E. Toncheva, "Newly Found Slavic Translations of Works by John Koukouzelis"

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#1
I have attached to this post a copy of the following article in Bulgarian:

Elena Toncheva, "Newly Found Slavic Translations of Works by John Koukouzelis: Polyeleos Chants from the 15th Century," Bulgarsko Muzikoznanie (Bulgarian Musicology) 2/2000: 5-29.​

An abstract in German is included at the end of the article.

Of particular interest are the 17 pages of examples at the end of the article, in which the late Elena Toncheva presents line-by-line examples of the same phrase in both the Greek version and the Slavonic version, along with transcriptions. I can't decipher enough of the article to state with certainty which pieces of which manuscripts are compared, but I think that one of them is the "Polyeleos Servikos" (based on Psalms 134 and 135), written by Isaija Srbin in both Greek and Church Slavonic, which appears in the 15th-century MS No. 928 in the Athens National Library. This is the oldest example of the adaptation of a Greek Byzantine melody to a non-Greek language of which I am aware. (If there are older examples, I would be interested in hearing about them.) The last four pages of the article contain reproductions of selected portions of this manuscript.

Toncheva has highlighted several areas in which the Church Slavonic version differs significantly from the Greek version. If an expert in the Old Notation were able to transcribe some of these melodic lines into the New Method, it would be very interesting to study the differences. It would be especially interesting if an expert in Church Slavonic could tell us how well the textual accentuation matches the melodic accentuation.
 

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μάρκελλος

Μάρκελλος Πιράρ, Γενικός συντονιστής
#2
Dear Basil,

Concerning your question "how well the textual accentuation matches the melodic accentuation", I would answer positively by saying that the melodic accentuation matches well the textual accentuation ...
 
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emakris

Guest
#3
This is by no means the oldest case of adaptation of Slavonic text to Greek melodies! Even the earliest Slavonic sources (11th-12th c.) contain such adaptations (see, for example, Miloš Velimirović, Byzantine Elements in Early Slavic Chant, published in the series Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae in 1960). Please, keep in mind that music and liturgy of the christianized Slavs (up to the 13th-14th c.) was based exclusively on the Byzantine prototype. The problem is, that these early sources are written in an archaic type of notation, which cannot be deciphered easily. Nevertheless, comparative studies of Slavonic and Byzantine sources (most important being the work of Prof. Constantin Floros) have shown the close correspondence of the melodies.
Regarding the article by E. Toncheva (I read the German abstract and the musical examples), I am afraid it does not avoid a certain nationalistic tendency of the Bulgarian musicology, which tries to discover "local" traditions even in simple adaptations to preexistent melodies, like this one. Which is really annoying.
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#4
This is by no means the oldest case of adaptation of Slavonic text to Greek melodies! Even the earliest Slavonic sources (11th-12th c.) contain such adaptations (see, for example, Miloš Velimirović, Byzantine Elements in Early Slavic Chant, published in the series Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae in 1960). Please, keep in mind that music and liturgy of the christianized Slavs (up to the 13th-14th c.) was based exclusively on the Byzantine prototype. The problem is, that these early sources are written in an archaic type of notation, which cannot be deciphered easily. Nevertheless, comparative studies of Slavonic and Byzantine sources (most important being the work of Prof. Constantin Floros) have shown the close correspondence of the melodies.
Regarding the article by E. Toncheva (I read the German abstract and the musical examples), I am afraid it does not avoid a certain nationalistic tendency of the Bulgarian musicology, which tries to discover "local" traditions even in simple adaptations to preexistent melodies, like this one. Which is really annoying.
Dear Prof Makris,

Thank you for your prompt and comprehensive reply. In retrospect, I should have known better than to make such an ignorant statement. Since you are so knowledgeable about this subject, perhaps you could answer some of my questions on another thread, entitled "History of Slavonic Byzantine Music."

I, too, was confused by Toncheva's claim that traditional melodic lines were replaced with "functionally similar melodic stereotypes from the local singing tradition." A composer of Byzantine music must already be familiar with a multitude of melodic formulae; why then, would it be necessary to seek alternative lines from the local singing tradition? Furthermore, would the challenges of integrating those alternative lines be worthwhile?

Basil
 

μάρκελλος

Μάρκελλος Πιράρ, Γενικός συντονιστής
#5
(...) Regarding the article by E. Toncheva (I read the German abstract and the musical examples), I am afraid it does not avoid a certain nationalistic tendency of the Bulgarian musicology, which tries to discover "local" traditions even in simple adaptations to preexistent melodies, like this one. Which is really annoying.
This is absolutely true. In almost all her books and articles, E. Toncheva distributes identity cards to melodies ... :mad:
 
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emakris

Guest
#6
Since you are so knowledgeable about this subject, perhaps you could answer some of my questions on another thread, entitled "History of Slavonic Byzantine Music."
Dear Mr. Crow,
actually I am not a real expert in the Slavonic matters, although my teacher (Prof. Chr. Hannick) is one. It was, of course, natural for me to focus my studies on the Greek tradition, but I can see quite clearly that certain aspects of the Slavonic chant present a real challenge for the Orthodox music scholarship. My personal opinion is that the material you are referring to, does not really belong to these aspects.
The adaptation of Slavonic text to the modern Greek chant, following the musical lines of the 19th c. editions, is, of course, a matter of great practical and historical importance for our fellow psaltai in these lands. But is it really important from a musicological point of view? After all these centuries, I expect to see how the inherited old Byzantine chant evolved (or even got replaced) in the Slavic countries, since the present form of Greek chant is also the outcome of a long-term evolution process (which is the main field of my studies). Although it would be perhaps too nationalistic to say that the whole Byzantine musical heritage is "Greek", its further development among Greek-speaking populations after 1453 is absolutely a part of the Greek musical culture and history.
This is why I am not so ready neither to reject, for example, the Serbian traditional melodies, recorded by Mokranjac, as being "folkloristic", nor to encourage the "restoration" of the Greek tradition in Serbia or elsewhere (sorry Mr. Somalis...). My experience in the Ionian Islands has shown that such traditions might hide even certain archaic features, that are no more present in the "mainstream" chant!
On the other hand, I am, of course, proud as a Greek psaltes to hear "my" music sounding in different cultural enviroments. But I would not depend my judgement on this. To put it simply, I am eager to learn from the Slavic people and not to "teach" them!
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#7
Dear Mr. Crow,
actually I am not a real expert in the Slavonic matters, although my teacher (Prof. Chr. Hannick) is one. It was, of course, natural for me to focus my studies on the Greek tradition, but I can see quite clearly that certain aspects of the Slavonic chant present a real challenge for the Orthodox music scholarship. My personal opinion is that the material you are referring to, does not really belong to these aspects.
The adaptation of Slavonic text to the modern Greek chant, following the musical lines of the 19th c. editions, is, of course, a matter of great practical and historical importance for our fellow psaltai in these lands. But is it really important from a musicological point of view? After all these centuries, I expect to see how the inherited old Byzantine chant evolved (or even got replaced) in the Slavic countries, since the present form of Greek chant is also the outcome of a long-term evolution process (which is the main field of my studies). Although it would be perhaps too nationalistic to say that the whole Byzantine musical heritage is "Greek", its further development among Greek-speaking populations after 1453 is absolutely a part of the Greek musical culture and history.
Thank you again for your thoughtful reply and for taking the time to explain these things to me. I really do appreciate it. You present a cogent argument as to why the adaptation of Greek melodies in the New Method to Slavonic texts is not important from a musicological point of view. I never claimed that it was. My interest in this form of adaptation is a practical one, since I am a composer of Byzantine melodies in the English language. In order to avoid "reinventing the wheel," I would like to educate myself about earlier efforts in this area by people in other times and places, and thus benefit from their experience.

This is why I am not so ready neither to reject, for example, the Serbian traditional melodies, recorded by Mokranjac, as being "folkloristic", nor to encourage the "restoration" of the Greek tradition in Serbia or elsewhere (sorry Mr. Somalis...). My experience in the Ionian Islands has shown that such traditions might hide even certain archaic features, that are no more present in the "mainstream" chant!
On the other hand, I am, of course, proud as a Greek psaltes to hear "my" music sounding in different cultural enviroments. But I would not depend my judgement on this. To put it simply, I am eager to learn from the Slavic people and not to "teach" them!
That is a good point. I agree that all of us could benefit from understanding the way in which other cultures developed Orthodox music, rather than trying to "teach them." In my opinion, this would be useful only if the other cultures developed their musical traditions in continuity with what came before; that is, through first learning the existing Orthodox tradition in its fullness and then developing it, being careful to preserve the essential spiritual characteristics of Orthodox theology. One might argue that this continuity is lacking in some Orthodox cultures -- for example, in North America, where most Orthodox liturgical music is sung using organs and four-part harmony, or with heterodox melodies. In this environment, perhaps "restoration" of a musical tradition that is more in continuity with Orthodox theology would not be unwarranted. After all, as you so poignantly pointed out to me, in the beginning of Russian Orthodoxy its music was identical to the music of Greek Orthodoxy. Some of us in North America believe that this would be a good example to follow.
 
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