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Author Topic: Organs in America  (Read 8220 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 10, 2007, 01:24:38 AM »

Hi, in the past three years, I went to the States on visits. On all times, I've visited various orthodox churches, mostly Greek, but once in a while ANT and OCA. First off, I was appalled by the greek churches using organs and mixed choir ppl wearing these rediculous red knee-high robes. I barely recognized the liturgy apart from what the priest said and even then it seemed a little different. I seriously thought I had entered a RC church-not that that is bad or anything...

in the Antiochian churches there weren't any organs, but I noticed that one part of the liturgy would be byzantine, then russian style music, then this other type of music of a mix of everything in it. I was very confused- why would a parish keep switching singing styles during the Liturgy?? If its Antiochian, shouldn't it be at least partly in Arabic, and if not that, then fully Byzantine- I mean Antiochians always use Byzantine Arabic style, whats up with the Russian music? Not that theres anything wrong with Russian music but I've never heard Russians using byzantine style music in their services.

I've heard of Armenians using organs but that seems traditional for them...I've only ever heard of Copts using organs once...

but going back to that, do the GOA bishops know that this abuse exists in their parishes? Toronto parishes just started to get choirs in the past couple months and the people are not used to them or liking it at all. Neither are the chanters. Now, women read the epistle and are starting to wear pants in church.

Am I over reacting or are these things even an issue in Orthodox US churches?
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2007, 02:08:02 AM »

Hi, in the past three years, I went to the States on visits. On all times, I've visited various orthodox churches, mostly Greek, but once in a while ANT and OCA. First off, I was appalled by the greek churches using organs and mixed choir ppl wearing these rediculous red knee-high robes. I barely recognized the liturgy apart from what the priest said and even then it seemed a little different. I seriously thought I had entered a RC church-not that that is bad or anything...

in the Antiochian churches there weren't any organs, but I noticed that one part of the liturgy would be byzantine, then russian style music, then this other type of music of a mix of everything in it. I was very confused- why would a parish keep switching singing styles during the Liturgy?? If its Antiochian, shouldn't it be at least partly in Arabic, and if not that, then fully Byzantine- I mean Antiochians always use Byzantine Arabic style, whats up with the Russian music? Not that theres anything wrong with Russian music but I've never heard Russians using byzantine style music in their services.

I've heard of Armenians using organs but that seems traditional for them...I've only ever heard of Copts using organs once...

but going back to that, do the GOA bishops know that this abuse exists in their parishes? Toronto parishes just started to get choirs in the past couple months and the people are not used to them or liking it at all. Neither are the chanters. Now, women read the epistle and are starting to wear pants in church.

Am I over reacting or are these things even an issue in Orthodox US churches?
Hey!  Where's the beef?  Actually, I think it's the GOA bishops who approved at least the "abuses" (as you call them) of church organs and women readers.  I have one friend who's an organist in a GOA church and another friend who's a tonsured woman reader in the same GOA parish.  I honestly don't see why you should be appalled by this.  Could it be that these practices just violate your personal sense of good taste, which may in fact not be in keeping with Orthodox Tradition?
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2007, 02:24:37 AM »

but going back to that, do the GOA bishops know that this abuse exists in their parishes? Toronto parishes just started to get choirs in the past couple months and the people are not used to them or liking it at all. Neither are the chanters. Now, women read the epistle and are starting to wear pants in church.

I personally dislike both Choirs and Organs (I also dislike the use of English while we're at it), though I have nothing against woman Readers; however, this is personal taste, it has nothing to do with theology or sacred tradition. As for the position of the Bishops, in large part they started the whole thing, there have been Bishops who have required choirs or organs to be placed in new Churches. So while I may argue that these Bishops had poor artistic taste, I could hardly call their actions abuses or imply that they are in some way contrary to the faith.

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Am I over reacting or are these things even an issue in Orthodox US churches?

No, it's not an issue, most American Orthodox are quite comfortable with the status quo.
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2007, 08:48:46 AM »

Of course it is an issue of Church Tradition. Organs are not part of the Church Tradition and should be abolished across the board immediately. Byzantine Chant is so great, there is no need for those tacky things.
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2007, 09:08:47 AM »

Personally, I dislike the sound of the organ. I find it heavy and stifling. If we had to have instruments in Church, I'd much rather the lightness of the harp, violin or cello. Strings mimic the sound produced by the vocal chords and accompany singing and chanting much better, whereas pipes (and particularly the number of pipes in an organ) to me produce the overpowering sound of a strong wind or thunder in which you have you shout in order to be heard.
My favourite piece of sacred music is the Pachelbel Canon in D major, and I've heard it played in every form, from the chamber orchestra for which it is written to electric guitar, and I love it in all the interpretations I've heard, except the organ!
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007, 09:23:27 AM »

Pertaining to the question of why one may find a mix of Russian and Byzantine music in an Antiochian Church. In the late 19th and early 20th century there was no seminary for Antiochians, they had to attend either a Russian Seminary or a Greek seminary in Turkey. Both Greek and Russian groups sought to support the struggling Antiochian Patriarch and after the Greeks no longer appointed or held the Antiochian patriarchate but an Arab or Syrian did, they varously looked to either the Russian Church or Greek Church for financial support and aid. In the United States, the early Antiochian or as they were then know "Arab" churches were under the direction of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, an Antiochian priest and later bishop who studied in Russia and indeed came to the US from Russia where he pastored the Antiochian Representational Church.

After the Revolution and the organization of the Syrian Orthodox Churches, there came to be two synods in the US under the Antiochian patriarch, one largely supporting the Russian model followed by St Raphael and the parishes he founded and the other  following a more typical Byzantine Antiochian style of worship of the more recent immigrants.  When in the 20th century the two synods merged into one  jurisdiction, the Antiochian Archdiocese that currently exists, there was a blending and allowance for both Russian and Byzantine music to be allowed.  Now that there are many convert parishes, you may find a mixture of both or Byzantine only or Russian only depending on the preferences of the parish and their priest. Metropolitan Phillip is slowly directing the  Archdiocese to a more Antiochian Byzantine style of worship that he prefers over the Russian style , however, this is done largely with missions and convert parishes than with older already established parishes.

The Archdiocese has recommended to the parishes that an organ is unnecessary in Orthodox Churches and I have found  them usually in older parishes and even then seldom used. Western Rite parishes do use organs, but that is another topic..

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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2007, 09:27:32 AM »

Quote
in the Antiochian churches there weren't any organs, but I noticed that one part of the liturgy would be byzantine, then russian style music, then this other type of music of a mix of everything in it.

Tradition. The older Antiochian parishes in this country were founded during the time when they were the Syrian mission of the Russian Orthodox Church. Often they were served by clergy who were Russian Orthodox as well (though under a Russian bishop who was ethnically Arab - St. Raphael Hawaweeney, Met. Anthony Bashir, etc.) Their bishops were consecrated by Russian bishops, etc. The extent of the influence is deeper - if you go to Syria, you will notice many of the churches are decorated like Russian churches, with Russian iconography. This is because the Russians alone gave help to the Antiochian Orthodox during the years of Ottoman oppression - and so there was Russian cultural influence on the Antiochian tradition. One Russian tradition you'll find in Antiochian parishes that is due to such influence is the use of Paschal baskets which are blessed at the Paschal Vigil, and used to break the fast immediately after. I don't know what the 'other type of music' was, but it was probably either Romanian, Carpatho-Rusyn, or Ukrainian (some even use a Georgian tune or two.) The Antiochian parish I used to attend had beautiful music at Pascha - mostly Bortniansky, with a little Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. This was an ethnic parish with roots in Marjayoun So. Lebanon.

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Am I over reacting or are these things even an issue in Orthodox US churches?


I don't think you are over reacting abut most of it - organs are pre-schism tradition in Western rite, but whether it is needed in Byzantine parishes? I'm not telling Byzantine rite folk what to do, but if it is scandalising folk - I can't see how helpful it is. Pew, organs - not things to quit going to church over. Women readers or altar servers? For some of us that might be enough to find another church if the bishop won't act.

As to the organ itself - it really depends on what music is allowed to be played, and how the organist plays it. If one can't find a pious and skilled organist, it might be best to mothball or sell off that organ. Bombastic music to drown out or stifle is really inappropriate use of the organ in worship. The traditional use of the organ is as accompaniment to the chant - keeping folk on tune, and encouraging them to produce sound.
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2007, 12:28:05 PM »

Hi, in the past three years, I went to the States on visits. On all times, I've visited various orthodox churches, mostly Greek, but once in a while ANT and OCA. First off, I was appalled by the greek churches using organs and mixed choir ppl wearing these rediculous red knee-high robes. I barely recognized the liturgy apart from what the priest said and even then it seemed a little different. I seriously thought I had entered a RC church-not that that is bad or anything...

Okay, then  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2007, 02:29:11 PM »

I like our Choir and organ.  But then I'm only a convert.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2007, 02:34:13 PM »

Hey!  I have one friend who's an organist in a GOA church and another friend who's a tonsured woman reader in the same GOA parish. 

Tonsured, as in tonsured woman reader?  Like part of the minor orders tonsured?  If so, that sounds more scandalous than an organ.  My feet would be walking out the door of any GOA church practicing this.
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2007, 02:51:26 PM »

My feet would be walking out the door of any GOA church practicing this.

Absolutely! Accounting for this would be a real problem before the Seat of Judgement. I could not imagine the grilling you would have to endure over this by Christ himself! Tolerating this just could put your name in the book of Internal Damnation!!!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2007, 03:02:20 PM »

Absolutely! Accounting for this would be a real problem before the Seat of Judgement. I could not imagine the grilling you would have to endure over this by Christ himself! Tolerating this just could put your name in the book of Internal Damnation!!!  Roll Eyes

Not to mention the fires of hell I'd have to be roasted over for my gluttony, as I just polished off my 6th piece of kulich & pascha.   Maybe they could stoke the flames with the hacked up pieces of Greek organs.
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2007, 03:06:00 PM »

Not organs, but the flesh of those who tolerated them!
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2007, 03:06:46 PM »

the hacked up pieces of Greek organs.
I sure hope you're referring to the musical instrument! Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2007, 03:12:56 PM »

I sure hope you're referring to the musical instrument! Cheesy

Priceless!

Wait a minute. Who IS this? I think someone with a sense of humor is impersonating OZGeorge!  Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2007, 03:49:34 PM »

I sure hope you're referring to the musical instrument! Cheesy

Sheesh - how do guys always manage to turn everything phallic.  Yes - I did mean big, powerful Greek pipe organs. 
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2007, 03:57:14 PM »

Sheesh - how do guys always manage to turn everything phallic. 

It was that OZy. And you know what they say about guys who talk about that stuff all the time....

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11372.msg154133.html#msg154133

 Wink
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2007, 04:55:30 PM »

Hi, in the past three years, I went to the States on visits. On all times, I've visited various orthodox churches, mostly Greek, but once in a while ANT and OCA. First off, I was appalled by the greek churches using organs and mixed choir ppl wearing these rediculous red knee-high robes. I barely recognized the liturgy apart from what the priest said and even then it seemed a little different. I seriously thought I had entered a RC church-not that that is bad or anything...

in the Antiochian churches there weren't any organs, but I noticed that one part of the liturgy would be byzantine, then russian style music, then this other type of music of a mix of everything in it. I was very confused- why would a parish keep switching singing styles during the Liturgy?? If its Antiochian, shouldn't it be at least partly in Arabic, and if not that, then fully Byzantine- I mean Antiochians always use Byzantine Arabic style, whats up with the Russian music? Not that theres anything wrong with Russian music but I've never heard Russians using byzantine style music in their services.

but going back to that, do the GOA bishops know that this abuse exists in their parishes? Toronto parishes just started to get choirs in the past couple months and the people are not used to them or liking it at all. Neither are the chanters. Now, women read the epistle and are starting to wear pants in church.

Am I over reacting or are these things even an issue in Orthodox US churches?

In all the "organ" talk, poor Timos didn't get his questions or concerns answered very well.  I believe the use of organs and choir robes has come about much the same way as the use of pews.  Immigrants adopting Protestant culture to be more American is the story I've heard.  In my town, the Greek church for many many years did have an organ and a choir with robes.  I've heard the current and previous priest couldn't stand them, but it wasn't until last year that they managed to cut out all organ music and the choir is sort of formally disbanded, but may still perform as an informal group.  The organ is still in the church - maybe they could use it as a big plant stand.  It's hard to get people to change, even if what they are doing is not traditional.  I think things will eventually become more regularized and traditional as converts enter the church.  Not that converts are the answer to everything, but they generally come in expecting a traditional Orthodox atmosphere.

I can't reply to the pants question because I've been guilty of that myself a few times, especially when my children were babies.  Not an excuse, just convenience.  If it's any consolation, I wouldn't think of going into church without a scarf, but that's a whole new topic.

I think part of the problem is the pick and choose nature of so many parishes.  They are (1) trying to please the many different ethnic groups that are often served by Orthodox Churches in this country, (2) trying too hard to make everyone feel involved and relevant, and (3) they are stuck with immigrant-era baggage that has become tradition in its own right.

As much as I can't stand organs in Orthodox churches, there is a Greek church in another Texas city I've been to with an organ.  They don't have a chanter, only a choir director with the most dreadful voice and two or three other people joining in.  It's the only time that I've actually been glad there was an organ to give them a pitch to follow.  You'd just cringe everytime you were anticipating the next run of painfully off-key Byzantine hymns butchered in English.
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2007, 05:10:01 PM »

TinaG wrote:
Quote
I think part of the problem is the pick and choose nature of so many parishes.  They are (1) trying to please the many different ethnic groups that are often served by Orthodox Churches in this country, (2) trying too hard to make everyone feel involved and relevant, and (3) they are stuck with immigrant-era baggage that has become tradition in its own right.

The first two aren't necessarily bad things. Somehow a local church has failed if it proclaims its ethnicity in everything it does, while being the only Orthodox church in town where Orthodox of other ethnicities are present. Those who cannot gain the charity to 'be all things to all men' as St. Paul said, should not be offended if others do the work.

The second category probably needs refined. "Involved and relevant" might not be the right words. Everyone does need pastoral care - and you can't get this in a language you don't speak. It is also difficult where one cannot afford to be a member of the local parish, or are 'freezed out' for not having the right last name, etc.

Number three is a negative for sure - we see the exact same thing in Florida. Happily, some jurisdictions aren't willing to let that be the status quo (ie, the Antiochians and ROCOR - both missionary minded in my experience, I heard the same of ACROD.)
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« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2007, 05:10:15 PM »

Immigrants adopting Protestant culture to be more American is the story I've heard. 

Actually, the historical account I have read in the book "Mars Hill to Manhattan" states that it was EP Athenagoras who first approved of organ accompaniment (in the 1920's?)- and it first occurred in Greece, or Crete. Don't remember exactly where - but NOT in the US.
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« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2007, 05:17:57 PM »

In some books I have packed away some evidence is given that organs were first used in Greek churches in Greece about the same time the first Greek polyphony appeared - just before the fall of Constantinople in the 15th c. Their culture was not only synthesizing Turkish elements (such as clothing), but also from the Venetians and Genoans (as TomS suggested - Crete.) Having said that - they just don't sound right with Byzantine chant. They sound appropriate with certain types of Western chant only when played correctly - such as at Westminster Abbey. If one wants to hear how it shouldn't be played - I can suggest a few Greek parishes, Roman Catholic parishes, a number of Protestant ones - and St. Alban's Abbey. After all - we use other instruments in liturgy: bells, semantron, etc. (anciently a plucked instrument - the psaltery). Still - I'm not a big fan of organ, and think Byzantine rite is better without (at least if one has a pitch pipe, or choir leader with perfect pitch to get everyone on the same note.)
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2007, 06:35:40 PM »

In some books I have packed away some evidence is given that organs were first used in Greek churches in Greece about the same time the first Greek polyphony appeared - just before the fall of Constantinople in the 15th c. Their culture was not only synthesizing Turkish elements (such as clothing), but also from the Venetians and Genoans (as TomS suggested - Crete.)

Interesting. Organs certainly were a very important part of the Byzantine world, especially in Constantinople, wherein organs were used extensively in imperial ceremonies at the court itself and also at all kinds of public events (e.g. the races). Organ music accompanied the many slogan-like hymns that were chanted by the opposing factions at the races (VERY popular at the time) -- not unlike what we do now at baseball games et al.

In fact, the organ itself was associated with imperial pomp and power from Roman times, and it was actually the Eastern Roman Byzantines who introduced the organ (and contemporary ecclesiastical music!!) to the Franks during the 8th century.

At any rate, organs were usually associated with the government and worldly/"secular" events, not the Church qua Church (if one can, in fact, make such a distinction without being anachronistic!!!).
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2007, 06:35:56 PM »

Having been raised a Lutheran, I must admit that I miss hearing an organ in the church.  I think it is a wonderful and grandiose instrument (especially when Bach is played on it).  However, I'm glad that we don't have one in our church. 

I was at a Greek church in Kansas City for the Circumcision and St. Basil's Day.  Matins was chanted by three men fighting for control over who would do what and the Great Doxology began with the intonation of the Priest and then the choir began with full organ accompaniment.  They were obviously singing Byzantine hymns, but it just didn't sound right.

In my Antiochian Parish, Vespers and Matins are chanted in the Byzantine style through the Great Doxology.  We chanters are also called upon during weekday liturgies when you can't get a choir together. When Liturgy begins, the choir takes over using a lot of Russian music, but not exclusively so.  Much of the 4 part music sounds Russian, but it was clearly written by Arab immigrants to America.  Since the Syrian Orthodox Mission was under the protection of the Moscow Patriarchate, it is not unreasonable that several Arab composers would write hymns in a 4 part style.  There are times, especially for special Megalynaria or Koinonika, where one of our chanters who sings in the choir will chant that particular hymn with the rest of us providing an ison. 

I think we have a nice mix.  I know we have cradle Orthodox from predominantly Middle East countries, but we have a few Russians, Greeks and Romanians.  The rest of us are converts.  We make up about 2/3 of our congregation.  And since I am one of those converts, to me, it makes sense that we have a number of traditions in play so that we see and hear the fullness of the faith in its various cultural manifestations!  Just MHO.

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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2007, 07:32:10 PM »

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At any rate, organs were usually associated with the government and worldly/"secular" events, not the Church qua Church (if one can, in fact, make such a distinction without being anachronistic!!!).

Which might be the point - very difficult to tell the two apart with both Byzantium, Rome, or Russia. In the West the organ took hold early as there was already a tradition of using the psaltery (a sort of small harp) for the chanting of the Psalms. If there is a connection to governmental power, it would be that during the Barbarian invasions the Roman Church alone survived to give order. It in fact became the civil government in many senses, and the transmitter or Romanity to the new 'elite'. Byzantium had this same relation of government and church that became even more difficult to bisect with the Ottoman rule (meaning, the Rum Millet.) In Russia this was particularly true after the Patriarchate was replaced by a Synod as a Ministry of the Imperial government. I'm not sure how that relates at all to organ usage in the USA (often they come with the building.) I'm more concerned with secular flags up at the iconostasis - US or foreign flags. That just looks a bit jingoistic, as well with an attempt to say 'we're not disloyal'. Either way, it looks and feels wierd.
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2007, 07:56:06 PM »

Much of the 4 part music sounds Russian, but it was clearly written by Arab immigrants to America.
Back in the 1950's the choir director, Professor Michael Hilko, at St John's Russian Orthodox Church in Passaic, NJ was approached by an Antiochian Bishop with a request to put in western musical notation the Antiochian Byzantine Chant for the Divine Liturgy.  If I remember correctly, an Antiochian priest sang the chants and Prof Hilko put it down in musical notation.  Hilko than took the melody line and using the harmonizations made popular in Russia by the Kapella in Moscow (headed by Lvoff, Bakhmetieff, and Balakireff in the late 1800's) and what is commonly referred to as Russian Obhikod Chant (and what you hear today in most Russian parishes in this country) put the Antiochian chant into 4 part harmony (soprano, alto, tenor, bass).  A book was published which contained 3 "setting" for the Antiochian Divine Liturgy.  The first setting was the original melody (chant) line alone.  The second setting was the 4 part harmonization of the chant (following the Russian model).  The third setting contained the Russian Obhikod melodies and popular Russian composers (Bortniansky, etc.) used by the Russian Church in this country.
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2007, 09:31:54 PM »

Of course it is an issue of Church Tradition. Organs are not part of the Church Tradition and should be abolished across the board immediately. Byzantine Chant is so great, there is no need for those tacky things.

Oh, how fundamentalist of you.  Cheesy

Organs are beautiful is played correctly, and help mask the choirs mistakes if they aren't St.-Sophia-Cathedral-Good. It may not be traditional, but neither is having the entire Pascha service read and chanted by a woman, or having a woman run up into the sanctuary during the liturgy.

*Looks at Anastasios' horrified face*
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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2007, 09:35:54 PM »

The sound of the organ is pretty much like the voice of God for me. I couldn't imagine mass without this magnificent instrument. But I do admit that the idea of organ accompaniment to Byzantine chant does sound really strange. Are there any Orthodox churches around Boston that use the organ? I'd like to hear it for myself!
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« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2007, 09:37:29 PM »

Oh, how fundamentalist of you.  Cheesy

Organs are beautiful is played correctly, and help mask the choirs mistakes if they aren't St.-Sophia-Cathedral-Good. It may not be traditional, but neither is having the entire Pascha service read and chanted by a woman, or having a woman run up into the sanctuary during the liturgy.


Or having pews or letting non-Orthodox stay for Communion, right?
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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2007, 09:38:05 PM »

Oh, how fundamentalist of you.  Cheesy

Organs are beautiful is played correctly, and help mask the choirs mistakes if they aren't St.-Sophia-Cathedral-Good. It may not be traditional, but neither is having the entire Pascha service read and chanted by a woman, or having a woman run up into the sanctuary during the liturgy.

*Looks at Anastasios' horrified face*

Please. I am not some knee jerk wacko that gets worked up about all these things.  Organs are beautiful, just not in Orthodox Churches. You don't need a choir if you have a skilled chanter.  Why you mention the Pascha service being read by a woman or having a woman run into the sanctuary I do not know; I certainly don't think this is a good idea either.

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« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2007, 09:51:59 PM »

I know you don't. I'm just pulling your leg. Notice the key placement of a smily. Lol.
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2007, 09:56:37 PM »

I know you don't. I'm just pulling your leg. Notice the key placement of a smily. Lol.

Cool man Smiley Some people do get too worked up on these forums so humor is appreciated sometimes Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2007, 10:05:15 PM »

You want to see a horrified face? How about having one of those 'spring loaded' candle keepers launch the lit candle six feet in the air during the Paschal vigil? (Happened this past week to one of our priests!) Lucky it didn't hit the organ... (just kidding, they didn't have an organ.)
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2007, 12:14:38 AM »

You want to see a horrified face? How about having one of those 'spring loaded' candle keepers launch the lit candle six feet in the air during the Paschal vigil? (Happened this past week to one of our priests!) Lucky it didn't hit the organ... (just kidding, they didn't have an organ.)
I don't have much problem with organs in Orthodox churches as long as they fit the music of worship, but one thing I've heard of in some GOA parishes that makes me shudder just thinking about it is the electronic ison machine.  "Why have a man sing the ison when you can delegate this to a machine?"  Tongue  ACK!
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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2007, 12:18:48 AM »

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ison machine

LOL - that is too wierd! I suppose one could consider bagpipes as a sort of low-tech 'ison machine'?
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« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2007, 01:08:24 AM »

...but one thing I've heard of in some GOA parishes that makes me shudder just thinking about it is the electronic ison machine.  "Why have a man sing the ison when you can delegate this to a machine?"  Tongue  ACK!

Hey, this is your opportunity to make fun of 'kelfar'. Grin
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« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2007, 01:18:30 AM »

Hey, this is your opportunity to make fun of 'kelfar'. Grin
Why would I want to do that?
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2007, 01:20:15 AM »

You want to see a horrified face? How about having one of those 'spring loaded' candle keepers launch the lit candle six feet in the air during the Paschal vigil? (Happened this past week to one of our priests!) Lucky it didn't hit the organ... (just kidding, they didn't have an organ.)
That goes right up there with the popcorn in the censer, something I've heard of an unnamed altar boy doing.
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« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2007, 02:05:32 AM »

That goes right up there with the popcorn in the censer, something I've heard of an unnamed altar boy doing.

Top this:  someone told me about an altar server putting marijuana seeds in the censer...at Joy of All Who Sorrows Cathedral in SF.  (I think the person who told me said this was 15+ yrs ago.)
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« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2007, 02:17:07 AM »

Top this:  someone told me about an altar server putting marijuana seeds in the censer...at Joy of All Who Sorrows Cathedral in SF.  (I think the person who told me said this was 15+ yrs ago.)
Whoa.  Groovy, dude.  But we digress from the OP.
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« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2007, 09:20:55 AM »

I don't have much problem with organs in Orthodox churches as long as they fit the music of worship, but one thing I've heard of in some GOA parishes that makes me shudder just thinking about it is the electronic ison machine.  "Why have a man sing the ison when you can delegate this to a machine?"  Tongue  ACK!

Since I am opposed to organs I am also opposed to ison machines. however, that being said, at least ison machines sound exactly like a skilled isocratos and do not change the character of the chant.
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« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2007, 10:37:15 AM »

Well, to join in the thread late:

First of all, you know what they say about bagpipe players . . .  Wink

Secondly, they have an ison machine?  The first time I saw that, I thought it was a new Star Trek weapon or something . . .. "Mr Sulu, fire the photon torpedoes!"  "Captain, they're powering up the ison machine!"  "Get us out of here Mr Sulu!"


Finally, how exactly do pipe organs work in the liturgy.  Don't get me wrong it's a beautiful instrument, and I grew up playing them at my Catholic church growing up, so I'm definitely not against them in general, but I am having trouble seeing how one could incorporate it into the liturgy naturally.

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« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2007, 10:45:44 AM »

First of all, you know what they say about bagpipe players . . .  Wink

No, what do they say?  Shocked hehe Actually, I was thinking Northumbrian smallpipes or Uillean pipes sound rather like some small medieval organs.

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"Get us out of here Mr Sulu!"


Advice I would probably take. Wink Then again, it might be time for a duel - organ vs. ison machine.

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... but I am having trouble seeing how one could incorporate it into the liturgy naturally.

I guess that is the problem - they don't fit 'naturally' into Byzantine liturgy. Folk don't expect it, and it sounds odd - also, one can hear how organ *is* used naturally at many Anglican cathedrals. They can increase the volume during the Psalms (really encouraging the choristers from dragging as well) - but properly used do not cover up the choir, nor should it be really noticeable - it helps if the arrangement is traditional in following the same melody that the choristers have. In that sense, it probably is a bit like an ison machine - though organ tunes have their roots ultimately in medieval organum (pre-polyphonic Western chant.)
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« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2007, 11:44:11 AM »

I think I would be against the introduction of organ music to our parish. We have a choir, whose function it is to LEAD the whole parish in the singing of every response and hymn. We have liturgy books in modern English as well as handouts for every Sunday which contain the changeable parts. Everyone in the parish SINGS. The Liturgy is supposed to be PARTICIPATED IN, not merely attended or observed.

We do have quite a few female readers, with heavenly voices, I might add. We don't have a chanter, per se, as nearly all responses and hymns are sung.

I have never attended a Liturgy with an organ or a chanter and I guess from that limited perspective, I really can't see the need for either.

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« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2007, 05:36:10 PM »

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No, what do they say?

Well, I can't say here . . . let's just say it's quite impressive Wink.


Quote
I guess that is the problem - they don't fit 'naturally' into Byzantine liturgy. Folk don't expect it, and it sounds odd - also, one can hear how organ *is* used naturally at many Anglican cathedrals. They can increase the volume during the Psalms (really encouraging the choristers from dragging as well) - but properly used do not cover up the choir, nor should it be really noticeable - it helps if the arrangement is traditional in following the same melody that the choristers have. In that sense, it probably is a bit like an ison machine - though organ tunes have their roots ultimately in medieval organum (pre-polyphonic Western chant.)

Exactly.  It's unnatural.  It does fit into the western liturgies, and even the Novus Ordo.  Now, I'm not always convinced that Bach's pieces fit best into the Mass, pastorally, although they're quite beautiful.  That said, as much as I love Tchaikovsky, I'm not always convinced that's best for the Eastern Liturgy, even though it's quite beautiful. 
As to that other thing . . . . I just can't get over the fact that there's an ison machine.  I'm going to have to google this.
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« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2007, 05:52:14 PM »

I can't find one on Google , but I'm betting they use them on Ibiza.  Tongue

Liturgy with a chanter - actually is quite nice, especially in a Cathedral. It goes quite well with Arabo-Byzantine chant.

As for Tchaikovsky, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of Dmitri Emmanuel Bortniansky. If it isn't Western rite Sarum style, Imperial St. Petersburg Russian is nearly the next best thing. I know some folk will get their nose all bent out of shape on that one (its up there to me with Georgian chant, which is polyphonic.)
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