances by secular
            choruses.
            A practical solution to the problem of short stands for tall people
            and tall stands for short people might be to invest in adjustable music
            stands that are quite readily available commerially.
            Daniel Olson


            ______________________________________________________


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          • Timothy Copple
            ... From: Andrew Morbey To: Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 1999 8:58 AM Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the
            Message 5 of 21 , Sep 7 2:36 PM
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Andrew Morbey <oca1794@...>
              To: <ustav@egroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 1999 8:58 AM
              Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers


              > It seems to me that I have read somewhere rather explicit directions
              > exhorting Singers NOT to take on all the pious gestures and postures of
              the
              > Faithful.

              I've been told by my bishop that this was the case in Russia (what time
              period I don't know), and that one's piety is primarily expressed in the
              attention to singing and the leader of that when one has committed to
              singing in the choir. It would be interesting to note if indeed this is
              written somewhere and what extent it follows the traditional teachings in
              these things. I basically do what I can which I knows does not take my
              attention away from what I'm doing in chanting/singing whatever is before
              me, or the leader of the choir.


              Rdr. Timothy Copple

              http://www.rlcdata.com
            • Janet M Damian
              To all, thanks so much for your replies. you all make very good points. About each person holding a separate book, I am putting together music books that are
              Message 6 of 21 , Sep 7 8:06 PM
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                To all,
                thanks so much for your replies. you all make very good points. About
                each person holding a separate book, I am putting together music books
                that are paperback and contain THE Divine Liturgy. I plan on having
                about 5 of them, each with different musical settings of certain hymns.
                So the Liturgy books will contain only one setting of each, not 2 or 3 to
                choose from (where the choir does a lot of page flipping to find their
                place). So I think if the booklets are lightweight, they wouldn't be too
                heavy and cumbersome.

                I didn't think about things like making the sign of the cross,
                prostrations, etc. good point. In our choir, during for instance,
                "Before Thy Cross..." the singers will all bow to some degree, some more
                so than others, but all in all, the music gets sung, especially since the
                congregation is fully engaged in this hymn. So far we haven't had any
                chaos in this area.

                I know that music stands are common in church choirs, probably both
                because of the length of the service, and the large quantity of music to
                be sung. Our problem is that our choir stands were built as both stands
                and shelving units. Made out of wood with only one height. When we move
                into our new Church building (God willing, by the winter), hopefully we
                can get some stands that are both adjustable and look good. Nothing
                uglier than those black Manhasset music stands in the church!

                I'm finding that when 3 or 4 people are sharing a stand, at least 1, if
                not 2 people, cannot see well (either see me or see the music) They're
                bodies or necks are twisted to "make do" and rather than sing as an
                "ensemble" they are struggling. That's my rationale behind each person
                having a booklet.

                thanks to everyone for your input. it's much appreciated.

                janet




                > The use of music stands seems to be quite common in church choirs.
                > In
                > fact, the only time I have not encountered music stands was at
                > special
                > church celebrations where the choir was just too large to permit the
                > use of
                > stands.
                >
                > Personally, I find it uncomfortable to hold a music book. For one
                > thing, it
                > is tiring to do so throughout a lengthy service. For another, it
                > inhibits
                > expressions of piety, such as the sign of the Cross, bows,
                > prostrations
                > (where warranted), etc, by members of the choir. I also find that
                > choir
                > members, when holding their own music books, tend to keep their eyes
                > more on
                > the music than on the director. While this bad habit is not
                > necessarily
                > eliminated by using music stands, it does seem that stands help by
                > forcing
                > the singer to direct his attention more to the front. Finally, I
                > find it is
                > easier to establish the sense of "ensemble" with the members of
                > one's own
                > part while singing from the same sheet of music around the same
                > music stand.
                > This may be a subjective consideration; but perhaps it is worth
                > considering.
                >
                > The use of music stands of some form or other is a quite venerable
                > practice
                > in the Church and undoubtedly goes back many long centuries. While
                > such a
                > practice undoubtedly reflects a time when music and texts were not
                > so easily
                > available as in our time (especially via xerox), it may also reflect
                > the
                > fact that singing in church has its own ethos and requirements,
                > which are
                > much different from those found in concert performances by secular
                > choruses.
                >
                > A practical solution to the problem of short stands for tall people
                > and tall
                > stands for short people might be to invest in adjustable music
                > stands that
                > are quite readily available commerially.
                >
                > Daniel Olson
                >
                >
                >
                > ______________________________________________________
                >
                >
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                > MyPoints-Free Rewards When You're Online.
                > Start with up to 150 Points for joining!
                > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/805
                >
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                >
                >
                >
              • Simplify3@aol.com
                I don t know if this is sacreligious or impractical or improper, but might it be possible, should a few hundred dollars come the way for this purpose, to
                Message 7 of 21 , Sep 7 8:40 PM
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                  I don't know if this is sacreligious or impractical or improper, but
                  might it be possible, should a few hundred dollars come the way for this
                  purpose,
                  to digitize the various texts, and have old computer screens/old laptops used
                  to display the music?

                  It might be more effort that its worth - I don't know. But it certainly
                  would help with the bulky books :)

                  Ken
                • Reverend Dcn. Raphael S. Cole
                  ... Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be! Dear Janet: With the music stands as you have indicated, do you have presently or do you plan on aquiring
                  Message 8 of 21 , Sep 7 8:43 PM
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                    Janet M Damian wrote:
                    >
                    > To all,
                    > thanks so much for your replies. you all make very good points. About
                    > each person holding a separate book, I am putting together music books
                    > that are paperback and contain THE Divine Liturgy. I plan on having
                    > about 5 of them, each with different musical settings of certain hymns.
                    > So the Liturgy books will contain only one setting of each, not 2 or 3 to
                    > choose from (where the choir does a lot of page flipping to find their
                    > place). So I think if the booklets are lightweight, they wouldn't be too
                    > heavy and cumbersome.
                    >
                    > I didn't think about things like making the sign of the cross,
                    > prostrations, etc. good point. In our choir, during for instance,
                    > "Before Thy Cross..." the singers will all bow to some degree, some more
                    > so than others, but all in all, the music gets sung, especially since the
                    > congregation is fully engaged in this hymn. So far we haven't had any
                    > chaos in this area.
                    >
                    > I know that music stands are common in church choirs, probably both
                    > because of the length of the service, and the large quantity of music to
                    > be sung. Our problem is that our choir stands were built as both stands
                    > and shelving units. Made out of wood with only one height. When we move
                    > into our new Church building (God willing, by the winter), hopefully we
                    > can get some stands that are both adjustable and look good. Nothing
                    > uglier than those black Manhasset music stands in the church!
                    >
                    > I'm finding that when 3 or 4 people are sharing a stand, at least 1, if
                    > not 2 people, cannot see well (either see me or see the music) They're
                    > bodies or necks are twisted to "make do" and rather than sing as an
                    > "ensemble" they are struggling. That's my rationale behind each person
                    > having a booklet.
                    >
                    > thanks to everyone for your input. it's much appreciated.
                    >
                    > janet
                    >
                    > > The use of music stands seems to be quite common in church choirs.
                    > > In
                    > > fact, the only time I have not encountered music stands was at
                    > > special
                    > > church celebrations where the choir was just too large to permit the
                    > > use of
                    > > stands.
                    > >
                    > > Personally, I find it uncomfortable to hold a music book. For one
                    > > thing, it
                    > > is tiring to do so throughout a lengthy service. For another, it
                    > > inhibits
                    > > expressions of piety, such as the sign of the Cross, bows,
                    > > prostrations
                    > > (where warranted), etc, by members of the choir. I also find that
                    > > choir
                    > > members, when holding their own music books, tend to keep their eyes
                    > > more on
                    > > the music than on the director. While this bad habit is not
                    > > necessarily
                    > > eliminated by using music stands, it does seem that stands help by
                    > > forcing
                    > > the singer to direct his attention more to the front. Finally, I
                    > > find it is
                    > > easier to establish the sense of "ensemble" with the members of
                    > > one's own
                    > > part while singing from the same sheet of music around the same
                    > > music stand.
                    > > This may be a subjective consideration; but perhaps it is worth
                    > > considering.
                    > >
                    > > The use of music stands of some form or other is a quite venerable
                    > > practice
                    > > in the Church and undoubtedly goes back many long centuries. While
                    > > such a
                    > > practice undoubtedly reflects a time when music and texts were not
                    > > so easily
                    > > available as in our time (especially via xerox), it may also reflect
                    > > the
                    > > fact that singing in church has its own ethos and requirements,
                    > > which are
                    > > much different from those found in concert performances by secular
                    > > choruses.
                    > >
                    > > A practical solution to the problem of short stands for tall people
                    > > and tall
                    > > stands for short people might be to invest in adjustable music
                    > > stands that
                    > > are quite readily available commerially.
                    > >
                    > > Daniel Olson
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ______________________________________________________
                    > >
                    > >
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > > MyPoints-Free Rewards When You're Online.
                    > > Start with up to 150 Points for joining!
                    > > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/805
                    > >
                    > > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > MyPoints-Free Rewards When You're Online.
                    > Start with up to 150 Points for joining!
                    > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/805
                    >
                    > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                    Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!

                    Dear Janet:

                    With the music stands as you have indicated, do you have presently or do
                    you plan on aquiring "low wattage" lamps to put on the stands?

                    I am only thinking of those services (ie. Vespers, All-night Vigil,
                    Pascha, etc.) where there is very little to no light available for
                    anyone let alone the choir members.

                    In some parishes, there is minimal light especially at this time of year
                    and only when "O Gladsome Light" does the overhead chandellier come on.

                    Just a thought.

                    Yours in Christ,
                    Deacon Raphael
                  • Michael Malloy
                    Message 9 of 21 , Sep 8 5:11 AM
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                    • Janet M Damian
                      Dear Deacon Raphael, I actually haven t thought about lights on the stands until you mention it. We are in a temporary building (for 10 years!) right now
                      Message 10 of 21 , Sep 8 6:34 AM
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                        Dear Deacon Raphael,
                        I actually haven't thought about lights on the stands until you mention
                        it. We are in a "temporary" building (for 10 years!)
                        right now with skylights letting in natural light. there is plenty of
                        light for vespers, and when darkness comes earlier, our ceiling has a
                        light right over the choir that we turn on. However, in our new
                        building, I don't know what's planned light-wise. thanks for bringing
                        this to my attention.

                        janet

                        > With the music stands as you have indicated, do you have presently
                        > or do you plan on aquiring "low wattage" lamps to put on the stands?
                        >
                        > I am only thinking of those services (ie. Vespers, All-night Vigil,
                        > Pascha, etc.) where there is very little to no light available for
                        > anyone let alone the choir members.
                        >
                        > In some parishes, there is minimal light especially at this time of
                        > year and only when "O Gladsome Light" does the overhead chandellier
                        come
                        > on.
                      • fralexis@avana.net
                        Message 11 of 21 , Sep 9 3:53 AM
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                        • Fr. Aidan Keller
                          With regard to singers making gestures of piety or not, definitely the current practice in the Russian Church is NOT to do so. But I notice that in the Western
                          Message 12 of 21 , Sep 9 5:27 AM
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                            With regard to singers making gestures of piety or not, definitely the
                            current practice in the Russian Church is NOT to do so.

                            But I notice that in the Western service books from the Orthodox period, the
                            choir is supposed to bow, prostrate, cross themselves, just like everyone
                            else, even more than everyone else. Not very surgically neat, perhaps it
                            impinges slightly on the tone quality or something, but this was the
                            expression of an Orthodox people long before the advent of modern musical
                            styles found in the Russian Church and most others. I would not be
                            surprised if the Old Believers were in sync with the older Western customs
                            in this area as they are in other areas.

                            My guess is that the idea of NOT making pious gestures so as to sing with
                            undivided attention represents a movement placing greater importance on the
                            aesthetics of the harmonised music in the Russian Church. But what do I know?

                            Surely, if you're in a church that discourages such gestures, the right
                            thing to do is not make them, for the sake of being a "team player" (some
                            call this obedience or humility <g>).

                            in Christ our true God,
                            Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+ a sinner
                            St. Hilarion Monastery (New Amalfion), Austin, Texas
                            http://www.prismnet.com/~hilarion (103 Western Saints Icons)
                            also see: Orthodox Monasteries in America: www.nettinker.com/monasteries
                          • Isaac E. Lambertsen
                            Dear Ustav list(en)ers, As a contribution to the on-going discussion concerning bows and prostrations by choir members, permit me to call everyone s attention
                            Message 13 of 21 , Sep 9 10:02 AM
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                              Dear Ustav list(en)ers,

                              As a contribution to the on-going discussion concerning bows and
                              prostrations by choir members, permit me to call everyone's attention to St.
                              Ignatius (Brianchaninov)'s "Rules of Outward Conduct for Novices", printed
                              as Part II in "The Arena". This book was translated into English by the
                              late Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), and first published in 1970 by Holy
                              Trinity Monastery, Jordanville. It was reprinted in 1982, and again in
                              1991, and should still be available from the monastery, or from St. John of
                              Kronstadt Press.

                              While I will only make one or two citations, I highly recommend that
                              everyone consult their copies (or obtain copies) and read the whole section,
                              for it deals with such pertinent topics as, for example, how to read in
                              church ("...[The reader] should read simply and reverently in a monotone
                              without expressing his feelings by modulations and changes of voice. Let us
                              leave the holy prayers to act on the listeners by their own spiritual power.
                              The desire to convey to the bystanders one's own feelings is a sign of
                              vanity and pride." And "In reading the Apostle, one should on no account
                              shout excessively or indecorously, out of vainglory. On the contrary, one
                              should read in a natural voice, reverently, distinctly, majestically,
                              without that exertion which is offensive both to the ear and the conscience,
                              so that our sacrifice of praise may be acceptable to God, lest we offer to
                              God only 'the fruit of our lips' [Heb. 13: 15], and offer the fruit of our
                              mind and heart to vanity, while even 'the fruit of our lips' is rejected by
                              God as a polluted sacrifice. This should be remembered by singers too,
                              because for all the choir-brothers in general vainglory is an extremely
                              dangerous passion, through which other vices enter the soul, especially
                              pride, and then the protecting grace of God leaves the man.") The entire
                              book has great value not only for monastics and would-be monastics, but for
                              all pious Orthodox Christians.

                              Here are some stipulations made by St. Ignatius regarding bows and
                              prostrations in choir and in church:

                              "...[N]either in the middle of the church nor in the choirs should we
                              bow in a disorderly and self-willed manner, but should always follow the
                              precentor [i.e. psalmoshchik, or choir director]."
                              "After finishing 'We praise Thee...', *three* profound bows to the waist
                              are performed, but for those not in the choir *one* prostration.... Before
                              the Lord's Prayer those not in the choir make one prostration, while those
                              in the choir make the sign of the cross because they have to sing
                              immediately.... When the Holy Mysteries are carried out with the words
                              'With the fear of God, with faith and love draw near', *one* profound bow
                              to the waist is made by those in the choirs with great reverence as to
                              Christ Himself invisibly present in the Holy Mysteries, but those not in the
                              choirs make *one* prostration."

                              I think this bears eloquent witness to the practice current in mid-19th
                              century Russia, viz. that gestures of piety are not only permitted, but
                              prescribed for the choir members to perform, but that such gestures are
                              curtailed and limited for choir members, as opposed to those standing in the
                              nave of the church.

                              Again, anyone interested in the gestures of piety which readers,
                              chanters and those praying during the divine services should make, would do
                              well to read St. Ignatius' contribution with great care and attention.

                              Sincerely,

                              Isaac Lambertsen.



                              ----------
                              >From: "Fr. Aidan Keller" <hilarion@...>
                              >To: ustav@egroups.com
                              >Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers
                              >Date: Thu, Sep 9, 1999, 8:27 AM
                              >

                              > With regard to singers making gestures of piety or not, definitely the
                              > current practice in the Russian Church is NOT to do so.
                              >
                              > But I notice that in the Western service books from the Orthodox period, the
                              > choir is supposed to bow, prostrate, cross themselves, just like everyone
                              > else, even more than everyone else. Not very surgically neat, perhaps it
                              > impinges slightly on the tone quality or something, but this was the
                              > expression of an Orthodox people long before the advent of modern musical
                              > styles found in the Russian Church and most others. I would not be
                              > surprised if the Old Believers were in sync with the older Western customs
                              > in this area as they are in other areas.
                              >
                              > My guess is that the idea of NOT making pious gestures so as to sing with
                              > undivided attention represents a movement placing greater importance on the
                              > aesthetics of the harmonised music in the Russian Church. But what do I know?
                              >
                              > Surely, if you're in a church that discourages such gestures, the right
                              > thing to do is not make them, for the sake of being a "team player" (some
                              > call this obedience or humility <g>).
                              >
                              > in Christ our true God,
                              > Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+ a sinner
                              > St. Hilarion Monastery (New Amalfion), Austin, Texas
                              > http://www.prismnet.com/~hilarion (103 Western Saints Icons)
                              > also see: Orthodox Monasteries in America: www.nettinker.com/monasteries
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              > Don't know which one to buy? Productopia does.
                              > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/554
                              >
                              > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • Timothy Copple
                              ... From: Isaac E. Lambertsen To: Sent: Thursday, September 09, 1999 12:02 PM Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the
                              Message 14 of 21 , Sep 9 1:05 PM
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Isaac E. Lambertsen <ilector@...>
                                To: <ustav@egroups.com>
                                Sent: Thursday, September 09, 1999 12:02 PM
                                Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers



                                > Here are some stipulations made by St. Ignatius regarding bows and
                                > prostrations in choir and in church:
                                >
                                > "...[N]either in the middle of the church nor in the choirs should we
                                > bow in a disorderly and self-willed manner, but should always follow the
                                > precentor [i.e. psalmoshchik, or choir director]."
                                > "After finishing 'We praise Thee...', *three* profound bows to the
                                waist
                                > are performed, but for those not in the choir *one* prostration....
                                Before
                                > the Lord's Prayer those not in the choir make one prostration, while those
                                > in the choir make the sign of the cross because they have to sing
                                > immediately.... When the Holy Mysteries are carried out with the words
                                > 'With the fear of God, with faith and love draw near', *one* profound bow
                                > to the waist is made by those in the choirs with great reverence as to
                                > Christ Himself invisibly present in the Holy Mysteries, but those not in
                                the
                                > choirs make *one* prostration."

                                Isaac,

                                Thanks for the info. It seems what I was doing was fairly in keeping with
                                the above, that is, it sounds like the general rule is to only do as much as
                                will not prevent one from carrying out their duties as a member of the choir
                                or a chanter. I should clarify, as I think I left the impression that our
                                bishop said it was "the" Russian practice not to do pious customs. It was a
                                year and a half ago when he said this, and I believe he indicated that at
                                "some" Russian churches (and I was under the impression he was speaking
                                especially of fairly big churches with big choirs) that the choir was not to
                                do any forms of piety, because their piety was in the singing, so to speak.
                                But, I don't think he was saying that it was the standard Russian practice
                                for choirs to do absolutely no pious acts apart from singing. I believe his
                                point was that we don't allow pious customs to get in the way of our
                                singing. This happened in our missions's first hiearchial liturgy; we were
                                mixed up on what we were to be doing, and the bishop began what it was
                                suppose to be doing while we were all on the floor...which didn't make for
                                good singing, so he corrected us.

                                At any rate, I also appreciate the quotes from the Arena, which I did not
                                realize contained that type of information. I have a copy of it on the shelf
                                of the bookstore I manage, and I'll have to make time to take a look at it.
                                Thanks for the education.


                                Rdr. Timothy Copple

                                http://www.rlcdata.com

                                PS: Our bishop will be with us this weekend, so prayers for things to go
                                well would be appreciated.
                              • Janet M Damian
                                On Thu, 09 Sep 1999 13:02:24 -0400 Isaac E. Lambertsen ... for Novices , ... English by ... again ... I recently purchased this book from St. Vladimir
                                Message 15 of 21 , Sep 9 4:52 PM
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                                  On Thu, 09 Sep 1999 13:02:24 -0400 "Isaac E. Lambertsen"
                                  <ilector@...> writes:
                                  > Dear Ustav list(en)ers,
                                  >
                                  > As a contribution to the on-going discussion concerning bows and
                                  > prostrations by choir members, permit me to call everyone's
                                  > attention to St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)'s "Rules of Outward Conduct
                                  for Novices",
                                  > printed as Part II in "The Arena". This book was translated into
                                  English by
                                  > the late Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), and first published in 1970 by

                                  > Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville. It was reprinted in 1982, and
                                  again
                                  > in 1991, and should still be available from the monastery, or from St.
                                  > John of Kronstadt Press.

                                  I recently purchased this book from St. Vladimir Seminary bookstore.
                                  1-800-204-book. It is also carried by St. Tikhon Bookstore.

                                  janet
                                • Janet M Damian
                                  Dear Isaac, what are your thoughts (and everyone else s) on the practice of reading the Epistle in the 12 ascending half tones? Another excessive reading I
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Sep 9 4:55 PM
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                                    Dear Isaac,
                                    what are your thoughts (and everyone else's) on the practice of reading
                                    the Epistle in the 12 ascending half tones? Another "excessive" reading
                                    I can think of is the Prophesy of Ezekiel on Holy Friday. Neither of
                                    these are done simply and reverently, and both can be considered
                                    "vanglorious".

                                    janet


                                    > for it deals with such pertinent topics as, for example, how to read
                                    > in
                                    > church ("...[The reader] should read simply and reverently in a
                                    > monotone
                                    > without expressing his feelings by modulations and changes of voice.
                                    > Let us
                                    > leave the holy prayers to act on the listeners by their own
                                    > spiritual power.
                                    > The desire to convey to the bystanders one's own feelings is a sign
                                    > of
                                    > vanity and pride." And "In reading the Apostle, one should on no
                                    > account
                                    > shout excessively or indecorously, out of vainglory. On the
                                    > contrary, one
                                    > should read in a natural voice, reverently, distinctly,
                                    > majestically,
                                    > without that exertion which is offensive both to the ear and the
                                    > conscience,
                                    > so that our sacrifice of praise may be acceptable to God, lest we
                                    > offer to
                                    > God only 'the fruit of our lips' [Heb. 13: 15], and offer the fruit
                                    > of our
                                    > mind and heart to vanity, while even 'the fruit of our lips' is
                                    > rejected by
                                    > God as a polluted sacrifice. This should be remembered by singers
                                    > too,
                                    > because for all the choir-brothers in general vainglory is an
                                    > extremely
                                    > dangerous passion, through which other vices enter the soul,
                                    > especially
                                    > pride, and then the protecting grace of God leaves the man.") The
                                    > entire
                                    > book has great value not only for monastics and would-be monastics,
                                    > but for
                                    > all pious Orthodox Christians.
                                    >
                                    > Here are some stipulations made by St. Ignatius regarding bows and
                                    > prostrations in choir and in church:
                                    >
                                    > "...[N]either in the middle of the church nor in the choirs
                                    > should we
                                    > bow in a disorderly and self-willed manner, but should always follow
                                    > the
                                    > precentor [i.e. psalmoshchik, or choir director]."
                                    > "After finishing 'We praise Thee...', *three* profound bows to
                                    > the waist
                                    > are performed, but for those not in the choir *one* prostration....
                                    > Before
                                    > the Lord's Prayer those not in the choir make one prostration, while
                                    > those
                                    > in the choir make the sign of the cross because they have to sing
                                    > immediately.... When the Holy Mysteries are carried out with the
                                    > words
                                    > 'With the fear of God, with faith and love draw near', *one*
                                    > profound bow
                                    > to the waist is made by those in the choirs with great reverence as
                                    > to
                                    > Christ Himself invisibly present in the Holy Mysteries, but those
                                    > not in the
                                    > choirs make *one* prostration."
                                    >
                                    > I think this bears eloquent witness to the practice current in
                                    > mid-19th
                                    > century Russia, viz. that gestures of piety are not only permitted,
                                    > but
                                    > prescribed for the choir members to perform, but that such gestures
                                    > are
                                    > curtailed and limited for choir members, as opposed to those
                                    > standing in the
                                    > nave of the church.
                                    >
                                    > Again, anyone interested in the gestures of piety which readers,
                                    > chanters and those praying during the divine services should make,
                                    > would do
                                    > well to read St. Ignatius' contribution with great care and
                                    > attention.
                                    >
                                    > Sincerely,
                                    >
                                    > Isaac Lambertsen.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ----------
                                    > >From: "Fr. Aidan Keller" <hilarion@...>
                                    > >To: ustav@egroups.com
                                    > >Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers
                                    > >Date: Thu, Sep 9, 1999, 8:27 AM
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    > > With regard to singers making gestures of piety or not, definitely
                                    > the
                                    > > current practice in the Russian Church is NOT to do so.
                                    > >
                                    > > But I notice that in the Western service books from the Orthodox
                                    > period, the
                                    > > choir is supposed to bow, prostrate, cross themselves, just like
                                    > everyone
                                    > > else, even more than everyone else. Not very surgically neat,
                                    > perhaps it
                                    > > impinges slightly on the tone quality or something, but this was
                                    > the
                                    > > expression of an Orthodox people long before the advent of modern
                                    > musical
                                    > > styles found in the Russian Church and most others. I would not
                                    > be
                                    > > surprised if the Old Believers were in sync with the older Western
                                    > customs
                                    > > in this area as they are in other areas.
                                    > >
                                    > > My guess is that the idea of NOT making pious gestures so as to
                                    > sing with
                                    > > undivided attention represents a movement placing greater
                                    > importance on the
                                    > > aesthetics of the harmonised music in the Russian Church. But
                                    > what do I know?
                                    > >
                                    > > Surely, if you're in a church that discourages such gestures, the
                                    > right
                                    > > thing to do is not make them, for the sake of being a "team
                                    > player" (some
                                    > > call this obedience or humility <g>).
                                    > >
                                    > > in Christ our true God,
                                    > > Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+ a sinner
                                    > > St. Hilarion Monastery (New Amalfion), Austin, Texas
                                    > > http://www.prismnet.com/~hilarion (103 Western Saints Icons)
                                    > > also see: Orthodox Monasteries in America:
                                    > www.nettinker.com/monasteries
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    > > Don't know which one to buy? Productopia does.
                                    > > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/554
                                    > >
                                    > > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    > Was the salesman clueless?
                                    > Productopia has the answers.
                                    > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/555
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • John Peters
                                    From Types of Religious Lives by Mother Maria Skobtsova (at: http://www.incommunion.org/Mariatxt.htm ) The book of the Gospels with its heavy binding, could
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Sep 9 9:00 PM
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                                      From "Types of Religious Lives" by Mother Maria Skobtsova (at:
                                      http://www.incommunion.org/Mariatxt.htm )

                                      "The book of the Gospels with its heavy binding, could barely be lifted by
                                      the deacon, and the deacon read it in such a way that at times it was
                                      impossible to understand a single word, but it was not his job to make the
                                      reading understandable: he had to begin in a type of an unimaginable low
                                      rumble and end in a window-rattling bellow, showing off the mighty power of
                                      his voice."

                                      So what has changed since? I remember the first time I heard the Scriptures
                                      read this way, I had to bite my lips. I thought something really wrong.
                                      Thankfully, I have also heard (and hear on a regular basis) the
                                      Epistle/Gospels read by the reader/deacon reverently and understandably,
                                      sparing my lips damage.

                                      John

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: Janet M Damian <damianj@...>
                                      To: ustav@egroups.com <ustav@egroups.com>
                                      Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 8:04 PM
                                      Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers


                                      >Dear Isaac,
                                      >what are your thoughts (and everyone else's) on the practice of reading
                                      >the Epistle in the 12 ascending half tones? Another "excessive" reading...
                                    • Rev. John R. Shaw
                                      There is, I think, a difference between making a general practice of reading the Epistle in ascending tones, and using a special tone for a Prophecy on Good
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Sep 10 8:21 AM
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                                        There is, I think, a difference between making a general practice of
                                        reading the Epistle in ascending tones, and using a special tone for a
                                        Prophecy on Good Friday or some such time.

                                        There is a book called the "Prophetologion" in Greek, containing
                                        the various Old Testament Prophecies, and it used to be marked out with
                                        Byzantine chant neumes showing how the reader was to intone (in fact,
                                        sing) the text. However, this was no exercise in personal vanity, any more
                                        than the other places are in the service, where one person (sometimes the
                                        priest) is supposed to perform a piece of chant. If you go to weekday
                                        services in Lent, you can hear the priest singing "solo" pieces at the
                                        Hours and at the end of Compline, in the Russian tradition.

                                        The manner of reading the Epistle that is described below is
                                        another matter. This is not called for by any rubric or Church tradition
                                        (custom among some, yes)--and it only serves to make it hard to understand
                                        the words of the Epistle. If combined with the [unfortunate] practice of
                                        *censing* during the Epistle, instead of during the Alleluia, it can make
                                        the Epistle reading virtually impossible to follow--at times even for a
                                        priest who may have studied it for several days while working on his
                                        sermon!
                                        Fr. John R. Shaw
                                        > Dear Isaac,
                                        > what are your thoughts (and everyone else's) on the practice of reading
                                        > the Epistle in the 12 ascending half tones? Another "excessive" reading
                                        > I can think of is the Prophesy of Ezekiel on Holy Friday. Neither of
                                        > these are done simply and reverently, and both can be considered
                                        > "vanglorious".
                                        >
                                        > janet
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > > for it deals with such pertinent topics as, for example, how to read
                                        > > in
                                        > > church ("...[The reader] should read simply and reverently in a
                                        > > monotone
                                        > > without expressing his feelings by modulations and changes of voice.
                                        > > Let us
                                        > > leave the holy prayers to act on the listeners by their own
                                        > > spiritual power.
                                        > > The desire to convey to the bystanders one's own feelings is a sign
                                        > > of
                                        > > vanity and pride." And "In reading the Apostle, one should on no
                                        > > account
                                        > > shout excessively or indecorously, out of vainglory. On the
                                        > > contrary, one
                                        > > should read in a natural voice, reverently, distinctly,
                                        > > majestically,
                                        > > without that exertion which is offensive both to the ear and the
                                        > > conscience,
                                        > > so that our sacrifice of praise may be acceptable to God, lest we
                                        > > offer to
                                        > > God only 'the fruit of our lips' [Heb. 13: 15], and offer the fruit
                                        > > of our
                                        > > mind and heart to vanity, while even 'the fruit of our lips' is
                                        > > rejected by
                                        > > God as a polluted sacrifice. This should be remembered by singers
                                        > > too,
                                        > > because for all the choir-brothers in general vainglory is an
                                        > > extremely
                                        > > dangerous passion, through which other vices enter the soul,
                                        > > especially
                                        > > pride, and then the protecting grace of God leaves the man.") The
                                        > > entire
                                        > > book has great value not only for monastics and would-be monastics,
                                        > > but for
                                        > > all pious Orthodox Christians.
                                        > >
                                        > > Here are some stipulations made by St. Ignatius regarding bows and
                                        > > prostrations in choir and in church:
                                        > >
                                        > > "...[N]either in the middle of the church nor in the choirs
                                        > > should we
                                        > > bow in a disorderly and self-willed manner, but should always follow
                                        > > the
                                        > > precentor [i.e. psalmoshchik, or choir director]."
                                        > > "After finishing 'We praise Thee...', *three* profound bows to
                                        > > the waist
                                        > > are performed, but for those not in the choir *one* prostration....
                                        > > Before
                                        > > the Lord's Prayer those not in the choir make one prostration, while
                                        > > those
                                        > > in the choir make the sign of the cross because they have to sing
                                        > > immediately.... When the Holy Mysteries are carried out with the
                                        > > words
                                        > > 'With the fear of God, with faith and love draw near', *one*
                                        > > profound bow
                                        > > to the waist is made by those in the choirs with great reverence as
                                        > > to
                                        > > Christ Himself invisibly present in the Holy Mysteries, but those
                                        > > not in the
                                        > > choirs make *one* prostration."
                                        > >
                                        > > I think this bears eloquent witness to the practice current in
                                        > > mid-19th
                                        > > century Russia, viz. that gestures of piety are not only permitted,
                                        > > but
                                        > > prescribed for the choir members to perform, but that such gestures
                                        > > are
                                        > > curtailed and limited for choir members, as opposed to those
                                        > > standing in the
                                        > > nave of the church.
                                        > >
                                        > > Again, anyone interested in the gestures of piety which readers,
                                        > > chanters and those praying during the divine services should make,
                                        > > would do
                                        > > well to read St. Ignatius' contribution with great care and
                                        > > attention.
                                        > >
                                        > > Sincerely,
                                        > >
                                        > > Isaac Lambertsen.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > ----------
                                        > > >From: "Fr. Aidan Keller" <hilarion@...>
                                        > > >To: ustav@egroups.com
                                        > > >Subject: [ustav] Re: positioning the singers
                                        > > >Date: Thu, Sep 9, 1999, 8:27 AM
                                        > > >
                                        > >
                                        > > > With regard to singers making gestures of piety or not, definitely
                                        > > the
                                        > > > current practice in the Russian Church is NOT to do so.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > But I notice that in the Western service books from the Orthodox
                                        > > period, the
                                        > > > choir is supposed to bow, prostrate, cross themselves, just like
                                        > > everyone
                                        > > > else, even more than everyone else. Not very surgically neat,
                                        > > perhaps it
                                        > > > impinges slightly on the tone quality or something, but this was
                                        > > the
                                        > > > expression of an Orthodox people long before the advent of modern
                                        > > musical
                                        > > > styles found in the Russian Church and most others. I would not
                                        > > be
                                        > > > surprised if the Old Believers were in sync with the older Western
                                        > > customs
                                        > > > in this area as they are in other areas.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > My guess is that the idea of NOT making pious gestures so as to
                                        > > sing with
                                        > > > undivided attention represents a movement placing greater
                                        > > importance on the
                                        > > > aesthetics of the harmonised music in the Russian Church. But
                                        > > what do I know?
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Surely, if you're in a church that discourages such gestures, the
                                        > > right
                                        > > > thing to do is not make them, for the sake of being a "team
                                        > > player" (some
                                        > > > call this obedience or humility <g>).
                                        > > >
                                        > > > in Christ our true God,
                                        > > > Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+ a sinner
                                        > > > St. Hilarion Monastery (New Amalfion), Austin, Texas
                                        > > > http://www.prismnet.com/~hilarion (103 Western Saints Icons)
                                        > > > also see: Orthodox Monasteries in America:
                                        > > www.nettinker.com/monasteries
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > >
                                        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        > > > Don't know which one to buy? Productopia does.
                                        > > > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/554
                                        > > >
                                        > > > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        > > Was the salesman clueless?
                                        > > Productopia has the answers.
                                        > > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/555
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        > MyPoints-Free Rewards When You're Online.
                                        > Start with up to 150 Points for joining!
                                        > http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/805
                                        >
                                        > See Ustav information at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • EdUnneland@aol.com
                                        In a message dated 9/9/99 8:06:04 PM, damianj@juno.com writes:
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Sep 11 7:56 PM
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                                          In a message dated 9/9/99 8:06:04 PM, damianj@... writes:

                                          <<what are your thoughts (and everyone else's) on the practice of reading
                                          the Epistle in the 12 ascending half tones? Another "excessive" reading
                                          I can think of is the Prophesy of Ezekiel on Holy Friday. >>

                                          Ezekiel I can understand. I find myself detesting the chromatic
                                          reading of the Apostol. I like the chant employed by Fr. Gregory
                                          Havrilak; it was not a monotone, but it employed a main tone,
                                          and just a little bit of embellishment at the ends of sentences, and,
                                          for long sentences, a lower minor interval down during a paren-
                                          thetical phrase. It was just enough elaboration to bring the words
                                          out in context, much as punctuation helps to make the written
                                          word more understandable.

                                          Ed Unneland
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