Chanting in American English but not imitating Greek singing

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#61
I actually agree with a good amount of this.

Dear Samuel,

Without going around in circles, and you apparently are aware of the issues, let me just provide some information that many (especially the younger generation) may not be aware of


The Patriarchate has not held up to any sort of standards against the Karas Method and style either, though.

Officially it has not. I would dare venture that the EC has not kept up and has not considered more important issues the church faces. That it has not offered official opinions or decisions does not invalidate earlier opinions and writings and Patriarchal practice. If we are to take the practice at the Patriarchal church of St-George as the "acceptable" if not gold-standard, then we must measure all newer or parallel developments according to this standard. You correctly outline the over-analysed cadences of the Karas-based practitioners. Is this in line with the accepted practice of the EC?

Angelopoulos is an Archon, I believe.

I can name you some Archons worldwide (who still have their offikia) who are in jail as convicted felons. This is an extreme example obviously. The EC has received official requests from mainstream chanters and bodies to re-examine this offikio.


Also, while I was with them in Greece we did a private concert for the Patriarchate and his "entourage".

In America, Bartholomew also presided over services with multi-part Western music (Gallos, Lawrence and many other composers). The EC condemned and issued official edicts against Western multipart harmony in the late 1800s-early 1900s. If Bartholomew is not compliance this reflects on him. Similarly, if he chooses to ignore the outliers being promoted vigorously by the Karas followers, that reflects on him and his level of understanding of the issues involved. It does not absolve Angelopoulos as it does not absolve the Wester choirs and those that vigorously promote them in the US

I am not saying whether this validates Angelopoulos or not, for if we relied solely on the words and titles of Bishops to maintain tradition then the Orthodox Church would not be Orthodox.

As you correctly allude to, the Orthodox church does not rely on titles for legitimacy. However, it relies on consensus. That is why synods are held and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the synod considers whether a new thought or interpretation is in line with the Apostolic Traditions and with the Tradition of the church as a whole. If it is, then it becomes mainstream. Otherwise it remains an interest, but outside the mainstream. Until a synod accepts that the Karas method is mainstream, it remains an interest. In contrast, the church has accepted the Chrysanthine system, officially, as the educational standard, and the chant practice at the patriarchal church as the guide. Other Constantinopolitan and Asia Minor styles exist, but together that are inside the mainstream relying heavily on the patriarchal practice.


But it should be pointed out that Angelopoulos has gotten Patriarchal approval

I'd like to see such a letter. The EC has issued an opinion that the Karas system is in line with the practices and norms of the Great Church of Christ? Please send me, or post on this list such a decision. It would be of interest to all.



When Karas/Angelopoulos began their work the world they stepped into was not one of great Patriarchal traditional chanting being spread everywhere and correctly.

This is factually incorrect. The problem of ecclesiastic chant existed until the time of Psachos coming to Greece. Slowly, and with the [sad] events occuring in Asia Minor forcing the exile of many Christians into Greece, much tradition entered Greece. Karas came into the picture much much later. As for "correct" patriarchal chanting, it would be instructive to have the evidence demonstrating that he was a student of any chantor of any level of traditional training and certainly patriarchal.

In fact, one of the reasons that Karas began his work was to try to correct the errors that were done by most of the chanters in his time.

Karas put it in his mind that something was wrong. It was his own perception. That is why he worked alone. Indeed, his preface offers an insight into his thinking. Simply looking at the reason why he even began his interest in ecclesiastic chant explanation is shocking [Original Greek from his preface: «Η κατά την 24ην Δεκεμβρίου του 1940, εκ τυχαίας χειρονομίας πτώσις του μουσικού παλαιογραφικού παραπετάσματος, ήτις επέτρεψε να φανεί το μέχρι τότε αγνοούμενον και σήμερον ακόμη αμφισβητούμενον παρά των αγνοούντων αυτό σύστημα της παλαιοτέρας μουσικής γραφής», δηλαδή βεβαιώνεται, ότι οι θεωρητικές μουσικές θέσεις του, δεν προήλθαν από μελέτη, αλλά από το απροσδόκητον γεγονός........».] (I contextually translate the important point of his opening argument): On the 24th of December 1940, a serendipitous movement of my hand led me to tear away the veil that had kept hidden, until now, the meaning and the system of old musical paleography....

This is not the way a researcher operates or even begins a discussion. He offered no references in his arguments and he offered no parallel or evidence supported by what was mainstream and traditional chant practice in his day (at that time, ecclesiastic chant was largely coherent among those who came to Greece from Asia Minor and there was a good consensus among them, even though egos often magnified the small and often trivial details).



Obviously, in many respects he missed the mark by a good distance. However, he also provided many useful and good reforms that have taken hold

Samuel, the only reforms ha managed were to divide the world of chant in Greece. Led by Angelopoulos, the fanaticism among his followers is incredible to the point of irrationality. Just try having an educated discussion with most of his followers to ask questions that make them uncomfortable. They will first raise their voice avoiding to answer the question, threaten violence and then walk away. I'm serious! Try it![/B



In fact, my specific reasons for going to him AND what I regard as very useful reforms that some "Patriarchal" chanters could learn from were this:

Samuel, I seriously doube any well-trained chanter would even consider anything from the Karas method as something other than one man's abberant thoughts :wink:

But, since you make a list, please permit me to answer. I hope you don't send a computer virus my way :D

  • Systemization of Isokratima - Even if one does not like their double ison (which I do),

    The double isokratima was never part of tradition anywhere in the Byzantine world until the time of Psachos. It fell into disuse quite rapidly in Asia Minor. It was revived in Athens by some students of Psachos only to fall into disuse until Karas. Only his followers maintained it in Greece. No other mainstream chanter used it.

    their work in creating a valid, coherent, systematic theory on when and why to move isokratima cured many of the problems that still are found in many chanting schools today that, at least for me, can completely detract from the chanting itself and produce a Westernized feel to the music, almost producing a sound that resembles chordal changes.

    Historically, the acceptable method of isokratima was based on the tetrachord (i.e. base of the tetrachord). Period.

    There never was a problem with isokratima in old times.


    Many of the Stanitsas-influenced Byzantine Choirs suffer from this problem. Ergasteri Psaltikis, which is a fantastic choir in my opinion, detracts from its fantastic chanting with its constantly shifting isokratima.

    Stanitsas' predecessors and certainly his teachers were in line with the tetrachord-based ison. Despite his perceived "modernisations" Stanitsas, in Athens, can hardly be accused of untraditional. Almost all of the old timers who were alive in Athens conceded that, despite his "sensationalistic" moments, Stanitsas was a continuation of mainstream chant.


  • The widespread use and rivival of classical compositions and anthologies - Indeed, this was the #1 reason actually.

    Indeed, the Karas followers have gone to the manuscripts and have presented, in concert, a lot of material according to their interpretation. This material however is not in use in our services! As wonderful as it may be to listen to a 20 minute kalophonic hymn, when is it ever used in the services? Hundreds of hymns have been composed and are now in the "classical" books. How many of them are used in the services?

    I find the classical compositions and classical anthologies to be unmatched for quality and simplicity and beauty.

    Indeed. But, don't the acrobatic cadences (from what historical source they derive from I don't know) used to interpret these simple hymns, as you state, detract from the simplicity or make it annoying?

    Sadly, many chanters to not even know them or use them.

    Factually incorrect. How many times do we find in the typikon the directive to chant "en th vrontosi kamino" and other stuff Angelopoulos sells in his CDs? All well-trained chanters use these hymns as "mathimata" and I can tell you that many chanters worth their analogion in Greece and elsewhere have studied and chanted these hymns in their homes, in front of their teachers and in front of the "exetastiki epitroph" to obtain their diplomas and certificates. Indeed, there is literal meaning in this term "mathima". Many of the compositions are called "mathimata" for the reason that they were to be used as such. As learning tools. Not for use in the church.


    A big part of why I wanted to study with a group who has such respect for classical compositions is because I believe for English to have a firm foundation for Byzantine chant ti grow, it needs a repertoire of classical compositions itself.

    True. But, do the objectives of the Karas followers really facilitate the learning of Byzantine chant? The Chrysanthine system was intended to address the complexity of what was the situation in their day. It was no wonder that it took 30 years for someone to learn the complexities of the mnemonics of the neumes and the contextual execution! Is this what we want today especially in the US? To take away a system that at least offers a learning cycle of five years and to give ourselves special status by instead enforcing a return to the pre-Chrysanthine 30 year educational cycle? Even as the Karas meanderings have no historical and mathematico-acoustic basis? I don't know about the thinking of those in the US who believe the Angelopoulos PR, but I would like to see churches return to Byzantine chant and for students to learn this quickly. Not take 30 years to learn 100+ scales, master odd cadences (without any historical basis) and sound like they need Allegra D (an antihistamine drug to clear the sinuses).


    Papa Ephraim has done an excellent job in using this model, and is one I firmly support.

    I'm not sure Papa Ephraim is absolute about this.....
  • An understanding of classical composition - If you take out all those excess signs from the Karas method, their compositions are quite classical and beautiful in nature.

    If you take away those neumes (excesses as you term them-I would call them something else), what you have are the compositions as they are found in the pre 1900s books. Period. Go back to those and with a good teacher learn them.

    Ioannis Arvanitis has many fantastic compositions that I would say are unequaled by any other modern composers, and I think this is largely due to his and the Karas school's understanding and respect for classical compositions

    Again, how many of those compositions belong inside a church service? Interesting to present in a concert setting but hardly the material for a vesper or orthros or liturgy in the context of America (remember, we have clergy that insist on a five minute herouvikon!).

    However, I do not have much fondness for their extra signs, and can present the same problem they try to correct by returning to classical style composing. That problem being the over-analytical and mechanical interpretation of trills.

    I am happy that you recognise this aberration. There's more to it. But I will not add anything further here.

  • Maximization of the art of chanting as a choir - I wanted to see if they had any special methods for training and learning to sing together as a choir. I learned some things, but ultimately it seems to just be practice. There is no special trick to this one. But I do have respect for how well their choir works together.

    It doesn't take an Angelopoulos formula to make a good choir. We have a bunch of Americans who could hardly read, but with LOVE, and ADHERENCE and CAMARADERIE, they mould together as any decent Greek choir. Don't let formulaicisms or those advocating them fool you.....


I would be interested, not so much to discuss the problems of the Karas method, but in working to correct these problems. Thank you for the criticism. It really is helpful and invaluable.


Stick to what is mainstream and learn from good teachers. There are many others who will offer you the warmth, love and education to levels that make Angelopoulos and his followers look (and sound) like smurfs singing in the shower :D


NG
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#62
For the sake of discussion I just did a quick recording of Lord I have Cried in the 1st Mode as composed by Papa Ephraim of St. Anthony's Monastery.

A bit of background on me:


  • I have studied under Leonidas Kotsiris in Nashville, TN, who studied under Kyr. Ilias Frangoulis in Adelaide, from the age of 16 until 20.

  • At 20 years old I spent 3 months in Athens and studied under Lycourgos Angelopoulos and his merry band of chanters. I know of the many, many relevant criticisms of Angelopoulos and I know many are based in valid reasoning and experience, but for me it was an amazing time. The Christian charity shown to me by those at Agia Eirini, in EBX, and by Angelopoulos himself was nothing short of remarkable considering I had no money and could pay none of them for all the lessons, books, and experience they gave me.

    I also spent 1 1/2 of those months with EBX as a "member".

  • I am now 24 years old and will be moving to Chattanooga, TN where I will be the head chanter at Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

My chanting style is heavily influenced, some would say completely dominated and I wouldn't be able to protest, by the Angelopoulos/Karas school of Byzantine Chant. I know of the animosity on both sides of this argument, however I welcome any and all criticism, although constructive criticism is always more welcome and helpful.

I specifically post this recording for this thread so as to provide a live example of my diction and chanting in English and how I can improve it.

Anything I do wrong? Do any words run together? Any recommendations on how to make the English sound clearer?

I will add my computer microphone does not seem to pick my "H" up very well.


Dear Samuel and Basil,

Please watch and listen to George Hatzichronoglou (Archon Hymnodist of the Great Church of Christ) in the appended video link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?jtgtmnzyymm

Note the execution of the Ga-Vou-Pa-Vou-Pa sequence and the placement of Vou on descent (Ga-Vou elaxistos interval) as well as the absence of any vocal excesses in performance. George is perhaps the most talented of the traditional chanters of the older generation and everyone in Greece holds him in exceptionally-high respect as a truly traditional and faithful chanter.

This is what is mainstream and in line with generations of past chanters of any decent repute.

Soon, a full library of such videos of the Anastasimatarion will be made available to all as part of the Multimodal School I have alluded to. It should assist everyone to learn traditionally and avoid the excesses or historically-untenable practices.

NG
 
#63
Dear Samuel and Basil,

Please watch and listen to George Hatzichronoglou (Archon Hymnodist of the Great Church of Christ) in the appended video link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?jtgtmnzyymm

Note the execution of the Ga-Vou-Pa-Vou-Pa sequence and the placement of Vou on descent (Ga-Vou elaxistos interval) as well as the absence of any vocal excesses in performance. George is perhaps the most talented of the traditional chanters of the older generation and everyone in Greece holds him in exceptionally-high respect as a truly traditional and faithful chanter.

This is what is mainstream and in line with generations of past chanters of any decent repute.

Soon, a full library of such videos of the Anastasimatarion will be made available to all as part of the Multimodal School I have alluded to. It should assist everyone to learn traditionally and avoid the excesses or historically-untenable practices.

NG
This is excellent and most helpful. Thank you very much for this!
 
#64
Dear Samuel and Basil,

Please watch and listen to George Hatzichronoglou (Archon Hymnodist of the Great Church of Christ) in the appended video link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?jtgtmnzyymm

Note the execution of the Ga-Vou-Pa-Vou-Pa sequence and the placement of Vou on descent (Ga-Vou elaxistos interval) as well as the absence of any vocal excesses in performance. George is perhaps the most talented of the traditional chanters of the older generation and everyone in Greece holds him in exceptionally-high respect as a truly traditional and faithful chanter.

This is what is mainstream and in line with generations of past chanters of any decent repute.

Soon, a full library of such videos of the Anastasimatarion will be made available to all as part of the Multimodal School I have alluded to. It should assist everyone to learn traditionally and avoid the excesses or historically-untenable practices.

NG
It sounds like it is a bit more flat on the way down vs. on the way up. Am I mishearing it? I want to make sure I hear it correctly as I am listening on Laptop speakers at the moment, and not very good ones at that.
 
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apostolos

Απόστολος Κομπίτσης
#66
Samuel,

I noticed this thread and would like to offer my insight, but is it OK if we communicate in private? That way, we do not stray from the original topic?

Thanks.

Apostolos
 
#67
Samuel,

I noticed this thread and would like to offer my insight, but is it OK if we communicate in private? That way, we do not stray from the original topic?

Thanks.

Apostolos
Please feel free to. I believe if you go to my Psaltologion profile it has an email button for me. I would rather not give my email over the internet in a public forum just because there are so many internet bots and phishing software that search forums for information. But one you send me an email through that function, I will be able to email you back.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#68
According to Fr. Seraphim Farasoglou Nafpliotis would avoid (!) conversations at all (especially during the Holy Week) because of psaltic reasons (not to put extra strain on his voice). He also had a special diet and led a disciplined and regular lifestyle, which help to preserve one's voice.
When talking about Nafpliotis' vocal positioning, one shouldn't forget that he chanted without any microphones (these were installed in the Patriarchal church at the end of 40ies), which probably affected his manner of vocal production. Some of his students (those who had the same type of a voice) imitated him in vocals, others didn't. I don't think those who did did anything wrong as soon as they had right voices.

P.S. If you thought this is Nafpliotis, you got it wrong. It's Fr. Nikolaos Mavropoulos (at a very old age), the former 1st Domestikos of the Great Church.
 

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#69
The other reason I forgot to mention is the almost unparalleled Liturgics of Agia Eirini. It was a blessing to see the revival of the Argai Katavasia in the way they do them, along with many other things such as the Typica, Makaroismoi, and Kratima.
Would you mind to give more details about this?
 
#71
Sam,

I recently stumbled upon a couple of your posts and I WAS AMAZED!! Thanks for sharing!

At 20 years old I spent 3 months in Athens and studied under Lycourgos Angelopoulos and his merry band of chanters. I know of the many, many relevant criticisms of Angelopoulos and I know many are based in valid reasoning and experience, but for me it was an amazing time. The Christian charity shown to me by those at Agia Eirini, in EBX, and by Angelopoulos himself was nothing short of remarkable considering I had no money and could pay none of them for all the lessons, books, and experience they gave me.

I also spent 1 1/2 of those months with EBX as a "member".

My chanting style is heavily influenced, some would say completely dominated and I wouldn't be able to protest, by the Angelopoulos/Karas school of Byzantine Chant.
I'm so happy to see that you have also had this magical experience to visit the Archon Protopsaltis Lycourgos Angelopoulos and his associates in Athens. As you witnessed first hand, Byzantine music really is this man's life. Agia Eirini(Aiolou street), the Greek Byzantine Choir, the conservatories he teaches at, the radio broadcasts, international concerts, etc. comprise this tireless man's activities. May God grant him many years!

You are a very lucky man! And should be exceedingly proud because you went straight to the source. If only every student of byzantine music had the same opportunity.

In fact, one of the reasons that Karas began his work was to try to correct the errors that were done by most of the chanters in his time. Obviously, in many respects he missed the mark by a good distance. However, he also provided many useful and good reforms that have taken hold and drew me to going to Angelopoulos for teaching.

In fact, my specific reasons for going to him AND what I regard as very useful reforms that some "Patriarchal" chanters could learn from were this:

  • Systemization of Isokratima - Even if one does not like their double ison (which I do), their work in creating a valid, coherent, systematic theory on when and why to move isokratima cured many of the problems that still are found in many chanting schools today that, at least for me, can completely detract from the chanting itself and produce a Westernized feel to the music, almost producing a sound that resembles chordal changes. Many of the Stanitsas-influenced Byzantine Choirs suffer from this problem. Ergasteri Psaltikis, which is a fantastic choir in my opinion, detracts from its fantastic chanting with its constantly shifting isokratima.
  • The widespread use and rivival of classical compositions and anthologies - Indeed, this was the #1 reason actually. I find the classical compositions and classical anthologies to be unmatched for quality and simplicity and beauty. Sadly, many chanters to not even know them or use them. A big part of why I wanted to study with a group who has such respect for classical compositions is because I believe for English to have a firm foundation for Byzantine chant ti grow, it needs a repertoire of classical compositions itself. Papa Ephraim has done an excellent job in using this model, and is one I firmly support.
  • An understanding of classical composition - If you take out all those excess signs from the Karas method, their compositions are quite classical and beautiful in nature. Ioannis Arvanitis has many fantastic compositions that I would say are unequaled by any other modern composers, and I think this is largely due to his and the Karas school's understanding and respect for classical compositions.
  • Maximization of the art of chanting as a choir - I wanted to see if they had any special methods for training and learning to sing together as a choir. I learned some things, but ultimately it seems to just be practice. There is no special trick to this one. But I do have respect for how well their choir works together.
The other reason I forgot to mention is the almost unparalleled Liturgics of Agia Eirini. It was a blessing to see the revival of the Argai Katavasia in the way they do them, along with many other things such as the Typica, Makaroismoi, and Kratima.
Sam, what's also amazing to me is that the Karas reforms have accomplished so much is so little time. We can see their effects in Greece of course, but throughout the world as well. Groups of talented and dedicated young men and women(!) come together in Serbia, Russia, Lebanon, Romania, and the United States to study and grow. I think there's even a group in South America as well. (They were chanting in Spanish.) Any groups in other countries? I'm not sure of Bulgaria, but there very well might be.

Yes, the Karas reforms have accomplish all of the things you delineate above. And most importantly, by bringing all of these elements together, they've elevated the psaltic art into a coherent, self-sufficient musical system. No longer is it necessary to buttress byzantine music theory with european music theory. No longer is it necessary to teach byzantine music with the piano. No longer is it necessary to guess how to perform isokratima. No longer is it necessary to pay homage to any chanter's cult of personality. Afterall, we can learn directly from tradition, both oral and written, from experience, and from each other. Not JUST from "the authority", "the master", "the guru". The chanter now serves the psaltic art and tradition - not the other way around.

It is now incumbent upon us, as beneficiaries of the Karas reforms and of Angelopoulos' unparalled musicianship and generosity, to develop our craft and share our music.

May your ongoing journey be fulfilling.

Sincerely,
Taso
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#72
Regarding the whole idea of Byzantine Music in English vs. Greek, I think a huge "testing ground" for this that often gets overlooked on this forum is Holy Cross/Hellenic College in Brookline, MA. Both Fr. Seraphim Dedes' and Papa Ephraim's books are huge staples in the everyday liturgical services here, and also the translations of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (not necessarily using Papa Ephraim's music). Also, John Boyer's Capella Romana Liturgy settings are being used quite a bit on Sundays, now that he is a seminarian here. For some examples of what the "standards" are here (this is for the English stuff):

1) The daily hymn for the Saint or feast is almost always taken from Papa Ephraim's "Apolytikia and Kontakia for the Entire Year" book.

2) The Kyrie ekekraxa, stichera, aposticha, and so on at Daily (or Great Vespers) are usually taken from Fr. Seraphim Dedes' Anastasimatarion.

3) The Katavasiae used at Orthros are, again, from Fr. Seraphim Dedes.

4) Stichera and Aposticha prosomia (and the Litia, if there is one) are from Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Usually, the music that is used here to teach these prosomia is the Original Melodies book of Fr. Seraphim Dedes.

5) On Sundays, some pieces come from John Boyer's Capella Romana work, as well as Papa Ephraim's Divine Liturgies as Chanted on the Holy Mountain.

Probably the biggest "movers and shakers" behind the music in English here being performed really well are Rassem el-Massih and John Boyer. I have attached to this post a recording of Rassem chanting Papa Ephraim's "Lord, I Have Cried" in Third Mode, and also one of John Boyer chanting Basil Crow's "The Lord is my Shepherd" in Plagal First Mode.

I have very few recordings as of now, but I will attach a few here. I can also try to get some more (now that I have a voice recorder) when I go back to school in the next couple of weeks. I think that Holy Cross/Hellenic College is an excellent example of how Byzantine music can be done in English, and done well, when chanted by the right people using the right compositions.

Attached is also a recording of the Anoixantaria, as chanted on the school's feast day (September 14th). It alternates between Greek and English; the Greek side is led by Prof. Menios Karanos, and the English side by Rassem el-Massih and John Boyer.

EDIT: I have also attached a recording of Papa Ephraim's "very long" Lord, I Have Cried in First Mode (the one by Iakovos Protopsaltis), as an example of how a papadic piece sounds when executed well in English. Sorry for the background noise on this one.
 

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basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#73
Thank you for sharing those wonderful recordings with us, Gabriel. I look forward to hearing others in the future.

For the sake of discussion, I've attached to this post a recent live recording of myself chanting the Orthros Idiomelon in English this past Christmas. The music was composed by Papa Ephraim.

For those of you who do not know me, I am 23 years old and have been studying Byzantine music for about a decade. I was born in Tripoli, Lebanon, but grew up in the United States from age two onwards. I am a native English speaker. I took several lessons with Rassem el-Massih and chanted in his Friends of Theophany School Choir, but I am mostly self-taught in Byzantine music. In the area of performance, my biggest influences have been Arabic chanters (e.g. Rassem el-Massih, Fr Nicholas Malek, Fr Panteleimon Farah, and Metropolitan Elias Qurban) as well as Greek chanters (e.g. Iakovos Nafpliotis, Constantine Pringos, Constantine Katsoulis, Fr Dositheos of Katounakia, Leonidas Asteris, and Photios Ketsetzis).

As always, if anyone has any suggestions for me, I am "all ears." I am particularly interested in comments about my vocal style in English.
 

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Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#74
Dear Basil,

Generally, I like what I heard. Congratulations.

The intervals are correct, the articulation is appropriate, the exegeses are faithful to Constantinopolitan tradition and unexaggerated and the tempo was ecclesiastically-appropriate. Wonderful.

My only comment is purely subjective (and I emphasise SUBJECTIVE) and related to the "shape" of the vowels and the English words. Perhaps you can put some effort into shaping and "closing" the vowels instead of keeping them "open". E.g. instead of "tuh-deh" and "Lahd" and "Vehgin" you could actually close the vowels to "TOO-DAYEE" and "LOERD" and "VERGIN".

A vocal coach could better explain what I am trying to say, but I hope the image is clear.

Otherwise, I liked it and I congratulate you for your progress.

NG
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#75
Yes, I have heard attempts to chant in English with the Byzantine vocal style which came out rather badly. But I have also heard attempts to chant in English with the Byzantine vocal style which came out rather well. Examples that come to mind include John Michael Boyer's efforts on the West coast, Leonidas Kotsiris and the Holy Trinity Byzantine Choir, Rassem el-Massih's efforts in the Boston area, and others. There are a small but growing number of Westerners (myself included) who are quite serious about learning and applying the Byzantine vocal style to the English language. Since these efforts are relatively recent, I would argue that it still remains to be seen to what degree the Byzantine vocal style can be successfully retained with the English language.
On an unrelated note, here is an example of polyphonic chanting in English from St. Vladimir's Seminary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0d1-mRH2h4

I'm not a native English speaker, but anyway, I think it's not the best example of making text understandable to a listener (a foreigner, at least :D).
 
E

emakris

Guest
#76
The problem for me is not the text, but the fact that choir and priests sing in different tonalities. The verses are sung in first plagal mode from F, while Christos anesti is sung in E flat major. Is this a kind of composition, or is it accidental? The whole gets then a semitone lower, and then again a minor third higher, but this is surely accidental...
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#77
The problem for me is not the text, but the fact that choir and priests sing in different tonalities.
I couldn't understand the second half of the troparion. I didn't mean it was because of the polyphony, but that I didn't like this particular version.

The verses are sung in first plagal mode from F, while Christos anesti is sung in E flat major. Is this a kind of composition, or is it accidental?
I don't know.
 

saltypsalti

Παλαιό Μέλος
#78
Dear Basil,

Generally, I like what I heard. Congratulations.

The intervals are correct, the articulation is appropriate, the exegeses are faithful to Constantinopolitan tradition and unexaggerated and the tempo was ecclesiastically-appropriate. Wonderful.

My only comment is purely subjective (and I emphasise SUBJECTIVE) and related to the "shape" of the vowels and the English words. Perhaps you can put some effort into shaping and "closing" the vowels instead of keeping them "open". E.g. instead of "tuh-deh" and "Lahd" and "Vehgin" you could actually close the vowels to "TOO-DAYEE" and "LOERD" and "VERGIN".


NG
I would have to disagree some what --the temptation is to put too much on the 2nd 1/2 of the dipthong particularly on patterns using an R after a vowel, sounds excessively shrill (Lrrd have mrrrcy). In choral singing, unless one is going for a particularly muddy sound I don't recommend chanting a full dipthong at all, esp. if one does not have an excessive ammount of time to rehearse. Fred Waring's Pennsylvanions repertoire may be considered trite by contemporary standards, and certainly by Byzantine standards, but he had a habit of annotating his lyrics in his arrangements with dictionary pronunciations, and is considered by many directors "in the know" to be "the holy grail" of English choir diction.

But what do I know...

JPP
 

barefthymis

Νέο μέλος
#80
Dear Father Ephraim,

I have heard of you and your laborious work on transposing byzantine chant from greek to english (american). The same thing we did in french in the 70's in France before the uniats of Cantauque now converted to Orthodoxy, did.
I was a former student at HC/HC in Boston, and I heard many times hymnology in english in our chapel by f. Seraphim Dedes and f. Charles Terzopoulos. They were pioneers in the matter. My concern is that how chanting byzantine music with an american throat... The long tradition of byzantine chant in greek cannot be reached by any other language and I think you understand well what I mean. I would propose you to look back to old english or irish music and also american song tradition where you could take a lot of examples in order to be in harmony with your language and its tradition. Look the Slaves(Russian, Serbians, Bulgarians) or the Romanians. It's too simple and rather ridiculous to imitate the greek singers in chanting liturgical english words. I believe that you should work on the local chanting tradition of your country and byzantine chant will help you to give birth to american byzantine chant. Remember that an american throat or a french one is not a greek throat, and we ought to find and adapt our chanting to our native language in our beloved country for the love and the glory of Christ and our local Orthodox Church.
With love in Christ, f. Amphilochios Pikias, Rhodes, Greece.
Επιτρεψατε να προσθέσω και ο ίδιος ότι θεωρώ ότι ειναι καίρια και προς την ορθή πνευματικά κατεύθυνση τα παραπάνω .

I wish the Lord added strength and more blessings and charismata to your special gifts and eternal life with Him in the glorious day of his presence in return for your laborious and exquisite work of all YOU pioneers in this sacred area.
We ask the Lord to enlighten and inspire saints brothers, after ORTHODOX experiences, but also imbued with the Anglo-American tradition and culture, and musical talent ,to offer to the scattered children of the Church the new and in the same time very old on concepts and meaning sacral hymnology ,as gift in return, of what the Church gave to them as experience and road of salvation.
 
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