Movable Ni


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Kind of a silly question...

In western music solfege, you can have a movable Do or static Do. This means that if you are playing or singing a concert "A" (440 Hz) in the key of A major you can sing "Do" because it is the root note of the scale or you can sing "La" with the understanding that the interval between "Si" and "Do" will be a whole step instead of the usual half step.

The same thing exists in Byzantine chant. The book I'm studying from shows a "Static Ni" system and a lot of the instruction I find online uses a "Movable Ni".

I wonder if anyone knows if either system is more traditional than the other.

It's not a matter of tradition. It's rather a matter of range.
The Patriarchal Committee of 1881-83 has set a "standard" that sets Ni=Do (concert pitch 256Hz then) that suits the majority of manly chanting voices. This is in the baritone vocal range.
Tenor voices tend to set Ni=Re or even a bit higher while bass voices go down to Ni=La or even lower.
Yet this is only indicative because of course the cantor sets the base of what is to be chanted according to his personal abilities and vocal range.
The rule to that is that one carefully studies the range of the hymnal to be chanted and then sets the base in a tone that suits one's personal range in order to avoid "growling" or "screaming" tones.
The idea is to keep chanting within a range that makes the outcome dignitive and full of devoutness against a rendition that would suit a secular interpretation.

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Hi Andreas,

Thank you for your answer. I have been wondering about that for a while.

It's sort of embarrassing that the question I mean to ask is actually quite a bit less interesting than the one you answered.

Here is my own illustration and a clip from the book I'm studying from (showing a static Ni system):

Movable Ni vs Static Ni Example.jpg
Movable Ni vs Static Ni Example from book.jpg
The book shows a "Static Ni" system, meaning that the approximate locations of the note names are held in place. In contrast, much of the recordings of experienced chanters chanting paralagi will say things like "Πα γίνεται Δι" ("Pa becomes Di").

I imagine that it's prudent to learn both systems, but I wonder if one is more accepted or more traditional than the other.

Thank you
Figure 7.1 rather shows a "static Pa" since only Pa and its higher and lower triphonies coinside in pitch in both rows.
Anyway the phthora on Pa trasforms it into "Ni" and it's safer to do parallaghi this way Movable Ni vs Static Ni Example from book.jpg
from that point forth, because Pa has now become Ni, and by tradition it's quite easier to sing the right sequence of intervals when the parallaghi doesn't "conflict" with the martyric signs. (as something that has already been "imprinted" to the cantors memory by force of custom).

It would not be bad though to retain in the back of your mind the true nomenclature of the tones sung, expecting a new phthora to modulate things back to their previous pitches, in order that melos conclude at its primal base.