Author Topic: Original Byzantine Chant in English!  (Read 5941 times)

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Offline kelfar

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Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« on: October 13, 2004, 11:13:16 AM »
 :D
« Last Edit: November 12, 2004, 12:40:31 AM by kelfar »

Offline Elisha

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2004, 11:24:35 AM »
Dude, no one wants to listen to your crappy music.




Just kidding, I haven't gotten the chance to listen yet, but I've been told it sounds great.  I highly recommend listening to his sample.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2004, 11:32:50 AM »
Great news, Sub-deacon.
I've been to the site before and was most impressed. Now, more so - time to re-adjust the budget for another CD.

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Offline SamB

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2004, 02:57:18 PM »
.+º+ä+¦+ä+º+Ã  +¦+ä+ë +Ã +Ã¥ +º+¬+¿+¦ +º+ä+ç+»+ë
;D

Shoo hal gheibeh it'taweeleh, ya Kareem?  Ahlein feek minij'deed.  Keef sehtak w'seht il walid?

Quite impressive.  With the use of genuine Byzantine tones and with the Mediterranean 'Balamand' accents in this sample recording's English, it is quite surreal to listen to.  No offence to our American listmembers, but from the standpoint of phonetics, I find it difficult to react agreeably to the sound of North American English in Byzantine chant.  'Ethnic' or British-sounding English (the latter works surprisingly well in the Coptic Qud'das) always comes out much more interesting.

This combination of professionally executed Balamand-sounding chant and English is the most interesting twist on the exotic I'm come across for a while.  I see you were not joking, Kareem, when you insisted that English could adapt to proper Byzantine melodies and tonality.  A larger audio sample would be desirable and give more room for evaluation.

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« Last Edit: October 14, 2004, 03:01:00 PM by SamB »

Offline SamB

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2004, 04:09:08 PM »
Ah, then Say'yedna George gets the credit.

I see at your site that we can expect a full liturgy C.D.  How soon is soon?

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Offline SamB

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2004, 04:16:56 PM »
I'll have to disconnect.

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Offline Elisha

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2004, 05:01:27 PM »
SamB,
I know it's hard to think about it, but asking some North American person to sing with a British or a Middle Eastern person speaking E as SL accent is just not possible.  You have to change your frame of mind to think of maybe even a new musical style.  For phonetics and pronuciation, we sing much differently than we speak.  There are many different things to consider like dipthongs, vowel sounds, vowel shapes and your mouth shape, altering the way certain consonants come across, etc.  And it is important, otherwise the words sound weird or not understandable, voices don't blend or other consequences.

Offline Elisha

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2004, 05:49:18 PM »
Dude did you hear the audio Demos?

Yes, and they sound good, but are only a minute or so.

Offline SamB

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2004, 12:22:52 AM »
SamB,
I know it's hard to think about it, but asking some North American person to sing with a British or a Middle Eastern person speaking E as SL accent is just not possible.
 

Ha ha, a clever adjective for the Levantine manner of pronunciation.  Elisha, true, and that's obviously silly.  I'm not daft to advocate such of course, merely making an evaluation of the aesthetical qualities of said accents when put to music.

Quote
You have to change your frame of mind to think of maybe even a new musical style.  For phonetics and pronuciation, we sing much differently than we speak.


Such is the case in any language.  Music is a different phonetic medium than is speech.
A good demonstration of this is how some stutterers suddenly lose their speech impediment when they sing.
 
Sometimes, amusing cases of cross-over arise, such as Australian or British singers who sing in perfect 'American' (obviously there exists no uniform style to fully lump into that one category).  Someone once mentioned to me his visit to a club.  He was listening to one Asian performer - I can't remember of what background exactly - and realised that although he spoke little English and what English he could utter was done so in a typical 'ethnic' accent, he could sing Sinatra songs flawlessly, pronouncing the lyrics just like him.  

Quote
There are many different things to consider like dipthongs, vowel sounds, vowel shapes and your mouth shape, altering the way certain consonants come across, etc.  And it is important, otherwise the words sound weird or not understandable, voices don't blend or other consequences.

Obviously, it is a science with many elements.

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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2004, 12:55:03 AM »
I like the chant that Fr Seraphim Dedes has done in English, as well. I dont like his translations but the effort is solid:

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/chant.asp#orthros
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Offline The young fogey

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2004, 06:51:30 AM »
Re:

Quote
'Ethnic' or British-sounding English (the latter works surprisingly well in the Coptic Qud'das) always comes out much more interesting.

and

Quote
SamB,

I know it's hard to think about it, but asking some North American person to sing with a British or a Middle Eastern person speaking E as SL accent is just not possible.

For phonetics and pronuciation, we sing much differently than we speak.

 
Samer answer this:
 
Quote
Such is the case in any language.  Music is a different phonetic medium than is speech.

A good demonstration of this is how some stutterers suddenly lose their speech impediment when they sing.

Sometimes, amusing cases of cross-over arise, such as Australian or British singers who sing in perfect 'American' (obviously there exists no uniform style to fully lump into that one category).  Someone once mentioned to me his visit to a club.  He was listening to one Asian performer - I can't remember of what background exactly - and realised that although he spoke little English and what English he could utter was done so in a typical 'ethnic' accent, he could sing Sinatra songs flawlessly, pronouncing the lyrics just like him.

Exactly. I was going to write that a good singing voice for classical including liturgical music at least in English naturally sounds a lot like a BBC/Oxford English accent anyway. (One can turn that round and say that accent lends itself well to that kind of music!) I've noticed that live listening to American singers who aren't trying to put on an accent at all.
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Offline Keble

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2004, 12:13:33 PM »
Exactly. I was going to write that a good singing voice for classical including liturgical music at least in English naturally sounds a lot like a BBC/Oxford English accent anyway. (One can turn that round and say that accent lends itself well to that kind of music!) I've noticed that live listening to American singers who aren't trying to put on an accent at all.

That's because they are putting on an accent! American choirs are in general trained to make some adjustments toward BBC English, notably a slight roll to inner 'R's and softening of some dipthongs and the trailing 'R'. Accents do shift somewhat in singing, but even without that, American choirs would tend to sound a lot more like Tammy Wynette than Paul McCartney if they didn't compensate for it.

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2004, 12:15:53 PM »
We have had singers here at SVS that roll their r's when they sing. I think it has to be one of the most annoying things I have ever heard.

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Offline Robert

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2004, 12:16:56 PM »
All you're missing is an accordion and il sole mio or whatever that song is.

R

Offline The young fogey

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2004, 12:46:05 PM »
Quote
That's because they are putting on an accent! American choirs are in general trained to make some adjustments toward BBC English, notably a slight roll to inner 'R's and softening of some dipthongs and the trailing 'R'. Accents do shift somewhat in singing, but even without that, American choirs would tend to sound a lot more like Tammy Wynette than Paul McCartney if they didn't compensate for it.

Accents are definitely more malleable singing than speaking as Samer has described well.

I think anybody with a good ear singing that kind of music naturally ends up sounding close to BBC without putting on the full accent, just because it sounds better - that's what I was describing. You're right that choirs are taught to do some of that and the result is better.

Tammy Wynette? Yes, that's what the raw American voice sounds like to many Brits and Europeans. (American dog sounds like darg to British ears.)

Paul McCartney? I don't think a choir singing even in a modified Scouse accent like he has (or at least puts on - some say Sir Paul really has a London accent now) would sound too pretty: 'I lift oop my eyes ernto the hills: from whence coometh me help.'

Quote
We have had singers here at SVS that roll their r's when they sing. I think it has to be one of the most annoying things I have ever heard.

AFAIK the main distinction in Byzantine Rite singing, at least in the Russian recension, is between choral singing and kliros singing. The latter, often recto tono (monotone) or nearly so, is supposed to be in a soft, flat vibratoless voice so exaggerated rolled r's in that would be out of place. (Not to be confused with the clicked initial or inner r you sometimes hear older English people or non-native speakers use, which sounds fine.)

In choral singing in English no problem - I think that would use the same kind of voice as Anglican choral stuff. True of the Western-style choral works by Russian composers, the staple of Russian Orthodox churches.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2004, 02:45:30 PM by Serge »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2004, 12:50:08 PM »
Serge,

I was talking about in choral stuff. It is so distracting when the person next you is singing r's differently than the rest of the people.  Also when I am in the audience it's distracting because it sounds so artificial to me. I know that choruses do that in America sometimes (at the Catholic Basilica in DC they do) but to me it's just not natural to be effecting sounds we do not use in normal English solely for the purpose of singing.  If they do it in Anglican Churches and that's how they've always done it, that's fine, I would probably have grown up with that and be used to it :)  But it is just really distracting to hear it in an Orthodox Church during services.  Makes me wonder if we are singing to pray or singing to perform.

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2004, 01:02:40 PM »
I wish the samples were longer because I really enjoyed them.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2004, 01:03:40 PM »
They're good.

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Offline Fr. David

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2004, 04:23:16 PM »
We have had singers here at SVS that roll their r's when they sing. I think it has to be one of the most annoying things I have ever heard.

My priest does this every Vespers; it makes me smile:

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2004, 06:17:03 PM »
I was talking about in choral stuff. It is so distracting when the person next you is singing r's differently than the rest of the people.

Well you know, Slavic Orthodox folk have a big problem with that in terms of the "Gospod"/"Hospod" thing. And you know what? They don't care!! I wasted a lot of time trying to get the Slavic Male Chorus to all sing one way. THey just won't do it.

Quote
If they do it in Anglican Churches and that's how they've always done it, that's fine, I would probably have grown up with that and be used to it :)  But it is just really distracting to hear it in an Orthodox Church during services.  Makes me wonder if we are singing to pray or singing to perform.

Anastasios, that's how I can tell you aren't a choral person. They aren't different. If you are singing in public, you are singing to the edification others-- that's a performance.

As far as pronunciation, don't blame it on the Anglicans. The alterations of the 'R' sound are specifically intended to compensate for an American tendency to practically swallow the tongue when singing the sound. It's just something that naive American singers do (along with pushing too much sound out their noses). American singers also have very mushy diction unless they overpronounce consonants in the direction of BBC English. All choirs are taught to do this because otherwise they are unintelligible.

The affectation of ostentatiously rolled Rs is an overcompensation at best, but then, it wouldn't surprise me to see it at a seminary.

Offline Ebor

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2004, 06:52:40 PM »
Makes me wonder if we are singing to pray or singing to perform.

Anastasios

Why would there be a difference? It reads like singing to pray is somehow less careful then singing to perform.

For some of us, singing liturgical music and hymns is praying with a deeper worship then if we just spoke the words.  And when we sing we try to do our best for God.  In our choir we do our best so that others can, maybe, be lifted in prayer with the music as well.  It's not like singing in a coffeehouse or on stage, even if you do your best there, too.  

I assure you that I give my all singing something like "Humbly I adore Thee" that I don't put into "Rolling Down to Old Maui" even though I try to do both as well as I can.

Ebor

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Offline Elisha

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2004, 07:16:43 PM »
We have had singers here at SVS that roll their r's when they sing. I think it has to be one of the most annoying things I have ever heard.

Anastasios

The 'R' is supposed to be 'fliiped' as opposed to heavily rolled.

Offline The young fogey

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2004, 08:33:04 PM »
Quote
As far as pronunciation, don't blame it on the Anglicans. The alterations of the 'R' sound are specifically intended to compensate for an American tendency to practically swallow the tongue when singing the sound. It's just something that naive American singers do (along with pushing too much sound out their noses). American singers also have very mushy diction unless they overpronounce consonants in the direction of BBC English. All choirs are taught to do this because otherwise they are unintelligible.

S+¼, a punto.

Quote
The 'R' is supposed to be 'flipped' as opposed to heavily rolled.  

That's it, the flipped r. That's what I meant by 'clicked' r.
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Offline penelope

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2004, 10:05:57 PM »
Does anyone know other links to files like these?  I liked these ones, and I wasjust wondering if anyone knows where some more can be found.
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Offline CatholicEagle

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2004, 11:12:06 PM »
Well you know, Slavic Orthodox folk have a big problem with that in terms of the "Gospod"/"Hospod" thing...

Oh when ever I  went to a UGCC Monastery around here[yes a monastery in the middle of the city] the Ukrainian priests would always say "michihan" instead of michigan, or hamtramck hamtremicko

Offline The young fogey

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2004, 09:22:15 AM »
Funny how hard vs. soft g skips around geographically in Slavic languages - in CatholicEagle's Poland the g is there - the genitive ending -skiego for example. I think the various Balkan Slavs in southeastern Europe all pronounce the g hard too. Then in the Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia it becomes an h. (Odd, because while Czech and Slovak are nearly the same language, Ukrainian is a transitional language betwee Polish and Russian, both of which usually pronounce the g.) Parts of southern Russia proper like around Rostov-on-the-Don (knew somebody from there) make it an h too, but in most of Russia it becomes a g again! (Much of the time anyway - when it's not stressed, such as in the genitive endings, it softens to a v sound - -¦-¦-+ is 'yiVO'. But in Slavonic the gs are supposed to be pronounced all the time: 'yehGO'. The e gets its full value too. Exception: God, -æ-+-¦-è, is Boh with kind of a hard kh sound for the g. Slavonic sometimes seems easier to hear and understand than Russian because compared to Russian it's overpronounced.)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2004, 12:33:18 PM by Serge »
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Offline penelope

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2004, 11:52:40 AM »
What files are you talking about?
Assuming this is to me, I was looking for some more Byzantine/Russian music sites in general.  I was wondering if there were some more links on other threads here or if anyone knew some links that they could post on this thread.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2004, 03:59:38 PM »
Well you know, Slavic Orthodox folk have a big problem with that in terms of the "Gospod"/"Hospod" thing. And you know what? They don't care!! I wasted a lot of time trying to get the Slavic Male Chorus to all sing one way. THey just won't do it.Anastasios, that's how I can tell you aren't a choral person. They aren't different. If you are singing in public, you are singing to the edification others-- that's a performance.

I don't agree.  A choir in an Orthodox Church is supposed to lead others in prayer (and hopefully they are singing along too). It is not supposed to be the focus of the people. We are told specifically at SVS that we are NOT to be performing but leading a prayer.  Choral people told us this. If you have an issue with the dichotomy, please take it up with them.

Quote
As far as pronunciation, don't blame it on the Anglicans. The alterations of the 'R' sound are specifically intended to compensate for an American tendency to practically swallow the tongue when singing the sound. It's just something that naive American singers do (along with pushing too much sound out their noses). American singers also have very mushy diction unless they overpronounce consonants in the direction of BBC English. All choirs are taught to do this because otherwise they are unintelligible.
The affectation of ostentatiously rolled Rs is an overcompensation at best, but then, it wouldn't surprise me to see it at a seminary.


Not everyone does it at the seminary, just some. And it is precisely this overcompensation that I have the issue with, not clear diction.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: October 16, 2004, 04:00:33 PM by anastasios »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2004, 04:02:16 PM »
Why would there be a difference? It reads like singing to pray is somehow less careful then singing to perform.

For some of us, singing liturgical music and hymns is praying with a deeper worship then if we just spoke the words.  And when we sing we try to do our best for God.  In our choir we do our best so that others can, maybe, be lifted in prayer with the music as well.  It's not like singing in a coffeehouse or on stage, even if you do your best there, too.  

I assure you that I give my all singing something like "Humbly I adore Thee" that I don't put into "Rolling Down to Old Maui" even though I try to do both as well as I can.

Ebor

 

Well, I think that people naturally assume a different posture outside of liturgy.  If I have a choral concert in a concert hall singing Church music it is not the same thing as in Church.

I am merely stating what I was taught here at SVS in this case. If they are wrong, then that's why I am wrong :)

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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Original Byzantine Chant in English!
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2004, 04:05:00 PM »
PS,

I only brought Anglicans into the mix because Serge stated:

"In choral singing in English no problem - I think that would use the same kind of voice as Anglican choral stuff. True of the Western-style choral works by Russian composers, the staple of Russian Orthodox churches."

And I was taking his word on it.  I wasn't blaming Anglicans and if fact I said if they do it it's fine because that must be their tradition. If you would like to correct me on my statements please do so in context :)

Anastasios
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