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Author Topic: Organs in Greek Orthodox Churches  (Read 27594 times) Average Rating: 0
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JoeS
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« Reply #90 on: October 07, 2004, 10:00:13 AM »

ORGANS,  BLAH!
What is more beautiful than A Cappelo?

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« Reply #91 on: October 07, 2004, 05:30:44 PM »

That might depend on *who* is 'a capella'-ing, maybe.

Sorry,  liking or not liking organ music in church, it  seems to me, might be personal taste and other factors like one grew up with and what sounds good with certain musics.  Organ doesn't sound right with Byz. Chant, that's just the way it is.  It doesn't mean that "Organs Are Evil" or something like that, imho.

I personally do not like Byzantine Chant.  It does nothing for me in being conducive to worship.  But my taste or preference is not a Law of The Universe (pat. pending)  Others can worship with it.  Otoh, neither is anyone else's preferences to be the Rule except for God, since He *does* make the laws of the Universe.  He also made humans with music and the ability to make instruments, play them, compose and sing.  And humans have used all this to praise him and create beautiful things all over the world and across the span of millenia.

I know of no place in Scripture where God has said "NO instrumental music."  I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

And remember, the organ was invented in Greece.  Wink

Ebor

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« Reply #92 on: October 07, 2004, 05:44:54 PM »

I agree, JoeS, if congregational chanting.

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« Reply #93 on: October 07, 2004, 08:24:46 PM »

Sorry,  liking or not liking organ music in church, it  seems to me, might be personal taste and other factors like one grew up with and what sounds good with certain musics.  Organ doesn't sound right with Byz. Chant, that's just the way it is.  It doesn't mean that "Organs Are Evil" or something like that, imho.

I personally do not like Byzantine Chant.  It does nothing for me in being conducive to worship.  But my taste or preference is not a Law of The Universe (pat. pending)  Others can worship with it.  Otoh, neither is anyone else's preferences to be the Rule except for God, since He *does* make the laws of the Universe.  He also made humans with music and the ability to make instruments, play them, compose and sing.  And humans have used all this to praise him and create beautiful things all over the world and across the span of millenia.

I know of no place in Scripture where God has said "NO instrumental music."  I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

And remember, the organ was invented in Greece.  Wink

Ebor

edited for syntax  
In the Psalms David talks about praising God with various instruments, so I think it's more of a cultural thing than anything else whether or not they're used.  When it comes to music, I think people should just accept whatever it is their church does musically, whether it be Byzantine chant, Russian 4-part chant, or whatever, so long as God is praised.  If the music doesn't do it for you right away, it will with time, once you get used to it.  No use causing division over it.  I had to get used to Byzantine chant myself, it's a little (or a lot) austere for my natural tastes.  There are a thousand ways to praise God; it's the words, not the music, that make the liturgy.  So overall I think I'm agreeing with you lol  Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: October 07, 2004, 11:31:19 PM »

Quote
I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

Ebor,

I also recall reading something about the Ethiopian ORthodox Church using some kind of instruments during their liturgy, although I cannot recall what they were. When I visited the local Coptic ORthodox Church they had used cymbals during their liturgy and I have to say that I did not find it distracting, matter of fact I enjoyed them! I'd highly recommend that everyone should visit a Coptic Orthodox Church, even if your only reason would be to see how their churches,  liturgies and traditions differ from your own Church's.

I think the question of instument usage in the ORiental Orthodox Churches would be an interesting topic to bring up in the OO'dox forum.

In Christ,
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« Reply #95 on: October 14, 2004, 12:48:29 PM »

Yes, David says to praise with tymbral, etc.  But that must be taken into context: instruments were not allowed in the Jewish temple.  They were played outside the temple.  The focus of worship is the act of giving from yourself, and only yourself, without assistance from an organ, or whatever.  That's why I also prefer learning the services by heart, so that one can say the prayers and be able to focus on exactly what they're saying, versus reading which often isnt condusive to meditation on the meaning of the prayers.
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« Reply #96 on: January 21, 2005, 06:31:34 PM »

The GO church i go to was just built two years ago. (the old one just got too small apparently)  I know there is an organ up there because they do use it sometimes, but the choir doesnt usually sing n the summer, and we have great cantors.  I started going in the sunmmer, so when fall came and the choir came back it sounded very odd to me!

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« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2005, 11:22:53 PM »

Ehem..........a quote from Stravinsky:

"The ogan quavers at an erratic rate , making it impossible to stay on pitch with or without it. Besides, the Monster does not Breathe!! Grin"

Such is the case with the piano as well. It has what is called "Tempered Tuning
" wherein the strings are tuned slightly off to produce harmonics quickly. But because of the loss of tune, the singer/chorus that practices and sings with it will never truly be in tune. HAve you ever listened to opera singer? Ever notice how they are slightly off from the music, especially in songs with a high tesatura (vocal range)? Ever notice when choruses with alot of piano accompaniment in the or program either go sharp or flat wheile doing a capella music? Yep....blame it on the piano and the organ! Real tuning for the human voice takes place a capella. There, true overtones can be created, and the overtone series can really be heard if they are perfectly in tune. Roll Eyes Shocked Afro

I have to say that what makes the Orhodox music so different is that it is intended to be sung without instruments and sounds better that way. Adding chords and accompaniment to it would only complicate and indeed destroy both the atmosphere and the flow of the music. It's one of the things that attracted me to the church (not the only thing). Its not easy to sing A capella, but it is so worth it. One parish I was a member of just did the service with a pitch pipe and the choral director singing the triad so that everyone got the pitch in their mind and it was GO time. I like that solution, BTW. Cool


Oh, I do like Anglican and Gregorian Chant as well, especially when done correctly (no inst.). It was made for the church, and is a joy to listen to. I wonder if any would have objectiosn to using those in a liturgy. Oh I know that we have our tones and I think they are great! Wouldn't trade them! But since they were written and practised mostly durring the periods befroe the Great Schism, I donet see anything wrong with using them if they can fit into the liturgy. Maybe as a troparia setting or a Stikeria setting. Any opinions? What do the clergy think?

Peace ad Butterda (they tells me not to but I still drinks it!),

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« Reply #98 on: February 09, 2005, 11:40:36 PM »

Speaking of chanting, does anyone have any advice on how one might learn to chant properly, either in English or Greek, other than going to Holy Cross? The Antiochian parish I attend has a self taught chanter, who travels a lot so I fill in when she's gone when I can, but I find it hard to learn as fast as I would like to without a mentor.




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« Reply #99 on: February 09, 2005, 11:45:30 PM »

Pick up a copy of "A Guide to the Music of the Eastern Orthodox Church." it's out of print but you can get it through interlibrary loan.  It teaches the theory well.

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« Reply #100 on: February 09, 2005, 11:53:34 PM »


Thank you Anastasios! I'll try to find it.
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« Reply #101 on: February 10, 2005, 12:29:19 AM »

Also you might want to try this site http://chant.hchc.edu/ it is run by Holy Cross and I know a couple of people who have found it helpful.
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« Reply #102 on: February 11, 2005, 12:53:36 AM »

Speaking of chanting, does anyone have any advice on how one might learn to chant properly, either in English or Greek, other than going to Holy Cross? The Antiochian parish I attend has a self taught chanter, who travels a lot so I fill in when she's gone when I can, but I find it hard to learn as fast as I would like to without a mentor.


Psalti Boy,
since you intend to learn Chant and you have a responsibility in a church, I advise you to go to an official school if it's available in your area. it's more practical and easier than following books and web pages that's according to my personel expirience.

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« Reply #103 on: February 11, 2005, 02:57:29 AM »



Psalti Boy,
since you intend to learn Chant and you have a responsibility in a church, I advise you to go to an official school if it's available in your area.  it's more practical and easier than following books and web pages that's according to my personel expirience.

Protopsalti

Protopsalti,
Those are rather few and far between in the USA.  But yes, you are definitely right about learning from others (as in people) being much better than from the Web or books.
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« Reply #104 on: February 16, 2005, 12:48:50 PM »

[quote author=Ian Lazarus link=topic=3224.msg67183#msg67183 date=1107055373]
Ehem..........a quote from Stravinsky:



I have to say that what makes the Orhodox music so different is that it is intended to be sung without instruments and sounds better that way. Adding chords and accompaniment to it would only complicate and indeed destroy both the atmosphere and the flow of the music. It's one of the things that attracted me to the church (not the only thing). Its not easy to sing A capella, but it is so worth it. One parish I was a member of just did the service with a pitch pipe and the choral director singing the triad so that everyone got the pitch in their mind and it was GO time. I like that solution, BTW. Cool


Oh, I do like Anglican and Gregorian Chant as well, especially when done correctly (no inst.). It was made for the church, and is a joy to listen to. I wonder if any would have objectiosn to using those in a liturgy. Oh I know that we have our tones and I think they are great! Wouldn't trade them! But since they were written and practised mostly durring the periods befroe the Great Schism, I donet see anything wrong with using them if they can fit into the liturgy. Maybe as a troparia setting or a Stikeria setting. Any opinions? What do the clergy think?

Peace ad Butterda (they tells me not to but I still drinks it!),

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Quote
[/color][/color]

All, There is a fascinating history of Byzantine music and Hymnography by E. Wellesz that reviews much of the history of music tradition in the church. I will summarize here. The organ was used several centuries before the Schism, having been a gift to the west to King Pepin by Constantine V of Constantinople. The historical writings indicate that Constantinople was viewed as 'supreme' because it had the organ, and this gift was an equalizer. In the West, monks, and one Pope became the organ builders during this time. Before this time, originally, the organ (invented a few centuried BC by Ctebesius, water powered, called the Hydraulis) was used in celebrations and, as one of the few instruments of the time, had a reputation associated with 'orgies' and the like. Hence it wasn't used in worship. However, over time the Byzantine Christian Empire used it for formal ceremonies and it began to take on a different reputation. All of the ceremonies of the Emperor were officiated by the Patriarch... church and state were one. The tradition of congregational singing was banned early in Constantinople to allow for trained psatltis to praise God and other trained chanters to exalt the Emperor. This would happen during processions, side by side, with the organ in the procession, two groups of chanters for the Emperor and two groups of psaltis for the Patriarch, chanting antiphonally. These would end in the church. The Byzantine chant itself was not unique music, - it was the popular music of the era, with history back to Pythagoras.. it was the only choice from which to pick church music. The specific modes were chosen for the feeling they conveyed which paralleled the scriptures they were to be used with, however they were in existence long before. People would know the specific feeling of each tone, having been familiar with the music of the time. Wellesc notes that near the end of the Empire, that a traveller noted in his travel notes that there were organs in all the churches and they were used on certain days throughout the week. Note that monasteries favored little singing or chanting ,less than the churches, so the tradition was not there. Wellesz speculates that the organs may have been used to hold the ison, or for practice.. Since they were made of gold, they were likely plundered during the fall. Wellesz also comments that the Byzantine chant used today is different from the early chant, which was more diatonic, having been influenced later under Turkish rule. The organ, which was an engineering miracle, captured the air of the universe and turned it into beautiful sound.. and for some it symbolized the cosmos in church, and the connection between man and the universe. Hence its use in church. It was picked not for spectacle, but to aid in solemnity and the feeling of meditation and the scriptures. In Russia, where Moscow was established by Peter the Great as the "new Rome", great composers were commisioned to compose for the church.. And here you have Tchaik., and others. Again, the music of the Russian church incorporated some folk or popular tradition in its music,and it is easy to hear the difference between Russian chant and Byzantine chant. But the organ was never gifted to Russia.

If one considers the thinking behind the choice of music that happened in the early church, one point becomes clear: The music was chosen to reinforce the the feeling of the words... The challenge for Orthodoxy today is what happens when the Byzantine tradition doesn't follow the ethos of it's original intent and doesn't convey the scriptural feelings to todays parishioners? Is that Orthodox tradition?? While I personally enjoy it, some parishioners view it as awful, ear wrenching belly aching (esp if it's in Greek, but sometimes even in English) and this takes away from the words. At the same time, the traditional organ has few uses but church music.... and the music written for it was done for the exact same reason as the tones were chosen: to convey the feeling of the words. So, as long as the words are the focus, and the organ the support (not the other way around), this follows the spirit of the tradition and helps non-ethnic Americans worship in the Orthodox faith. Thiis is why the GOA uses the organ, and has established a new Orthodox tradition of music for the church, with composers of Orthodox music writing for chanters, choirs, and organs.As an instrument, it is less 'even toned' than the piano, and overtones are it's magic.  America is a new frontier for Orthodoxy and has in it all of the challenges presented years ago as Christianity spread throughout the East, West, North and South. It's all of that roled into one country and requires evolution of tradition, just as it evolved in the past.   If you check out some of the new church music being written by Orthoodox composers, there are elements of Byzantine and non-Byzantine sounds, to help everyone pray...

 
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« Reply #105 on: February 16, 2005, 01:11:45 PM »

    I've never been to a Greek Church that uses them...but we use an organ in my WR parish because it aids in the music and atmosphere, not hamper.   A good organist can send shivers up your spine with a haunting grined- like the bagpipes.  But if you want a real organ, you don't use those that you can easaly move around, you have it installed.
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« Reply #106 on: February 22, 2005, 05:40:09 PM »

The choir director at my Carpatho-Russian church tried to get organs and guitars in the church. My father who is the cantor fought to keep them out and fortunately he succeeded. The choir director has been at odds with him since.

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« Reply #107 on: February 22, 2005, 06:02:43 PM »

The choir director at my Carpatho-Russian church tried to get organs and guitars in the church. My father who is the cantor fought to keep them out and fortunately he succeeded. The choir director has been at odds with him since.

-Nick

Wow!
This would never fly at my wife's Carpatho-Russian parish. This old Greek is on your father's side 100%

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« Reply #108 on: February 22, 2005, 10:50:34 PM »

Quote
This old Greek is on your father's side 100%

And now, from our studios in Burbank, California, its "THIS OLD GREEK!" with your host, Bob Villa.

On today's show, we'll be regrouting the basement............. laugh


(sorry, couldnt resist! Grin)

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« Reply #109 on: February 23, 2005, 09:20:30 AM »


Naw...it would be a Windex infomercial
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« Reply #110 on: February 23, 2005, 10:35:43 AM »

I was going to say that....or the spit-o-matic (for roasting in your yard) with all the attachments!

NO disrespect intended, its just that i have seen a house such as the one in that movie, Greek flag on the garage door and all...and I love them for it! 
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« Reply #111 on: February 23, 2005, 11:39:25 PM »



ANATHEMA! I hate organs! If I wanted to hear organs I would go to a Protestant church. But get this - at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.

As a member of the choir who used to show up and help do this, I am not happy about it. This was the only way I could contribute when he was doing strict chanting.




Toms! LOL! I love your stand of Tradition against the organs. With thee, and garantee you have all the holy Fathers of the Church backing up on this one! To these modernization of the Church Hymnology with the use of organs, and those who support this, Anathema!

Good Job!
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« Reply #112 on: February 24, 2005, 01:25:20 PM »

I just discovered that it isnt so bad if I sit closer to the front than i have been... laugh
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« Reply #113 on: February 26, 2005, 02:11:16 AM »

" Again, with our fresh zeal for perfectionism, on finding a discrepancy between what we have found out in a book and what is done, we try to enforce the thing read and dismiss the thing done. The thing done just happens to be the on-going prayer life of the Church. When we attempt to drive the wedge of our opinions between the faithful and their prayer life, the most likely result is that we will drive a wedge between ourselves and the Church. In any case, the last thing the Church needs is a re-enactment of the Protestant Reformation masquerading as purest Orthodoxy. "
Father George Johnsons, "Music as Prayer", www. roca.org.


Let us not be tempted to fall into the trap of witch trials or create the 5th crusade...people can have personal preferences... but the organ in the GO church was introduced in America in 1929...When C. Jacovidis, migrated from Cyprus, having grown up in a monastery and graduating as a teacher... He then came to America and formed the first mixed choir in Norfolk, wiith organ music... The organist just retired at the age of 90, though Christos passed on years ago. Christos became a composer and much of his work is in use in churches in America. I have heard some psalti speak so horribly vicious on the organ issue... to the point that I believe the devil has possessed them to act so hatefully...anyone with that much hate in their heart should not be a psalti... it is heretical....

And the Russian composer. A. Kastalsky, who wrote a Requiem for voice and instruments(including the organ) in commemoration of war dead, tried to bring the organ to the Russian church...and voted for it in counsel. He was a firm believer in trying to bring Christian unity....yet he wrote liturgies for the Russian church.

With 550 parishes in America, the GOA is a major part of Orthodoxy in this country, and it is not the Greek church of Greece, nor the OCA, nor the church of Russia, but the American Greek Orthodox Church...and by and large it is what supports the Ecumencial Patriarchate...which is the head of all Orthodoxy.... If our Patriarch and his Synod approve the organ use... then that is fine with me...that is what a hierarchical church structure is all about...
.
Take heed of anyone who would turn this topic into a war!... There are some Orthodox (quite a few) for whom the chanting of the psalti (in Greek or English) does nothing for in terms of assiting in prayer, which is what its intent is...
If the organ helps people pray, then so be it.. that is why they are in church!

In XC, D.
 


 

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« Reply #114 on: February 26, 2005, 08:56:27 AM »

I was going to say that....or the spit-o-matic (for roasting in your yard) with all the attachments!

NO disrespect intended, its just that i have seen a house such as the one in that movie, Greek flag on the garage door and all...and I love them for it!

Hmmmm....I have considered flying the Byzantine flag below the Stars and Stripes on the old homestead here, but, well, I do have a roasting spit in backyard  Cheesy
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« Reply #115 on: February 26, 2005, 09:05:07 AM »

...
Let us not be tempted to fall into the trap of witch trials or  create the 5th crusade...people can have personal preferences... but the organ in the GO church was introduced in America in 1929...When C. Jacovidis, migrated from Cyprus, having grown up in a monastery and graduating as a teacher... He then  came to America and formed the first mixed choir in Norfolk, wiith organ music... The organist just retired at the age of 90, though Christos passed on years ago. Christos became a composer and much of his work is in use in churches in America.  I have heard some psalti speak so horribly vicious on the organ  issue... to the point that I believe the devil has possessed them to act so hatefully...anyone with that much hate in their heart should not be a psalti... it is heretical....
...

NORFOLK? My parish started this? I remember the old original church established in 1911 and replaced in 1955.I was baptized there in 1950. No wonder I can't get them to turn the organ even down, much less off (my sister sings in that choir). I'll never live this down here.  Wink

Goods points on the rest of your post, Kizzy.

Demetri
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« Reply #116 on: February 26, 2005, 01:24:41 PM »

Kizzy,

Psaltis aren't the only people who get that upset--try suggesting to an organist such as yourself that we get rid of organs and they flip out sometimes, too.  I think that obviously we are going to have to phase out organs because they are simply not part of the greater Orthodox tradition, especially as the jurisdictions coalesce into one over the next two or three hundred years--other Orthodox Churches don't think very highly of organs and many non-Greek people I know going to Greek parishes for the first time are suprised by the organ.  I know people like yourself who like the organ but they are a minority in my experience.  Perhaps our "experience" is colored though by the people we speak with the most, and it really is the other way from what you or I are saying Wink

The organ seems to ruin the chant and make the service seem utterly dead to most people.  However, your dichotomy between organ and psalti music doesn't have to stand; while I love psalti music, I think that a better solution for most parishes would be to retain their choir and teach them to sing Byzantine chant. I have seen this done, and it works. It just requires effort.  Also, while we're at it, teach the choir to lead the people instead of supplant them, so that EVERYONE sings it.  If you want to see an example of an entire parish doing Byzantine Chant in unison, check out the Melkite (Eastern Rite Catholic) parish in Washington, DC, Holy Transfiguration.  There, the entire liturgy is done this way and it is simply amazing.  Although I think there are still time for psaltic compositions that are too complex for the congregation, and they might be retained for things like the cherubic hymn where it is beneficial for the people just to bow their heads in reverence and contemplation.

Now to address some of your other points:

Kastalsky and other Russian composers really pushed the limits; to even compose church music like they did seems to many to be foreign to Orthodox tradition. I am glad that traditional Russian CHANTS are making a comeback.  Have you ever seen the difference in execution between a simply chanted hymn in Kievan chant versus one of the Kastalsky bohemoths?  Compare the two and tell me which is easier to pray to Smiley

The GOA being somehow different than the Church of Greece: culturally maybe but it is still part of the Greek Orthodox Church.  You can't say that being on its own for less than 100 years makes it mature enough to make all of its own decisions.  The GOA has too many tensions and cleavages in its ranks to be its "own" tradition.  And besides, there never will be what you describe because the GOA will coalesce with the OCA and Antiochians in the next 100-200-300 years and it will develope a truly American Orthodox culture--sans the Greek, Russian, or Arab.

The patriarch--who is NOT the head of Orthodoxy--does not even like organ use if you read some of his interviews but leaves it as a concession to those who would freak out if they were taken out.

And finally, they were installed in many parishes not as an aid to prayer but simply so the parish would look more "American."

I don't deny that the organ might benefit a few people in prayer, but the cons outweigh the pros here.

Anastasios
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« Reply #117 on: February 26, 2005, 01:56:24 PM »

Interesting points, Anastasios.
Now that I am finding out details of the history of my own home parish which I've never heard before I wonder if C. Jacovidis whom Kizzy names as bringing organs into the church there picked this up from the Anglican Brits who held Cyprus as a colony back then?

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« Reply #118 on: February 26, 2005, 02:13:14 PM »

Well the person who installed Organs on Crete first was no other than--you guessed it! Meletios!
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« Reply #119 on: February 27, 2005, 12:42:54 PM »

There are 550 GO churches in America, the largest denomination of Orthodoxy here.  The members now more and more are interfaith families.. that is 70% of all marriages that take place in the church are interchristian...and this is the group that the church must hold onto... and their offspring, otherwise, statistically, it will be extinct in 20+years.... The 3rd and 4th generation like choral music, and organ accompaniment, and English  chant.  For the most part we use Kevin Lawrence, Anna Gallos, and Tikey Zes liturgical music.   I am in a little start up parish, and we do all of that.  Actually, I am only recently an organist... only 2 years... after being begged by the congregation and clergy to play it... I had to teach myself... But I have gone to churches all over the US, old, new, large, small, modern American, and 'ethnic immigrant'  and they always had the organ... so, the generation of baby boomers that grew up with this hold this as their church experience and prayer tradition... and there are alot of 'boomers'. 
Take away the organ and good number of couples will have their wedding elsewhere....
We have tried to get the congregation to sing... most will not... it is not their tradition or they feel they cannot.... While the Orthodox churches may come closer together.... the greater pull is people from  other Christian faiths that the church must attract and retain if it is to survive... In the end... I believe Greek will dwindle, Chant will be there but it will evolve, and so will the organ....

In any case, when I speak of the Patriarch, it is his role as 'first among equals' I was referring to. 
My point on psaltis going to war: it's one thing for each individual to have their preference (for whatever reason), it's another to insist the otherperson  is less Christian because of their preference...Somehow psaltis I have heard from  (not all of course) think it is their right to make this judgement... and in doing so, remove themselves from the church itself...








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« Reply #120 on: February 27, 2005, 02:50:11 PM »

Kizzy,

If we are putting in organs to make ourselves look like "everyone else" since we have interfaith marriages, you will see in 1-2 generations that the Orthodox Church will be dead. If we don't have something unique to offer, we will go the way of mainline Protestantism in this country: on its last leg.  The Antiochian Archdiocese--which statistics show is the fastest growing Orthodox Church in America--does not have organs (except in a small handful of parishes in the North) and no one seems to mind.

I'm sorry you couldn't get your congregation to sing. I have been in enough where the people do sing to know it is possible at least in some places.  And most Greeks in any parish will sing the hirmoi of Christmas and the Lamentations of Holy Saturday Matins, so I would think there must be some way to get them to make the connection between that experience and everyday life. But I'm not at your parish so I won't presume to tell you how to do things.

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« Reply #121 on: February 27, 2005, 05:06:23 PM »

PS Kizzy,

Even though I don't like organs the fact that you take the time to volunteer at your parish is important and to be commended. We need more people like you who are so inclined, especially in this day and age of "Drive through" Church services.

Anastasios
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« Reply #122 on: February 27, 2005, 05:22:07 PM »

ps, Thanks Anastasio... actually, I have found the entire  church music experience to be uplifting. I am in a small start up, and sometimes it turns out that I am chanter, choir and organist all by myself....I never thought that was something I could do!


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« Reply #123 on: February 27, 2005, 05:38:47 PM »

According to a rep of the GO archdiocese, the only faith growing in America is the Evangelical faith.  Orthodox growth is traditionally through immigration, and a research project conducted through the Hartford Religious Institute on Orthodoxy concluded that this is still so...Evangelicals are very active on college campuses, and this is the source of their growth..

In the end, the uniqueness of Orthodoxy transcends anything of this world...be it chant, organ, dome, or steeple.... and the faith has survived despite differences in nations and cultures... It's biggest challenge in history was surviving  once it was not a 'state church'...and the people had to fund  it instead of the government..this it has done...(though I might add that some people from the old country had a difficult adjustment with this concept...) 

I think that the church will continue to evolve its music in order to reach the people who need to be reached....

Interesting, the article on C. Jacovidis I just happened to see in a newsletter where he was being recognized for his work, posthumously... The article only mentioned in passing that he formed the first mixed choir in America.... and that his original organist just retired....I don't know that he brought the organ, but writing the music for the church probably solidified it within an Orthodox Liturgical setting...I wonder if he had one in the monastery he was raised in??? He seems to have embraced it from the getgo....

In XC, Kizzy 


 
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« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2005, 05:50:15 AM »

I'm sorry you couldn't get your congregation to sing. I have been in enough where the people do sing to know it is possible at least in some places. And most Greeks in any parish will sing the hirmoi of Christmas and the Lamentations of Holy Saturday Matins, so I would think there must be some way to get them to make the connection between that experience and everyday life. But I'm not at your parish so I won't presume to tell you how to do things.

Anastasios

I, too, am sad that you can't motivate the congregation to sing. In my small, but old Greek parish the choir KNOWS we congregants WILL give them heavy competition. Now that I've convinced the organist to turn down the volume of that thing, we really do have congregational singing with as many in the pews singing as in the choir loft.
I just can't constrain myself from letting loose - after experiencing congregational singing in my wife's Carpatho-Russian (and organless) parish, it comes naturally.
Bit of advice for you in your many roles - IF you must use the organ, moderate the volume and be mindful of the tempo. When the organist cannot play at my Greek parish, the choir comes down into the pews with the rest of us sinners, and the singing togther is much more lively, spirited, and uplifting. In fact if it weren't 4:45AM local time right now, I would practise as I type - but wifey might object.  Smiley
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« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2005, 11:45:59 AM »

One of the most moving things I have seen was at St. Anthony's in one of their chapels...  I was wandering around one Sunday afternoon and happened to walk in and about a dozen lay people of all ages were chanting the paraklesis to the Theotokos... I didn't see a single prayer book either, they sang the entire thing by heart, and the whole group was singing!
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« Reply #126 on: March 01, 2005, 03:42:13 PM »

Its for reasons like what Nektarios is talking about that I detest the use of Organs - they drown out people's voices to a small degree and they dictate the pace and tempo of the service.  As I said before, instruments were not allowed within the inner precincts of the Jewish Temple, and I happen to agree - the only way within the Church proper that we should worship God is with our voices-  this way we can encourage the people around us to sing with us. 

Of course, I know that there is a lot more involved to the issue of congregational singing.  And I know that my experiences in Greek churches should not cloud my vision of how organs are used - the Russians have a much better-developed organ tradition than we do.  But still, there is something to be said for mimicing the angels, who sing their praises to the Lord without the use of these human contraptions.
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« Reply #127 on: March 01, 2005, 04:56:01 PM »

Kizzy, I've been following the discussion on the PSALM  list over the past few days, and I see you making many of the same arguments here as you did there. Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to persuade anyone here. It is simply a fact that the organ is not part of the wider Orthodox tradition, and does not fit with our services, our music, or our history.

Quote
.I wonder if he had one in the monastery he was raised in?

If you can find a cite for any Orthodox monastery anywhere having ever used an organ liturgically, I would be very interested in seeing it.

Quote
I think that the church will continue to evolve its music in order to reach the people who need to be reached.

But why bring the organ into it? It's not making the music any more accessable. If anything, it's the opposite; indeed, I have non-Orthodox friends who dislike Byzantine chant but will tolerate it, but absolutely detest Byzantine chant combined with an organ -- in their view, it's taking a bad thing and mixing it with a good thing, which comes out to be an even worse thing. Me, I like Byzantine chant, but I see trying to mix it with polyphony as similar to taking Coco Puffs and fish soup (both of which are good) and mixing them together. Adding an organ to that is like throwing in some nicely aged port -- all the components are fine individually, but together, they just don't work.
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« Reply #128 on: March 01, 2005, 11:28:49 PM »

Well, the same questions came up here... so I responded.  Seems to me that in this country the wider tradition is that of the organ.. because the GoA is larger... In any case... I'm not trying to persuade anyone... our church can't get it's own act together to be 'united'...too much turf wars... politics...yuk... what gives anyone the idea that persuasion is an Orthodox tradition?Huh  I just answer with historical data that answers a posted question...
If Jacovidis was a certified teacher from a monastery... and he came here and composed for the organ...Why?? He had the reins and could have lead the church music elsewhere... it's not like there were so many churches at that time... someone's post here suggested maybe in Cyprus the organ was an influence from the British.... In any case, here we have a monastic teacher composing liturgical music and using the organ... Perhaps his background certification' created a perception of acceptance...

I think we also need to be careful about  monastic tradition..   'the Handbook of Spiritual Counsel'... which contains the writings of St. Nikodemas..shows how different it is...  His recommendations include: don't bathe, don't have  a pet, don't listen to birds, don't have a plant,etc...Quote: "After the hedonistic sounds of human voices and musical instruments, one must also guard his ears against similar sounds from birds, such as parrots, nightingales, finches, canaries, and other song birds. The same holds true with the barking of small dogs, which are often cared for at great expense in the homes not only of the laity but also of the clergy. I hope and pray that you will avoid the vanity of such things and if you now have such animals in your home, please see to it that they are taken away. "   Wedding Receptions were also discouraged and one Council banned them... And some monasteries advocate against singing and chanting alltogether... preferring silence...Churches evolved audible singing to make sure everyone was saying the same thing the church wanted to be said...no private praying allowed... Remember in all of this: Constantinople was the center of the Theatrical stage as well as the church(long before theater in the West), and everything the Byzantines did was full of pomp...which is why the Latins hated them so much and tried to 'out pomp' them...

So, if we wan't to follow monastic recommendations... everyone ditch your pet, potted plants, and stop taking a bath....

The evolution of the church music will happen as it needs to... and some people say the organ does make the church more solemn and praying in church easier...everyone is different...which is why I believe the tradition will evolve to include chant, polyphonic singing, and also organ accompaniment....



 

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« Reply #129 on: March 01, 2005, 11:56:29 PM »

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Seems to me that in this country the wider tradition is that of the organ.. because the GoA is larger

It is true that the GOA is the largest single jurisdiction in America. However, no single jurisdiction makes up an absolute majority, and the churches using organs are far outnumbered by the churches who are not.

Quote
After the hedonistic sounds of human voices and musical instruments, one must also guard his ears against similar sounds from birds, such as parrots, nightingales, finches, canaries, and other song birds. The same holds true with the barking of small dogs, which are often cared for at great expense in the homes not only of the laity but also of the clergy.

Now, I can agree with this wrt birds -- the little winged rats are only good for grilling. Chihuahuas rule, though, and I'm sure if St. Nikodemos had had one, he would agree with me. ^_^

Obviously, not everything that monks do should be done by the laity as well. When it comes to liturgical practices, however, monasteries have been both great preservers of tradition as well as great innovators -- most of our hymnography, to say nothing of our Typikons, have come from them.. I find it instructive, therefore, that none of them have seen fit to introduce organs into their worship.
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« Reply #130 on: March 04, 2005, 03:35:39 PM »




 
The evolution of the church music will happen as it needs to... and some people say the organ does make the church more solemn and praying in church easier...everyone is different...which is why I believe the tradition will evolve to include chant, polyphonic singing, and also organ accompaniment....



 
Kizzy:
         Very Well Put!

         Michael
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« Reply #131 on: March 13, 2005, 09:17:32 PM »

I visited the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in sacramento today. I haven't been to a greek church for many years. They had an organ playing which sounded very presbyterian/anglican in tone, pews, & stained glass windows on all sides instead of icons  Roll Eyes. Those factors really hampered in my opinion the worship of the people and it felt like a weird blend of high church anglicanism with the Divine Liturgy. I didn't know what to really think of it but it wasn't for me I guess.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #132 on: March 13, 2005, 09:49:16 PM »

Those factors really hampered in my opinion the worship of the people and it felt like a weird blend of high church anglicanism with the Divine Liturgy. I didn't know what to really think of it but it wasn't for me I guess. Embarrassed

I am curious as to how you came to the conclusion that the worship of the people were hampered? The cathedral I believe is rather new, and was built by the congregation of 1000 families, with their input. I go to an old GO church that has stained glass windows and I used to attend St. Paul's cathedral on Long Island - which also was built with stained glass window and icons. However, the icons and windows were installed over the years with donations from people. In the beginning the windows were plain colored glass (in both churches) and the walls were plain, and over time they were transformed into stained glass icons, 'in honor of' certain individuals with donations from their family, and the walls had icon murals. So if the cathedral is new, it will probably have icons added over the years as people donate them. This can be a long process as they are very expensive. But the worship of the people.. how can you say it is hampered?? were they not praying?? How can you tell??
just curious as to how someone makes this judgement..

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« Reply #133 on: March 13, 2005, 11:19:19 PM »

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I am curious as to how you came to the conclusion that the worship of the people were hampered?  The cathedral I believe is rather new, and was built by the congregation of 1000 families, with their input. I go to an old GO church that has stained glass windows and I used to attend St. Paul's cathedral on Long Island - which also was built with stained glass window and icons. However, the icons and windows were installed over the years with donations from people. In the beginning the windows were plain colored glass (in both churches) and the walls were plain, and over time they were transformed into stained glass icons, 'in honor of' certain individuals with donations from their family, and the walls had icon murals.  So if the cathedral is new, it will probably have icons added over the years as people donate them. This can be a long process as they are very expensive.  But the worship of the people.. how can you say it is hampered?? were they not praying?? How can you tell??
just curious as to how someone makes this judgement..

I didn't mean any kind of judgement. It was just an observation I was making between the organ playing and the choir/people trying to get the "perfect" timing. I could tell there were times when it seemed the people wanted to sing throughout parts of the liturgy, but then had to wait for the organ to kick in. That's what I meant that I felt it hampered thier worship. To me I don't want to have to think about when an organ is going to start playing in order for me to start singing. I think it's much more natural for people just to chant the liturgy without any other hindrance. It's much easier for an organ to acompany worship in a western liturgy in my opinion because there is not as much interaction between the priest and laity thus making it somewhat more manageable. The Divine Liturgy is not like this and is much more involved making it harder for an organist to stop and then play through every part of the liturgy and timing is key. If I'm wrong I apologize but that's just how I percieved it. In regards to the stained glass windows also, I wasn't aware this was an Eastern Tradition. I thought it was exclusively western and I wondered why they had them at that greek church because it's one of the oldest greek churches on the west coast. I'm also not a fan of pews, but I understand this is a problem in alot of jurisidicitions.   
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« Reply #134 on: March 14, 2005, 12:30:11 AM »

While I realize that an organ-lead choir is Kizzy's ministry, I tend to agree with Nacho on their use. Last Sunday I was unable to attend church as I was suffering from aggravating an old back injury. I "live-interneted" the Divine Liturgy at St Barbara's in CT. Their organ was so barely audible, being used as a pitch pipe in that it only gave about one bar as a lead, that I had to strain to pick up that it was even used.
Pews are a pain. Period. Kizzy is correct in how they are acquired and that is, as she states, the same for stained glass windows.
I am not aware of canons against stained glass windows per se, but am aware that icons should not be upon anything breakable. Whether this comes from the reaction to the iconoclasts or not I do not know.
Hence, the iconic stained glass windows in my baptismal parish ARE a problem for me while the generic stained glass ones in my current GOA parish (which are not iconic) are not. That stated, I do not let these issues - pews, organs, or windows-  keep me from attending church when visiting my parents.

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