/ omments by G. K. Michalakis on K. Katsoulis' audio lesson on Syneptygmenos Rhythm
Constantinos KATSOULIS describes how syneptigmenos is presented in composition, and that it basically means "regrouping simple measures" into more complicated ones. These are divided by INTERNAL simple diastoles with a circonflex above them, showing their inter-dependence as well as outer, double diastoles, showing the OVERALL, regular structure.

Note the word "podas" = foot, and the association of musical rhtyhm with dance.

What will follow is a parallelism between Constantinos KATSOULIS' descriptions and GKM's description of psaltic as well as folkloric dance practice (GKM studied Hellenic dances ever since elementary school [Saturday and Sunday afternoons, along with teachers from the Athenian Academia [NOTHING to do with Karas et al] who were brought to Montreal to teach the young Helleno-Canadians] and even taught for some years during his University studies. He was also taught by hisis mother, Sotiria, who had studied Hellenic Dancing in Sparti and Crete).

The steps taken during a dance are what determine the "internal diastoles"... Kalamatianos proceeds by 3 steps, Tsamikos by 2, Tsakonikos [definitely from Antiquity] by 4, all of which one the STEPS is always of LONGER duration (the first in Klamatianos and Tsamikos, the last in Tsakonikos). The number of "unit durations" included within the Long and short "steps =diastoles", as well as their prolongations, will give rise to different "composite rhythms". These rhythms become even more complex in Oriental music, because one not only takes into consideration the unit DURATIONS and their distributions into "steps", but also the percussion frequency (dioum – tek), which provides a rhythmo-melodic support for memorizing otherwise complex compositions.

The following sound clips are from www.ieropsaltis.com:

Listen to the following example of Kalamatianos

ΤΙΤΛΟΣ: Καλό ταξίδι μάτια μου... Καλαματιανό του 1938.
ΚΛΑΡΙΝΟ:Δημήτρης Ανεστόπουλος.
ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ:Ρίτα Αμπατζή.
ra (770ΚΒ)
as well as to the following example of Syrtos

ΤΙΤΛΟΣ: Έλα βαπόρι πάρε με... Συρτό του 1938 σε 9σύλλαβα δίστιχα που ανά δύο αποτελούν μουσική ενότητα.
ra (718ΚΒ)

Compare the above to the following, which presents multiple compound rhythms, which, regardless of their alternance, can all be danced according to a big + small +small circular motion, just like syrtos Makedonikos (Even though the title here is "arapikon" because it is based on an Arabic song... it should be known that one of the most ancient classical Arabic music is that of Andalousia, one of the main schools being in Fez, Morocco, with the well known teacher Raïs [ra (20.1M)], and who all recognize the profound influence Byzantine Music has had in the foundations of their music). See this diagram of folk music rhythms [jpg, 250 Kb].
ΤΙΤΛΟΣ: Αμάν Αννίτσα... Χαρακτηρίζεται σαν "αράπικο".
Ηχογράφηση του 1934.
ΣΥΝΘΕΣΙΣ:Σταύρου Παντελίδη.
ΟΥΤΙ:Αγάπιος Τομπούλης.
ΚΑΝΟΝΑΚΙ:Λάμπρος Σαββαΐδης.
ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ:Ρίτα Αμπατζή.

ra (763ΚΒ)
Now, let’s analyse syrtos Kalamatianos.

3 + 2 + 2
the first 3 is mostly 2+1

How can we count this?

By doing "schola", monosimos, which would mean
3 + 2 + 2
That is 7 motions of the hand for this complex measure
(Thesis-Mesis-Arsis)- (Thesis –Arsis)- (Thesis-Arsis)
Triangle (Waltz) – March - March
This rhythm is typical of Greece, hard to find in other traditions, by what I’ve been told...

Although it comes from Antiquity, most melodies seem to be in plagal second, and many like to consider this as a "Byzantine melody"... I leave this to those who "keep and disseminate" according to books... I will describe what our basic "choriatis" =villager plays while the others dance according to what they’ve SEEN and HEARD... (even if they can’t read...) Therefore, let’s have a look at the PRACTICE of this "rhythmos": when dancing, we only take THREE steps per ovarall "complex"measure (included within doulbe diastoles).

The first step lasts longer, and we get into by SKIPPING... Thus, the preparation phase (LIPSIS Chronou= Engagement into tempo) is FUNDAMENTAL so as to dance "syrtos Kalamatianos correctly).The other two steps are of shorter duration. So, during one full measure, we are on one foot for the IMORTANT first step, and on the NEXT measure, we are on the Alternate foot (because there are 3 steps, = and ODD number, therefore, the feet alternate for every FIRST step).

The musician and the dancer do EVERYTHING to make sure there is a very intense STEP number one (FIRST = PRINCIPLE step) Therefore, they count 3 steps, which is like saying they count only 3 circles: the first one is LARGE and the other two small.

(Thesis-Mesis-Arsis) becomes Circle number one
followed by (Thesis –Arsis) which is now Circle number two
and then by (Thesis –Arsis) which is now Circle number three

This REGROUPING of units gives us "syneptigmenos". Instead of using circles, Constantinos KATSOULIS describes that the above can be counted using a triangular motion..; the first movement lasts longer, and the other two are of equal duration.

Notice that the fundamental unit of time is CONSTANT in the KATSOULIS description, and that it is used to extend the first motion. This does NOT account for rubato in syneptigmenos. "Rubato" on syneptigmenos FURTHER requires UNequal, that is, VARIABLE distribution within EACH of the three "circles" = motions of the complex measure.

This can be obtained by accelerating/decelerating one part of EACH motion (circle) and COMPENSATING by the opposite speed on the OTHER part of the motion. This gives a NEW, hard to describe INTERNAL rhythm, which is NOT regular throughout the melody, because MANY combinations, - including no acceleration/deceleration at all - are possible. In other words, this "Rubato" can only be LEARNT by heart, and cannot be "put on paper"...

Yet, this is what seems to be happening in Gregorian paleography... One simply gives the double diastoles by counting trisimos in MOST compositions; and then applying internal small, big, very big circles of varying acceleration/deceleration WITH or WITHOUT compensation, according to what the manuscript prescribes ("acceleration" is indeed one of the very terms used in Gregorian Paleography).

And we thus finally get the famous "syneptigmenos" whcih is NOT in the books for us, of Oriental tradition, but in our masters’ ears and brains... Here is an attempt of mine to find some "coherence" with what Angelos BOUDOURIS describes. It’s open to discussion, and Shota has already given pertinent comments/doubts.

The ways to differentiate all these types of CHRONOS counting is to consider what is included between ONE full cyclical motion of the hand, where each return to the lowest point of departure is considered as THESIS... the arsis is all the REST, and not just the thesis ANTIPODAL position .....

This is my PERSONAL view: One must not confuse RHYTHMOS with Chronos... Rhythmos is a COMPOSITION characteristic... One may however CHANT a given composition (be it of Fixed or of Variable rhythmos) in one of MANY types of chronos, depending on the TIME of the service, and according to traditional prescriptions.

Here are some types of CHRONOS:

Monisimos Chronos (coined by scientific researcher ¨PanayiotisD. PAPADIMITRIOU, Ph.D.): GKM: one full cyclical motion includes only ONE beat, ONE note = one ISSON... this gives rise to "scola" = a scholarly, "dry" way of chanting...
Haplos Chronos = GKM: one full cyclical motion includes TWO or THREE or FOUR beats, according to the composition... they are all EQUALLY distributed within this Cyclical motion, and the SAME UNIT durations apply to the NEXT measure ...
According to my PERSONAL view, once again, , the above constitute the ""kata chronon" type of counting time while INTERPERTING psaltiki, which Angelos BOUDOURIS mentions (brought to our knowledge by Dimitrios KOUBAROULIS, Ph.D.; all this is my view about hat I THINK Boudouris is describing.)

This is according to what I’ve SEEN (and heard at the same time): By extension, thesis to thesis inclusion of a combination of Notes, of either ONE or more than one COMPOSITIONAL Rhythmic measures = "kata Rhythmon" according to Boudouris (GKM interpretation), where one "aggregates" many NOTES into one cyclical motion, and REDISTRIBUTES the durations of each note so as to give special effects... sometimes, there is even REGROUPING of subsequent cyclical motions, thus leading to LARGER groups of notes... one obtains a sort of RUBATO WITHIN a cyclical motion... this can only be learned by sitting beside a good teacher...

thesis to thesis with variant INTRINSIC, TEMPORAL prolongations/abbreviations, learned by tradition = "syneptigmenos chronos": (a type of "Syneptigmenos Chronos Kratimatos", which has been ERRONEOUSLY reduced to DYSIMOS by the paleographico-ornitho-skalismatologists,and "waltzy" trisimos by some xenomaniac Athonites, who sometimes sing as if completely VOID of ALL vital energy...

"Syneptigmenos Chronos Kratimatos "HAS a bit of ALL that rhythm during INTERPRETATION AS WELL ASMANY other complex rhythms from one thesis to the next, where GREAT number of DURATION prolongation/abbreviation COMBINATIONS are possible, and where the Psaltis ALWAYS keeps the Dysimos and Trisimos durations in mind as a REFERENCE, and AVOIDS using these two REFERENCES extensively (sometimes, one may even avoid them completely...) CONTRARILY to what is done today by the various "Byzantine music" "gurus" (I repeat all this so that it will really "sink in"...)

"Syneptigmenos chronos" of the verses, which is a type of RUBATO, where one prolongs accentuated syllables AT THE EXPENSE of non accentuated syllables,
but which is NOT eleftheros chronos, and definitely not just simply cut time.

All in all, "Syneptigmenos chronos" is AT least TEMPO acceleration and, at most, a PARTICULAR way of redistributing note durations (regardless of their EQUALITY in terms of composition) within a cyclical CHRONOS counting movement. Therefore, "syneptigmenos chronos" is NOT just simply CUT TIME....,

There is also "eleutheros chronos" = free chronos", which still provides CORRECT engagement and vowel explosion, yet contains slight variations of tempo as well as added pauses (the cyclical motion can "stop" and restart "without compensation")