Author Topic: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading  (Read 772 times)

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Offline Seraphim98

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There is a style of reading the epistles that I have heard in some Orthodox parishes where each line is read a quarter tone to a half tone higher than the one before it…for long passages it requires the reader start in the vocal basement in basso profundo territory and risks ending in alto soprano territory.  What is the proper name for this tone stepped style of reading in the Church? Thanks.


You can hear it in operatically executed in this clip from "Ivan the Terrible"" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sys4nOxww4o
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 10:23:00 PM by Seraphim98 »

Offline mike

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012, 03:56:44 AM »
Chanting?

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2012, 08:55:27 AM »
I've only heard it, and rarely, in Russian parishes.

Offline LBK

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2012, 09:12:51 AM »
It's called a "rising tone" chant, and it does NOT require a start in basso-profundo and an end in soprano territory. The chanter needs to have a reasonable vocal range, and, most importantly, must make himself familiar with the epistle he is to read, annotate (literally or mentally) where each rise will occur, and how many rises, and ensure that he does not run out of vocal range. The rises must be in no greater than quarter tone intervals.

It is also essential that the reader remains dispassionate in his delivery, allowing the words to speak for themselves. He must not turn it into a grand performance, and must never use an operatic style.

Baritones who can drop into bass range and rise towards second tenor range are generally best for the rising tone technique. Most true tenors sound ghastly if they start too low, and most true bases struggle with the higher notes. Falsetto must be avoided at all costs!  :o

The local Russian church in the city where I live is blessed with an epistle reader of more than 30 years' experience, who has a rich and mellow voice, and who uses the rising tone routinely and beautifully. It is a joy to listen to him.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 09:14:07 AM by LBK »
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2012, 09:48:17 AM »
It's called a "rising tone" chant, and it does NOT require a start in basso-profundo and an end in soprano territory. The chanter needs to have a reasonable vocal range, and, most importantly, must make himself familiar with the epistle he is to read, annotate (literally or mentally) where each rise will occur, and how many rises, and ensure that he does not run out of vocal range. The rises must be in no greater than quarter tone intervals.

It is also essential that the reader remains dispassionate in his delivery, allowing the words to speak for themselves. He must not turn it into a grand performance, and must never use an operatic style.

Baritones who can drop into bass range and rise towards second tenor range are generally best for the rising tone technique. Most true tenors sound ghastly if they start too low, and most true bases struggle with the higher notes. Falsetto must be avoided at all costs!  :o

The local Russian church in the city where I live is blessed with an epistle reader of more than 30 years' experience, who has a rich and mellow voice, and who uses the rising tone routinely and beautifully. It is a joy to listen to him.

Since this style was not common among the western Ukrainians, Galicians, Rusyns, Romanians etc... I did not know the background.

I wholeheartedly agree with LBK that the chanting of the readings must not be transformed into a performance. However, to my ears, many who use the rising tone style unfortunately do just that. When done in the proper spirit or 'duch' it is moving - otherwise it can range from tedious to hyperbolic. Just like anything in life or in the Church!

We were also taught as children to prepare for the readings and chantings - regardless of 'style' - for example, my dad's books from his youth and beyond (as well as mine and my those of my children) are full of annotations, places to stop, rise the tone etc..all to the Rusyn tradition. This is essential advice for anyone trying any of Orthodoxy's varied and legitimate traditions!

Offline Gunnarr

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I heard this kind of thing was really only used in certain places in Moscow sometime after Tsar Peter but over time many other churches started doing it.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 05:05:51 PM by Gunnarr »
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Offline akimori makoto

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What is the point of it?

It sounds distracting and irritating.

It is hard enough to understand the epistle at times.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Orthodox11

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What is the point of it?

It sounds distracting and irritating.

+1

Offline LBK

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What is the point of it?

It sounds distracting and irritating.

It is hard enough to understand the epistle at times.

Only when the reader isn't doing it right, which is often the case. It's like little girl with the little curl - when it's good, it's very, very good, and when it's even only slightly bad, it's horrid. Byzantine chant is similarly exacting.
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Offline akimori makoto

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What is the point of it?

It sounds distracting and irritating.

It is hard enough to understand the epistle at times.

Only when the reader isn't doing it right, which is often the case. It's like little girl with the little curl - when it's good, it's very, very good, and when it's even only slightly bad, it's horrid. Byzantine chant is similarly exacting.

I take your point, LBK, but so many readers are just bad.

Ours cannot pronounce the word "incarnate" properly and it drives me to distraction every time without fail -- that is, when I can even hear him.

I'm sure you would agree that, where the skill does not exist, simpler is better.

Also, can I ask again -- does anyone know what the point of the rising tone is?
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2012, 07:33:26 PM »
Ours cannot pronounce the word "incarnate" properly and it drives me to distraction every time without fail -- that is, when I can even hear him.

Mate, I'm e-mailing your bishop. Next time he visits, you're getting tonsured.

Offline Gunnarr

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Re: What is the proper name for the "up from the grave" style epistle reading
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 12:33:10 AM »
What is the point of it?

It sounds distracting and irritating.

It is hard enough to understand the epistle at times.

Only when the reader isn't doing it right, which is often the case. It's like little girl with the little curl - when it's good, it's very, very good, and when it's even only slightly bad, it's horrid. Byzantine chant is similarly exacting.

I take your point, LBK, but so many readers are just bad.

Ours cannot pronounce the word "incarnate" properly and it drives me to distraction every time without fail -- that is, when I can even hear him.

I'm sure you would agree that, where the skill does not exist, simpler is better.

Also, can I ask again -- does anyone know what the point of the rising tone is?

Trying to remember more, I am quite sure it was usually only used in the patriarchal liturgy (or whatever it is called) in Moscow but over time others adopted it. (this style is also criticized by some traditionalists, saying it is "distracting" and was never part of the average churches, and an innovation)

I wish I could tell you more about it but I just cannot remember where I read these things. Take what I saw with a grain of salt, hope others here will know more about it
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