Formulae in non-Greek Byzantine Music

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#21
Sticheraric and papadic genres allow for more strictness.
Yes they do, but even there similar issues crop up now and then. Consider for example the characteristic final cadence of slow sticheraric Plagal Fourth Mode (see pages 894 - 898 of Papa Ephraim's formula book). Looking at pages 895-897, it should be abundantly clear that the vast majority of Greek hymns in this genre end in a 10X pattern. This allows for the familiar and characteristic 8-10 beat descent from Di to Ga to Vou to Pa, followed by the 8-10 beat resolution from Pa to Ni for the last three syllables.

There are only a handful of examples from the Greek books accented on the second to last syllable (see pages 894-895). I don't deny that these selections came from Greek hymns, but they are rare. Moreover, apart from the descent to Pa (which does sound like a final cadence), the second half (the resolution) sounds just like a regular medial cadence and is somewhat dissatisfying to me. Hymns that end this way in Greek are rare, so solving this problem is likely not of great importance. But in other languages, hymns that end on the second to last syllable are far more common, so there is a motivation for finding another solution.

Since we're on the topic of Dimitrie Suceveanu, let's examine how he does exactly that in his Idiomelar. See the ending of the three Plagal Fourth Mode stichera I attached. This problem is hardly infrequent in Romanian because I found three of these examples just looking at the first 17 pages of the book. Here we have a need for a final cadence accented on the second to last syllable and Suceveanu clearly wants to evoke the same feeling of the familiar and characteristic 8-10 beat descent from Di to Ga to Vou to Pa, followed by the 8-10 beat resolution from Pa to Ni. But he just has two syllables to work with for the resolution rather than the usual three syllables that we have in Greek. So he innovates by creating his own resolution from Pa to Ni (Vou Ga Vou Pa Ni). This fragment exists in Greek scores but not in the context of a final Plagal Fourth Mode cadence. Its use in the context of a final Plagal Fourth Mode cadence is unique to these Romanian compositions, and frequent at that.

I think this provides a good example of how to tastefully deal with these problems. 1.png 2.png 3.png
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#22
Whether this is converging anywhere, I don't know. Maybe yes, with a better composer.
We can try an experiment if you want. If you provide me with the syllabified Georgian text with an interlinear English translation (so I know roughly what part of the hymn I am dealing with in each Georgian phrase) and the accentuation status of each syllable (0 - unaccented, 1 - strongly accented, or X - mildly accented), I can try to compose something for comparison. I don't know anything about Georgian, so this would be for experimental purposes only.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#23
We can try an experiment if you want. If you provide me with the syllabified Georgian text with an interlinear English translation (so I know roughly what part of the hymn I am dealing with in each Georgian phrase) and the accentuation status of each syllable (0 - unaccented, 1 - strongly accented, or X - mildly accented), I can try to compose something for comparison. I don't know anything about Georgian, so this would be for experimental purposes only.
That would be an interesting experiment with an uncertain outcome. In my experience, a mechanistic 01 approach doesn't work with Georgian texts. I have gotten musically satisfactory results by every now and then stressing the formally 0 syllables. Some words, that have 1's, won't sound good if you overstress them. Also, distinction between 1 and X is not quite clear.

The accent is weakly dynamic in Georgian. That is, if you take separate words. There is an extra layer that operates on the phrase level, when you additionally emphasise this or that word. This is difficult to formalise, and different people would do it differently, or sometimes not at all.

If you still want to play with something, I attach Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον with original Greek lyrics and beneath the 01 Georgian text (with a caveat that I'm not sure the 01 approach encompasses everything you would need). Georgian in this case follows Greek word for word (I separate words by * ), except the last line, that it modifies to διὰ τῆς Ἀναστάσεως σου, to get a singable concluding coda (7 syllables instead of 4). Such things are common in Georgian, unlike Slavonic (i.e. post Patriarch Nikon's reforms), where a slavishly literal translation is a dominating principle. From what I gather, Mitri el Murr also edited the already existing Arabic translations (apparently a bit pedestrian at times) for musical purposes, though he didn't have a formal philological training.

My version is the first page of pdf file here.
 

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Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#24
I have gotten musically satisfactory results by every now and then stressing the formally 0 syllables.
They are, probably, secondary accents, but so weak that we don't distinguish them well in speech. Though scientific measurements showed existence of such secondary accents.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#25
A Georgian polyphonic version of Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον (or, rather, one of) is here:


The score is on pages 63-64 of this pdf.

There are many things here that do not agree with the current Georgian prosody. E.g., an upward jump to mark off end of the cola in the word mskhverp'lsa effectively accents the last syllable, although the one that is accented is the first one (apart the dynamic word-level accent, how melodic intonation changes at the end of cola in spoken Georgian is a bit complex to describe, but at any rate this musical line doesn't find justification there). Aghdgomita is odd in general and also rhythm-wise: the accented syllable must be the first one, and one may think of putting a secondary musical accent on the third one.

Such things occur in a larger part of the 19th/20th scores. But, as you can see, the chanters are completely happy :)
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#26
I attach Ἑσπερινὸν ὕμνον with original Greek lyrics and beneath the 01 Georgian text (with a caveat that I'm not sure the 01 approach encompasses everything you would need).
Here's my version, which is almost the same but with some improvements to the phrase "for Thou wast well-pleased to have mercy on us".

What made the Georgian particularly challenging was the large number of consecutive unstressed syllables. English has this problem sometimes, but it seems particularly bad in Arabic and Georgian. I was tempted to adopt Mitri el-Murr's strategy of collapsing two unstressed syllables into one beat with a gorgon.

Another challenge was how many syllables were in the first phrase "an evening hymn and rational adoration": 13 in Greek, 12 in English, and 17 in Georgian. This is too many syllables for one imperfect cadence, so it needs to be split into two imperfect cadences, one for "an evening hymn" and one for "and rational adoration", as you did in your version. But I was a bit confused by the fact that you marked the 6th syllable as a 0 in the document but accentuated it musically in the score. I tweaked your solution, but I would not have been able to come up with a solution like that on my own because I don't know when it's "safe" to turn a 0 into a 1 in Georgian.
 

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Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#27
Here's my version, which is almost the same but with some improvements to the phrase "for Thou wast well-pleased to have mercy on us".
For a "blind" attempt it's a good effort. It's words like rametu / ὅτι (5 steps ascent from Ni in your score) that I meant as tricky: I feel uncomfortable with giving them prominence in Georgian. X in ὅτι * ηὐδόκησας (100 * X0100) is a problem likewise, because it's not so clear whether it's X or 1 in the speech.

What made the Georgian particularly challenging was the large number of consecutive unstressed syllables. English has this problem sometimes, but it seems particularly bad in Arabic and Georgian. I was tempted to adopt Mitri el-Murr's strategy of collapsing two unstressed syllables into one beat with a gorgon.
Yes, 1000 is a problem in Georgian from the Byzantine point of view, especially if two such words come next to each other (not an uncommon occurrence). You can treat it as 1010 (there is usually a secondary stress in such words, which you often ignore in music), but the problem is many Greek formulae stress that second 1 more than the first and that doesn't sound good, barring some exceptions.

A big technical problem to me is that Georgian textual phrases usually start on a stressed syllable (because it just happens that words mostly start on a stressed syllable), and that doesn't allow a gradual build-up strategy that one can employ with Greek texts, so either moves between phrases are somewhat abrupt, or one cannot move easily between different parts of tessitura: melody becomes sticky to a specific region. You can actually see this in the brief Greek melody of Χαῖρε Σιὼν ἁγία, though to a lesser extent: short phrases that end on Ni, followed immediately by a few steps upward jumps.

I would be interested to hear what el-Murr's techniques were, if you have them summarised somewhere. As I can't read Arabic, textual nuances are lost to me.

Another challenge was how many syllables were in the first phrase "an evening hymn and rational adoration": 13 in Greek, 12 in English, and 17 in Georgian. This is too many syllables for one imperfect cadence, so it needs to be split into two imperfect cadences, one for "an evening hymn" and one for "and rational adoration", as you did in your version.
Yes, this is a problem as well: syllable counts in some phrases can be quite substantial in such literal translations. There are older Georgian translations (at any rate everything we are talking about is older than 12th c.) that are more aware of such issues and imitate the Greek syllable counts (at the expense of literal precision).
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#28
I was tempted to adopt Mitri el-Murr's strategy of collapsing two unstressed syllables into one beat with a gorgon.
Actually you see it in the Greek mode in question too: a simple ascent Vou-Ga-Di is modified with a gorgon and gets assigned to a single stressed syllable. There are some cadential formulae too where a gorgon is likewise employed for changes.
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#29
I would be interested to hear what el-Murr's techniques were
el-Murr frequently puts two consecutive unstressed syllables into a slot where the Greek formula only takes one unstressed syllable. He does this by e.g. changing a single two-beat note into two one-beat notes or by changing a single one-beat note into two half-beat notes (with a gorgon). Here's an example from the Plagal Second mode hymn Τα πλήθη along with the corresponding Greek formula. The formula is unchanged in basic rhythmic and melodic shape, but more unstressed syllables are crammed into it. Note that in beats 3 and 4, the Greek formula takes one syllable on a single two-beat note but the Arabic score has three syllables distributed between two half-beat notes and a single one-beat note. In beats 7 and 8, the Greek formula again takes one syllable on a single two-beat note but the Arabic score has two syllables distributed between two one-beat notes.
 

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basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#30
Putting two syllables into one beat with a gorgon is not unknown in the Greek scores but it occurs very rarely. See, for example, the first line of Αίμα και πυρ from Stephanos' Mousike Kypseli.
 

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basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#31
Speaking of Suceveanu, here is a paper about his compositions by Alexandru Plian entitled "The Eighth Echos reflected in the doxastika sticheras from Dimitrie Suceveanu's Idiomelar".
 
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