Lesson 03 - Doxastikon of Praises for the Feast of the Archangels


Γενικός συντονιστής
Dear Fr. Efraim & forum members,
This is the doxastikon of Praises for the Feast of the Archangels.
I tried not to overdo it with melodic lines that might appeat 'bizarre' to a native speaker of English (hence the much simpler ending of the Idiomelon instead of the rather elaborate one in the Kypseli) and not to separate the nouns from adjectives too much. I took into consideration (besides the Kypseli and the Doxastarion of Petros) Romanian and Bulgarian compositions (Dim. Suceveanu & M. Poptodorov). The melodic line "for fallen Lucifer" is in fact a "byzantinization" (sic) of the line with the same text in that doxastikon by Sakellaridis...:wink:
I await your comments.


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Παλαιό Μέλος
Dear Panagiotis,

Thank you for finishing that doxasticon so quickly and typing it up neatly, too. Here are some comments and corrections that I think should be made:

1. The validity of the initial formula used for the word "wherever" is questionable. In my experience, this formula is never preceded by unaccented syllables. Most formulas have the freedom to have add "filler notes" added before them. But I am quite certain that this particular formula (which is on p. 388 of my collection) is an exception to this rule. If you can prove me wrong by finding in a classical book an example of this formula preceded by one or more filler notes, I will admit my fault. If you can't, I will have to insist that you find another melody for this word.

2. The melody in line 1 for the word "Thy" (an oligon with a klasma) is actually not permissible for this mode. If it were preceded by an ison, then it would have been alright (as can be seen in the 00 formula on p. 397). If a one-syllable "formula" were acceptable for melodic movements from Pa to Vou, I am quite sure that I would have included it on that page. But again, if you can prove me wrong, please do so. If not, some other melody will be necessary here.

3. The next word on line 1, the "a" of the word "grace" is written twice. In Byzantine music in Greek, this is common practice. But in English, this does not work, because (unlike Greek) the pronunciation of vowels depends on what syllable they are in. Because of this, there is a standard for music written in English regarding hyphenation and word extensions. To explain this in detail, I have just now added another message to the introduction of this forum at: http://www.analogion.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9727&postcount=5

4. The oligon that joins the ison and the kentemata for the syllable "cast-" is orthographically incorrect. This formula is written without an oligon joining them, as can be seen on p. 398 of the formulas. See also rule #28 in my orthography rules.

5. The melody on line 2 for "O Archangel" may not strike many people as being wrong, but it is actually an invalid combination of two separate formulas. You will need to replace it with a 0010 formula on p. 429.

6. I also noticed that there is no punctuation in this hymn. It is my fault for not including this in my list of suggestions for composers, but now I have added it to that post I just made regarding hyphenation.

7. The melody for "devil" isn't exactly wrong, but it does fail to emphasize the first syllable of the word. It would be preferable to put a petaste above "dev-" and an apostrophos above "-il".

8. The formula at the end of line 3 is fine for the most part, except that orthographical rule #68 is broken, as you can also be seen on p. 538 of the formulas. The same error occurs also in lines 4 and 5.

9. I am not certain, but my gut feeling is that the melody for "for fallen Lucifer" does not comply with the formulaic rules. I searched for your melody in various places in my lists of formulas, and I couldn't find it. In situations like this when I can't find in the lists a melody that first comes to mind, my policy is to abandon that melody, unless of course I am absolutely certain that it is valid. Since there are other melodies that certainly are valid that will accomplish the same thing, I would like you to play it safe and use one of them. The 01010X formula on page 40 of the formulas gives you two options, both of which sound fine.

10. The melody for "cannot" bear does not follow the formulaic rules, because it has the unaccented syllable "can-" on Ga for two beats. This problem can be solved by using the first 010 melody on p. 393. And since this formula begins on the upbeat, it would be smoother if the previous note (the low Ke) were held for three instead of two beats. (Or you could keep it for two and add a one-beat rest).

11. The melody for "Wherefore" at the end of line 5 is not wrong, but it passes up the opportunity to emphasize the first syllable of this two-syllable word. For this reason, it would be preferable to use the 100010 formula on p. 394.

12. Again in the next line, the verb "extinguish" really should have more of a melodic emphasis, since verbs in English are almost always emphasized in a sentence. And since the melody for "fiery darts" is not in the list of formulas, we can solve both problems at once by finding a 1001001 formula for this phrase (or a 100101 formula if we want to treat "fiery" as a two-syllable word.) The 100100 and 0100100 formulas on p. 582 work very well. I personally like the 100100 formula best, because it holds the diphthong of "fiery" for two beats, which can be smoothly sung. Using the first 0100100 formula would hold it for four beats, which could potentially sound awkward.

13. The melody on the last line of the first page for "cast against us" is fine, but as we see in the 001010 formula on pp. 407-408, the word "cast" must be held for only two notes, not three.

14. The melody you have for the syllables "di-a-tion" at the top of the second page is the 0100 formula on p. 398. The problem is that this formula is meant for four syllables accented on the third to last syllable, whereas you only have three and are accented on the second to last syllable. We could use the 0100010 formula on p. 394, but we already used it (assuming you followed my suggestion in comment #11). So to avoid the repetition, we can use the 0100010 formula ending on Di on p. 390.

15. The melody for "deliver us" at the top of the second page is probably alright, but I do have my reservations about it, because it is not in the lists of formulas. But even if it is valid, I still think it should be changed to something more elaborate, considering that this is the doxasticon of a major feast day, and that "deliver" is one of the words that should be given a lively melody, considering that we would cry out this word with yearning. So I suggest using one of the beautiful 0100 formulas on p. 432. I personally like the fourth and sixth ones best. But since the previous phrase ended on Di, the first ison of this phrase will have to be changed into an oligon.

16. The melody for "from his stumbling blocks" unduly emphasizes the word "his". We should find a 00100 formula instead. There are some nice options for this in the X0100 formula on p. 581. We just need to bear in mind that we used a very similar one in my suggestion #12 above, so for variety, we should make sure that we don't choose the same red and blue notes that we did in #12.

17. The word "praiseworthy" is accented on the third to last syllable, so we will need to change the melody here. As it turns out, the original melody for this doxasticon (which is sort of well known) has an elaborate melody in the exact same place on the exact same word, which also happens to accented on the third to last syllable. So I think this is an opportunity to good to let pass. In particular, it is the fourth 00100 melody on p. 454. Since our phrase is a 0100 phrase, we can slightly adjust it by removing the first ison, and placing the cross one more note to the right. In other words, the lyrics will be repeated as follows: "O praiseworthy, O praiseworthy..."

* * * * *​

In conclusion, you can see that most of my corrections were not due to any great insight or experience, but they could have been found simply by looking up in the formulas every single phrase. I realize that it is a lot of work, but I have found that it is the only way for inexperienced people like us to produce quality compositions.

+Fr. Ephraim


Γενικός συντονιστής
Dear Father,
Thank you so very much for your comments. Methinks this composition was not so useless as I had expected it to be! :D
The orthography rules alas remain a bit nebulous to me, despite reading your excellent rules collection (maybe because not all the psaltic books I use follow them so well...:rolleyes:)
The ison with kentimata above an oligon and not followed by a descending syllable has always confused me - my copy of the Kypseli (Polychronakis edition) has "a" of episkiasei like that and I was not sure what to do with it... Also Romanian composers used this combination a lot... :confused:
Anyway, I have corrected the doxastikon as far as point No 11; I am a bit unsure about point No 12 and the page of the formulae booklet it refers to... Is it indeed p. 582 or is that a typo? :confused:
Reading your comments I can now understand why some musicologists critisize the works of some of the Bulgarian and Romanian XIX century composers of psaltic music; using the selection of traditional formulae as a touch-stone many of these are found containing somehow non-traditional elements (though the melodies all in all sound pretty good).
Once the corrected version is ready I will upload it.


Παλαιό Μέλος
I am a bit unsure about point No 12 and the page of the formulae booklet it refers to... Is it indeed p. 582 or is that a typo? :confused:
No, it is not a typo. Perhaps you thought it was because page 582 is not in the file containing melodies for sticheraric plagal first mode but for plagal second mode. One thing I failed to mention was that when you are looking for a melody with a fthora, you can either look in the "Formulae with fthoras" section of the mode you are in, or if you know what mode you want to change into, you can look in that mode for formulas.