Author Topic: The Music of Byzantine Popular Piety  (Read 677 times)

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Offline JNS

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The Music of Byzantine Popular Piety
« on: May 03, 2014, 11:00:47 AM »
Can anyone introduce me to the musical tradition of Byzantine popular piety?

What do Byzantine families sing together at home, or hum in their heads throughout the day -- other than snatches from the Divine Liturgy, or music from the radio for that matter? In the Latin West we have our properly liturgical music (Introit, Communio, Kyrie, Sanctus, etc.), but also a long tradition of Latin and vernacular hymnody that lends itself well to this kind of thing. I'm sure that something similar exists in the East, but I've never been able to encounter it to any large extent. This is particularly regrettable since I've always considered Eastern Christians to have a special genius for connecting faith and life, the Church and the home. And I imagine its traditions of popular religious music (old folk hymns, para-liturgical pieces, etc.) would be similarly rich. I guess -- to put it perhaps naively -- that I'm looking for a musical analogue to the "icon corner," if some such thing exists: whatever it is, musically, that makes a Byzantine home.

Any thoughts? Tips to good sources for this music and its associated traditions -- especially in Greek and English -- would be greatly appreciated.

(I thought I'd pose the question a bit more directly, since I haven't had any responses yet from my previous post:,57574.0.html)

Offline icecreamsandwich

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Re: The Music of Byzantine Popular Piety
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 01:50:44 PM »
Welcome to the boards, JNS! I think the emphasis would be more often on prayer. As you're no doubt aware, the Divine Liturgy has a lot of singing/chanting in it, and so do most other services, so aside from troparia/konatkia I can't really think of something that one would "sing" in the sense of a song, on its own, that's unconnected to anything else. Have you listened to Ancient Faith Radio perhaps (but even there a lot of the stuff they play is from different services)?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 01:51:33 PM by icecreamsandwich »
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Dominika

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Re: The Music of Byzantine Popular Piety
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 07:50:46 AM »
It very differs from country to country, even from region to region. Each has an own particular tradition of paraliturgical songs, that can be chanted during the whole year, as for some feasts, especially Nativity of course, Pascha too. Such songs sometimes are sung during some pilgrimages, meetings (more in villages, I think)... But as for troparions, kontakions and such serious stuff, it has to be done with more... dignity?... They are chanted, but in a proper context such as a prayer before the mentioned icon corner, before some Orthodox meetings, conferences etc.

I would say it's a different mentality in comparision with Western one
Pray for persecuted Christians, especially in Serbian Kosovo and Raška, Egypt and Syria

My Orthodox liturgical blog "For what eat, while you can fast" in Polish (videos featuring chants in different languages)