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Moderated Forums => Oriental Orthodox Discussion => Topic started by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 12:45:44 PM

Title: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 12:45:44 PM
I've been looking for Armenian Chant online, but while I've been able to find some, it is almost always accompanied by instruments, especially the organ. Are all Armenian Churches like this?

Also, it seems to me that the Armenian Chanting style sounds a lot more similar to Western Style chanting than even their neighbors (Georgians). Lastly, I remember someone saying that the Armenian Churches also cross themselves like the Roman Church.

What is the reason for these differences? What kind of contact has the Armenian Church had with the Roman Catholics? Why does it seem so different than the Georgian, Greek and Russian Churches? (obviously I realize it's an Oriental Church, but it's still in close proximity to the others)
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 25, 2011, 01:13:11 PM
I've been looking for Armenian Chant online, but while I've been able to find some, it is almost always accompanied by instruments, especially the organ. Are all Armenian Churches like this?
Organs have only been in use in the Armenian Church since the 1890's, and only sanctioned for use since the (I believe) 1920's.  I can find a more definitive date, but that's what sticks out in my mind.  It's common in Armenia, too, even in small village churches.  If I'm not mistaken, one of the first places where organs were used in worship was in India. 

As for other instruments, the only others that have liturgical use are fans with bells, cymbals, and (now quite rare) bells.  If you're finding examples of "Armenian Church music" with stringed instruments and drums and such, those are just popular recordings of Church hymnography, not liturgical examples.

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Also, it seems to me that the Armenian Chanting style sounds a lot more similar to Western Style chanting than even their neighbors (Georgians). Lastly, I remember someone saying that the Armenian Churches also cross themselves like the Roman Church.
I don't know about it being more "Western Style."  Armenian chanting is certainly far more "Middle Eastern" sounding than you'd find in Byzantine or Western traditions, but that's just to my ears.  And, yes, Armenians cross themselves left-right, not right-left.

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What is the reason for these differences? What kind of contact has the Armenian Church had with the Roman Catholics? Why does it seem so different than the Georgian, Greek and Russian Churches? (obviously I realize it's an Oriental Church, but it's still in close proximity to the others)
Armenians encountered Rome through the Crusades, as well as the fact that the Armenian Church's historical territories stretched over a very, very wide territory, and took bits and pieces of things they liked into their tradition.  The most obvious example being the bishop's mitre, which is identical to those worn in the Catholic Church.  For most of their history, Armenians coexisted or were under the domination of other faiths and ethnic groups, so it's pretty natural that some things would find their way into usage in our church.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 03:53:28 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 25, 2011, 04:10:57 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?
Why would there be?
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Salpy on July 25, 2011, 04:13:55 PM
Some liturgical music without the organ:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9840.msg290789.html#msg290789

I prefer the singing without the organ.  I kind of wish there had been some resistance against that particular western influence.   :)
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Salpy on July 25, 2011, 04:16:10 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?

The borrowings had to do with external things, rather than substantive doctrine.  For that reason, I don't believe it was a big deal.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 04:27:55 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?
Why would there be?

While organs have been a part of Christian worship since the 7th Century, they've traditionally been in Western churches. I'm someone that believes that as Orthodox, we should avoid virtually any and all post-schism influences by the Western churches. (I would prefer all pews and organs be sold off, and all westernized icons be painted over, but that is another debate)

I know the Coptic Church and Ethiopian Churches have tambourines and drums in worship. But I was just curious as to why the Armenian Church seemed to have both guitar and organ in its worship. (in addition to its chant being somewhat Western-sounding)

I didn't know if maybe the Armenian Church had been a part of the RCC at one point, or what the reason might have been.

Thank you for giving me links to the chant without the instruments!
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Salpy on July 25, 2011, 04:32:47 PM
Armenians don't use guitar in worship.

The Copts have the triangle, and the Ethiopians drums, but I've never seen tambourines.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 04:34:07 PM
Armenians don't use guitar in worship.

The Copts have the triangle, and the Ethiopians drums, but I've never seen tambourines.


Ah, I guess it was cymbals I heard, not tambourines..

http://ajaxyouth.webs.com/cymbalandtriangle.htm

http://youtu.be/JpfXDkvzT3U
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Salpy on July 25, 2011, 04:47:13 PM
Regarding whether Armenian chant sounds more Western or Eastern, I can't really say.  I've always thought Armenian chant was just very unique and sounds different from anything else I've ever heard.

I'm not even remotely an expert in our chant, but it is my understanding that the Armenians in what is today Armenia do chant a little differently from how the Armenians from Western Armenia (what is today Eastern Turkey) chanted.  You'll hear the elderly Armenian deacons from Istanbul chant like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIad6wy-SOY

That's the sort of chant I grew up hearing, and it is how my grandfather, who was born in  Eastern Turkey, used to sing his prayers.  I don't think, however, that you will hear that in today's Republic of Armenia.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: 88Devin12 on July 25, 2011, 04:51:59 PM
Regarding whether Armenian chant sounds more Western or Eastern, I can't really say.  I've always thought Armenian chant was just very unique and sounds different from anything else I've ever heard.

I'm not even remotely an expert in our chant, but it is my understanding that the Armenians in what is today Armenia do chant a little differently from how the Armenians from Western Armenia (what is today Eastern Turkey) chanted.  You'll hear the elderly Armenian deacons from Istanbul chant like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIad6wy-SOY

That's the sort of chant I grew up hearing, and it is how my grandfather, who was born in  Eastern Turkey, used to sing his prayers.  I don't think, however, that you will hear that in today's Republic of Armenia.

Listening to the chant posted in that other thread, I would say Armenian Chant definitely doesn't sound Western, I think it may have been the other videos on YouTube that I was listening to (that were accompanied by organs) that threw me off.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 27, 2011, 02:41:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIad6wy-SOY

That's the sort of chant I grew up hearing, and it is how my grandfather, who was born in  Eastern Turkey, used to sing his prayers.  I don't think, however, that you will hear that in today's Republic of Armenia.
Why not?  Sounds pretty much akin to what I'm used to hearing here in America, and fairly consistent with what I heard when I was in Armenia...
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Salpy on July 27, 2011, 04:48:18 PM
See VasnTearn's reaction to that hymn in the OO Music thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9840.msg337056.html#msg337056

I assumed her reaction meant that this sort of chant wasn't used in Armenia.  I haven't been there, so I wouldn't know personally.   :)
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 27, 2011, 05:01:34 PM
Well, of course there are differences in style and such, especially when we're talking Istanbul tradition, but it's not drastically different (nor necessarily readily discernible) from what you hear in Armenia.  Or Jerusalem, for that matter.  There are peculiarities to all of it.  But at their base, it's all essentially the same.  I don't hear in that recording much of a difference from what one would hear in Armenia, Jerusalem, Istanbul, or even Antelias. 

As for Komitas and the references in the thread you posted, one must remember he did the majority of his field work in specific places and built his interpretation of "true" Armenian liturgical musical tradition on those regions.  And being that most of his field notes and intended writings on those topics were ultimately lost, and his setting of the Badarak assembled in its final form by Wardan Sarxian, we'll never really know for sure what exactly that interpretation actually was. 
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: CoptoGeek on July 28, 2011, 07:54:30 AM
Where would the chanting of the Mekhitarist Fathers fit in? Is it considered authentic Armenian Chant?
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 28, 2011, 12:20:29 PM
Where would the chanting of the Mekhitarist Fathers fit in? Is it considered authentic Armenian Chant?
I'm not sure of the peculiarities of San Lazarro or the Mekhitarists in Vienna, but as Armenian Catholic liturgical practice is nearly identical to the Armenian Church, it's just as authentic.  I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't be considered "authentic." 
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Orthodox11 on July 28, 2011, 12:58:40 PM
Went into an Armenian church in the centre of Tbilisi yesterday. The priest had an amazing voice. The Russian-sounding choral stuff with the organ is really not my thing, but old school Armenian chant is great.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: CoptoGeek on July 28, 2011, 01:50:54 PM
Where would the chanting of the Mekhitarist Fathers fit in? Is it considered authentic Armenian Chant?
I'm not sure of the peculiarities of San Lazarro or the Mekhitarists in Vienna, but as Armenian Catholic liturgical practice is nearly identical to the Armenian Church, it's just as authentic.  I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't be considered "authentic." 

Great. I have a CD of theirs that's absolutely beautiful.  It appeared to me that they were very faithful to the Armenian "old school" type chanting, but just wanted to make sure.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: kijabeboy03 on July 28, 2011, 05:59:15 PM
The singing in that YouTube link is divine! Our parish in Addis Abeba (St. Kevork) had a great choir for its sadly diminished size, but the organ definitely gave things a different feel.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: kijabeboy03 on July 28, 2011, 06:00:19 PM
"Our" might not be the right word for me to use. I enjoyed St. Kevork's a great deal (much more so than the Greeks' church down the road!), but I never attended there regularly - it was much easier to get to the neighborhood Ethiopian Orthodox church :-).
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Robb on July 28, 2011, 06:29:07 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?
Why would there be?

The Armenian Church has, since Medevil times borrowed heavily from the liturgical and sacramental practices of the Latin Church.
Title: Re: Armenian Church - Questions...
Post by: Aram on July 28, 2011, 07:41:28 PM
Was there at least some resistance against these influences from Roman Catholicism?
Why would there be?

The Armenian Church has, since Medevil times borrowed heavily from the liturgical and sacramental practices of the Latin Church.
"Borrowed heavily" is a bit of an exaggeration, in my opinion, but you're not incorrect.