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Author Topic: Learning Chant  (Read 1637 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sophia3
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« on: March 05, 2009, 12:16:19 AM »

In the Orthodox church in the west how does one go about learning the chant and becoming a choir director etc. In the Catholic Church one gets a Sacred Music degree, but it would seem that degrees in Orthodox Sacred Music are few and far between?
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 12:34:54 AM »

In the Orthodox church in the west how does one go about learning the chant and becoming a choir director etc. In the Catholic Church one gets a Sacred Music degree, but it would seem that degrees in Orthodox Sacred Music are few and far between?

There are a number of factors involved, such as jurisdiction, style of music, and goal (becoming a Cantor and becoming a Choir Director are two different things, and conducting a harmonized choir versus a Byzantine-style choir are most definitely different challenges).  There are degrees in Orthodox Sacred Music, but they are usually offered at Orthodox Universities (i.e. overseas).  For most parishes here, a demonstrated interest and aptitude will get you the job; and many are willing to teach (even if they aren't really qualified to do so).  I know Archbishop DEMETRIOS was pushing for a degree in Byzantine Music from Hellenic College/Holy Cross, but I don't know how feasible that is.  However, one can study in a formal setting from professors at SVS, STS, HCHC, etc. if one wants to.  Depending on your locale and what you're looking for, there are also well trained cantors/directors in different cities who train students on a part-time basis.
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 03:02:47 AM »

In the Orthodox church in the west how does one go about learning the chant and becoming a choir director etc. In the Catholic Church one gets a Sacred Music degree, but it would seem that degrees in Orthodox Sacred Music are few and far between?

Here in Australia, the School of Byzantine Music was established in 2005 which provides a three year course towards a Diploma of Byzantine Music. The main aim of the School is to train Chanters for Orthodox Churches in Australia, but I know of graduates who have gone on to study overseas.
http://www.greekorthodox.org.au/general/aboutus/organisations/australianbyzantineschool
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 09:21:11 AM »

Then there is the option my priest wanted me to choose: Go and study on the Holy Mountain.

I did not need verbal confirmation of my wife's opinion on that one.  Wink But a working pilgrimage to Mt. Athos was tempting...


Another suggestion to help one start, visit Learn to Chant:

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/chant

(Greek and English)
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 09:50:34 AM »

Hi, Sophia!  Welcome to the forum!

Learning to chant in the US can definitely be sticky (as Cleveland explained).  Personally, I went to HCHC to learn (and of course, am still learning).  My suggestion would be to talk to your parish priest.  He will be able to guide you to the right people to help you learn.  As Cleveland mentioned, directing a western choir and being a chanter/directing a Byzantine chant choir are two completely different things in the US, as one functions in western/standard music, and the other in Byzantine.  This is the musical equivalent of two separate languages.  If you are wanting to direct a western choir,  I would still HIGHLY recommend that you study Byzantine music, as it will help you A LOT in learning the order of the services, which hymns go where, etc.

Kali Dynami (Good strength)!
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 09:59:46 AM »

My suggestion would be to talk to your parish priest.  He will be able to guide you to the right people to help you learn. 
I really doubt that Presbytera, since he would be Roman Catholic. Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 05:03:20 PM »

Here in Australia, the School of Byzantine Music was established in 2005 which provides a three year course towards a Diploma of Byzantine Music.

We also have a School of Byzantine Music in London. It is a five year program, accredited by some kind of institution in Greece. Every year, an examiner is brought over from Greece and students are awarded with a certificate for each year they complete.
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 07:11:22 PM »

Another good source if you want to start practicing chanting is The Divine Music Project, by St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona. 

This is the link to main page of the project: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Index.html

Under links, there is some very good material, particularly under "Learning Byzantine Music": http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Links.htm

St. Anthony's has also put out volume 1 of their Divine Liturgy as Chanted on the Holy Mountain CD (http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/ccp6/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=prodshow&ref=2DLMP1), which has all of the chant that you hear on the CD in pdf format in both Byzantine and Western notation, so you can follow along on the sheet music as you listen to the chanting. 

It might be good to go to this link (http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/LearnByz.htm) to get a basic idea of what the different notes mean in Byzantine notation, and then move on to something like following along on the sheet music with the chant on the CD so that you can start to hear what those notes actually translate into when you chant them.   
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