/ omments by G. K. Michalakis on K. Katsoulis' audio lesson on Syneptygmenos Rhythm
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
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
(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
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
.. 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:
(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...
= 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
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
"Syneptigmenos chronos" of the verses
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"
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"
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")