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Author Topic: Learning the 8 tones  (Read 9573 times) Average Rating: 0
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BBA
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« on: July 01, 2009, 12:23:27 PM »

I am trying to self study and learn the 8 tones.  Can anybody recommend good resources for this?  Recordings (preferrably of a single chanter rather than a choir) and sheet music for the various parts.  Oh, in English please.

Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 12:33:06 PM »

Have a look at http://www.liturgica.com/cart/results.jsp?catId=2&next=15. This site has a plethora of Orthodox music and can be searched by style (Byzantine, Slavonic, etc.) as well as language. Personally, I find Fr Apostolos Hill's music most edifying from a learning standpoint. In addition, Holy Transfiguration Monastery has a two CD set of Byzantine Prosomia (model melodies used by many troparia). And Fr Seraphim Dedes has quite a full list of basic hymnody in English in each tone ("Mode" in his terminology) available for purchase/download. His works include separate volumes for Holy Week music and various Katavasiae, etc.

In all of these (and others you can find available for purchase on the net) the wording may not coincide with your particular Church's preferred translations, but you will soon become familiar enough with the range and cadence of each tone and be able to adapt.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 01:14:15 PM »

This is the best single resource: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Index.html

You'll find music for all of the major services in all 8 modes, written in Byzantine and western notation, as well as audio recordings. There are also downloadable pdfs that explain the history and theory of Byzantine music.
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009, 01:38:17 PM »

This is the best single resource: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Index.html

You'll find music for all of the major services in all 8 modes, written in Byzantine and western notation, as well as audio recordings. There are also downloadable pdfs that explain the history and theory of Byzantine music.

Agreed!
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009, 02:05:24 PM »

While I would agree that St. Anthony's is a wonderful resource for byzantine, I also wonder if the poster, who identified as OCA, is inquiring about the Obikhod or Kievan rather than the Byzantine.
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2009, 02:18:20 PM »

While I would agree that St. Anthony's is a wonderful resource for byzantine, I also wonder if the poster, who identified as OCA, is inquiring about the Obikhod or Kievan rather than the Byzantine.

Probably. In that case, there is nothing even close to as comprehensive.
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2009, 02:34:49 PM »

While I would agree that St. Anthony's is a wonderful resource for byzantine, I also wonder if the poster, who identified as OCA, is inquiring about the Obikhod or Kievan rather than the Byzantine.

It would have been nice if they would have told us what they were looking for... besides the demand that it is in English.
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2009, 03:13:57 PM »

A source I've used quite extensively when preparing services for home and church:

http://www.oca.org/MDmusic.asp?SID=13

Clicking the links within the section devoted to "Services of the Weekly Cycle (Oktoechos)" will take you to a pretty decent page on each of the eight tones used in OCA practice.  It's by no means comprehensive, but it may give you some material to work with.
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2009, 03:15:07 PM »

While I would agree that St. Anthony's is a wonderful resource for byzantine, I also wonder if the poster, who identified as OCA, is inquiring about the Obikhod or Kievan rather than the Byzantine.

It would have been nice if they would have told us what they were looking for... besides the demand that it is in English.
Maybe he simply wasn't aware of the difference between Byzantine practice and Slavic practice and needed us to bring that out of him by asking. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2009, 03:39:31 PM »

my apologies, yes I am more interested in the russian tonals, although from what I have read at least some of them seem to be based off of the byzantine.

Thanks all the links so far, I will browse them and see what is useful.  keep coming with any other suggestions.

I wish someone would put together some type of program with literature and recordings that is specifically designed for learning the tones as opposed to just trying to learn them by practicing the songs to sheet music.
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2009, 09:35:20 PM »

^But that is the best way.  Rather than try to learn the tones in a purely academic way you should connect them to the hymnography and you will become a better chanter.

Also, listen to a lot of different music as well.  Here are some of my personal recommendations:

Holy Saturday, Holy Pascha, Hymns of Holy Week:  The Vatopaidi Fathers (in Greek)
Vespers, Matins, Agni Partheni, Divine Liturgy:  Monks of Simonopetra (in Greek)
Mystical Supper:  St.  Mary Church (in English)
Thy Passion:  Boston Byzantine Choir (in English)
Byzantine Hymns of the Nativity:  School of Ecclesiastic Music (in ARabica with some Greek)
Service to St. John Damascene:  Balamand school (Arabic)

There is such a variety of the different tones in all of these.  YOu can get them on Liturgica.  Very much worth the price!
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2009, 09:57:37 PM »

my apologies, yes I am more interested in the russian tonals, although from what I have read at least some of them seem to be based off of the byzantine.

Thanks all the links so far, I will browse them and see what is useful.  keep coming with any other suggestions.

I wish someone would put together some type of program with literature and recordings that is specifically designed for learning the tones as opposed to just trying to learn them by practicing the songs to sheet music.

I have a splendid link somewhere for a nice Obikhod chant page but the recordings are in Church Slavonic.
I also have a link to the tone system for Galician/Samilovka chant in English and Ukrainian.
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2009, 10:02:34 PM »

While I would agree that St. Anthony's is a wonderful resource for byzantine, I also wonder if the poster, who identified as OCA, is inquiring about the Obikhod or Kievan rather than the Byzantine.

It would have been nice if they would have told us what they were looking for... besides the demand that it is in English.
Maybe he simply wasn't aware of the difference between Byzantine practice and Slavic practice and needed us to bring that out of him by asking. Wink

Interestingly, the Bulgarians use Byzantine chanting side by side with Slavic choral music, with the chanting in old Church Slavonic and the choral hymns in modern Bulgarian.
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2009, 10:46:58 AM »

A source I've used quite extensively when preparing services for home and church:

http://www.oca.org/MDmusic.asp?SID=13

Clicking the links within the section devoted to "Services of the Weekly Cycle (Oktoechos)" will take you to a pretty decent page on each of the eight tones used in OCA practice.  It's by no means comprehensive, but it may give you some material to work with.

I also like the recordings on this page: http://commons.orthodoxwiki.org/The_Eight_Tones

I only wish the list was complete.
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2009, 10:25:53 PM »

If you are interested in the Russian chant tradition, you can purchase books with all the tones from St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore. They have one volume for Vespers with all 8 tone in the Bakhmetev Obikhod, the Kievan tones (by far my preference) and also in Carpatho-Rusyn Tones. It also includes several melodies / compositions for the fixed hymns of the service. There is a much larger volume for the Divine Liturgy; but I am not aware of an Orthros (Matins) book. There are also volumes for the Presanctiifed Liturgy, Holy Week (3 volumes) and Pascha. I believe there are a number of donwloads availabe from the oca.org web-site. You might also check out the Psalm.org web-site. If you live in the Northeast, St Vladimir's Semianry has a liturgical retreat every summer, I think in June. You might check out their web-site.  The ROCOR has, or at least had, an annual choir retreat at Jordanville; but I think it was all Slavonic text music (I could be wrong or out of date on that, perhaps some one else might know).  I think most of us were personally trained in the old days.

Best wishes

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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2009, 10:41:35 PM »

If you want to learn Carpatho-Russian chant (prostopinije) I would recommend anything from the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese first.  It is their signature chant and they do it far better than the OCA.  The OCA tends to over-simplify the Carpatho-Russian Chant.  I know the tonal system of Carpatho-Russian chant at almost 100% and the OCA so-called "Carpatho-Russian Chant" isn't even close. 
The only time I've heard an OCA church do it correctly was a church that only uses Carpatho-Russian chant
 At the mission vespers at that Carpatho-Russian chant system usage OCA parish EVERYONE sang the vespers. Most of the people there weren't from that parish, the music is that catchy and everyone sang with gusto!  It's so easy to sing and you can pick it up on the spot. Like Samolivka/Galician chant prostopinije is congregational singing.  It is lead by a cantor who starts the first few words and the entire congregation joins in.   

One Carpatho-Russian paraliturgical hymn that is widely borrowed by Orthodox of all jurisdictions is A New Commandment.  Catchy?  You should listen to the Prostopinije tonal system.
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« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2009, 05:42:27 PM »

Check my personal website: http://www.orthodoxiaradio.org
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 06:26:50 PM »

If you want to learn Carpatho-Russian chant (prostopinije) I would recommend anything from the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese first.  It is their signature chant and they do it far better than the OCA.  The OCA tends to over-simplify the Carpatho-Russian Chant.  I know the tonal system of Carpatho-Russian chant at almost 100% and the OCA so-called "Carpatho-Russian Chant" isn't even close. 
The only time I've heard an OCA church do it correctly was a church that only uses Carpatho-Russian chant
 At the mission vespers at that Carpatho-Russian chant system usage OCA parish EVERYONE sang the vespers. Most of the people there weren't from that parish, the music is that catchy and everyone sang with gusto!  It's so easy to sing and you can pick it up on the spot. Like Samolivka/Galician chant prostopinije is congregational singing.  It is lead by a cantor who starts the first few words and the entire congregation joins in.   

One Carpatho-Russian paraliturgical hymn that is widely borrowed by Orthodox of all jurisdictions is A New Commandment.  Catchy?  You should listen to the Prostopinije tonal system.

Is that the one composed by Bishop Job?
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 09:11:53 PM »

Check my personal website: http://www.orthodoxiaradio.org


This is absolutely wonderful!  Shukran, ya akhi Karim!  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 10:04:06 PM »

Why do so many people seem to try and sound "spooky" when they are singing/chanting? I love the sound of Eikona, who does not sing that way. The choir at the Greek Orthodox parish I attend (which occasionally features one of the Eikona singers) doesn't do it either. Is that a Greek thing or maybe an Eikona thing?
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2009, 11:16:35 PM »

Spooky? Can you give an example of someone who chants this way? (Preferably someone well-known so I can look it up online and see what you mean)
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2009, 11:28:02 PM »

If you want to learn Carpatho-Russian chant (prostopinije) I would recommend anything from the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese first.  It is their signature chant and they do it far better than the OCA.  The OCA tends to over-simplify the Carpatho-Russian Chant.  I know the tonal system of Carpatho-Russian chant at almost 100% and the OCA so-called "Carpatho-Russian Chant" isn't even close. 
The only time I've heard an OCA church do it correctly was a church that only uses Carpatho-Russian chant
 At the mission vespers at that Carpatho-Russian chant system usage OCA parish EVERYONE sang the vespers. Most of the people there weren't from that parish, the music is that catchy and everyone sang with gusto!  It's so easy to sing and you can pick it up on the spot. Like Samolivka/Galician chant prostopinije is congregational singing.  It is lead by a cantor who starts the first few words and the entire congregation joins in.   

One Carpatho-Russian paraliturgical hymn that is widely borrowed by Orthodox of all jurisdictions is A New Commandment.  Catchy?  You should listen to the Prostopinije tonal system.

Is that the one composed by Bishop Job?


I'm not familiar with Archbishop Job's work but I hear it is good prostopinije.  In fact if anyone could point me in the directioin to find his work either sheet music or online examples that'd be great.  I
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2009, 11:33:37 PM »

Spooky? Can you give an example of someone who chants this way? (Preferably someone well-known so I can look it up online and see what you mean)

I don't know anyone well known so I'm resorting to youtube clips.

This is an example (but not the best) of one which I think seems spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq9YsGCtN7Y&feature=related

And the same song, also sang by men, but not spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBbYN73SXPQ&feature=related

I'm a horrible critic, picking at the smallest of details and finding fault. Like I could do anywhere near as well as these people.
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2009, 12:55:07 AM »

I don't know anyone well known so I'm resorting to youtube clips.

This is an example (but not the best) of one which I think seems spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq9YsGCtN7Y&feature=related

And the same song, also sang by men, but not spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBbYN73SXPQ&feature=related

I'm a horrible critic, picking at the smallest of details and finding fault. Like I could do anywhere near as well as these people.

Forgive me for stereotyping based on what little I know about you. I see your profile says you're Catholic. Perhaps the more dissonant Eastern-sounding Greek version makes it sound less natural to you than the Romanian version?
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2009, 02:52:01 AM »

Why do so many people seem to try and sound "spooky" when they are singing/chanting? I love the sound of Eikona, who does not sing that way. The choir at the Greek Orthodox parish I attend (which occasionally features one of the Eikona singers) doesn't do it either. Is that a Greek thing or maybe an Eikona thing?
What exactly does this have to do with the 8 tones?
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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2009, 03:17:55 AM »

For Galician Chant: http://www.albertacantors.ca/home.asp
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2009, 10:52:33 AM »

Sorry, didn't mean to sidetrack it. I was listening to something on a link provided and it made me think of it again. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday, a visiting priest would do it while the resident priest did not. They were celebrating together which sounded very odd to me. Again, it came to mind and I thought I would ask. I didn't mean to go off track or sound critical.

Yes, I am a Catholic. I also attend Divine Liturgy services fairly regularly now. I attended also 3 to 5 years ago before getting discouraged and that is when I joined the Catholic Church. I have a great love for the Orthodox Church and faith, which is why I am here.
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2009, 12:28:18 PM »

Spooky? Can you give an example of someone who chants this way? (Preferably someone well-known so I can look it up online and see what you mean)

I don't know anyone well known so I'm resorting to youtube clips.

This is an example (but not the best) of one which I think seems spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq9YsGCtN7Y&feature=related

And the same song, also sang by men, but not spooky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBbYN73SXPQ&feature=related

I'm a horrible critic, picking at the smallest of details and finding fault. Like I could do anywhere near as well as these people.

The first version is sung by the choir of Simonos Petras.
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