Author Topic: Congregational Singing  (Read 1434 times)

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Offline RandomGalOnTheNet

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Congregational Singing
« on: June 09, 2017, 07:45:08 PM »
So I asked my choir director if there was ever a time when we weren't supposed to sing with the choir.  She said not in our church - if you know it, sing it!  But in other churches, the congregation isn't supposed to sing (based on the choir director's preference maybe?).  So I was wondering how common or uncommon congregational singing is?  If you go to a church that doesn't encourage the congregation to sing, what parts of the service do you interact with??
If that makes sense...

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 07:47:57 PM »
Never been to an Orthodox church where the congregation didn't at least try to sing some of it. If we're serious about it, tho, I think we need to introduce singing lessons at the parish level.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 07:54:04 PM »
In the Coptic Church, there never used to be a choir (now we do, sorta).  The congregation was the choir.  Notwithstanding today's practices, no one should NOT chant.  Everyone must chant to what the head priest has prayed.  In the liturgy we have 3 types of responses: priest (or bishop), deacon, and congregation.  There's no "choir responses".
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 07:55:06 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Bob2

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 08:20:26 PM »
The complex 4-part harmonies of some Russian music can make congregational singing difficult and potentially distracting. In our parish the Creed and the Lord's prayer are sung congregationally at Liturgy, and at Vigil "Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ" is also sung congregationally, other parts are usually not.

Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 08:27:06 PM »
Never been to an Orthodox church where the congregation didn't at least try to sing some of it. If we're serious about it, tho, I think we need to introduce singing lessons at the parish level.

You are right.  And you know what: that is the way it used to be at least in the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.  The local dyak (cantor) was a graduate of the cantor's courses in Seminary but part of his job was also to teach in the village school including singing.  (His training was two years less that that for a priest).
Your idea of having congregational singing lessons for adults is a good one.

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 09:08:52 PM »
In the Coptic Church, there never used to be a choir (now we do, sorta).  The congregation was the choir.  Notwithstanding today's practices, no one should NOT chant.  Everyone must chant to what the head priest has prayed.  In the liturgy we have 3 types of responses: priest (or bishop), deacon, and congregation.  There's no "choir responses".
Can you name examples of a part that is sung and a part that is chanted?  In ours it seems like whatever the choir/congregation does is singing, not chanting.  I guess the Litany responses could be chanted, but they are very definitely sung in my parish.

So I asked my choir director if there was ever a time when we weren't supposed to sing with the choir.  She said not in our church - if you know it, sing it!  But in other churches, the congregation isn't supposed to sing (based on the choir director's preference maybe?).  So I was wondering how common or uncommon congregational singing is?  If you go to a church that doesn't encourage the congregation to sing, what parts of the service do you interact with??
If that makes sense...
It does, but I have no idea!  It seems like if the choir is singing, we are singing...or those who actually know the words are, anyway.  I can tell which hymns are more frequently used and which are probably annual or seasonal by how many people sing along.

Offline Bob2

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 09:32:25 PM »
Can you name examples of a part that is sung and a part that is chanted?  In ours it seems like whatever the choir/congregation does is singing, not chanting.  I guess the Litany responses could be chanted, but they are very definitely sung in my parish.

Depending on the context, chant = sing

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 10:00:34 PM »
Can you name examples of a part that is sung and a part that is chanted?  In ours it seems like whatever the choir/congregation does is singing, not chanting.  I guess the Litany responses could be chanted, but they are very definitely sung in my parish.

Depending on the context, chant = sing
Of course it does, lol.  Thanks!    :-X ;D :P

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 07:40:29 AM »
The State of Church Singing in America: An Interview with Choirmaster Benedict Sheehan

A relevant article.

In my parish, a lot of people sing along with the choir (to the annoyance of the choir leader...that's another story); of course the Creed and the Lord's prayer, but the antiphons as well.  The real go-getters know and sing the day's troparia and kontakia.  I like singing congregationally, but I've visited parishes where it just didn't happen, but the choir sang in a prayerful manner giving a good environment for worship. 
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2017, 10:07:15 AM »
Usually it's the Creed, Our Father and the troparion of the day. Some cantors seem to like more congregational singing and hint rhat congregation can sing in some other parts too. Our cantors are university-educated so perhaps they more to say on the issue than in some other churches.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 10:08:01 AM by Alpo »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 02:58:47 PM »
In the Coptic Church, there never used to be a choir (now we do, sorta).  The congregation was the choir.  Notwithstanding today's practices, no one should NOT chant.  Everyone must chant to what the head priest has prayed.  In the liturgy we have 3 types of responses: priest (or bishop), deacon, and congregation.  There's no "choir responses".
Can you name examples of a part that is sung and a part that is chanted?  In ours it seems like whatever the choir/congregation does is singing, not chanting.  I guess the Litany responses could be chanted, but they are very definitely sung in my parish.

I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.

However, you can say there are some hymns chanted that the congregation do not chant with the choir, not because they shouldn't, but because they don't know how to chant it.  Usually, it is the melismatic hymns in the Coptic Church that make the congregation silent, which is a problem at times.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 02:59:20 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 05:00:07 PM »
In the Coptic Church, there never used to be a choir (now we do, sorta).  The congregation was the choir.  Notwithstanding today's practices, no one should NOT chant.  Everyone must chant to what the head priest has prayed.  In the liturgy we have 3 types of responses: priest (or bishop), deacon, and congregation.  There's no "choir responses".
Can you name examples of a part that is sung and a part that is chanted?  In ours it seems like whatever the choir/congregation does is singing, not chanting.  I guess the Litany responses could be chanted, but they are very definitely sung in my parish.

I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.

However, you can say there are some hymns chanted that the congregation do not chant with the choir, not because they shouldn't, but because they don't know how to chant it.  Usually, it is the melismatic hymns in the Coptic Church that make the congregation silent, which is a problem at times.
No, I know.  I didn't mean to imply you did; you were the first to bring up "chant" as opposed to "sing," and I obviously know little in this regard, so I asked.  :D  Thank you for clarifying!

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2017, 07:34:05 PM »
In my church we are all expected to sing, but those who cannot attend choir lessons are asked to sing a bit lower than those who can and let them take the lead. In the Russian parish in town, the congregation never sings loudly apart from some Amins and Gospodi Pomiluys, plus the Symbol and the Lord's Prayer (some in Portuguese, others in Slavonic, a few in both languages), but one can hear the faithful whispering the chants lowly. I reckon it was similar on the Russian parish that was absorbed by the standing one, but people knew the chants better, given it was all in Portuguese. When I went to an Antiochian parish (probably the largest Orthodox church in the Southern Hemisphere), nobody sang a thing, I felt weird.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 07:36:05 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2017, 01:27:57 AM »


I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.



I'm going to disagree with you there, Mina.  I know that what I do with my voice varies from when I am with the choir which does 4 part music to when I am at the chanters' stand executing Byzantine modes.  A friend and fellow chanter once gave me this analogy which I like:  "Chanting is like the sea coming onto shore  and covering the rocks.  Singing is progressing from step to step."   If that doesn't clear things up, I apologize, but, from my point of view, chanting and singing are two different art forms.  I know that I don't execute them in the same way.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2017, 01:45:53 AM »
Do Copts sing at all? From what I've seen on internets and what I remember of pope's visit there was no singing in the sense what Russians and Finns do.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2017, 01:48:27 AM »
Congregational singing is a tough issue to address.  I think there is a tendency NOT to sing in Orthodox churches by the congregation because of  any number of factors including 1) inability 2) not wanting to sound off key, off tempo, etc. 3) simply not wanting to.  I find that the people in my parish who do wish to sing are those who are converts from a Protestant confession which had a rich singing tradition, particularly the Lutherans.  The problem is (well, there are many, but we will deal with just this one) that  traditional Lutheran hymnody is accompanied by an organ (or some keyboard) which Orthodox music lacks.  The organ kept people on pitch and on tempo.  When the congregation tries to sing along with the chanter or the choir and doesn't have sheet music in front of them, they tend to get lost. Just this evening, I was the lone chanter at Great Vespers and I was chanting the standard version of the Great Ektenia we use week in, week out.  I can project pretty well so people can hear me and follow me,  but still the part of the congregation that was interested in singing along was dragging and holding out the final note for two beats after I had cut off.  It was like a reverb effect. 

Another issue, particularly with Byzantine style music, is that there are ornamentations and other embellishments that are "implied" in the music which a person who comes to any service where the chanters lead are not going to get.  Byzantine music takes a lifetime to learn to execute well and I admit that I am far from doing that, but I have done a lot of research and study and practice so I'm well aware of what I do not know. But you cannot simply give someone a westernized version of Byzantine notation and expect the two to line up. They just won't.  It doesn't matter how well you read western music.  Over the past two years I have pleaded and begged one of my fellow chanters to learn the Byzantine notation so he can chant hymns with us so he doesn't just get the nod to do a hymn in a "free-style" manner.  He refuses.  What's worse is that there are many chanters in my parish and numerous others where the chanters just "free-style" the hymn in the mode (and sometimes they even get the mode wrong).  I feel that this is particularly true among the Antiochians.  They have a lot of chanters who "know the modes" who can't read music, western or Byzantine.  And how does that inspire congregational singing?  If there is no music to follow, just someone "free-styling" how does that possibly lend to congregational singing?  It can't and it doesn't!  However, I think there are some things underway in the Antiochian archdiocese to correct a lot of this.  Metropolitan JOSEPH seems very intent on making some very necessary changes in that regard.

If people are reasonably competent musically (and that's pushing it since music education in this country is pretty much defunct), then they should sing along with litanies and simple responses.  But for longer pieces like the Typika, the Cherubimic Hymn and longer parts of the anaphora, if they don't know them competently, they shouldn't try to sing. 

The other issue that needs to be addressed is the idea that if the congregation isn't singing, they're not participating. I say that is ridiculous.  Prayer, even silent prayer, during the liturgy IS participation. 

Just my $.02 on the topic. It's something I have some very strong feelings about.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2017, 03:07:52 AM »
Congregational singing is a tough issue to address.  I think there is a tendency NOT to sing in Orthodox churches by the congregation because of  any number of factors including 1) inability 2) not wanting to sound off key, off tempo, etc. 3) simply not wanting to.  I find that the people in my parish who do wish to sing are those who are converts from a Protestant confession which had a rich singing tradition, particularly the Lutherans.  The problem is (well, there are many, but we will deal with just this one) that  traditional Lutheran hymnody is accompanied by an organ (or some keyboard) which Orthodox music lacks.  The organ kept people on pitch and on tempo.  When the congregation tries to sing along with the chanter or the choir and doesn't have sheet music in front of them, they tend to get lost. Just this evening, I was the lone chanter at Great Vespers and I was chanting the standard version of the Great Ektenia we use week in, week out.  I can project pretty well so people can hear me and follow me,  but still the part of the congregation that was interested in singing along was dragging and holding out the final note for two beats after I had cut off.  It was like a reverb effect.

However, congregational singing without instrumental accompaniment can be done well, as I know having grown up in an a capella tradition and having visited churches with similar traditions who were even better than we were -- that is, churches who still sing in the Colonial shape-note fashion. (The latter sing music that sounds nothing like anything they would have heard played on an instrument -- including tunes in the Doric.) There are two factors for success, I think -- strong song-leaders (choir, if you will) who have been trained with an eye toward leading a whole congregation (knowing their tendencies to lag or go flat, for example) -- and education. The latter is the more important factor, I think. We used to have "singing school" for several weeks almost every summer, and the instructor would teach us theory, drill us, and so on.

[Edited to add:] The singing is always going to be slow and undisciplined compared to a professional choir, but it can be quite beautiful and appropriate nonetheless.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 03:09:29 AM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2017, 07:11:06 AM »
Do Copts sing at all? From what I've seen on internets and what I remember of pope's visit there was no singing in the sense what Russians and Finns do.

Well, during the anaphora, some of the priest's chanting is evocative of certain Syriac hymns, for example, Haw Nurone, which I think are more sung than chanted.

However, there is no four part harmony or tonality; these are specific to Slavonic Orthodoxy and those churches influenced by it (Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Poland, OCA, ROCOR, Finland, Japan).  The exception of course being the Old Believers or Old Ritualists, who do not use four part harmony but instead use only the andient forms or chant, antiphonally, among other differences, and the Carpatho-Rusyns, who use a chant system called prostopinije which I personally am trying to acquire a taste for; I have heard that of the different forms of Orthodox chant, Prostopinije is the best as far as congregational singing is concerned, and that the Rusyns really care about it.  I think this form also predominantes in the Czech-Slovak Church.

My favourite Orthodox church music is Ukrainian four part harmony sung by a choir, followed by unaccompanied Syriac chant.

The Romanians tend to use very nice Byzantine chant; when it comes to Byzantine chant, I think they do the best job at it; I believe often with a third voice added.  Some Romanian church music I think is in fournpart harmony, probably due to Russian influence.

The Georgians use an unsual three-voiced system of chant which can be exquisite if done well.  It sounds nothing like Armenian church music (which I also love).

Capella Romana recently released another provacative album, this time of Cypriot church music; the first half of the album is at an Orthodox church and the second half at a Roman Rite RC parish.  The two sound very similiar, with one of the RC hymns sounding like Byzantine chant.  I think this was the point of the album (another Capella Romana album, the Fall of Constantinople, included ancient Byzantine music celebrating the Council of Florence, jnterestingly). 

The most underrated form of Orthodox church music, and a form which does lend itself to congregational singing, is Greek four part harmony; I think the liturgical settings of Tikeh Zes would be very singable by the congregation, at least as much as Byzantine chant.  Michaelides, perhaps not so much.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2017, 07:13:15 AM »
Congregational singing is a tough issue to address.  I think there is a tendency NOT to sing in Orthodox churches by the congregation because of  any number of factors including 1) inability 2) not wanting to sound off key, off tempo, etc. 3) simply not wanting to.  I find that the people in my parish who do wish to sing are those who are converts from a Protestant confession which had a rich singing tradition, particularly the Lutherans.  The problem is (well, there are many, but we will deal with just this one) that  traditional Lutheran hymnody is accompanied by an organ (or some keyboard) which Orthodox music lacks.  The organ kept people on pitch and on tempo.  When the congregation tries to sing along with the chanter or the choir and doesn't have sheet music in front of them, they tend to get lost. Just this evening, I was the lone chanter at Great Vespers and I was chanting the standard version of the Great Ektenia we use week in, week out.  I can project pretty well so people can hear me and follow me,  but still the part of the congregation that was interested in singing along was dragging and holding out the final note for two beats after I had cut off.  It was like a reverb effect.

However, congregational singing without instrumental accompaniment can be done well, as I know having grown up in an a capella tradition and having visited churches with similar traditions who were even better than we were -- that is, churches who still sing in the Colonial shape-note fashion. (The latter sing music that sounds nothing like anything they would have heard played on an instrument -- including tunes in the Doric.) There are two factors for success, I think -- strong song-leaders (choir, if you will) who have been trained with an eye toward leading a whole congregation (knowing their tendencies to lag or go flat, for example) -- and education. The latter is the more important factor, I think. We used to have "singing school" for several weeks almost every summer, and the instructor would teach us theory, drill us, and so on.

[Edited to add:] The singing is always going to be slow and undisciplined compared to a professional choir, but it can be quite beautiful and appropriate nonetheless.

I love the tradition of shape-note singing and the various permutations thereof, for example, hymnals like The Southern Harmony.  As Orthodoxy acculturates to the US, I hope this indigenous tradition might be factored in.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2017, 07:33:05 AM »
Congregational singing is a tough issue to address.  I think there is a tendency NOT to sing in Orthodox churches by the congregation because of  any number of factors including 1) inability 2) not wanting to sound off key, off tempo, etc. 3) simply not wanting to.  I find that the people in my parish who do wish to sing are those who are converts from a Protestant confession which had a rich singing tradition, particularly the Lutherans.  The problem is (well, there are many, but we will deal with just this one) that  traditional Lutheran hymnody is accompanied by an organ (or some keyboard) which Orthodox music lacks.  The organ kept people on pitch and on tempo.  When the congregation tries to sing along with the chanter or the choir and doesn't have sheet music in front of them, they tend to get lost. Just this evening, I was the lone chanter at Great Vespers and I was chanting the standard version of the Great Ektenia we use week in, week out.  I can project pretty well so people can hear me and follow me,  but still the part of the congregation that was interested in singing along was dragging and holding out the final note for two beats after I had cut off.  It was like a reverb effect.

However, congregational singing without instrumental accompaniment can be done well, as I know having grown up in an a capella tradition and having visited churches with similar traditions who were even better than we were -- that is, churches who still sing in the Colonial shape-note fashion. (The latter sing music that sounds nothing like anything they would have heard played on an instrument -- including tunes in the Doric.) There are two factors for success, I think -- strong song-leaders (choir, if you will) who have been trained with an eye toward leading a whole congregation (knowing their tendencies to lag or go flat, for example) -- and education. The latter is the more important factor, I think. We used to have "singing school" for several weeks almost every summer, and the instructor would teach us theory, drill us, and so on.

[Edited to add:] The singing is always going to be slow and undisciplined compared to a professional choir, but it can be quite beautiful and appropriate nonetheless.

I love the tradition of shape-note singing and the various permutations thereof, for example, hymnals like The Southern Harmony.  As Orthodoxy acculturates to the US, I hope this indigenous tradition might be factored in.

Aargh!  Another call for using "sacred harp" in American Orthodox churches.  WHy does that have to be "factored in?"  Rock n' roll and the blues and jazz are indigneous American traditions.  Should we factor those in, too?  Orthodoxy isn't "authentic" or "more real" or "more true" (all buzz phrases I have heard to justify such things) just because certain cultural practices are assimilated into the praxis of the Church. 
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2017, 08:36:01 AM »
Not as true as "Byzantine" chant.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2017, 10:01:15 AM »
However, there is no four part harmony or tonality; these are specific to Slavonic Orthodoxy and those churches influenced by it (Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Poland, OCA, ROCOR, Finland, Japan).  The exception of course being the Old Believers or Old Ritualists, who do not use four part harmony but instead use only the andient forms or chant, antiphonally, among other differences, and the Carpatho-Rusyns, who use a chant system called prostopinije which I personally am trying to acquire a taste for; I have heard that of the different forms of Orthodox chant, Prostopinije is the best as far as congregational singing is concerned, and that the Rusyns really care about it.  I think this form also predominantes in the Czech-Slovak Church.

1. Poland - there is no one type of Church music that's used. Yes, in most of the parishes only a few pieces are chanted by the congregation: the ones that Bob2 wrote plus O heavenly King, Paschal hymns, Christmas carols, paraliturgical songs, Jesus prayer. But in Lemko parishes (that are clsoe to Carpatho-Rusyns tradition; many would say, that's actually the same) there is congregation singing.

2. Serbia - the case is more complicated. There are used 3 types of chanting: karlovačko, Byzantine and of Serbian composers (e.g Mokranjac, Tajčević, Govedarica, Marinković). Especially in village parishes (even in the suburbs of Belgrade), but not only, the congregation is supposed to answer to the priest's exlamations, e.g with your spirit, Lord have mercy, but also We sing to Thee, Glory to Thee o God etc. Sometiems even the hymns (at least the one that repeat pretty often, like It is trule meet) are chanted all the people, that are only leaded by the kliros.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2017, 01:15:39 PM »


I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.



I'm going to disagree with you there, Mina.  I know that what I do with my voice varies from when I am with the choir which does 4 part music to when I am at the chanters' stand executing Byzantine modes.  A friend and fellow chanter once gave me this analogy which I like:  "Chanting is like the sea coming onto shore  and covering the rocks.  Singing is progressing from step to step."   If that doesn't clear things up, I apologize, but, from my point of view, chanting and singing are two different art forms.  I know that I don't execute them in the same way.

I may not be as musically trained in Western music as you may be, and from what I understand Coptic hymnology and music is much more different than Western styles, like Latin, Byzantine, and Armenian.  It requires a different approach than the Western style education of music.  Other who are better than me in Coptic hymnology can comment, but from my experience, the difference between "chant" and "singing" is more about the context, and not the style of music.  In Arabic, we do not say "aghani" (songs), we say "alhan" or "tasbeha" (hymns and praise).  We feel the choice of vocabulary is simply just separating the sacred and liturgical from something more secular, and not anything to do with how something is sung or chanted.  That's why I say they're more or less synonymous from the point of view of a Copt, but the terms are used in such a manner that "chanting" is only done within a liturgical context while "singing" is not.

That's it.  We don't have 4-part music or polyphonic complexities in our hymns.  The most complex thing about Coptic hymns are long melismatic tunes because they're too long to memorize.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 01:15:53 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2017, 02:22:16 PM »
Congregational singing is a tough issue to address.  I think there is a tendency NOT to sing in Orthodox churches by the congregation because of  any number of factors including 1) inability 2) not wanting to sound off key, off tempo, etc. 3) simply not wanting to.  I find that the people in my parish who do wish to sing are those who are converts from a Protestant confession which had a rich singing tradition, particularly the Lutherans.  The problem is (well, there are many, but we will deal with just this one) that  traditional Lutheran hymnody is accompanied by an organ (or some keyboard) which Orthodox music lacks.  The organ kept people on pitch and on tempo.  When the congregation tries to sing along with the chanter or the choir and doesn't have sheet music in front of them, they tend to get lost. Just this evening, I was the lone chanter at Great Vespers and I was chanting the standard version of the Great Ektenia we use week in, week out.  I can project pretty well so people can hear me and follow me,  but still the part of the congregation that was interested in singing along was dragging and holding out the final note for two beats after I had cut off.  It was like a reverb effect.

However, congregational singing without instrumental accompaniment can be done well, as I know having grown up in an a capella tradition and having visited churches with similar traditions who were even better than we were -- that is, churches who still sing in the Colonial shape-note fashion. (The latter sing music that sounds nothing like anything they would have heard played on an instrument -- including tunes in the Doric.) There are two factors for success, I think -- strong song-leaders (choir, if you will) who have been trained with an eye toward leading a whole congregation (knowing their tendencies to lag or go flat, for example) -- and education. The latter is the more important factor, I think. We used to have "singing school" for several weeks almost every summer, and the instructor would teach us theory, drill us, and so on.

[Edited to add:] The singing is always going to be slow and undisciplined compared to a professional choir, but it can be quite beautiful and appropriate nonetheless.

I love the tradition of shape-note singing and the various permutations thereof, for example, hymnals like The Southern Harmony.  As Orthodoxy acculturates to the US, I hope this indigenous tradition might be factored in.

Nothing that I know of stops some Orthodox folks from getting together for a sing or some pickin', on somebody's porch. Why in your mind does it have to replace Divine Liturgy?
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2017, 02:39:00 PM »
What?  Porter, dude, calm down; I did not even come close to proposing that.  I'd cut my wrists first!

By "factoring in" shape note singing, by the way, I merely meant that melodies used in shape note singing could be used by a skilled composer, just as composers such as Tikey Zes and Michaelides blend various Byzantine and Greek folk melodies into their compositions.  Obviously the specific format used for Southern Harp singing is not compatible with the divine liturgy, and I am not sure it is reverent enough to be considered for the divine office, either; its a bit too boisterous.  But you could distill from the melodies something suitable for reverent use in our worship.

A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2017, 02:48:22 PM »
However, there is no four part harmony or tonality; these are specific to Slavonic Orthodoxy and those churches influenced by it (Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Poland, OCA, ROCOR, Finland, Japan).  The exception of course being the Old Believers or Old Ritualists, who do not use four part harmony but instead use only the andient forms or chant, antiphonally, among other differences, and the Carpatho-Rusyns, who use a chant system called prostopinije which I personally am trying to acquire a taste for; I have heard that of the different forms of Orthodox chant, Prostopinije is the best as far as congregational singing is concerned, and that the Rusyns really care about it.  I think this form also predominantes in the Czech-Slovak Church.

1. Poland - there is no one type of Church music that's used. Yes, in most of the parishes only a few pieces are chanted by the congregation: the ones that Bob2 wrote plus O heavenly King, Paschal hymns, Christmas carols, paraliturgical songs, Jesus prayer. But in Lemko parishes (that are clsoe to Carpatho-Rusyns tradition; many would say, that's actually the same) there is congregation singing.

2. Serbia - the case is more complicated. There are used 3 types of chanting: karlovačko, Byzantine and of Serbian composers (e.g Mokranjac, Tajčević, Govedarica, Marinković). Especially in village parishes (even in the suburbs of Belgrade), but not only, the congregation is supposed to answer to the priest's exlamations, e.g with your spirit, Lord have mercy, but also We sing to Thee, Glory to Thee o God etc. Sometiems even the hymns (at least the one that repeat pretty often, like It is trule meet) are chanted all the people, that are only leaded by the kliros.

Yes; you are right, Serbia has a distinctive style and doesn't seem to share contemporary music with the Russia-Ukraine-Bulgaria continuum.  For that matter, ancient Bulgarian Byzantine chant is exquisite.

Now, regarding the Lemkos; I knew they used something like Prostopinije; if I recall Andy Warhol was a Lemko-American.  When I mentioned Poland, it didn't occur to me to include them, because I tend to think of them as Carpatho-Rusyns, even though strictly speaking they are a separate ethnic group (in the US, Lemkos generally share parishes with Ruthenian Catholics, right?).

I was also under the impression that the Lemkos were almost entirely Eastern Catholic, but if the Church of Poland has Lemko parishes and is making inroads into that community, while preserving their distinctive liturgical patrimony, that would make me very happy.   

In the US I've heard ACROD has picked up some disaffected Ruthenian Catholics, presumably including Lemkos, due to a dreadful new contemporary-language hymnal being forced on the parishes that is known as the "Teal Horror."  Have you heard anything about that?
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This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2017, 02:59:48 PM »
A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.

He is Orthodox bishop, from the canonical Church.

That's his website, featuring MP3s of his compositions (the last position is Liturgy of Peace mentioned by you; I really love it, I wish some its parts were used in the Polish Orthodox Church, since it would sound more familiar for the Polish converts from Roman Catholicism): http://vladyka-ionafan.ru/music

I was also under the impression that the Lemkos were almost entirely Eastern Catholic, but if the Church of Poland has Lemko parishes and is making inroads into that community, while preserving their distinctive liturgical patrimony, that would make me very happy.   

In Poland the vast majority of Lemkos is Orthodox; there was a massive "come back" before the 2WW; Greek Catholic Church in Poland is strictcly Ukrainian one (plus one "synodal" or "Slavonic" parish in Eastern part of Poland). And yes, they preserve their liturgical identity in the South (their native lands) and in the West (where they were displaced during the operation "Wisła-Vistula"). It includes different pronunciaiton of Church Slavonic and using Lemko language in the sermons, plus other things like benches in the church, singing antiphons instead of the psalms and Beautidues and so on.

In the US I've heard ACROD has picked up some disaffected Ruthenian Catholics, presumably including Lemkos, due to a dreadful new contemporary-language hymnal being forced on the parishes that is known as the "Teal Horror."  Have you heard anything about that?
No, I haven't.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2017, 03:06:42 PM »


I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.



I'm going to disagree with you there, Mina.  I know that what I do with my voice varies from when I am with the choir which does 4 part music to when I am at the chanters' stand executing Byzantine modes.  A friend and fellow chanter once gave me this analogy which I like:  "Chanting is like the sea coming onto shore  and covering the rocks.  Singing is progressing from step to step."   If that doesn't clear things up, I apologize, but, from my point of view, chanting and singing are two different art forms.  I know that I don't execute them in the same way.

I may not be as musically trained in Western music as you may be, and from what I understand Coptic hymnology and music is much more different than Western styles, like Latin, Byzantine, and Armenian.  It requires a different approach than the Western style education of music.  Other who are better than me in Coptic hymnology can comment, but from my experience, the difference between "chant" and "singing" is more about the context, and not the style of music.  In Arabic, we do not say "aghani" (songs), we say "alhan" or "tasbeha" (hymns and praise).  We feel the choice of vocabulary is simply just separating the sacred and liturgical from something more secular, and not anything to do with how something is sung or chanted.  That's why I say they're more or less synonymous from the point of view of a Copt, but the terms are used in such a manner that "chanting" is only done within a liturgical context while "singing" is not.

That's it.  We don't have 4-part music or polyphonic complexities in our hymns.  The most complex thing about Coptic hymns are long melismatic tunes because they're too long to memorize.
In youth groups etc. there was a lot of singing (much of it Protestant in origin). Just not in DL, nor in Coptic/Greek.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2017, 03:13:02 PM »
What?  Porter, dude, calm down; I did not even come close to proposing that.  I'd cut my wrists first!

By "factoring in" shape note singing, by the way, I merely meant that melodies used in shape note singing could be used by a skilled composer, just as composers such as Tikey Zes and Michaelides blend various Byzantine and Greek folk melodies into their compositions.  Obviously the specific format used for Southern Harp singing is not compatible with the divine liturgy, and I am not sure it is reverent enough to be considered for the divine office, either; its a bit too boisterous.  But you could distill from the melodies something suitable for reverent use in our worship.

A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.

So you'd replace the Divine Liturgy, but not the words. That's what I thought you meant, but I can see how some might interpret things differently, so thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2017, 03:42:32 PM »
What?  Porter, dude, calm down; I did not even come close to proposing that.  I'd cut my wrists first!

By "factoring in" shape note singing, by the way, I merely meant that melodies used in shape note singing could be used by a skilled composer, just as composers such as Tikey Zes and Michaelides blend various Byzantine and Greek folk melodies into their compositions.  Obviously the specific format used for Southern Harp singing is not compatible with the divine liturgy, and I am not sure it is reverent enough to be considered for the divine office, either; its a bit too boisterous.  But you could distill from the melodies something suitable for reverent use in our worship.

A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.

So you'd replace the Divine Liturgy, but not the words. That's what I thought you meant, but I can see how some might interpret things differently, so thanks for the clarification.

What are you talking about?

Are you aware that within your own church there are a wide variety of officially-approved settings of the Divine Liturgy, and it is permitted for composers to compose new settings of the Greek Orthodox liturgy?  Indeed, when the new English language texts for the services were published by GoArch, these were followed by adaptations of both the Byzantine Chant and the popular settings by Tikey Zes, Michaelides, Kassiane, and other composers.

The liturgy is not "replaced" when new musical settings are composed for it.  The music is not inseperable from the liturgy; if you want to try and claim that it is, you're basically saying that every parish that does not use the exact music you believe is canonical is not celebrating it, or is in a state of schism or heresy.  The same basic liturgical text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is sung in as many as 50 languages, and in a vast array of musical settings ranging from traditional Byzantine chant to relatively experimental settings by composers in Russia, Finland, the Ukraine and Greece (a great many in your own Ecumenical Patriarchate).

The view that the music is integral, inseperable and non-interchangeable is the error of the Russian Old Believers, who basically idolized their particular Russian hymns and typikon, and built a schism around the (ill-advised) replacement of that liturgy in the 17th century.  Fortunately among some of them, cooler heads prevailed, hence the Edinovertsy, and I have no beef with contemporary Old Believers; they were terribly persecuted, and of late one of the Old Believer primates has been pursuing warmer relations with the MP, which I think is a positive sign for the future.  But I think it is a great error to say that the music is not interchangeable, because if you say that, you are basically accusing every Orthodox church that doesn't use Byzantine chant of liturgical deficiency, including your own.

Also, there is the fact that both the text and the music of the Byzantine Rite liturgy evolved over the years.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2017, 03:43:31 PM »
A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.

He is Orthodox bishop, from the canonical Church.

That's his website, featuring MP3s of his compositions (the last position is Liturgy of Peace mentioned by you; I really love it, I wish some its parts were used in the Polish Orthodox Church, since it would sound more familiar for the Polish converts from Roman Catholicism): http://vladyka-ionafan.ru/music

I was also under the impression that the Lemkos were almost entirely Eastern Catholic, but if the Church of Poland has Lemko parishes and is making inroads into that community, while preserving their distinctive liturgical patrimony, that would make me very happy.   

In Poland the vast majority of Lemkos is Orthodox; there was a massive "come back" before the 2WW; Greek Catholic Church in Poland is strictcly Ukrainian one (plus one "synodal" or "Slavonic" parish in Eastern part of Poland). And yes, they preserve their liturgical identity in the South (their native lands) and in the West (where they were displaced during the operation "Wisła-Vistula"). It includes different pronunciaiton of Church Slavonic and using Lemko language in the sermons, plus other things like benches in the church, singing antiphons instead of the psalms and Beautidues and so on.

Good to know, thanks for sharing!  :)
"It is logical that the actions of the human race over time will lead to its destruction.  I, Alpha 60, am merely the agent of this destruction."

- The computer Alpha 60, from Alphaville (1964) by Jean Luc Godard, the obvious inspiration for HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2017, 04:10:00 PM »
What?  Porter, dude, calm down; I did not even come close to proposing that.  I'd cut my wrists first!

By "factoring in" shape note singing, by the way, I merely meant that melodies used in shape note singing could be used by a skilled composer, just as composers such as Tikey Zes and Michaelides blend various Byzantine and Greek folk melodies into their compositions.  Obviously the specific format used for Southern Harp singing is not compatible with the divine liturgy, and I am not sure it is reverent enough to be considered for the divine office, either; its a bit too boisterous.  But you could distill from the melodies something suitable for reverent use in our worship.

A Ukrainian Archbishop Ionafan, who I think is EC, but he might be Orthodox, composed a beautiful "Liturgy of Peace" which is a setting of the Divine Liturgy to be sung by a standard Ukrainian Orthodox choir, which incorporates melodies drawn from Gregorian chant.  This also strikes me as a good idea in terms of inculturation, except its in Church Slavonic or Ukrainian.

So you'd replace the Divine Liturgy, but not the words. That's what I thought you meant, but I can see how some might interpret things differently, so thanks for the clarification.

What are you talking about?

Are you aware that within your own church there are a wide variety of officially-approved settings of the Divine Liturgy, and it is permitted for composers to compose new settings of the Greek Orthodox liturgy?  Indeed, when the new English language texts for the services were published by GoArch, these were followed by adaptations of both the Byzantine Chant and the popular settings by Tikey Zes, Michaelides, Kassiane, and other composers.

The liturgy is not "replaced" when new musical settings are composed for it.  The music is not inseperable from the liturgy; if you want to try and claim that it is, you're basically saying that every parish that does not use the exact music you believe is canonical is not celebrating it, or is in a state of schism or heresy.  The same basic liturgical text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is sung in as many as 50 languages, and in a vast array of musical settings ranging from traditional Byzantine chant to relatively experimental settings by composers in Russia, Finland, the Ukraine and Greece (a great many in your own Ecumenical Patriarchate).

The view that the music is integral, inseperable and non-interchangeable is the error of the Russian Old Believers, who basically idolized their particular Russian hymns and typikon, and built a schism around the (ill-advised) replacement of that liturgy in the 17th century.  Fortunately among some of them, cooler heads prevailed, hence the Edinovertsy, and I have no beef with contemporary Old Believers; they were terribly persecuted, and of late one of the Old Believer primates has been pursuing warmer relations with the MP, which I think is a positive sign for the future.  But I think it is a great error to say that the music is not interchangeable, because if you say that, you are basically accusing every Orthodox church that doesn't use Byzantine chant of liturgical deficiency, including your own.

Also, there is the fact that both the text and the music of the Byzantine Rite liturgy evolved over the years.

Music hacks directly into the unconscious (if you'll pardon my trade jargon), and we turn it over to fools at our spiritual peril. A true Orthodox hymnodist should be like a true Orthodox theologian, i.e., not by the will of men. Fortunately, the Spirit has blessed our Tradition with a plethora of liturgical music so we are not compelled to gad after worldly scraps in place of an inheritance.
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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2017, 06:13:36 PM »


I made no differentiation between singing and chanting.  While the latter is a term preferable in liturgical circles, the terms are technically synonymous.



I'm going to disagree with you there, Mina.  I know that what I do with my voice varies from when I am with the choir which does 4 part music to when I am at the chanters' stand executing Byzantine modes.  A friend and fellow chanter once gave me this analogy which I like:  "Chanting is like the sea coming onto shore  and covering the rocks.  Singing is progressing from step to step."   If that doesn't clear things up, I apologize, but, from my point of view, chanting and singing are two different art forms.  I know that I don't execute them in the same way.

I may not be as musically trained in Western music as you may be, and from what I understand Coptic hymnology and music is much more different than Western styles, like Latin, Byzantine, and Armenian.  It requires a different approach than the Western style education of music.  Other who are better than me in Coptic hymnology can comment, but from my experience, the difference between "chant" and "singing" is more about the context, and not the style of music.  In Arabic, we do not say "aghani" (songs), we say "alhan" or "tasbeha" (hymns and praise).  We feel the choice of vocabulary is simply just separating the sacred and liturgical from something more secular, and not anything to do with how something is sung or chanted.  That's why I say they're more or less synonymous from the point of view of a Copt, but the terms are used in such a manner that "chanting" is only done within a liturgical context while "singing" is not.

That's it.  We don't have 4-part music or polyphonic complexities in our hymns.  The most complex thing about Coptic hymns are long melismatic tunes because they're too long to memorize.
In youth groups etc. there was a lot of singing (much of it Protestant in origin). Just not in DL, nor in Coptic/Greek.

So yea, like I said, singing=secular :P
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Offline RandomGalOnTheNet

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2017, 10:01:14 PM »
Wow...

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2017, 10:11:11 PM »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2017, 11:32:46 PM »
A lady at our parish is I guess a Soprano, and knows most of the music, and has a beautiful voice, besides that. I think she is English or something.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 11:34:07 PM by mcarmichael »
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Congregational Singing
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2017, 12:54:15 AM »
In the US I've heard ACROD has picked up some disaffected Ruthenian Catholics, presumably including Lemkos, due to a dreadful new contemporary-language hymnal being forced on the parishes that is known as the "Teal Horror."  Have you heard anything about that?

I am sure ACROD has picked up some, as have the Ukrainian and Melkite Catholics, but the loss of parishioners due to use of the 2006 translation Liturgicon and Pewbook is overstated by people on the internet who don't like the translation and/or music.  The music itself was altered to be closer to the Slavonic Prostopinje.  The translation is also not that much different from the previous.  Some use of horizontal inclusive language is the biggest complaint.  My own parish started using the new books this year with no problems or complaints.  Don't believe everything you read on the internet.
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