Update on the software-aided comparison of the soft-chromatic intervals (1881, Chrysanthos, Karas)

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
For a significant time, many chanters, musicians and musicologists studying the historical and practical aspects of tonal theory, interval analysis and microtonality in Byzantine Music and its relation to vocal tradition, have yearned for a systematic and scientific comparison among the tonal intervals of the Patriarchal Musical Committee of 1881, Chrysanthos of Madyta and the very recent phenomenon of the "Karas Method".

Specifically, a need existed to reconcile vocal practice and historical audio data with the theory of the intervals. This need was made more acute by the recent propositions of the proponents of the "Karas Method" that vocal tradition is not in line with the interval theory of the 1881 Patriarchal Committee or of Chrysanthos. Rather, the proponents of the "Karas Method" argue that only Karas was correct, using arguments, intervals and "scales" in his two-volume treatise, which forms the backbone of their overall reconsideration of Byzantine Music Theory and Practice.

Towards resolving this issue, a number of chantors, musicians, musicologists and scientists are collaborating using state of the art microtonality software that analyse sound and that reproduce tonal intervals in the context of "test melodies".

We have reproduced "test" musical manuscripts using the intervals of the respective Tone (tetrachords, pentachords, etc) of the 1881 Committee, Chrysanthos, and those of the "Karas Method".

We have used the software MELODOS (http://www.melodos.com/index2.htm) for this project.

We now show the first two outcomes of our research whose first question was which of three post-Byzantine interval representations of the Soft Chromatic Tetrachord is closer to the vocal tradition of the last 60 years using the "classic" Trisagion in Second Tone as well as the "Timiwtera" in 2nd Tone of Damianos of Vatopaidi as the "test" melodies (the latter in response to a request by Mr. Ioannis Arvanitis).

We compared the performance of the test melody by the MELODOS software using the intervals of the 1881 Committee, Chrysanthos (published in his 1832 Theory) and those of the "Karas Method".

Trisagion SOUND FILES:


1881 Committee

1881 Committee (fractions as input)

Chrysanthos (omoies diphonies)

musical text

UPDATE (in response to a request from Mr. Ioannis Arvanitis)


Timiwtera of Damianos of Vatopaidi SOUND FILES

1881 Committee



Omoies Diphones (Xrysanthos)

music manuscript

The conclusion we can make so far is that the intervals of the Patriarchal Committee and Chrysanthos are closer to the vocal tradition of the past 60+ years compared to the output using the intervals proposed by the Karas method.

More test melodies are currently under study.