Lesson 18 - Sunday Before the Nativity, Doxastikon of the Praises

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#2
I noticed that you have a musical break between the phrases "Christ's divine Nativity" and "in the flesh" on lines 4 and 5. Since the prepositional phrase "in the flesh" is associated with the first clause of the sentence, I think it would be better to break the phrases between "in the flesh" and "through them." That having been said, it is rather difficult to compose a smooth melody for the beginning of this piece. The text "The collection of the Law's teachings maketh plain Christ's divine Nativity in the flesh" has the syllabic pattern 001000110 0011010100001. This pattern is troublesome because it contains two 11 occurrences in very close succession, and 11 patterns are comparatively rare in the Greek language.

There are some tricks that can be helpful for dealing with these cases (other than the obvious technique of putting a XXX01 formula back to back with a 10XXX formula). The general principle behind them is that a 0 syllable on a downbeat receives a certain amount of "natural emphasis" by virtue of being on a downbeat. We can exploit this "natural emphasis" in several ways in order to gracefully handle 11 patterns. For example, in my setting of Σε τον αναβαλλόμενον, there is a sentence with the 11 phrase "struck up." I was able to find a 10 formula for this phrase in which the 0 was on a downbeat. But this trick isn't limited to the ends of phrases. For example, on page 57 of the formula book there is a 100100 formula where each 0 syllable is on a downbeat. I was able to exploit this formula for the 101100 phrase "Thou hast lived worthily" in one of the doxastika for St George posted to this forum. I first noticed this trick in Papa Ephraim's setting of the Dogmatic Theotokion for plagal fourth mode for the 110 phrase "pure Virgin." Here Papa Ephraim was able to exploit a 100 formula in which the first two syllables are each given four beats. I am particularly pleased with this solution, since the first 0 is at the beginning of a "four-beat grouping" and thus receives even more "natural emphasis" than a 0 that begins at "two-beat grouping." But I digress, since in order to explain my understanding of those two terms in the context of Byzantine music I would need to write a much longer post.

Using these ideas, we can improve your composition as follows: Use an heirmologic bridge for "The collection of" (Ni Ni Pa Ni Ni). Then use the 0X100 formula on page 826 for "the Law's teachings mak-". While we're at it, compare the 0X100 formula on page 826 to the 0100100 formula on page 825. The ending is the same in both, yet the version on page 825 has a 0 where the version on page 826 has an X. This is evidence that the master composers knew and applied this "natural emphasis" trick in their compositions. Anyway, we still have to deal with "-eth plain." We can use the 01 formula on page 832 for this purpose.

You'll notice that I broke up the phrases "maketh plain" and "Christ's divine nativity," since they are grammatically somewhat separate. This has the double benefit of breaking up the second 11 pattern. From here, it is easy enough to compose a melody that goes down to Ni for "Christ's divine Nativity in the flesh." We can use an heirmologic bridge of "vou vou ga pa" for "Christ's divine nat-" and then the 0100001 on page 806.
 
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frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#4
Thanks for sharing your work with us, Sam.
I noticed a few things that could be improved:

1. The melody in line 6 on the first page for "preached of grace" does not sound right. The reason why it doesn't sound right is because if we look through the formulas on pp. 844-848 of my formulas book, we'll see that whenever a cadence ends on Di like this:
Ga, Di [second-to-last syllable]
Di (for two beats) [last syllable]
the third-to-last syllable is always on Ke, not Di.
You can easily fix this by replacing the klasma on the word "preached" with kentemata, and then by replacing the apostrophos on the word "of" with an elaphron (without removing the kentemata that follow).

1a. You need a number "3" on the words "flesh" and "them" in line 5.

2. The melody in line 8 on page 1 for "faith they had transcended the law" rushes down too quickly to Pa before making the final cadence on Nee. I think it would sound much smoother if you were to use the 010001001 formula on p. 817.

3. For that martyria on Low Di, don't forget to put the delta above the hard chromatic symbol instead of below it.

4. In line 10 on page 1, the melody for "unto the souls..." does not sound right because (if I'm not mistaken) this formula never has the syllable on Di (the syllable "-to" in this case) of plagal second held for only one beat. To fix this, I think you would have to hold "-to" for two beats. But since this is the unaccented syllable of the word "unto", you would also need to hold "un-" for two beats. Perhaps something like this would be best:
un- Pa, Vou
to Nee (two beats)
Also, since the word "Wherefore" has two syllables, the first of which is accented, it should also receive a melodic accent. So instead of just:
Where- Nee
fore Nee
you could write:
Where- Pa
fore Nee
But this suggestion is not obligatory, since I have noticed that not all classical compositions in Greek melodically emphasize every single syllable of a heirmologic bridge. If I remember correctly, it is the Anastasimatarion of Petros Ephesios that tended not to melodically emphasize every single accented syllable.

5. I have the feeling that the melody for the first two syllables on page 2 is only valid when the second of the two is held for two beats. I would fix this by using the following melody:
did Nee
they Vou
fore- Ga
tell Di
I would also hold the low Di (preceding this) for three beats (or add a one-beat rest after it), since a measure of 4 beats sounds better than a measure of 3. Besides, I think that holding cadences that are very high or very low for a longer time not only sounds better but also makes things easier for the chanter to regain his bearings, so to speak.

6. Another point worth considering for the melody on the first three lines of page 2 is that there are quite a number of notes to be chanted from the martyria on the previous page to the martyria on line 3 of page 2. You might want to consider inserting a break after the word "Nativity". A smooth way to do this would be to insert a vareia and an ison before the apostrophos for the syllable "-ty", and then add an aple to that apostrophos. And then, of course, you would add the number "4" there.

7. The words "was the" in line 3 of page 2 would sound less monotonous (in my opinion) if they were on Vou and Ga instead of both on Di, especially considering that none of the notes directly before or after them go below Di.

8. I question how valid your melody is for "from corruption". Even though this is a valid formula for plagal second mode, and even though plagal fourth melodies do transpose temporarily to plagal second, I have observed that they only place a hard chromatic fthrora of Di on Di when the melody is about to go down to Pa (or Nee). Occasionally it will go down only to Vou, but in those instances, it is really a Vou with an isaki or a tsakisma, which means it still goes all the way down to Pa, even if only momentarily.
Since your melody goes down only to Vou (and can't have an isaki or tsakisma), I think it would be more proper to use a zygos fthora. Since I don't see any that would let you end on Di for this syllabic pattern, I would use the second-to-last 010 formula on p. 868 that ends on Vou. You would need to precede this with the word "from" for two beats on Di. Then, you could continue with the word "O" on Ga, and your melody for "Lord" as it is on Di-Ke-Di, etc.

If anyone disagrees with any of my comments, please speak up!
 
#5
8. I question how valid your melody is for "from corruption". Even though this is a valid formula for plagal second mode, and even though plagal fourth melodies do transpose temporarily to plagal second, I have observed that they only place a hard chromatic fthrora of Di on Di when the melody is about to go down to Pa (or Nee). Occasionally it will go down only to Vou, but in those instances, it is really a Vou with an isaki or a tsakisma, which means it still goes all the way down to Pa, even if only momentarily.
Since your melody goes down only to Vou (and can't have an isaki or tsakisma), I think it would be more proper to use a zygos fthora. Since I don't see any that would let you end on Di for this syllabic pattern, I would use the second-to-last 010 formula on p. 868 that ends on Vou. You would need to precede this with the word "from" for two beats on Di. Then, you could continue with the word "O" on Ga, and your melody for "Lord" as it is on Di-Ke-Di, etc.
My goal on "from corruption" was to model it after the original score does on "της φθοράς". See attached picture. Obviously I used a Pl. 2nd formula to fit the English syllables, but I tried to best approximate the original.
 

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frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#6
My goal on "from corruption" was to model it after the original score does on "της φθοράς"
Yes, I was aware of that. Even though yours looks very similar to the original, I still stand behind my claim that the melody must go down to Pa if we are to put a hard chromatic fthora of Di on the Di of a plagal fourth melody. I am quite sure that the melody in the original would be chanted with an isaki on that Vou, which means that it would be chanted with a Pa for a half beat followed by a Vou for 1.5 beats (just like the blue version of the first 010001 formula on p. 541 would be without the first three syllables of that formula).
 
#7
Yes, I was aware of that. Even though yours looks very similar to the original, I still stand behind my claim that the melody must go down to Pa if we are to put a hard chromatic fthora of Di on the Di of a plagal fourth melody. I am quite sure that the melody in the original would be chanted with an isaki on that Vou, which means that it would be chanted with a Pa for a half beat followed by a Vou for 1.5 beats (just like the blue version of the first 010001 formula on p. 541 would be without the first three syllables of that formula).
Ah. I follow now. Will make the change.
 
#8
I made the corrections as you asked. I thought about what you said in regards to it not required to emphasize every word in an heirmologic bridge as Petros Efesios and other classical compositions did not do that and decided that even if this is true, you stated that this project is modeled after Mousiki Kypsele, and as they do tend to emphasize their heirmologic bridges, I made the changes.

So, as I understand the rule, one can only put a pl 2nd fthora on Di in Pl 4th when the move reaches Pa melodically, not necessarily in the written neumes. Thanks for pointing that out. I was unaware of this convention.
 

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frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#9
I was unaware of this convention.
I think it is one of many "unwritten rules" regarding Byzantine music composition. The problem with these "unwritten rules" is that it's not easy to prove them. Using a collection of formulas such as mine (which is not 100% complete) can tell us that this unwritten rule is probably true, but who knows: maybe there are a few instances out there somewhere in classical compositions that break this "unwritten rule" that I made up. To be honest, I wouldn't be too surprised if other composers of Byzantine music criticize me for claiming that this is a rule, especially the ones who object ideologically to the idea of being limited to the Greek Byzantine music formulas while composing in English. They might say that I'm making a big fuss over nothing, and they might be right. My take on the matter is that it is preferable to err on the side of caution rather than on the side of excessive liberty when trying to preserve a liturgical art form such as Byzantine chant. Perhaps years from now I'll change my mind about this, but that's how I see things now, at least.
 

frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#10
I made the corrections as you asked.
Thank you!
There are just a couple minor things left to fix:

1. The hard chromatic fthora at the end of line 9 is correct, but they usually put a small "kappa" next to it in order to clarify that they mean to enter the hard chromatic scale on Ke and not Pa. A simpler (and more common) way to accomplish the same thing would be to put a hard chromatic fthora of Di above the martyria.

2. I actually had in mind to have you put an oligon for the first note on page two without a klasma, but I suppose it's also fine with a klasma.

3. The number "3" near the end of the first line on page 2 should be a number "4").

4. The syllable "-tion" in line 3 of page 2 should either have a number "3" above it, or you need to put a gorgon on the apostrophos.

5. Even though I was sloppy in my formulas about always implementing orthography rule #32, make sure that you apply it in lines 4 and 9 on page 1, and line 4 of page 2.
 
#11
Thank you!
2. I actually had in mind to have you put an oligon for the first note on page two without a klasma, but I suppose it's also fine with a klasma.
I changed it to a klasma because 1) "-tell" was an emphasized syllable and 2) it kept me from using a "3" for the rhythm, which you once told me I should avoid if it's an easy fix to avoid (such as an addition or removal of a klasma or something similar). I can change it back if you wish.
 

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basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#12
I think it is one of many "unwritten rules" regarding Byzantine music composition. The problem with these "unwritten rules" is that it's not easy to prove them. Using a collection of formulas such as mine (which is not 100% complete) can tell us that this unwritten rule is probably true, but who knows: maybe there are a few instances out there somewhere in classical compositions that break this "unwritten rule" that I made up.
I think that at some point in the future most of the classical repertoire will be digitized and proofread. At that point it should be possible to do a computer aided study of these "unwritten rules."

To be honest, I wouldn't be too surprised if other composers of Byzantine music criticize me for claiming that this is a rule, especially the ones who object ideologically to the idea of being limited to the Greek Byzantine music formulas while composing in English. They might say that I'm making a big fuss over nothing, and they might be right.
I'm not criticizing. I appreciate it when you mention these "unwritten rules." Sometimes, these "rules" give additional clarity and formality to some intuition of mine. Other times, they give me more to think about as I study classical compositions and as I compose my own melodies. Perhaps the word "rule" is too strong in some cases, but the issue is still relevant. Even if it turns out that some of these "rules" are only observed (for example) 80% of the time, I would still consider them best practices and make a good faith effort to follow them in my own compositions.
 

frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#13
Even if it turns out that some of these "rules" are only observed (for example) 80% of the time, I would still consider them best practices and make a good faith effort to follow them in my own compositions.
That's a very good point. It may turn out that this rule only is followed 90% of the time. If so, we should also follow it 90% of the time, ideally. (I'm picking 90% as a number instead of only 80%, since I think it would have shown up at least once in my formulas if it were only 80%)
 
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