[Question] Raasted, A Primitive Palaeobyzantine Musical Notation

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#1
I’m looking for this paper: Raasted, J. (1962). A Primitive Palaeobyzantine Musical Notation. Classica et Mediaevalia 23:302-310.

If you are interested why: I identified ca. 10 hymns in one 11th c. Georgian manuscript, that seem to contain the so-called theta notation (of course the “theta” here is written as ”oxeia”). This is something new and interesting. At the moment I won’t go into details why this “oxeia” sign in my manuscript is indeed a musical sign and not a random pen stroke.

05C64743-A9E9-47A0-B55D-5E9FC727F5D3.jpeg
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#3
I think I have a hard copy of it. But I need first find and then scan it. I'll do my best.
(Unfortunately, I'm not able to read your paper in Academia.edu)
Thanks for offering help.

My paper is in Georgian and I’m not sure when I find time to translate it. In any case, it doesn’t deal with a theta notation (?) manuscript, which I discovered recently by accident.

A bigger body of Georgian neumatic manuscripts uses a large number of signs of varying shapes, as seen in the figure below (they are in red ink and hence appear light in the photo)

F80CE602-AE3E-4540-85A8-E8DDF77F4F97.jpeg

Then there are manuscripts, that use signs sparingly in each hymn, but these are still different signs. Like in this example here.

6C0A0EC4-DA02-45AB-9EB2-66CAD4A588C5.jpeg

And finally there is that manuscript I identified (maybe others too?), where the only sign is “oxeia”, and if it occurs, it occurs only once in a hymn. An oxeia-shaped sign can be seen in the above examples too, but clearly there it’s function must be different, as it is one of the most widely applied signs. I think it is natural to link this primitive notational system to the Byzantine theta notation.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#5
My manuscript, Parakletike from A.D. 1044, now kept on Mt. Sinai, is copied in Gethsemane, which is consistent with a "provincial" nature of the theta notation. Furthermore, this notation was widely used in the Melkite milieu, and also Raasted's oldest example, the Princeton Heirmologion fragment from ca. A.D. 800 must be from the Near East. So geographically speaking, my manuscript fits nicely into the picture.

A very interesting point is that the Georgian manuscript doesn't use the Greek letter theta, but an "oxeia" instead, just like the Princeton Heirmologion. As for why the Georgian "oxeia" is a musical sign: some of the stichera equipped with it are contrafacta, and the sign occurs in exactly the same position in them. This rules out a possibility of the sign being placed by chance in hymns.

The most difficult problem would be to identify notated Greek originals of the chants, and I also need to find the fully notated Georgian equivalents, if they exist... quick search didn't give results.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#9
Here is another instance of a theta-like notation in a Georgian manuscript Sin. Geo. O. 5, dated A.D. 1052 and copied in Palestine (I think the fact it is a notated one was missed in the literature, precisely because the number of notated chants and signs is small). It is a translation of a heirmos Παγιοθείσα ρευστή ουσία, a clone of Πεποικηλμένη τη θεία δόξη (or other way around).

230E065C-AFD2-47EB-AEE6-E68F84800A88.jpeg

A single curly sign written below the text line is used, but maybe there is also another sign written in red ink above the same syllable, but not well visible on the black and white photo (I also give a theotokion, where only the curly sign is employed). It goes in the same place and on the same word as the Greek word διο. A mediaeval Byzantine melody that I took from Ioannis Arvanitis’ thesis has a melisma there. Metrically the Georgian translation is divided into cola similar to the Greek version (sometimes in smaller ones, so that you have to combine the two neighboring ones) with the same number of syllables as its counterpart, with one more syllable here and there, but that doesn’t matter. The only difference is that the “Georgian διο” is formally attached to the previous verse, but that doesn’t matter either.

E0C1AAD8-4114-4DA4-AA8B-F7B60B19F21E.jpeg

The curly Georgian sign here clearly functions as a theta notation sign. Graphically it is the same as one neume in the “full” Georgian neumatic notation.
 

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#11
Concerning Georgian neumes and its relationship to theta notation, you might also consult Ekaterine Oniani's article.

I am sorry, but I only know the English translation published in Romania:

http://www.musicologytoday.ro/BackIssues/Nr.20/studies4.php
Thanks. This is useful for a scholar not familiar with Georgian language. But it is also somewhat shallow and at times inaccurate. What Oniani calls a theta sign in 10-11th c. Georgian mss, has been discussed by Georgian philologists. It introduces specific layers of various hymns and is not a musical sign. Whereas the examples I gave in this thread fall perfectly into the theta notation context.
 

Laosynaktis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#14
(Although I suppose you know it) Peter Jeffery has an article on Georgian hymns with some notated examples in JAMS (Journal of the American Musicological Society), 47, no 1 (1994) (and another on "the lost chant tradition of early christian Jerusalem" in Early Music History 11 (1992))
 
Last edited:

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#15
(Although I suppose you know it) Peter Jeffery has an article on Georgian hymns with some notated examples in JAMS (Journal of the American Musicological Society), 47, no 1 (1994) (and another on "the lost chant tradition of early christian Jerusalem" in Early Music History 11 (1992))
I cite his paper in my article, specifically referring to his notated example. And after that I give a similar structural analysis of two new hymns: Georgian translations of Ο εν Εδέμ παράδεισος and a Theophany kanon heirmos.

If I find time to finish another paper, I will give another structural analysis of the Georgian version of Κατακόσμησον τον νυμφώνα σου. For the Greek-Latin parallels see Troelsgård’s article.

https://cimagl.saxo.ku.dk/download/61/61Troelsgard3-48.pdf
 
#16
You might be also interested in these more recent articles:

Dimitrova, Mariana. “Some Observations on the Slavic Sources for Theta Notation.” Scripta & E-Scripta 2006, Nr. 3–4 (2006): 225–37.

Raasted, Jørgen [ed.]. “Theta Notation and Some Related Notational Types.” In Palaeobyzantine Notations - A Reconsideration of the Source Material: Acta of the Second Conference on Byzantine Music Organized by the A. A. Bredius Foundation and Held at Hernen Castel, the Netherlands, in November 1992, ed. Jørgen Raasted and Christian Troelsgård, 57–62. Hernen, 1995.

Jung, Annette. “Kolaphismos: A Long Melisma in a Syllabic Genre.” In Palaeobyzantine Notations III: Acta of the Congress Held at Hernen Castle, The Netherlands, in March 2001, ed. Gerda Wolfram, 4:49–66. Eastern Christian Studies. Leuven, Paris, Dudley, MA: Peeters Publishers, 2004.

In any case I would make a difference between neumatic notation, ekphonetic notation and theta notation.
 
Last edited:

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#17
In any case I would make a difference between neumatic notation, ekphonetic notation and theta notation.
So would I.

Georgian musicologists are correct in noting that the Byzantine ekphonetic notation has signs written below and above the text, and in that respect it is similar to the Georgian notation. But still, the neumation principle is very different in the ekphonetic notation: signs come in pairs, and each of the pair members is placed at the beginning and end of textual cola (of course, there exist less "classical" mss too, that drop one of the signs in a pair, or maybe jointly use more than one sign in one place). This is not so in the Georgian notation, where signs can occur basically anywhere within cola, and there can be more than two signs used. I put this note in my article, but it remains to be seen if I get my message across. Graphically there are non-negligible similarities between Georgian and early Armenian neumes (early means IX-X c.), except that the Georgian notation looks more "developed" overall. Much has been made of the fact that the Georgian notation has neumes placed both above and below the textual line, but by comparing the prosomoia notation, I get an impression (I cannot prove this formally) that this is predominantly a graphical variation, with no significant implications for performance practice: the neumes used below and above the text are mirror images.
 
#18
It is very interesting what you write here.

I was asked to offer an introduction into Georgian church music within a seminary dedicated to Georgian polyphony as intangible cultural heritage (just in 2 hours at the Humboldt-University Berlin).

And I tried to introduce them into the different notation systems, also to prepare them to the fact that the transcription movement of the 19th century could not rely on any notation system which was traditionally accepted.

Here is one slide:
GeorgianNeumes.png
Of course, Zaal Tsereteli's statistic method needs to be questioned, but on first sight it seems that the way this notation signs have to be read is not so different from Western adiastematic notation (especially St Gall notation, where an episema causes a prolongation in time).
 
Last edited:

Shota

Παλαιό Μέλος
#19
I am familiar with Tsereteli’s work, and I find his methodology problematic (better than Ingorokva’s methodology from 1950ies, though, which was based on totally false premises). To me the Georgian signs give a broad reminder of a melody only (as, say, an early adiastematic paleobyzantine notation would do), whereas Tsereteli assigns explicit, fixed energy to them, like in the table you gave. His research is based on ca. 70 heirmoi notated both in the neumatic notation and staff notation transcriptions of the 19th c. He is not clear what amount of “coincidences” he gets, but I would guess in total it’s about 10% scattered around different parts of heirmoi. This doesn’t sound too convincing to me.

What is a disaster is that since Tsereteli’s method of reconstruction indicates a divergence between “medieval” (neumatic) and “modern” (staff notation) melodies, he modifies the latter, typically by substantially simplifying them. This is philologically wrong (but maybe the MMB founding fathers would have liked the attitude?). On a positive side, he at least acknowledges an evolution of the Georgian melodic tradition, a claim that in the 19th c. would most certainly cause a scandal.
 
#20
To me the Georgian signs give a broad reminder of a melody only (as, say, an early adiastematic paleobyzantine notation would do), whereas Tsereteli assigns explicit, fixed energy to them, like in the table you gave.
That is indeed, what I meant, when I made this comparison. St Gall notators might have clarified the meaning by using additional letters like “e” (equaliter) which corresponds to the sign ison in Eastern notation, but usually one might have recognised melodic patterns belonging to a certain mode. It does not mean that the sign itself had such a specific meaning.
 
Top