Dear Aprilka,

Your question would take quite a few pages to answer comprehensively and completely. To summarise:

The Committee was tasked with the objective of confirming the tonal intervals of Byzantine Chant given that exo-ecclesiastic influences were deemed to have "perverted" the tonal intervals and thus, a guidance was to be established on the matter. Furthermore, there were some questions about Chrysanthos' consideration of tonal intervals that lingered among the more learned of the psaltae of the time. The members of the committee were Germanos Aphthonides, The Archon Protopsaltis of the Great Church of Christ, Giorgios Violakis, the psaltae Ephstratios Papadopoulos, Ioasaph the Monk, Panagiotis Kiltzanides, Giorgios Progakis and the mathematician Andreas Spatharis.

Their approach was based on playing ecclesiastic melodies on stringed instruments and asking (according to the proceedings of the committee) the consensus of psaltae of Constantinople to confirm or refute the tonal intervals used in playing the melodies. Taking into account the consensus, they used a monochord of a meter's length with movable frets to establish the physical distances that defined each of the intervals and then, they established the fraction representative of the tonal interval. Once they identified all the intervals, they transformed the fractions into integers on a 36 and then a 72 step equal-tempered scale. The values of (for example) 12-10-8 that define the intervals of the diatonic fourth (tetrachord) were derived in this manner.

The problem with this approach was the subjectivity of the psaltae listening to the melodies in the first place, as well as psychoacoustics that affect perception of frequency.

Modern day computer methods (see appended work- thesis of Dr. Kyriakos Tsiappoutas) indicate the Chrysanthos' proposals are more in line with what a traditional chantor performs and offer explanations that could underlie the problems of the 1881 Committee conclusions.

In defense of the Committee, the Proceedings are very clear that the tonal intervals proposed represent approximations of the "received tradition" and only by tradition (i.e. learning from a credible teacher) can the intervals be faithfully reproduced.

NG