8-Mode "O Theotokos and Virgin," adapted from Petros Bereketis


Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
The beginning of an attempt to set all 8 sections to English. I can't claim much original thought on this one, as the phrases are 99% identical in English and Greek. The other sections will be more challenging. :)

To give credit where credit is due, the original typesetting of the piece is from Christos Tsakiroglou.

More to come, God willing.



That is just partly true. The final result is "sound", therefore if by any mean you can replicate that sound (be it orally learned or by writing in a notation symbols) - the sound doesn't loose any of it's original force and meaning.


Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
Perhaps. But the current state of affairs in Byzantine Music (unlikely to change anytime soon, and even less likely to change in the future) is that, the more complex the piece of music, the less likely you are to find a Western transcription of it. Things like Apolytikia can be located relatively easily. But the Bereketis Theotoke Parthene, as Sam mentioned, is quite complex, a compositional tour de force by the composer. If one has progressed to the point of singing such pieces while still using only Western scores, now is probably the time to learn Byzantine notation. The odds of finding scores at this level of complexity, transcribed into Western notation, are not very good. (The St Anthony's website being the exception to the rule.)

In short: with more and more prospective chanters in English simply learning the original notation, rather than seeking out transcriptions into staff, my feeling is that the number of Western scores will not be seeing a dramatic increase anytime soon. (Or ever.)
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Yes, everything you say I am aware of. I am not against the current Byzantine notation. Foremost, I am not an expert in that notation, nor music, and I have to learn a lot, and I want to learn a lot.

However, I am more than sure that all Byzantine (church)music is possible to notate, with a powerful yet simple notation of the 'western' type, so meticulously even of the most complex type.

For the notation is not a fixed thing, so even the old Byzantine notation is not in use today, yet the music from 7 century was preserved.

What I am most concerned about is westernisation of the Orthodox Church music because of just - notation. If, I am saying here if, the music notation was adopted to easily represent any of the melismas, microtones, ornaments, irregular meter and so on (adopted = widely recognised and standardised), than we would perhaps not have a "4-part-protestant-like-bach-choral" influence on Bortnansky, Gretchaninov, Mokranjac, Tchaikovsky etc. Just having hermetically closed the Byzantine Music notation, the rest of Orthodox music (everything non-hellenic*) is left open to the influence of, just that, the Protestant and Roman Catholic tradition. For what is the most bizarre than to hear during the Orthodox Church service the full authentic cadence in 4-part strict voice-leading. Just my opinion.

*) there are for sure other notational types such as Georgian old, znamenny etc. yet not as widely recognised as the Byzantine, but as much hermetical.
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