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Author Topic: Canon of preparation for Holy Communion - music  (Read 1173 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthodox11
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« on: March 23, 2012, 09:45:21 PM »

Where can I find the Byzantine musical notation for the canon of preparation for Holy Communion? Does such a thing exist, or do I just have to learn each irmos (deute laoi, etc.).

I would really like to learn how to sing it (canons always sound so dull and awkward when read), but I can't find any recordings anywhere, so the notation would be very helpful.

Thanks
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 10:06:36 PM by Orthodox11 » Logged
augustin717
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 10:59:44 PM »

My guts tell me, since it's mainly a private prayer, it was never supposed to be sung.
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 11:02:50 PM »

My guts tell me, since it's mainly a private prayer, it was never supposed to be sung.

Funny, I was going to say the same thing.
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 11:20:57 PM »

You can sing private prayers if you know how to do so. They were indeed meant to be sung, considering they're metered and written in tone 2. It may not be common but it's certainly not incorrect.

I'll talk to some chanters I know and find out if they know of anything. I've been wanting to learn this myself.

In the meantime, if you know your tones you can improvise until you have the actual music.
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 11:36:14 PM »

My guts tell me, since it's mainly a private prayer, it was never supposed to be sung.

The odes of the canon are written to specific melodies in Tone 2, which are indicated at the beginning of each ode. In monasteries, the canon is normally sung during Small Compline on the evenings before the monks receive Communion. I've heard it sung quite a few times, but unfortunately I don't attend monasteries often enough learn it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 04:00:55 AM »

My guts tell me, since it's mainly a private prayer, it was never supposed to be sung.

The odes of the canon are written to specific melodies in Tone 2, which are indicated at the beginning of each ode. In monasteries, the canon is normally sung during Small Compline on the evenings before the monks receive Communion. I've heard it sung quite a few times, but unfortunately I don't attend monasteries often enough learn it.

If I remember correctly I believe it is the same melody of the canon of the Bridegroom Orthros of Holy Week.
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2012, 05:29:56 PM »

My guts tell me, since it's mainly a private prayer, it was never supposed to be sung.

The odes of the canon are written to specific melodies in Tone 2, which are indicated at the beginning of each ode. In monasteries, the canon is normally sung during Small Compline on the evenings before the monks receive Communion. I've heard it sung quite a few times, but unfortunately I don't attend monasteries often enough learn it.
Yeah, I don't know. Parish practice, where I come from doesn't even know the canon really.
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2012, 10:50:01 PM »

Where can I find the Byzantine musical notation for the canon of preparation for Holy Communion? Does such a thing exist, or do I just have to learn each irmos (deute laoi, etc.).

I would really like to learn how to sing it (canons always sound so dull and awkward when read), but I can't find any recordings anywhere, so the notation would be very helpful.

Thanks


I don't know about the whole thing- the only directions for the odes I've seen are Tone 2- but the Kontakion is listed as "Seeking Things On High" in the HTM prayerbook, "Thou Soughtest the Heights" on the "Byzantine Prosomia" CD released also by HTM.
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age234
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 10:22:00 AM »

I heard back from my chanter friend. He says that, first of all, you can do whatever you want in your private prayers. They are for you, and if it helps you to sing them, you should sing.

He is not aware of any notated versions of the communion preparation canon. While the Greek-language canon was originally written in meter, it has not been translated into English that way. The HTM prayer book does not give prosomia for the odes, so it would be impossible to know how to properly sing the canon. (Except for the hymns that FormerReformer mentions, which do have the prosomia, the Western notation for which can be found here: http://www.thehtm.org/catalog/pdfs/prosomiabook-nolyrics.pdf)

That being said, you can still sing the canon freestyle in Tone 2 if you know how (apparently there are not very many canons written for Tone 2, so it can be unfamiliar). The syllables will not match from verse to verse, but you can still do it.

He says to bear in mind that Tone 2 canons are sung using the Hard Chromatic scale, which actually sounds more like Tone 6, and overall sounds like snake charmer music.

Hope this helps! Sorry there's no set music for it though.

I have heard the Communion Preparation service sung in a ROCOR parish before. The Irmoi of the canon were sung, and the troparia were intoned (which is the Russian practice for canons).
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 10:26:45 AM by age234 » Logged
Orthodox11
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 11:09:30 AM »

Thanks for all the replies!

If I remember correctly I believe it is the same melody of the canon of the Bridegroom Orthros of Holy Week.

Flipping through my Triodion (Ekdoseis Fos) the only match I could find was Ode 3 of the canon for the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Wednesday, though it is all in Tone 2.

He is not aware of any notated versions of the communion preparation canon. While the Greek-language canon was originally written in meter, it has not been translated into English that way. The HTM prayer book does not give prosomia for the odes, so it would be impossible to know how to properly sing the canon.

Actually, the HTM translation goes further and gives you the entire heirmos for each Ode of the Canon (which work in the same was as prosomia), while in most Greek Horologia they're merely indicated. I only know how to sing the first heirmos (Come, O ye people), but basing myself on that, the English translation can also easily be sung to the original melody.

The heirmoi are as follows:
Ode 1 - Δεῦτε λαοί
Ode 3 - Ἐν πέτρᾳ με τῆς πίστεως
Ode 4 - Έλήλυθας έκ παρθένου
Ode 5 -Ὁ τοῦ φοτὸς χορηγός
Ode 6 - Ἐν ἀβύσσῳ πταισμάτων
Ode 7 - Εὶκόνος χρυσῆς
Ode 8 - Τὸν ἐν καμίνῳ τοῦ πυρός
Ode 9 - Ἀνάρχου γεννήτορος

So the proper melody for the canon is not the problem. My question was more whether it would be necessary to learn all of the above heirmoi by heart (if so, a link to the notation for those would be very much appreciated), and then sing the canon accordingly, or whether there was a book somewhere where the text of the canon was accompanied by Byzantine notation. Alas, such a book doesn't seem to exist.

Quote
That being said, you can still sing the canon freestyle in Tone 2 if you know how (apparently there are not very many canons written for Tone 2, so it can be unfamiliar). The syllables will not match from verse to verse, but you can still do it.

That's what I've been trying to from time to time. Always ends up a bit clumsy though.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 11:21:16 AM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 12:00:54 PM »

which actually sounds more like Tone 6, and overall sounds like snake charmer music.

Good information til you wrote this line. You lost all credibility with that judgement.
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 05:44:17 PM »

which actually sounds more like Tone 6, and overall sounds like snake charmer music.

Good information til you wrote this line. You lost all credibility with that judgement.

That was a quote from the protopsaltis I asked. He's Lebanese, and a jolly fellow. Just a little joke. Cheesy
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 06:12:21 PM by age234 » Logged
age234
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 05:54:02 PM »

Actually, the HTM translation goes further and gives you the entire heirmos for each Ode of the Canon (which work in the same was as prosomia), while in most Greek Horologia they're merely indicated. I only know how to sing the first heirmos (Come, O ye people), but basing myself on that, the English translation can also easily be sung to the original melody.

The heirmoi are as follows:
Ode 1 - Δεῦτε λαοί
Ode 3 - Ἐν πέτρᾳ με τῆς πίστεως
Ode 4 - Έλήλυθας έκ παρθένου
Ode 5 -Ὁ τοῦ φοτὸς χορηγός
Ode 6 - Ἐν ἀβύσσῳ πταισμάτων
Ode 7 - Εὶκόνος χρυσῆς
Ode 8 - Τὸν ἐν καμίνῳ τοῦ πυρός
Ode 9 - Ἀνάρχου γεννήτορος

Oh, you don't say? The book I looked at did not have any of that information.

Well, in that case, in theory the music should be somewhere. I will ask the guy again and see if it rings any bells.

Good luck getting anything direct from HTM though. I have their Supplicatory Canon to Saint George (which has some heirmoi that are different from the Theotokos' Supplicatory Canon), and have written them to ask if the music for those was available, and I never received a reply.

I suppose what we really need is a Heirmologion in Western notation. I'll see if I can't scare something up online about it.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 05:54:46 PM by age234 » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 06:15:41 PM »

Well, in that case, in theory the music should be somewhere.

The music for the heirmoi will be, for the canon itself, not so sure.

Quote
I suppose what we really need is a Heirmologion in Western notation. I'll see if I can't scare something up online about it.

What we really need are more English resources for teaching Byzantine chant  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 07:12:30 PM »

Well, in that case, in theory the music should be somewhere.

The music for the heirmoi will be, for the canon itself, not so sure.

Quote
I suppose what we really need is a Heirmologion in Western notation. I'll see if I can't scare something up online about it.

What we really need are more English resources for teaching Byzantine chant  Smiley

Hmmmm- I wonder if Stephen Kouri is up to adding more episodes to his podcast- covering a few of the canons and how to put one together in absence of more experienced direction (I am blessed to have at my parish a psalti who is not afraid to interrupt me mid-verse for correction- given that Sunday is the only day I have for feedback [and the relative lack of people at Orthros to disturb] I'd never learn if not). His podcasts have helped me immensely on the days when the actual tonsured chanters don't show up- at least I have a slight idea of what I'm supposed to do.
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« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2012, 04:10:41 PM »

Good news. I was able to track down the entire canon in Greek with Byzantine notation.

http://graeca.canto.ru/upload/MontrealPsaltiki/GKM_Composition_Psaltiki/Theia_Metalipsis_BRUT_first_draft_GKM_004.pdf

I'll talk to my friend and see if he can help me convert the heirmoi to Western notation (or at least record himself singing the heirmoi). When that is done, if the English text is metered, it should be singable. If not, the text will need to be tweaked to fit, but that is generally not a big deal. Usually an English translation has fewer syllables than a Greek original, thus much can be accomplished by inserting adjectives and other things. Using Elizabethan English is an advantage in this also.

It'll take some time, but finding this document was the main breakthrough that was needed.
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Orthodox11
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2012, 06:48:03 AM »

Good news. I was able to track down the entire canon in Greek with Byzantine notation.

http://graeca.canto.ru/upload/MontrealPsaltiki/GKM_Composition_Psaltiki/Theia_Metalipsis_BRUT_first_draft_GKM_004.pdf

You, sir, are a star. I owe you!

Quote
I'll talk to my friend and see if he can help me convert the heirmoi to Western notation (or at least record himself singing the heirmoi). When that is done, if the English text is metered, it should be singable. If not, the text will need to be tweaked to fit, but that is generally not a big deal. Usually an English translation has fewer syllables than a Greek original, thus much can be accomplished by inserting adjectives and other things. Using Elizabethan English is an advantage in this also.

It'll take some time, but finding this document was the main breakthrough that was needed.

Converting things into Western notation seems like an unnecessarily labourious task imho. I actually find Byzantine notation to be much easier to sight read than Western notation once you get the hang of it.

I find the handwritten notation on the pdf you linked to a bit difficult in places, so I might type the whole thing out again on a day when I have time. If/when I do, I'll put up a .doc file with just the notation so someone can add the English text to it if they wish.

The Greek was what I was looking for though, so I'm very happy. Thanks again!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 07:04:02 AM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 09:02:12 AM »

Oh that's right, you only asked for the Byzantine notation. I forgot about that. There you have it, then. You're most welcome! If you ever feel like making a recording of the canon, I'd love to hear it chanted.

Myself, I still can't read Byzantine notation (though I do understand the general concept), so I'll continue with the Western notation anyway, for the sake of anyone else who might want it in that form. The chanter said he would convert the notation himself, so it won't be much effort on my part.
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2012, 06:19:49 AM »

The Irmoi of the canon were sung, and the troparia were intoned (which is the Russian practice for canons).

If someone is familiar with the Slavonic texts, I'd be interested in the extent to which the Slavonic translations of the text of the canons attempt or manage to preserve the meter of the original Greek. I wonder whether this practice comes from the general difficulty in consistently preserving rhythm and meter when translating from one language to another.
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2012, 07:32:07 AM »

NVM, I got a response from a Russian priest. He says the Russian practice of reading the troparia of the canon is 19th century. Before that they were sung.
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2012, 09:20:28 AM »

In current practice anyway, the Russian tones are greatly simplified (except for Great Znamenny and similar traditions that are similar to Byzantine chant) and consist of sets of musical phrases which are repeated or combined in certain ways unique to each tone. Same with troparia, canons, stichera, etc.

For canons, there is not really a unique melody for each heirmos, just the melody of the tone adjusted to fit the text. As you discovered, the troparia are read, often antiphonally. The heirmoi are sung by the choir. All Tone 2 heirmoi, for instance, will be sung the same way.

I did not know the troparia were sung as recently as the 19th century, that's interesting. But I am told that in the late 19th century Russian liturigical music generally took a nosedive, and there arose a stark contrast between the "big band" arrangements of major hymns like O Gladsome Light, and reading for everything else, with little in between. Thankfully, the use of Znamenny chant is coming back and it is more common to hear the daily material sung (still not canons though).
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 09:21:29 AM by age234 » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2012, 05:53:20 PM »

NVM, I got a response from a Russian priest. He says the Russian practice of reading the troparia of the canon is 19th century. Before that they were sung.

Which means everyone will view reading the troparia as the ancient tradition of the Russian Church and any attempt to change such must be guarded against. 
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2012, 11:20:23 AM »

Which means everyone will view reading the troparia as the ancient tradition of the Russian Church and any attempt to change such must be guarded against. 

Whenever I read this forum, I always sing the title of the thread, then read the following posts in monotone, just to be sure I don't fall into condemnation.
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Tags: Byzantine notation  communion   Canon  irmos  tone 2 
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