Adaptation of Agia «Άξιον εστίν» by Ioannis Arvanitis

I have adapted into English the Megalynarion «Άξιον εστίν» in Fourth Mode Agia by Ioannis Arvanitis as a small token of my appreciation for his participation on this forum.

As always, I would be very grateful if anyone has any suggestions as to how to improve my adaptation.

Thank you for this wonderful adaptation!

You make it look so easy and natural - as if it's an original composition in English.

Was it more difficult than it appears? I was just wondering if you could speak a little about how you approached this. You obviously have plenty of experience at composing / adapting, but I would probably be at a loss from the get-go.

Did you use a standard translation that you always use or did you choose a translation that fit better with the Greek and this composition?


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Παλαιό Μέλος
Dear Taso,

I'm glad you like my adaptation. I started with the translation of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, which fortunately preserves the overall word order of the original Greek text in this case. Then, I broke up the original composition into phrases. For each phrase, I compared the syllabic pattern of the Greek text with that of the English translation. If the two syllabic patterns were identical, I preserved the original melody intact; if they differed, I devised a new melody to match the English text in perfect compliance with the formulaic rules of Byzantine music. In some cases, I was able to find suitable formulae by looking elsewhere in the original composition (e.g., for the English text "than the Seraphim" [00100], I used the melodic line from the Greek phrase «του Θεού ημών» [00101] in the original). In other cases, though, I had to synthesize new formulae by carefully blending together portions of existing formulae (either from the original composition or from other compositions). In order to do so effectively and in a traditional manner, I drew upon my own experience studying the classical repertoire and composing hymns in English. In general, the master composers of Byzantine music in Greek used a variety of techniques to come up with the appropriate formula for a given syllabic pattern, and after years of chanting from the classical repertoire and carefully studying Papa Ephraim's lists of formulae, one can identify many of these "tricks of the trade" and apply them in one's own work.