Byzantine Chant

   Chant of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Uniate Church of the Byzantine Rite, and other ecclesial descendants of the eastern Roman empire. An estimated 15,000 manuscripts of the chant survive, although only about 10 percent are written in a musical notation that is decipherable. The earliest such books date from the 10th century. The notation indicates the direction and sizes of intervals, not absolute pitches in pitch space, as well as rhythmic, dynamic, and articulation nuances of great subtlety. The most commonly used liturgical chants are written in comparatively late sources since their vital oral tradition required no record.
   Psalm chanting has much in common with Gregorian chant, with intonations, reciting tones, and cadences organized according to the eight modes (oktoēchos), although cadences are always four-note patterns regardless of textural accent, which some believe to be closer to the Jewish practice. The "divine songs" of prokeimenon and Alleluia sung at the divine liturgy (mass) are florid for solo performance, like their Gregorian counterparts.
   Byzantine chant distinguishes itself from Western chants in the vast number of hymns permitted in both the divine liturgy and the divine office. Published sources alone account for 60,000; many more lie in manuscripts, the earliest of which is the Propologion from before the 10th century. The principal hymn forms are kontakion, kanon, and sticheron. Collections are called heirmologion. A highly embellished and florid chanting style, the kalophonic, arises in the 12th century, and in the 13th its sources are numerous, especially for ordinary chants. Hymn books of the 13th century became specialized; Psaltikon contained elaborate melodies for soloists while Asmatikon contained simpler ones for chorus. The earliest evidence for the characteristic ison or sung drone that accompanies Byzantine chant in many Orthodox churches dates from perhaps 1400.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Byzantine chant — Music. liturgical plainsong identified with the Eastern Orthodox Church and dating from the Byzantine Empire. * * * Unison liturgical chant of the Greek Orthodox church from the era of the Byzantine Empire to the 16th century. It probably derived …   Universalium

  • Byzantine chant — Music. liturgical plainsong identified with the Eastern Orthodox Church and dating from the Byzantine Empire …   Useful english dictionary

  • Byzantine music — is the music of the Byzantine Empire composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music [The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2007 Byzantine music ] . Greek and foreign historians agree that the ecclesiastical tones and in… …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine — /biz euhn teen , tuyn , buy zeuhn , bi zan tin/, adj. 1. of or pertaining to Byzantium. 2. of or pertaining to the Byzantine Empire. 3. noting or pertaining to the architecture of the Byzantine Empire and to architecture influenced by or… …   Universalium

  • Chant —    Vocal music of religious rites the world over. Chant connotes the sacred more consistently than any other kind of music. Although certain traditions may not hold to all of them, common characteristics of chant include: texts drawn from ancient …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • chant — chantable, adj. chantingly, adv. /chant, chahnt/, n. 1. a short, simple melody, esp. one characterized by single notes to which an indefinite number of syllables are intoned, used in singing psalms, canticles, etc., in church services. 2. a psalm …   Universalium

  • Chant Mozarabe — ██████████ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Byzantine Empire — the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the Western Empire in A.D. 476. Cap.: Constantinople. * * * Empire, southeastern and southern Europe and western Asia. It began as the city of Byzantium, which had grown from an ancient Greek colony… …   Universalium

  • Chant chrétien — Le chant chrétien joue un rôle fondamental dans l histoire de la musique occidentale et dans celle de la musique religieuse. La première période est déterminée par les plus anciens documents musicographiques : on peut y relever les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chant mozarabe — ██████████50  …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.