About Legetos βυ and Πλ 1st tone


Παλαιό Μέλος
Greetings, I have two books
According to first (Inspired by Xrisant)
Martyria and ftora in the music text say everything

About Legetos Tone 4th
So if we have diaonic scale
The 4th mode is derived from the base diatonic scale, starting from Vu

12 9 7 12 12 9 7 (Ni Pa Vu ...)
...... 7 12 12 9 7 12 (4th Λγτοσ Βυ) (Vu Ga Di ...)

According to second book 4th tone has two tetracords with degree 12 between
And in the Mark, Λεγετοσ Βυ, and diatonic Ftora for Vu

8 12 8 12 8 12 8 (Vu Ga Di ...)

I am asking about the difference between Ke and Zo
In first book Ke is Whole Degree, Zo is Half Degree
In second Ke is Half Degree and Zo is Whole Degree
How shall I know which scale to choose ?

About Pl 1 Tone
In my first book, it is derived from 1st tone, starting from Ke
And in the initial martyria, it has Ke with Ftora for Ke

12 9 7 12 12 9 7
.................. 9 7 12 9 7 12 12 ........ Ke Zo Ni ... (1 pl)

In my Second Book
The mark of this tone have Ke with Ftora for Pa
So it has the same intervals as 1st tone, but raised 4 degrees
10 8 12 12 10 8 12 ....... Ke Zo Ni ...
Vu Ga Di ...

So again a difference in βυ Γα Δι

Is the initial martyria most important when I choose which of this two scales to chant ?
For example I have canon, with Initial Mart. Tone 4th Vu. It has no ftora for Vu
Which scale should I Choose ?

Maybe I need to learn more about the down part of martyria, we call it Chair
If someone can send me link, to have deeper understanding in Chairs

Thank you
Last edited:

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
Dear Aprilka,

Considering your last question first:

Is the initial martyria most important when I choose which of this two scales to chant ?

The Initial Martyria (Αρκτική Μαρτυρία) represents a general overview of the Mode of the hymn. It provides the basic skeleton of information. The "Chair" as you call it, to the right of the Initial Martyria, acts to provide more details on where and how a melody will behave differently than what the skeleton information provides.

The "Chair" is important in how you treat a melody.

a) On the legetos question you raise. Fourth Mode (Tone) "Legetos" uses the traditional diatonic tetrachords and is performed along the behavior of the diatonic genus.

b) Fourth Mode EIRMOLOGIC generally follows the behavior of the diatonic genus, however, specifically for APOLYTIKIA and KONTAKIA, the melodies induce an attraction of Ke to Di that makes them sound more like hymns belonging to the soft chromatic genus. That is why, over the centuries, a decision was made to place a "Chair" of the soft chromatic phthora of Di (or Vou) on the phrase "Di" next to the Initial Martyria. To sensitise the singer that the interval Di-Ke-Zo should sound like a soft chromatic interval sequence.

c) About plagal first eirmologic. Traditional practice creates an attraction of Zo towards Ni on ascent whereas the Initial Martyria alone would "force" a small interval on Ke-Zo. So, to compensate, the post-Byzantine musicians places the phthora of PA on Ke to emphasise the the interval Ke-Zo should be larger than normal, but not as extreme as Ni-Pa (diatonic).

Consider that these integers are approximations. You need to hear all this from someone who is well-versed and who will then, from oral practice, show you what it means on paper....

I hope this is useful.



Παλαιό Μέλος
How do you call, the down part of martyria
That represents the scale ?
Do chromatic martirias have names ?
As I know, the diatonic are Alfa Lamda Delta Tritis

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
They are referred to as the "μαρτυρικό σημείο" in Greek. In English, I will try to approximate a translation as the "martyric indicator" although I am sure someone will come up with a better translation....

These martyric indicators confirm the GENUS of the melody (i.e. that it belongs to the diatonic instead of the chromatic).

The chromatic genera (soft and hard) have specific martyric indicators and unlike those of the diatonic genus which contextually build the diatonic tetrachords, the chromatic martyric indicators appear to build thirds (διφωνίες). This is an interesting point which has a lot to do with the thirds versus tetrachordal behavor of the chromatic genus...

Some of the martyric indicators do carry names (from old times) that are associated with the source of how they were introduced, theoretically, into the notation system of the Byzantine ecclesiastic musicians and some of those symbols derive from the names of the ancient Greek counterpart of the Mode. This is very evident for the Diatonic genus.



Παλαιό Μέλος
Is it possible at all
to play soft chromatic scale on piano ?
I mean, instrument that is not tuned
What is the best combination ?

I tried Di Ke Zo Ni Pa Vu Ga
Starting from G Gis B C ..
Like Aksion Estin 2th tone (Gis g g f g ...)

I also tried to play A instead of Gis
I know it is far from natural soft chromatic but it sounds very nice
Is it wrong to play, or chant soft chromatic melodies, this way?

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
An equal tempered instrument cannot play anything close to soft chromatic.

You would need a synthesizer (there are a number of soft-synths) with microtuning capabilities to be able to do this accurately.

If you have an Apple iPAD, there is an inexpensive app that is very useful:


On the Windows side, there are a number of options but they are cumbersome.

Of course, there are many hardware synthesizers available, mainly from Korg, that can do the job.



Παλαιό Μέλος
Want to ask about chromatic phtora on Di (tis a mar)
There is no other phtora to change in enharmonic mode
Wanted to be sure, does it stop on the first martiria (pres vi es) ?


Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
There should have been a diatonic phthora on "To" or "Fws" (of the phrase "To Fws") and then, an enharmonic phthora on Zo at the syllable "Vei" (of pres-vei-ais). Otherwise, as you correctly surmise, it does not make sense.



Παλαιό Μέλος
The enharmonic phtora, in the same exampel
Should it be on the begining also ?

Does it happen often, that enharmonic phtora is written in initial martyria
And not in the neumes ?

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
In the Apolytikion, it need not be on the first instance of Zo, because the initial martyria is clear that the genus is enharmonic- thus Zo will be flat on ascent and descent.

For Grave enharmonic, there are instances where the enharmonic phthora is found in the initial martyria...



Παλαιό Μέλος
About Enharmonic scale, I need to ask, to be sure

Does initial martyria apply on both (Vu little hightened, and Zo lowered) ?
As in the upper example

And if it is about change of mode
Lets say from hardchromatic to encharmonic, as above
Do we need to put both phtoras for Vu and Zo, as I think ?
Or diesis on Vu, and Adjem phtora on Zo ?

In the other modes it is easyer
There is only one photra, for changing the mode

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
Dear Aprilka,

In response:

Does initial martyria apply on both (Vu little hightened, and Zo lowered) ?
As in the upper example?


And if it is about change of mode
Lets say from hardchromatic to encharmonic, as above
Do we need to put both phtoras for Vu and Zo, as I think ?


Or diesis on Vu, and Adjem phtora on Zo ?

Correct. You need only put a diesis on Vou ONCE, to serve as a reminder.