Formulae in non-Greek Byzantine Music

frephraim

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#1
I have begun this new thread to answer Samuel's question in another thread, which was:
How do you decide on whether to use a foreign language source? Do you ever run into problems of just improper emphasis? How do you discern between improper emphasis and a new formula?
In the formulas I have collected for papadic first mode (to see them, click on the corresponding link in this webpage), so far I have included formulas from Greek and Slavonic sources. If you examine the Slavonic sources (which I have written with grey notes), you will notice that there are basically two kinds of "mistakes":
1) The melodic emphasis does not match the textual accent. In other words, the melody either emphasizes an unaccented syllable or doesn't emphasize an accented syllable enough. I highlighted these mistakes in yellow.
2) The Slavonic version of a formula has either too many or too few syllables in comparison with the paradigm set by Greek versions of the same formulas. I highlighted these mistakes in green.
So by highlighting these "mistakes" and writing the notes in grey, I can safely include any Slavonic source (or a source from any language, for that matter) without worrying about compromising the quality of my compilation, since people can clearly see what the "mistakes" are, and they can choose to avoid using such formulas (and come up with a better formula, if they can). If they can't come up with a better formula, then they can at least use those formulas with "mistakes".
I put quotation marks around the word "mistakes" because whether or not they are inherently wrong is a rather subjective matter.

To answer your second question, so far it has usually been quite obvious when a Slavonic formula improperly emphasizes a syllable. When it isn't obvious, all I need to do is compare it with the Greek formulas, and then I can see whether or not the Slavonic formula has a mistake. If you examine the notes highlighted in yellow, you will see what I mean.

I have already decided to include formulas also from Romanian sources because Romanian compositions from the 19th century (and earlier) follow the Greek formulaic rules very closely. I hesitate, however, to include formulas from Arabic sources because if they don't follow the Greek rules closely, there might be too much "chaff" to go through before finding any "wheat". Hopefully someone can tell me how worthwhile collecting Arabic formulas would be.
 

Shota

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#2
Here are a few disparate thoughts that might revive this discussion.

Over the last few days, more as a proof of concept, I have been experimenting with setting Georgian texts to Byzantine music. Papa Ephraim's compilations of melodic formulas have been very useful for a quick reference and to get a bird's eye view. There is one specific issue, however: whatever one may say, Byzantine heirmologic and sticheraric formulas are tied tightly to the Greek language. Greek has quite different accentuation rules from Georgian. In Georgian there is no word of 2 syllables or more that has stress on the last one, there is no 3-syllable word that would have stress on the second syllable etc etc. Half of common heirmologic cadential formulas, say, are therefore effectively not usable in Georgian. If you stick to the other half, that's okay, but after a while there is just not enough variability left. Using fthoras where Greek doesn't have them may partially save you, but it's obviously a very incomplete solution. I can imagine there are other languages with similar accentuation issues. So what to do in this case? Invent new cadential formulas? Simplify or copy the ones from other genres?

Another thing I noticed is a lack of flow (for a want of a better description) in some (not all) of English or Slavonic compositions. Take one troparion: it seems to stress all the right syllables. Take a few odes: it's some incongruent conglomerate. The issue, to my feeling, is that translations typically are not metered. Even if a troparion doesn't have a regular beat, singing a few of them to the same tune creates a strong rhythmic sense. There is enough diversity, but also enough common patterns.

Lastly, there are some other language specific issues. E.g., vowel-less words of the kind "v" (in), "k" (to) in Slavonic. Or a large number of one-syllable words in English that may even cluster in an unfortunate way as in "Lord I have cried unto thee".
 

Deacon

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#3
That's why it's suggested by many that in our tradition, the ancient ecclesiastical poets and hymnographers were also musicians, or at least, they had a basic knowledge of music theory principles. That's a huge problem with many modern hymnographers. Most of them lack in knowledge of music and sense of rhythm and therefore it's very hard to compose music on their lyrics.
 

Shota

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#4
Georgian translators at the end of the 9th c. made a very conscious choice for metered translations of hymnography (previous Georgian translations that are contained in the hymnal called Ancient Iadgari are not metered). With some experience in Old Georgian, one can also get a feeling that euphony was an important consideration. This unlike the late 18th c. translations, that are often rather pedestrian (and violate grossly the norms of the ancient language).
 

Shota

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#5
Here is an excerpt from Victor Ojog’s Romanian Anastasimatarion (1942). Note that in a typical conclusion of the Plagal 4th Mode heirmologic stichera, he once distributes melos over 3 syllables and another time over 2, whereas in Greek this is done always over 3 syllables. Dimitrie Suceveanu a century earlier likewise did it. I also highlight an example where Suceveanu modifies the typical conclusion, because apparently the last syllable is stressed in Romanian. And then there are enough medial cadences on common dominant notes in both books, that have a Byzantine flavour, but aren’t found in standard Greek editions (at least I haven’t seen them). Suceveanu looks more “traditional“ (more Greek?) than Ojog, in general.

My feeling at the moment is that composing in short, heirmologic style would require extensions and modifications in any language other than Greek. That is, if the goal is an aesthetically pleasing end result and a working technical tool, and not scholastic copying of Greek composition rules. Sticheraric and papadic genres allow for more strictness.
 

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Shota

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#10
So that people don’t think I’m talking empty words, here are my Georgian versions of the Resurrectional stichera Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον and Κύριε, Κύριε, μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς ἡμᾶς in brief style.

Note: I’m not a composer, not an expert on Byzantine chant, and neither on its orthography. But my knowledge of Georgian in both its ancient and new varieties, is, ahem, above average.

A few comments on highlighted points in Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον:

1) Maybe that looks strange at first sight, but the stressed syllable is the first one. To my ear it gets a stress, or at least gets differentiated, by lying below its two surrounding syllables, especially the elaphron jump helps. Psephiston is for orthography, one would not do anything qualitative with it.

2) & 3) There would probably be a secondary stress in spoken language on the first syllable there, but I dispatch it “en passant” in an upward movement to a strongly stressed syllable.

4) I go innovative here.

Composing in heirmologic style is more difficult than in sticheraric. That is, if you want a smoothly flowing and naturally sounding piece.
 

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Shota

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#12
Here are my Georgian versions of the Resurrectional stichera Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον and Κύριε, Κύριε, μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς ἡμᾶς in brief style.
I plan to update these, because they were really like playing in a sandbox. However, I first want to enumerate what formulae I have available. As I said before, a good half from Papa Ephraim's compilation are not usable (or are very rarely usable) because of peculiarities of the Georgian language. Then there is a non-negligible number of instances when there exists no formula that suits the Georgian.

Whoever works with Papa Ephraim's catalogue: I found it useful to retain some general grouping of different formulae, but I'm looking them up in the Anastasimatarion and replacing the 01 sequences with actual words of the kind one may find in hymns ("great mercy", "have mercy on us", "by your Resurrection" etc.). Your experience might be different.
 

Shota

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#14
Here is an unusual (usual in Romanian books) cadential formula from Κύριε, εἰ καὶ κριτηρίῳ in Ojog/Suceveanu’s Anastasimatarion (I guess gorgon is missing from the penultimate apostrophos with apli). These are the things I’m talking about.
This particular cadence comes from speeding up or slowing down where needed the known Greek cadences. Like this one here from Manuel’s brief doxology.
 

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Shota

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#15
A general problem with Georgian is that its prosody changed over the course of centuries. The Church uses texts written in Old Georgian. When they are read, they are read with modern pronunciation. The sung scores were written down in the 19th c. and retain some features that are possibly archaic, others that seem to be dialectal forms, and still others that are perhaps result of ignorance. They always strike me, but chanters don't seem to care.
 
#17
Here is an excerpt from Victor Ojog’s Romanian Anastasimatarion (1942)
I would not recommend Victor Ojog, as he was not the best translator / melourgos we had in Romania (he is one of the later editors who tried to correct the errors of some previous 1880-1920's Romanian editions, and it may be possible he didn't use any Greek original).

From those who succeeded to print their works, the best are, by far, Macarie Ieromonahul and Anton Pann (and also Dimitrie Suceveanul). All of them were fluent and had extensive Greek language knowledge (and some other languages). One should compare the 1820 edition of Efesios of the Anastasimatarion of Petros to the 1823 edition of Macarie (who started his translation in 1818, one year after learning the principles of the New Method), the recent edition of the Anastasimatarion of Dionysios Foteino to the 1854 edition of Pann, and Dimitrie Suceveanul to... I don't know (it is closer to Constantinos' Anastasimatarion, but it seems to me that he translated a local variant of Georgios Paraskevadis, the Greek protopsaltis of Iaşi to whom he was lampadarios).

You will have to learn a lot from these three, but only compared to the original they used (Dimitrie Suceveanul is best known to us not from his Anastasimatarion, but from his Idiomelarion, a collection in which he translated the Doxastarion of Petros from 1820 and composed many prosomiai and idiomelai according to the meloi of his teacher - Georgios Paraskevadis).
 
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Shota

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#18
You will have to learn a lot from these three, but only compared to the original they used
In any Anastasimatarion mode, there are 11 vesperal stichera, 2 theotokia, and 8 matins stichera. Now in Plagal Fourth it just happens that in the last verse none of the Greek stichera has a stress on the penultimate syllable. This is unlike Romanian. So in such instances it is safe to surmise that solutions proposed by Romanian editors are really Romanian solutions, and are not coming from some obscure Greek manuscript.
 
#19
I would not recommend Victor Ojog, as he was not the best translator / melourgos we had in Romania (he is one of the later editors who tried to correct the errors of some previous 1880-1920's Romanian editions, and it may be possible he didn't use any Greek original).

From those who succeeded to print their works, the best are, by far, Macarie Ieromonahul and Anton Pann (and also Dimitrie Suceveanul). All of them were fluent and had extensive Greek language knowledge (and some other languages). One should compare the 1820 edition of Efesios of the Anastasimatarion of Petros to the 1823 edition of Macarie (who started his translation in 1818, one year after learning the principles of the New Method), the recent edition of the Anastasimatarion of Dionysios Foteino to the 1854 edition of Pann, and Dimitrie Suceveanul to... I don't know (it is closer to Constantinos' Anastasimatarion, but it seems to me that he translated a local variant of Georgios Paraskevadis, the Greek protopsaltis of Iaşi to whom he was lampadarios).

You will have to learn a lot from these three, but only compared to the original they used (Dimitrie Suceveanul is best known to us not from his Anastasimatarion, but from his Idiomelarion, a collection in which he translated the Doxastarion of Petros from 1820 and composed many prosomiai and idiomelai according to the meloi of his teacher - Georgios Paraskevadis).
Agreed 100% victor ojog has many weird lines in his anastasimatarion for example ending on pa for plagios protos stichera. I think however Macarie by far has the best compositions
 
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