/ Selected translations from Angelos Boudouris' book
On Ioannis Protopsaltis
On Theory, Praxis and Chrysanthos
Ioannis, as his predecessors served well the music of the Great
Church. He belongs to the line of the great Protopsaltai of the Great
Church of the 19th century. He served for many years in the
Patriarchal Church. He was a teacher, had a nice voice ("kallifwnos")
and carried the tradition of the Patriarchate.
Ioannis was also a publisher of musical books. Monumental is his
publication of the 4-volume Pandekte. The pieces of the Pandekte are
classical. The performed exegesis (transcription) may be condensed,
however it encompasses in its musical lines the classical character of
melos ("tin klassikotita tou melous"). It is a blessing that the
publishers of Pandekte did not change any of the pieces and they left
them as Gregorios wrote them. In that, they showed great respect and
that makes this publication superior over any other previous
publication" (dimitri: here Boudouris probably means previous Ioannis'
"The important and great advantages of that publication we read in the
Preface of Pandekte by Theodore Aristokles: Pandekte includes not only
the necessary pieces for the daily usage in Church but also many other
that is useful for the extension and variety of Ecclesiastical
chanting. Most of these pieces were made by the wisest musical
teachers of the ancient Church therefore not only for their art but
also for their ancient age, tehy are invaluable and deserving every
respect and tribute as they were preserved by Divine Providence from
the effect of all-changing time ("tou pandamatoros chronou")"
"For the wider distribution of his new publications, Ioannis had the
custom of attempting improvements "kallwpismon" on the ecclesiastical
chants included in his books. This action of the Protopsaltis can be
seen, without fear of judgment, as an innovation of Ioannis, which
changed the musical lines of the chants, transcribed from Petros'
notation. Through his improvements he claimed that he presented the
melos more musical ("mousikwteron") and more artistic
("texnikwteron"). Justifying himself for his innovation he wrote in
the Preface of the Heirmologion 1839: "Becasue some musicians are
chanting out of rhythm ("paratonws") and overlooking commas and
periods they don't pronounce the words and their meanings naturally,
for that reason I modified not only the accents of the words suitably
according to the commas and periods but also I improved the pieces
according to the way they are already chanted in the Great Church".
And he adds this: "I undertook this publication which I enriched by
improving ("oper kallwpisas eploutisa").
"Such modifications attempted on the ancient melos affected not only
the rhythm and the movement of the melody in many places but in some
places changed the expressibility ("ekfrastikotita") of the melos
itself. In general, the improvements and innovations of Ioannis
publications, despite the variety they presented in comparison with
the older publications, they are deemed by us as having contributed to
the change ("alloiwsin") of the ancient melos which was given to us by
the transcriber teachers."
"Living in a time not very distant from that of the transcribers,
Ioannis should have published exactly what he had received from them,
without any addition, respectfully and fanatically. His commercial
calculations however won against the professional conservatism of the
teacher. His publications are also blamed "katakrinontai" for the fact
that they worked as a precedent for his successors who went on to
publish their own books professing themselves as music-publishers
"Ioannis did not only innovate in his publications where he "improved"
the ancient melos but he badly served the Church from a technical
perspective as well. He abolished the limits between the various kinds
of composition. He was the first to mix papadic lines into sticheraric
"As for the old melodies, one should not expect to learn them first
theoretically and then practically. Indeed, no. As with any other art,
the same holds for music; with practice one can gets to learn it.
Here, the things that take precedence are practice ("praxis"),
exercise ("askesis"), aural training ("akoustiki synitheia") and
application through the vocal instrument. Here, the theory of music
does not play a role. Because theory is the sum of knowledge acquired
through practice and exercise of the various melodies. The theory of
music is known well by the master of this art who, without doubt,
knows well ("katexei") the musical praxis in full."
"Contrary to what happened in the past, modern people want to learn
the BM art from theory books. They assume and consider it guaranteed
that from books alone they will be able to master the secrets and the
details of this music. This is a vain hope. Such books, detailed and
written with such a technical musical goal, do not exist. (dimitri: 19
"The few theoretical writings that exist are incomplete ("elliph") and
unsuitable ("oxi katallhla") to teach BM because these books fall
behind ("kathysteroun"). Books always fall short in comparison to
practice in the musical art, as art. The writers cannot, even if they
wanted to do so, expose what happens in the art as a whole. Art is
unbound ("adesmeuth") and unlimited ("aperioristos"). Its range is
that of long-year practice on it. It is learnt only by the great
technical ("texnhtas") musicians, from the masters. Which theoretical
book writes in a detailed manner for a musician this way to mastering
("myhsin") all the secrets of his art? None whatsoever. Besides, the
master is a master for himself. He has the right ("dikaioutai") to own
("katexei") the secrets of his art. In other words, art is not learnt
with books. Nobody can achieve to learn an art without devoting to its
practice. Without putting effort, great effort combined with patience
and perseverence indeed. Learning an art is the result of will, first
and foremost, then exercise ("askisews"), continuous exercise. Every
art is first praxis, first exercise and then gradually becomes theory.
("kai vathmidon ginetai theoria"). That's how music always evolved as
an art. This art was not written, was not notated, however it was
exercised in practice."
"... to chant the exegemena (analytic) texts, a written guide was
needed for the students of the new method."
"Such a guide was edited by Chysanthos of Madytos. Unfortunately,
despite his scientific theological education, he found it tough
("epelagwsen") in the work he had undertook. Inadvertedly he got
perplexed inside mathematical calculations in his effort to define the
scales of Ecclesiastical music. His theory book did not manage to
facilitate the students regarding the practice of this art. Rather the
opposite happened, he made it more difficult and complex."
"Chysanthos' failure ("apotyxia") to define existing knowledge of the
theory and practice of Ecclesiastical music was primarily due to the
fact that he wasn't a master of this music, which was always developed
and preserved up to his age, by the Patriarchal teachers. Chrysanthos
was totally ignorant ("pantelws amyhtos") regarding the Byzantine
musical art. It is therefore totally anticipated for his theoretic
work to contain different things from those relevant to the practice
of the Eccl. melos. He didn't know that, with their exercise and
practice, the Patriarchal teachers were following different
fundamentals ("akolouthousan allas vaseis") regarding the Byzantine
musical system. As a result, chaos was observed regarding the
execution of Eccl. melos, from students of BM using Chrysanthos'
On his own notation
"The notation of the exegetai (Gregorios and Xourmouzios), is based on
that of Petros Labadarios. However, certain signs of the old notation
were rejected *although they were useful
and necessary* for the
pronunciation ("apaggelia") of ecclesiastical melos. The exegetai used
only those signs from the old notation to show the "quantity"
("poson") of melos. The signs related to the rendering ("parastasin")
of the "quality" ("poiotita") they didn't use, *as they should have
done*. That is the cause of what is happening today. Those who chant
from the analytic ("exegemena") notation interpret them strictly,
following the writing of the exegetes (transcriber) in a dry and deaf
manner without any *variety* and analysis of the lines. And that is
because the purpose of the exegesis was to capture only the quantity
"With time, a difference was observed with respect to the
interpretation of ecclesiastical chant. Those who learnt from
transcribed texts were chanting pieces differently ("kata allin
vasin"). Those that learnt from Petros' texts, were chanting according
to the ancient tradition ("opos ta dietirisen i arxaiotera paradosis").
"In contrast to the non-Patriachal psaltai, the Patriarchal teachers
preserved the ancient tradition as that was captured by Petros' notation."
"Even after the death of the last master of Petros' notation, Nikolaos
Stogiannou Labadarios, the succesor Patriarchal psaltai preserved the
older tradition. This is explained by the fact that ** although they
would see texts in the new notation, they would interpret them
according to Petros' notation **".
"That is the cause of the difference between the Patriarchal and
non-Patriarchal psaltai. The former making an impression with their
rendering of the pieces unlike the latter who didn't succeed to
present the pieces nicely ("terpna") and pleasurable to the listeners
("kai euxarista eis tous akroatas")"
"From the above we conclude that Ecclesiastical chant is ** badly
chanted and badly represented ** due to the shortcomings of the
notation of the transcribers. And while this is the case, we will
never achieve the goal of uniform chanting in all churches in general.
On this, I believe that the problem can only be addressed by one means
, not without its difficulties. All chants must be captured
appropriately and suitably as dictated by the Patriarchal tradition.
Only then we will achieve a uniform system of chanting".
"... This notation, is based ("sthrizetai") on the notation of Petros
Labadarios and those after him Petros Byzantios and Manouel Byzantios,
enhanced ("symplhroutai de") with the advantages of the notation of
the exegetai. I believe that this combined notation achieves to
capture the ancient melos of tradition as per quantity, quality,
chronos and rhythm (dimitri: see comments below) suitably. This
notation presents the movement of the melody ("thn poreian tis
melwdias") on the basis ("epi th vasei") of Petros' notation and it
manages to capture the traditional ly still preserved melos in the
Patriarchal church in the days of my teacher Iakovos Nafpliotis. This
notation can be called from now on the notation of the musical
tradition ("h grafh tou melous ths mousikhs paradosews"). This
notation that I am using in the composition of the melos of tradition,
was approved and considered as very ecclesiastical and suitable and
simple and easy by my teacher Iakovos to whom I respectfully submitted
texts written in this notation. After his approval I started writing
down the various musical pieces."
In the previous paragraph he defines the difference between chronos
"It is observed that every ecclesiastical piece goes according to a
specific rhythmic pattern ("wrismenon rythmikon typon"), defined by
the time units ("xronikwn moriwn") of each rhythm ("rhythmikou
podos"). The time units ("xronika moria h xronikai monades") taken
("lamvanomena") in a systematic fashion form the rhythm. *Every
troparion can be chanted by chronos ("kata xronon") and by rhythm
("kata rythmon")*. However, what dominates in the musical melos of the
troparion is the rhythm which is given to it during chanting by the
psalti who is chanting it."
On Petros' connection with dervishes
"... in his funeral, held at the Patriarchal church were present also
Ottoman musicians, dervishes of the Tekkes* and Bektashi dervishes who
followed up to the grave. These, in memory of their beloved teacher
erected a most-luxurius ("polytelestaton") monument in the front yeard
of the sometime ago famous Tekke of Youstek (?) Kaldirim of Peran
close to todays' railway station of the Tunnel. On that monument there
were verses in Arabic to remind that ".. here sang ("etragwdouse") the
beautifully-voiced nightingale ("kallikelado aidoni") of the East, our
great ("megas") teacher, Petros of Peloponnese. May God rest his soul."
(Cf. Patris newspaper of Athens, year A', period D', number 97, 10 Jun
* A "Tekke" is a dervish place of gathering for worship and
On G. Raidestinos' forced resignation
"G. Raidestinos Protopsaltis in the position of Protopsaltis had a
great career ("dieprepse") and honoured his officio (rank), because in
general he performed adequately ("antapekrineto") in the majestuous
services ans ceremonies of the Great Church. He was uncontensted in
his work. His sacking ("apomakrynsh") by the Patriarch Joakim the 2nd
in 1876 from the patriarchal church, in a time when the class
("falanx") of serious ecclesiastical musician had started to become
sparser, will be very difficult for anybody to justify the act of the
Patriarch. The Patriarch with that punishment of the bad-mannered
("kakotropou") Protopsaltis, did injustice, hurt the music we received
from our fathers, music that was preserved through the ages in the
Great Church unchanged, untouched through its great music teachers.
The Patriarch ousted a "pride" ("en kleos") of the Great Church and
one "glory" of music ("mian doxan mousikin").
On Kyriakos Iwannides ("Kalogeros")
"He was of unknown parents (an illegal child) and was raised under the
care of the Great Church under the Patriarch Anthimos (Koutalianos).
He was given the name Kyriakos (stress at the last o). He attended the
school of Greek Merchants, the central priest school and in the Great
School of the Nation of which he gratuated with excellent marks. He
served as a Patriarchal kanonarchis under Konstantinos Byzantios.
Later he became an immitator of Georgios Raidestenos in wearing a raso
and hat ("skoufon") without being ordained. For that reason he was
often called "o kalogeros" (the monk).
He had a good voice ("kallifonos"), a very powerful voice
("brontofwnos"), an excellent interpreter of the traditional
mathemata, characterised by a serious ("sovaron") ecclesiastical yphos
(style). Unimmitable in the rendition of ecclesiastical chant,
flawless in his chanting. No deviations from the norm, no off-pitch
notes. Everything that Kyriakos chanted was ecclesiastical.
Weird ("idiotropos") in his thinking and idiosyncratic ("idiorythmos")
in his life, he was often changing the churches he was chanting at
because of his weirdness. In chanting, he was always moving or rather
dancing on the analogion.
He served as the right chanter of "Hagia Triada" of Peran reqarded by
15 ottoman golden pounds/month. He had made a good reputation, he
entertained and satisfied the congregation with his chanting. People
were flocking ("etrexe") to hear him as they did for G. Raidesteno of
whom he (Kyriakos) was equal ("efamillos"). In GR's age, when he was
the right chanter of St Nikolaos in Galata, Kyriakos was his left
chanter and managed to immitate him perfectly.
He was contesting GR in reputation whom he exceeded ("yperevainen") in
the fast pieces while GR was better in the slow pieces. Kyriakos was
unimmitable in his chanting, uncontested in chronos when he was
chanting (this last sentence may be translated differently as well
"asynagwnistos de eis ton xronon otan epsalle").
Due to his experience in BM, in 1888 he was meant to be appointed as a
Labadarios of the EP after the retirement of Nikolaos Stogiannou (IN's
teacher). This never happened because of the opposition of G. Biolakis
(dk: who didn't want someone better than him at the left analogion as
AB clarifies elsewhere) who finally brought his own man Aristeides
Nikolaidis as the new Labadarios.
The teacher Kyriakos wes fanatically devoted to the ancient pieces,
not favouring the modern compositions of his time. Althoug he was
better than all, he never blamed any of his colleagues. In his work he
was using the old notation of Petros Labadarios; he wasn't aware of
the new notation.
His was of chanting was imprssive and totally ecclesiastical. He
preserved the Patriarchal yphos till the end. He passed away in the
parish of St Nikolaos (Top Kapi) in his 70s around 1914.
He was one of the most weird in manners among the chanters of his time
and also the most money-hungry. Rumour has it that he divorced his
wife because she ate four fish in one meal.
His students include Triantafyllos Georgiadis, Konstantinos Mpekiaris,
Gerasimos Pavlides and Dimitrios Tsitsos.
Another story about Kyriakos is that once the Patriarch Ioakeim the
3rd saw him wearing a secular cap ("fesi") instead of his usual hat
("skoufo") he told him "Either take off the raso to be exact or wear
the hat so that people can recognise you".
People used to call him "Zeimbekis" because he used to shave very
strangely like an Anatolian Zeimbek and because usually he was scruffy
and dirty "atimelitos kai ligdwmenos"). In Galata, the Cephallonians
would say "let's go to hear Raidesteno, others would say "let's go to
On G. Prwgakis
"The teacher Georgios Progakis was passionate about BM which he served
all his life. He was a fanatical supporter of traditional
ecclesiastical chant. He didn't like innovations on the older musical
lines. Knowledgable teacher, serious musician, with a rather limited
voice. While chanting, he was following the musical line of the text
without any analyseis. As an educated man among his time's psaltai, he
was invited to the Patriarchal commitee of 1881. He was apponted
secretary and editor of the Grammar of our Music by that commitee. As
the music teacher of the Theological School of Chalki, he published in
1909 and 1910 the "Mousike Sylloge", tri-volume collection
(vespers,matins,liturgy) including pieces that represent the pure
traditional melos of our Church music."