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Author Topic: Byzantine Music - Popular Piety - Domestic Church  (Read 51 times) Average Rating: 0
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JNS
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« on: March 28, 2014, 09:56:39 PM »

Speaking as a Catholic, I have always deeply admired the rich sense of popular piety evident in the Byzantine tradition: the many ways -- and indeed, special genius -- it has for connecting faith and daily life, the Church and the home. I'll never forget the look on my daughter's face when we all crowded out of the pews towards the presbyter for the Gospel at our first Divine Liturgy! A local leader of a kind of Catholic Montessori revival spoke very eloquently about the need for such things and all the "smells and bells" for the active participation of children (not to mention adults), and that traditional liturgics are thus actually by far the better adapted to their needs -- what a shame that contemporary taste and ideology tends to flatten all of this and ends up ruining the very thing it claims to secure!
 
At any rate, my question has to do with the Byzantine tradition of religious music. I have become acquainted in the past years with the sublimity of Byzantine liturgical chant thanks to some excellent recordings, books, and websites, but I have not yet stumbled across any great source of or introduction to Byzantine music at the level of popular piety and the "Domestic Church." In the West, we have many noble vernacular hymns which have been handed down for centuries as a kind of religious folk music, as well as the well-loved tradition of Gregorian, Latin hymnody which employs our sacred language. Thus while on the one hand, we have the proper liturgical chants of the Mass and the Divine Office (Introits, Communios, the Ordinary, etc.), on the other, we also have this second, humbler form of art (whether in Latin or the vernacular) which lends itself well to popular piety and singing together as a family at home.

What would correspond to this second kind of music in the Byzantine tradition? What do Byzantine families sing together at home, or hum in their heads throughout the day (other than the more memorable snatches of the Divine Liturgy itself, etc.)? I would greatly appreciate links and tips to any good resources in this regard. While the whole interests me, I am mostly approaching the Byzantine tradition through the Greek language (and of, course, English).

Your help and insights are much appreciated;
Thank you.
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Tags: Byzantine music  Popular Piety  Domestic Church 
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