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Author Topic: Coptic recordings of Psalms  (Read 3236 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thanatos
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« on: January 21, 2007, 03:33:36 AM »

Hi,

I showed this website to a Coptic friend of mine in Egypt, with recordings of Psalms (accompanied by a lute) on it:

http://www.davidensemble.com/multimedia/complete_albums/psalms/Psalms-Track02.mp3

and he said that they "were Protestant." Vague statement, to say the least. His english isnt 100% great, but I wonder what he meant.  Huh   Perhaps he mean't that they arent traditional pieces? So for all you Coptic Orthodox out there, could you listen to a few and tell me if they sound at all liturgically Coptic Orthodox...or is it some free-stylin' modernizin' piece of work? I cannot judge myself, so I'll leave it up to you guys who have an ear for this.

Peace,
Ioannis/Bryan
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EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2007, 04:47:21 AM »

Quote
I showed this website to a Coptic friend of mine in Egypt, with recordings of Psalms (accompanied by a lute) on it:

http://www.davidensemble.com/multimedia/complete_albums/psalms/Psalms-Track02.mp3

and he said that they "were Protestant."


The Psalms are Protestant?! Wow. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that the Psalms were a product of the Reformation? That the Psalms advocate Protestant theology? I'm not quite sure how else to reasonably take such an absurd conclusion.

Quote
His english isnt 100% great

When zay talk layek zis, do not lissan to za sings zay say.

Kidding...

Quote
Perhaps he mean't that they arent traditional pieces?

The composition is certainly not traditional. But then again, there are many compositions produced within and by the Coptic Orthodox Church only recently, and which are hence not technically "traditional". Some are Liturgical (composed in Coptic, with an evidently Coptic "flavour" and "feel"; i'm not musically-minded so forgive my lack of awareness of the appropriate terms, but essentially what I am trying to say is that to the common ear such hymns are rather indistinguishable from our traditional hymns--I can upload an example for you to download to help you get the drift of what I am saying if you wish), others are just spiritual songs. An example of the former is the hymn known as Apetjeek Evol (which was Liturgically incorporated as a hymn to precede the reading of the Praxis within the last century) which concerns the Incarnation, and another is the very famous spiritual song based upon the poetry of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Kayfa Ansa, which is purposed to inspire reflection and meditation on the Crucifixion of the Lord. Are these these hymns/spiritual-songs somehow any less "Coptic Orthodox" by virtue of their not having beheld the realm existence prior to the last century? Was there a certain expiry date that defined the point in time where the Coptic Orthodox Church could no longer produce hymns and spiritual songs to express her Orthodoxy and glorify God? If so, then when, and why? Or is there a certain amount of time needed to pass before these hymns/songs can be accepted as "traditional" by future generations?

Please note that any sense of sarcasm or mild rebuke conveyed by the tone of the above is certainly not directed to you, Thanatos, but rather to the one who commented in the manner they did.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2007, 04:50:03 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2007, 05:24:06 AM »

P.S. I will try and upload a couple of samples of Psalms chanted according to their traditional Liturgical context; a good friend of mine on this website has already made such a request but I have unfortunately been too flat out to get them uploaded yet.
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"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2007, 06:46:37 AM »

I just discovered that Apetjeek Evol, the Liturgical hymn of the Coptic Orthodox Church that was only incorporated as such in the early 1900's (which I made mention of in my initial post) can be downloaded from the very same website supplied in the OP:

http://www.davidensemble.com/multimedia/complete_albums/hymns_of_basilius_mass/Choir/Track_C12.mp3

I should also make specific mention of the fact that the file of the link provided in the OP is not Liturgical, and the background instruments involved are not permitted Liturgically (the only liturgically permissable instruments are the cymbals and triangle). The purpose of my response was merely to invalidate the argument that the chant is "Protestant" merely because it is not "traditional"; it is certainly legitimate in its capacity as a spiritual song to be chanted in extra-Liturgical Orthodox services (such as youth meetings for example), though it has no specific place in the Liturgy itself (The Psalm reading of the Liturgy has a set melody and style of chant).
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"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Thanatos
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2007, 05:59:47 PM »

Thank you very much Ekhristos for such a thorough response. I will definitely use your points whenever he starts flipping out about it again.  Grin

On top of the conversation, I was also wondering if the Coptic Church and its liturgical life uses an eight-tone system like the Byzantines? Or perhaps also the Syrians because I believe they use a modal system as well.

Thanks a bunch,
Ioannis
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minasoliman
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2007, 06:02:11 PM »

Perhaps, and this is just perhaps, that the way this is sung came from a certain Protestant church in Egypt, and was adapted by the David Ensemble group.  Copts tend to have a stubborn habit that anything Protestants make are evil, when really all the hierarchs are saying is be careful since not everything they sing agrees with Orthodox dogma.

God bless.

Mina
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falafel333
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2007, 08:51:23 PM »

Hi,

I showed this website to a Coptic friend of mine in Egypt, with recordings of Psalms (accompanied by a lute) on it:

http://www.davidensemble.com/multimedia/complete_albums/psalms/Psalms-Track02.mp3

and he said that they "were Protestant." Vague statement, to say the least. His english isnt 100% great, but I wonder what he meant.  Huh   Perhaps he mean't that they arent traditional pieces? So for all you Coptic Orthodox out there, could you listen to a few and tell me if they sound at all liturgically Coptic Orthodox...or is it some free-stylin' modernizin' piece of work? I cannot judge myself, so I'll leave it up to you guys who have an ear for this.

Peace,
Ioannis/Bryan

I think your friend poses a good as well as extremely difficult question...And that question is basically is there a proper form of Orthodox music or chant and what could possibly exclude a particular type or piece of music from ecclesiastical use due to being inappropriate or not being in the spirit of Orthodox music.

I'm sure such a question would require a more musically adept individual than myself...It would require knowledge and understanding of the history and development of music within the church. It would also require a certain spiritual insight and maturity to be able to fathom the power and influence of music and it would also require an almost scientific or technical understanding of the various compositions of music their tones, notes and so forth...

I don't think such an indepth study has ever been performed in the Coptic Church...
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 12:03:32 AM »

Quote
And that question is basically is there a proper form of Orthodox music or chant and what could possibly exclude a particular type or piece of music from ecclesiastical use due to being inappropriate or not being in the spirit of Orthodox music.

What does "Orthodox music" even mean? The melodies, rhythms and style of chant of all the ancient Coptic hymns that are still practiced today were not the product of the Coptic Orthodox Church, but of Pharaonic culture and religion.

Quote
I'm sure such a question would require a more musically adept individual than myself...It would require knowledge and understanding of the history and development of music within the church. It would also require a certain spiritual insight and maturity to be able to fathom the power and influence of music and it would also require an almost scientific or technical understanding of the various compositions of music their tones, notes and so forth.

Are you serious? Do you think that in the mid-first century St. Mark the Apostle sat down with the early Orthodox population of Alexandria, scientifically and technically analysing the composition of Phraraonic music, "their tones, notes and so forth", before they reached a conclusion that it was suitable to be employed Liturgically? Obviously not. I'm sure when the hymn Apetjeek Evol was liturgically incorporated by the Holy Synod in the early 1900's that such was not the case either.

Furthermore, as has already been noted, the hymn in question is not even liturgical. I personally had never even heard it prior to downloading it yesterday. I certainly can find no reasonable or common sense argument as to why it cannot be used for meditation and glorification for personal or extra-liturgical use simply because the music is not "traditional" Coptic music.
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No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Tags: music Coptic music Oriental Orthodox Music Orthodox Music liturgical music Psalms Coptic Orthodox Church 
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