Δοξολογία Κοσμά Μαδυτινού σε Πλάγιο του Τετάρτου Χρωματικό / Doxology of Kosmas Madytinos in Plagal Fourth Mode
The Doxology in question belongs to bishop Kosmas of Madytos (second half of the 19th c.). Soon after its appearance it became extremely popular on Mt. Athos, the fact attested by it being included in Monk Nektarios' classical Athonite anthology. The Doxology of Kosmas Madytinos exhibits clear secular traits
and is more a song-type. Despite this fact it still is the favourite Doxology of Athonite chanters.
The first weird thing about this Doxology is that it is written in a non-traditional mode: Plagal Fourth Chromatic. The same modal name had been previously used for the equivalent of maqam Souzinak (a mixture of Plagal Fourth Diatonic and Second Soft Chromatic Mode). The most well known example of this Plagal Fourth Chromatic is the Doxology by Gregorios Protopsaltis:
, 1.5 Mb]
Madytinos uses the same name confusingly for a melody that is really Plagal Second Mode Heptaphonon, that is, Plagal Second with melodies that revolve around the heptaphonia (octave up) of its basis note. Even under this explanation the mode is non-traditional, there are not many other pieces in this mode, especially older ones. Anyway, its relationship with Plagal Second Mode does give it an Ecclesiastical flavour and that's probably one of the reasons why it has become popular in Mt. Athos.
In the following we consider the basis of the mode is the well known PA of Plagal Second and not the unusual NH which probably only indicates that the basis should be taken lower to avoid vocal strain. So the notes in parentheses correspond to the notes if the mode was taken from PA and not from NH.
The other weird thing about this Doxology is that it is unclear whether high BOY(=GA') should be sharp (hard chromatic) or natural (diatonic). Although the composer does go into the effort to explicitly notate the high PA(=BOY') flat, he doesn't provide any indication as to the pitch of GA'. Hence the confusion of psaltai that perform it. And first and foremost the Athonites.
The Athonites (listen to the recordings below) sometimes do a high BOY(=GA') and sometimes they do not. Such inconsistencies are typical of Athonites e.g. they generally tend to chant Misaelidis' Axion Estin differently than how it is written. Here is a study of a few places where Dcn. Dionysios Firfiris is inconsistent with his interpretation of the pitch of BOY'(=GA').
[pdf, 3 Mb] (offered by Vasili Zacharis)
Similar inconsistency is observed in the recording of the Danielaioi brotherhood (below). Regardless of that, the question remains: how should that BOY'(=GA') be chanted at least theoretically?
The answer seems to be given by oral tradition and other scores of modern pieces in this mode These include various Axion estin by composers of the 19th and 20th c. For instance, this one by Mitri El Murr here (offered by Tony Badran). This one is titled "Hicazkar" by Murr and it is prescribed as Plagal Second (Heptaphonon due to its melodic structure which is very similar to Georgiadis' Axion Estin below despite that they are prescribed to be in different modes!).
Page 1 [jpg
, 120 Kb]Page 2 [jpg
, 120 Kb]
and the one by Triantafyllos Georgiadis attached below from the Liturgy book of Konstantinos Pringos
[jpg, 2 Mb]
Notice that a soft chromatic fthora is placed on high NH (=PA') to indicate that PA'(=BOY') should be flat and (BOY'=GA') should be higher than diatonic but lower than hard chromatic, therefore, soft chromatic. Chanting it as hard chromatic is also a possibility, that theoretically conforms to the definition of the piece being in Plagal Second Heptaphonon (different from Heptaphonos because it does final cadences on its basis and not an octave up).
There are still psaltai, however, who argue that this mode is not Plagal Second Heptaphonon but Plagal Second "kata to dia pente" (according to the Pentachord system) as it seems to be written in the starting modal martyria. In this case high BOY' (=GA') should always be done as ZW' (flat) i.e. not sharped and they attribute the inconsistencies of Athonite psaltai to locally adjusting the phrases to sound nicer (to avoid the admittedly weird sounding of un-sharped BOY'(=GA')).
See above in the introduction.
Doxology in Plagal Fourth Chromatic Mode chanted by Thr. Stanitsas' choir [rm
, 1.2 Mb]
Doxology, Plagal Fourth Chromatic Mode (Hicazkar - Second Mode according to the Arabs), in Arabic
and Greek [pdf