Psalm 135 Polyeleos (in Greek)


Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
Christ is risen!

I recently finished transcribing (into Western notation) Hieromonk Gregorios Simonopetritis's triple meter arrangement of Psalm 135 (Exomologeisthe to Kyrio), which is attached to this message. I was trying to strike a balance between transcribing what I heard on the recording (from their Αγνή Παρθένε CD; essentially conists of half and quarter notes) and the English version I have from Papa Ephraim and Fr. Seraphim Dedes (more eighth notes, etc).

Any suggestions or corrections would be appreciated, from people who have access to the Psalterion Terpnon and could point out errors in ison, etc (I don't have a copy) or people with good musical ears that can point out errors in my transcription (misplaced notes, etc). Or errors in the spelling and punctuation of my Greek. Or just comments in general, since most people here on Psaltologion are trained psaltis, with the exception of myself! (Almost no practical knowledge of Byzantine chant.)

So, any comments, suggestions, corrections, etc: please, anything and everything is appreciated!



Παλαιό Μέλος
So, any comments, suggestions, corrections, etc: please, anything and everything is appreciated!
Dear Tim,

On first glance, your transcription seems fine overall. I recall starting a transcription of this same piece from the Simonopetra recording in 2005 (!), although I never finished it. I can tell that you have a good ear and that transcribing audio recordings comes naturally to you. But my experience has been that transcribing audio recordings into Western notation is an intellectual dead end. By this I mean that even if someone were to systematically compare your transcription with the original score and the recording and make suggestions, you wouldn't learn anything substantive from the process (in the end you would still be limited to transcribing those pieces which have been already recorded; furthermore, you wouldn't gain any new techniques for doing so more effectively). Because a detailed analysis of your transcription would provide such limited benefit overall, members of this forum may not necessarily be able to devote time to give you the detailed feedback that you have requested. The best suggestion I can make, based on my own years of experience, is that you channel your energy into studying Byzantine music (including Byzantine notation) rather than transcribing audio recordings into Western notation. As I have already mentioned to you, the basics of the notation can be learned in two months. It is true that barriers still exist to learning Byzantine music, but based on what you have displayed so far I am confident that you can overcome them. Once you have mastered Byzantine notation, you will be able to accurately transcribe any Byzantine melody into Western notation without any assistance. As it turns out, transcribing Byzantine melodies into Western notation is primarily an exercise in patience and humility for me these days (as opposed to one of intellect).