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Επιστροφή   Psaltologion (Ψαλτολόγιον) > Discussions in English > Byzantine Chant in non-Greek Languages > English

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  #71  
Παλιά 07-11-10, 00:09
greek487 greek487 is offline
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Sam,

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

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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο herron.samuel Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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.

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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο herron.samuel Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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.
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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο herron.samuel Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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
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Συγχαίρομεν θερμότατα και ευχαριστούμεν την «Ελληνικήν Βυζαντινήν Χορωδίαν», τα τε μέλη και τον ιδρυτήν και διευθυντήν αυτής φίλτατον κ. Αγγελόπουλον, ευλογούμεν δε ολοθύμως και αυτούς και το έργον των, ευχόμενοι και άλλας πολλάς λαμπράς παρουσίας εις πολλά έτη!

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ΤΟΥ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΟΥ
κ. κ. Β Α Ρ Θ Ο Λ Ο Μ Α Ι Ο Υ
ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΜΕΓΑΡΟΝ ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗΣ
(4 Φεβρουαρίου 2010)
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  #72  
Παλιά 08-01-11, 17:33
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GabrielCremeens GabrielCremeens is offline
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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.
Συνημμένα Αρχεία
Τύπος Αρχείου: wma Lord, I Have Cried.wma (1,78 MB, 57 εμφανίσεις)
Τύπος Αρχείου: wma The Lord is my Shephed (Pl. 1st Mode).wma (4,52 MB, 20 εμφανίσεις)
Τύπος Αρχείου: mp3 Anoixantaria (HCHC Feast Day).mp3 (15,81 MB, 78 εμφανίσεις)
Τύπος Αρχείου: mp3 KyrieEkekraxaLong(Rassem).mp3 (6,42 MB, 160 εμφανίσεις)

Τελευταία επεξεργασία από το χρήστη GabrielCremeens : 08-01-11 στις 19:05.
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basil (08-01-11), domesticus (09-01-11), fragath (08-01-11), frephraim (09-01-11), Panagiotis G. (13-01-11)
  #73  
Παλιά 10-01-11, 18:36
basil basil is offline
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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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Τύπος Αρχείου: mp3 Orthros Idiomelon 2010-12-25.mp3 (1,02 MB, 44 εμφανίσεις)
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  #74  
Παλιά 10-01-11, 19:26
Nikolaos Giannoukakis Nikolaos Giannoukakis is offline
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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
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  #75  
Παλιά 05-05-11, 18:53
Shota Shota is offline
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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο basil Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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 ).
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  #76  
Παλιά 05-05-11, 19:31
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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...
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  #77  
Παλιά 05-05-11, 20:23
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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο emakris Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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.

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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.
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  #78  
Παλιά 20-05-11, 02:24
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saltypsalti saltypsalti is offline
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Αρχικό μήνυμα απο Nikolaos Giannoukakis Εμφάνιση μηνυμάτων
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
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  #79  
Παλιά 30-05-11, 22:09
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GabrielCremeens GabrielCremeens is offline
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Christ is risen!

Just to provoke more discussion, here are a few more recordings from here at Hellenic College/Holy Cross.

Yours truly is the isokratis in the recordings. Forgive the mistakes, please.
Συνημμένα Αρχεία
Τύπος Αρχείου: mp3 Let my prayer be set forth.mp3 (790,7 KB, 36 εμφανίσεις)
Τύπος Αρχείου: wma Psalm 134, Fast Version (John Boyer).WMA (5,19 MB, 19 εμφανίσεις)

Τελευταία επεξεργασία από το χρήστη GabrielCremeens : 05-06-11 στις 00:18.
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  #80  
Παλιά 08-04-17, 19:44
barefthymis barefthymis is offline
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Προεπιλογή Να σας έχει ο Θεός καλα.Θεωρω ότι ειναι πολυ καίρια και ορθά αυτά που διατυπώνεται.ΑΣ ΕΥΧΩΜΑΣΤΕ Ο Κύριος να έμπνευση και να αναναδειξη μουσουργούς με ορθόδοξο

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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.

Τελευταία επεξεργασία από το χρήστη π. Μάξιμος : 08-04-17 στις 19:59. Αιτία: quote
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