Lesson 19 - Vesperal Doxastikon, Sunday After the Nativity

#1
The text I am working on composing now is:

We celebrate the memorial of the godly King and Prophet David, and of James the Apostle and First Bishop; for having been freed from error by their teachings, we glorify Christ Who dawned forth from the Virgin, and was incarnate to save our souls.

In Mousiki Kypseli it does an ending on the words: "Δαυῒδ καὶ Ἰακώβου"

This got me to wondering if I should try to hold off on an ending until "First Bishop" in the English. The problems with this are that this leads to a VERY long intro without every doing an ending on Pa, which is not common in sticheraric Pl. 2nd. In fact, in Mousiki Kypsele it does an ending 5 words and 13 syllables in, whereas if I wait until "First Bishop", then it is 18 words, and a great many more syllables, into the piece.

The other option I thought of was to do the Pa ending on "David", and then immediately do another ending on "First Bishop". The phrase "and of James the Apostle and First Bishop;" is 11 syllables long, so it might not seem so abrupt.

Any advice and thoughts on how to handle this beginning and where to place the first ending formula?
 

frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#2
...The problems with this are that this leads to a VERY long intro without every doing an ending on Pa, which is not common in sticheraric Pl. 2nd.
I don't think it is so uncommon in plagal second to begin a sticheraric troparion without any cadence on Pa for a while. After flipping through Kypsele, I found examples of this in the first doxasticon for Jan. 18 and the doxasticon of the aposticha of vespers for the Prophet Elias on July 20.
So I would make the first comma end on Di, and then the semicolon end on Pa.

Besides, doing this (i.e., having the cadence for a comma on Di and the cadence for a semicolon on Pa) is exactly what Chrysanthos recommends in section 414 of his Theoretikon Mega. I've attached an English translation of it to this post. This text uses the following translation for musical terms:
ἀτελὴς κατάληξις = imperfect cadence (i.e., a medial cadence not on the tonic, or "base note")
ἐντελὴς κατάληξις = perfect cadence (i.e., a medial cadence on the tonic)
τελικὴ κατάληξις = final cadence (i.e., the cadence for the end of the hymn that is to be followed by the priest's petitions).
If I'm not mistaken Chrysanthos doesn't have a separate name for the final cadence of a hymn that is not followed by the priest's petitions. The 1940 theory book Βυζαντινῆς Μουσικῆς Χορδή by Fr. Oikonomos Haralambos, however, uses the term τελικὴ κατάληξις for the final cadence of a hymn that is not followed by the priest's petitions and the term ληκτικὴ κατάληξις for the final cadence of a hymn that is not followed by the priest's petitions.
 

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frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#5
Dear Samuel,

Here are my suggestions:

1. Line two on page 1 has the melody: Ga-Di-Ga-Di-Ga-Di. This type of heirmologic bridge (in addition to being monotonous) is not be found in traditional Byzantine music. Two alternate heirmologic bridges come to mind:
the Di
me- Ke
mo- Zo
ri- Ke
al Di
of Ga
the Di
OR:
the Vou
me- Ga
mo- Di
ri- Di
al Di
of Ga
the Di
When building a heirmologic bridge, it is important to bear in mind which syllables need to be melodically emphasized, and also how a note in such a bridge can be melodically emphasized. To be specific, there are basically four ways (if I haven't forgotten about any):
1. Using an ison or an oligon with a psefiston (i.e., placing it on the downbeat, followed by at least two descending notes)
2. Using a petaste (or an ison above a petaste) (i.e., placing it on the downbeat, followed by one descending note)
3. Using an oligon followed by one ison (or several consecutive isons).
4. Simply having it on the downbeat.​

2. The melody between the martyria on line 4 and the martyria on line 6 does not sound right. The problem is that you're using two sticheraric formulas between the two martyrias that don't blend well together. In general, the way to compose a sticheraric melody is to break down the text into bite-size pieces. A bite-size piece is one that doesn't have too many syllables left after you take care of its final syllables with a sticheraric formula. Those extra syllables are usually turned into a heirmologic bridge. Rarely will you use a sticheraric formula for them, especially in cases like this one, where trying to use a sticheraric formula results in using the number "3" to join it with the sticheraric formula for the final syllables.
So, the upshot of what I'm saying is that you need to use a heirmologic bridge for the syllables "James the A-". I would do something like this:
and Ga
of Di
James Ke
the Di
A- Di

3. There's something not quite right about the melody on lines 7 and 8, but I'm having a hard time pinpointing exactly what the problem is. Can anyone else help us pinpoint it?
From a purely melodic point of view, the melody would sound smoother if the first note in line 8 didn't have a klasma. But I suppose you sort of need it, considering that this is where there is a comma in the text.
Well, if no one else can think of something better, we can leave this as it is. The only minor suggestion I would make is to change the melody for the syllable "teach-". Since you use this exact same melody for the syllable "Da-" of "David", for the sake of variety you could use a slightly different melody. What I have in mind is one of the other options in red for the 0X010 melody on p. 566 of the formulas.

Everything else turned out beautifully! Thank you.
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#7
There's something not quite right about the melody on lines 7 and 8, but I'm having a hard time pinpointing exactly what the problem is. Can anyone else help us pinpoint it?
The only thing that bothers me about this line is that there is a musical break between "from error" and "by their teachings." Both of these short prepositional phrases are associated with the clause "having been freed," so it is awkward that one of them is closely connected to the clause but that the other comes after a musical break, especially since both prepositional phrases are short in length. The fact that there is a whole musical line dedicated to the very short prepositional phrase "by their teachings" also makes the piece more choppy overall, especially since at the beginning there is a far longer sentence fragment ("the memorial ... David") which only has one musical line.

To make this phrase smoother, we could use an heirmologic bridge "pa dhi ga dhi ke ke" for "for having been freed from," followed by the 10X010 formula on page 553 (perhaps the second variation in red) for "error by their teachings."

I also noticed that you used a 1001 formula for "glorify Christ" on line 8. This is slightly problematic for me because the word "Glorify" has secondary stress on the second-to-last syllable ("1011"). I am admittedly still developing my thoughts on how to handle secondary stress in Byzantine music compositions in English, but for the time being I would suggest a 1010 formula for these words rather than a 1001 formula.
 
#8
I also noticed that you used a 1001 formula for "glorify Christ" on line 8. This is slightly problematic for me because the word "Glorify" has secondary stress on the second-to-last syllable ("1011"). I am admittedly still developing my thoughts on how to handle secondary stress in Byzantine music compositions in English, but for the time being I would suggest a 1010 formula for these words rather than a 1001 formula.
I disagree with this because if one reads it out loud, "Christ" gets much more emphasis than "-fy". I could maybe understand this logic if the word wasn't "Christ". I took a brief glimpse through the 1010 formulas available on the Di-Di section of Pl. 2nd and none of them felt comfortable to me.
 

frephraim

Παλαιό Μέλος
#9
I took a brief glimpse through the 1010 formulas available on the Di-Di section of Pl. 2nd and none of them felt comfortable to me.
I agree with your opinion that the secondary accent on "-fy" is less important than the accent on the word "Christ."
But what do you think about using the second 1010 formula on p. 564? Because its melody for the final two syllables is the same melody shaded in green on p. 524 (in which either of those syllables could be accented), the second-to-last syllable does not sound overemphasized to my ears.
 
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