Byzantine Intervals

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Chrysanthos33

Guest
#1
Hello, is there anyone that knows of a device that can produce the Byzantine intervals for chanting as i would like to learn the traditional intervals and not the western piano intervals. Any information will be greatly appreciated in Greek or English. Thanks.
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#2
Hello, is there anyone that knows of a device that can produce the Byzantine intervals for chanting as i would like to learn the traditional intervals and not the western piano intervals. Any information will be greatly appreciated in Greek or English. Thanks.
You may be interested in Scala, a powerful program for experimenting with scales. With Scala you can define and play back custom scales via onscreen keyboard or MIDI relay. The standard Scala scale archive has two sets of Byzantine scale files (the files that start with "savas" and the files that start with "xenakis"). It is educational to compare them, as well as to create your own scale files. Keep in mind that there are 12 commas (200 cents) in an equally tempered major second and 72 commas (1200 cents) in an octave.

You might also consider picking up a Korg TM-40 digital tuner for about $30. When you sing into its microphone, it displays a readout of your pitch in hertz as well as the name of the note in the Western system (A, C#, Eb, etc). It is especially useful for Westerners studying Byzantine music because it also gives you a reading of how far sharp or flat you are (in cents) from any equal-temperament pitch.

It goes without saying that the scales presented in Byzantine music theory books are merely an attempt to capture on paper what traditional chanters do with their voices. Comparing the scales in various theory books with their Western counterparts is not a substitute for listening to and imitating traditional chanters. However, I have found it to be useful in order to train my ear to listen carefully in the right places.
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#3
In addition to Scala (which is freeware) there is also Melodos at http://www.melodos.com/index2.htm.

Pros and cons:

Scala Pro:

1) free
2) many scales created by others are available
3) Windows and Mac OS versions (Mac requires X11 and the Mac developers' SDK but both are free upon registration at Apple's site)

Scala con:

1) Scala requires some detailed knowledge on the concept of temperament in music.
2) Not intuitive for the non-microtonality-interested musician
3) Requires additional software (freeware) to be controlled

Melodos pro:

1) Easier than Scala to use and quite intuitive
2) Specifically tailored for Byzantine music
3) scales are already available
4) Can input your music and let the software play it back based on ANY scale (yes, even dissonant ones!)


cons:

1) ONLY IN THE GREEK LANGUAGE (!!!)
2) ONLY IN WINDOWS (!!!!!!)
3) NOT FREE (400 EURO for total package)

and no, you cannot find it on bittorrent ;)

Whichever software you choose it is MORE ACCURATE to use the ORIGINAL FRACTIONS of the tonal intervals and NOT the rounded integers.

Dr. George Michalakis and Mr. Haris Symeonidis have written excellent tutorials for MELODOS (Michalakis has an English version).

Many people can help with Scala (Basil?)

NG
 
C

Chrysanthos33

Guest
#4
Hello, can I have some opinions on Theodoros Basilikos 'Paralagi kai Melos' cd's. Are the cd's he has produced in the proper Byzantine 'intervals'? Are they good for learning all the modes. You're honesty will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#5
There is a lot of material for free here in Psaltologion that is educational, with parallagi and melody for many things. I believe you can find what you seek without spending a lot of money here in Psaltologion.

Vasilikos was vocally talented and very popular in the past 40 years, but not quite in line with absolutely traditional chant.

Please post what you specifically seek and I am sure many of us herein will point you to the subsites in Psaltologion where you can download the mp3s/wavs etc.

NG
 
C

Chrysanthos33

Guest
#6
Thank you for the information Nikolao. I am strongly after tradition. I definately want to learn the traditional Byzantine intervals. And another thing which is important is learning Byzantine music with the 'Agioritiko/Konstantinoupolitiko' YFOS. Please, these things are very important to me. Directions on this mater will be appreciated. Thanks to everyone.
 
C

Chrysanthos33

Guest
#8
Thanks for quick reply. I already have Anastasimatarion tis "Zohs",its the only book i have. I will need at some stage a whole collection of Byzantine books. Is there any material that has 'Paralagi kai Melos' so that i can start training my ear to the right intervals but at the same time keeping the traditional YFOS i mentioned before. Free material will be greatly appreciated but If i have to buy material i dont mind. Many thanks.
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#9
1) I strongly recommend you download all the sound files in all pages of the follwoing thread:

http://analogion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4127&highlight=%F0%E1%ED%E1%F1%E5%F4%EF%F2

It features the late Fr. Panaretos of the Philotheou Monastery of Mt. Athos who performs ALL of the Anastasimatarion of Ioannis (essentially identical to that published by ZOI) in parallagi and melody.

Fr. Panaretos was very accurate on his intervals and very traditional. Keep in mind that intervals are not necessarily fixed absolutely on ascent and descent but can vary depending on context and Tone. And, there is a feature of tonal context termed "attraction" that comes into play. It;s not as straightforward as playing keys on a keyboard tempered to a "byzantine" scale.

Please listen to Fr. Panaretos and your journey will begin on solid, stable, authentic and traditional footing.

2) The Archon Hymnodist of the Great Church of Christ, Mr. George Hatzichronoglou has collaborated with the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology to offer the ZOI Anastasimatarion in parallagi and melody on video. If you are interested, send an email to the society requesting access (www.asbmh.pitt.edu). Some excerpts here so you can get an idea (http://www.asbmh.pitt.edu/HHronoglouExamples/HHronoglouExamples.html).

Archon Hatzichronoglou has an yfos that is reminsescent of the yfos of Constantinople of old time (according to the old time psaltae of Constantinople still alive today in Greece) and his tonal executions are dead on accurate. Believe me, I have measured them (!) using software like sonic visualiser.


NG
 
#10
Chrysanthe,

If you seek to learn byzantine chant, a real, live teacher at your side is ALWAYS the ideal. I'm assuming that Melbourne, Australia (if that is where you reside) should have some competent and traditional chanters available. Seek them out, ask for recommendations, and choose one that's qualified and someone who you can work well with.

Teaching yourself byzantine music by yourself should be a last resort if you cannot find anyone near you. Unfortunately, people who are far from metropolitan areas need to do this. But if you have the luxury of having plenty of traditional chanters near you, I don't recommend trying to teaching yourself.

And if you are at the beginner stage, I wouldn't worry about intervals, hyphos, and other such issues. Your teacher will be your guide. Byzantine intervals are learned face to face from your teacher. Not via computer programs. Throughout the many centuries of byzantine music, computers weren't used. And I don't see any reason for a beginning student with traditional chanters available nearby to worry about measuring intervals with computers.

I recommend to set aside all other concerns and to find a good teacher. That's how people have been learning byzantine chant for centuries now.

Best of luck!
Taso
p.s. Most importantly, chanting with your teacher at his church will immensely accelerate your learning. So it's not just isolated lessons that help. Attending the analogion (the chanter's stand) for ALL the services will teach you music, the hymns, and the services, along with their structure and typiko. So with the analogion and the lessons, that would be the complete ideal.


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Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#11
I concur with Mr. Nassis above.

Computers and the internet should be used only if there is no possibility of proximity to a good and seasoned teacher.

Chrysanthos33, where exactly are you located? There are some very good and generous teachers in Australia that some in Psaltologion (Greek and English side) know very well.

NG
 
C

Chrysanthos33

Guest
#12
Thankyou dearly Nikolao. I will study all information and material you have given me with great appreciation. God bless.
 
C

Chrysanthos33

Guest
#13
Thank you Mr Tassos, you are totally right. It was my intention to seek for a teacher but unfortunately I don't know if I will be successful in doing so.
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#16
Dear Panagiotis,

Consider this:

http://analogion.com/forum/showpost.php?p=97796&postcount=2

and this:

http://analogion.com/forum/showpost.php?p=97797&postcount=3

Otherwise, there are keyboard synthesizers (mainly manufactured by Korg, Yamaha and Roland- and they can be expensive) that offer the ability of microtonality, but you will need to convert 72 or 63 or 68 equal tempered scales (Byzantine) to 1200 (western temperament in terms of cents) and pitch shift +/- cents individual notes to get to the scale you need. Even then you will not be 100% accurate as the tonal intervals were given in terms of fractions and not temperament by the older teachers.

NG.
 

nikosthe

Νίκος Θεοτοκάτος
#17
Otherwise, there are keyboard synthesizers (mainly manufactured by Korg, Yamaha and Roland- and they can be expensive) that offer the ability of microtonality...
There is also the tuning box, which can be attached to many synthesizers and can tune every key as you want. It also has many ancient greek scales pre-tuned! But I'd like to know if there is a synthesizer that has built-in such a functionality, because tuning box costs 300$. Personnaly I like the synthesizer solution for byzantine intervals, because you have the ability to reproduce any melody at once by simply playing it to the keyboard! (assuming you know the basics for piano/keyboard playing).
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#18
Dear Nikos,

Tuning Box is probably the least expensive solution for a hardware instrument that has much of the intervals pre-loaded.

I am not aware of any other competing product. The only other quasi-competitive product which accepts user-defined intervals in terms of +/- cents pitch changes is the Korg Microkorg XL

http://www.korg.com/product.aspx?pd=545

The parent version (Microkorg) does NOT support user-defined scales so make sure that, if interested, that it is the XL version and NOT the parental version that is sought.

NG
 
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