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Oktōēchos (here transcribed "Octoechos"; Greek: Ὀκτώηχος [ modern Greek: oktoˈixos, old Greek: oktɔːˈɛːkʰos ], from ὀκτώ "eight" + ἦχος "sound, mode" called echos) is the name of the eight mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin and Slavic churches since the Middle Ages. In a modified form the octoechos is still regarded as the fundament of the living tradition of monodic Orthodox chant today.
Oktōēchos is also the name for liturgical books, the Byzantine version of which, the Great Octoechos, being composed in eight parts, consisting of analogous sets of hymns for each of the eight echoi. In fact each echos subordinates various melodic models or modes than just one (in Greek those might rather be called "meloi" than "echoi"), it was more important to group chants according to its mode and to divide the year into eight-week-cycles starting in numerical order from tone 1 (echos protos, ἦχος πρῶτος) following Easter Week. This liturgical octoechos concept was the invention of monastic hymnographers at Mar Saba in Palestine and in Constantinople, and a synod held 692 in Constantinople accepted their reform which also aimed to replace the homiletic poetry of the kontakion and other forms sung during the morning service (Orthros) of the cathedral rite. Hagia Sophia and other cathedrals of the Byzantine Empire did not abandon their habits, and the eight mode system came into use not earlier than in the mixed rite of Constantinople, after the patriarchate and the court had returned from their exile in Nikaia in 1261.
The reason that another eight mode system was established by Frankish reformers during the Carolingian reform, could be that Pope Adrian I also accepted on the synod in 787 the seventh-century Eastern reform for the Western church. The corresponding "chant book" is the tonary, a list of incipits of chants ordered according to the intonation formula of each church tone and its psalmody. Later also fully notated and theoretical tonaries had been written.
Traditional singers today often memorize the history of Byzantine chant in three parts, identified with the names John of Damascus as the "beginning" (the inventor of the octoechos), John Kukuzelis as the "flower" (the inventor of the psaltic art and its soloistic style called "kalophonia"), and Chrysanthos of Madytos as the "great teacher" of the living tradition today (the translator of psaltic art into the modern neume notation).
The fact behind this simple imagination is, that the octoechos reform was already accepted some decades ago, before John and Cosmas became monks at Mar Saba, but the earliest sources which gives evidence of the octoechos used in Byzantine chant is a ninth-century treatise called "Hagiopolites" ("Holy Polis" after Jerusalem), which only survived in a complete form in a late copy dating back to the fourteenth century. It is supposed that it was an introduction of a book called tropologion – a chant book used during 9th century which was soon replaced by the book octoechos. Despite that the first paragraph ascribes the treatise to John of Damascus, it was probably written about 100 years after his death and it went through several little redactions during the following centuries. There is no doubt that the octoechos reform itself has taken place already in 692, because certain passages of the Hagiopolites are paraphrasing certain canons of the synodal decree. Eric Werner assumed that the eight mode system developed in Jerusalem since the late fifth century and that the reform by the hymnographers of Mar Saba were already a synthesis with the Hellenic names used for the tropes, applied to a model of Syrian origin already used in the Byzantine tradition of Jerusalem. During the eighth century, long before Hellenic treatises were translated into Arabic and Persian dialects between the ninth and the tenth centuries, there was already a great interest among Arabian theorists like Abū Yūsuf al-Kindī, whose Arabic terms were obviously translated from the Greek. He adored the universality of the Greek octoechos:
|“||Sämtliche Stile aller Völker aber haben Teil an den acht byzantinischen Modi (hiya min al-alhān at-tamāniya ar-rūmīya), die wir erwähnt haben, denn es gibt nichts unter allem, was man hören kann, das nicht zu einem von ihnen gehörte, sei es die Stimme eines Menschen oder eines anderen Lebewesens, wie das Wiehern eines Pferdes oder das Schreien eines Esels oder das Krähen des Hahns. Alles, was an Formen des Schreis einem jeden Lebewesen/Tier eigen ist, ist danach bekannt, zu welchem Modus der acht es gehört, und es ist nicht möglich, daß es sich außerhalb eines von ihnen [bewegt].||”|
Every style of any tribe takes part of the Byzantine eight tones (hiya min al-alhān at-tamāniya ar-rūmīya) which I mentioned here. Everything which can be heard, be it the human or be it the animal voice – like the neighing of a horse, the braying of a donkey, or the carking of a cock, can be classified according to one of the eight modes, and it is impossible to find anything outside of the eight mode system.
According to Eckhard Neubauer, there is another Persian system of seven advār ("cycles") outside the Arabian reception of the Byzantine octoechos, which was possibly a cultural transfer from Sanskrit treatises. Persian and Hellenic sources were the main reference for the transfer of knowledge in Arabian-Islamic science.
According to the Hagiopolites the eight echoi were divided in four "kyrioi" (authentic) echoi and their four respective plagal (enriched, developed) echoi, which were all in the diatonic genus.
Despite the late copies of the Greek Hagiopolites treatise, the earliest Latin description of the Greek system of eight echoi is an eleventh-century treatise compilation called "alia musica". "Echos" was translated by "sonus" by the anonymous compilator, who commented with a comparison of the Byzantine octoechos:
|“||Quorum videlicet troporum, sive etiam sonorum, primus graeca lingua dicitur Protus; secundus Deuterus; tertius Tritus; quartus Tetrardus: qui singuli a suis finalibus deorsum pentachordo, quod est diapente, differunt. Superius vero tetrachordum, quod est diatessaron, requirunt, ut unusquisque suam speciem diapason teneat, per quam evagando, sursum ac deorsum libere currat. Cui scilicet diapason plerumque exterius additur, qui emmelis, id est, aptus melo vocatur.
Sciendum quoque, quod Dorius maxime proto regitur, similiter Phrygius deutero, Lydius trito, mixolydius tetrardo. Quos sonos in quibusdam cantilenis suae plagae quodammodo tangendo libant, ut plaga proti tangat protum, deuteri deuterum, triti tritum, tetrardi tetrardum. Et id fas est experiri in gradalibus antiphonis.
It is known about the tropes, as to say: the ἦχοι, that the Greek language call the First πρῶτος, the Second δεύτερος, the Third τρίτος, the Fourth τέταρτος. Their Finales were separated by a pentachord, that is: a falling fifth [between kyrios and plagios]. And above [the pentachord] they require a tetrachord, that is: a fourth, so that each of them has its species of diapason, in which it can move freely, rambling down and up. For the full octave another tone might be added, which is called ἐμμελῆς: “according to the melos”.
It has to be known that the “dorian” [octave species] is usually ruling in the πρῶτος, as the “phrygian” in the δεύτερος, the “lydian” in the τρίτος, or the “mixolydian” in the τέταρτος. Their πλάγιοι are derived by these ἦχοι in that way, that the formula touch them [going down a fifth]. So the πλάγιος τοῦ πρώτου touch the πρῶτος, the plagal Second [τοῦ δευτέρου] the δεύτερος, the plagal Third [βαρύς] the τρίτος, the plagal Fourth [πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου] the τέταρτος. And this should be proved by the melodies of the antiphonal graduals as a divine law.
This Latin description about the octoechos used by Greek singers (psaltes) is very precise, when it says that each kyrios and plagios pair used the same octave, divided into a fifth (pentachord) and a fourth (tetrachord): D-a-d in protos, E-b-e in devteros, F-c-f in tritos, and C-G-c in tetartos. While the kyrioi had the finalis (final, and usually also base note) on the top, the plagioi had the finalis on bottom of the pentachord.
The intonation formulas, called enechema (gr. ἐνήχημα), for the authentic modes or kyrioi echoi, usually descend within the pentachord and turn back to the finalis at the end, while the plagal modes or plagioi echoi just move to the upper third. The later dialogue treatises (gr. ἐροταπωκρισεῖς) refer to the Hagiopolitan diatonic eight modes, when they use the kyrioi intonations to find those of the plagioi:
Ἀπο τοῦ πλαγίου πρώτου ἤχου πάλιν καταβαίνεις τέσσαρας φωνάς, καὶ εὑρίσκεται πάλιν πλάγιος πρώτου· ὅυτως δὲ / ἄνανε ἄνες νὲ ἄνες·
Ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ β’ ἤχος καταβαίνων φωνάς δ’, εὑρίσκεις τὸν πλάγιον αὐτοῦ, ἤγουν τὸν πλάγιον τοῦ δευτέρου. πλ Β οὕτως δέ.
Ὁμοίως πάλιν ὁ τρίτος καταβαίνεις φωνὰς τέσσαρας, καὶ εὑρίσκεται ὁ πλάγιος αὐτοῦ, ἤγουν ὁ βαρύς, οὕτως·
Ὁμοίως καὶ πὸ τὸν τέταρτον καταβαίνων φωνὰς τέσσαρας, εὑρίσκεις τὸν πλάγιον αὐτοῦ, ὡς ἐστὶ ὁ πλ δ’ οὕτως·
The Hagiopolites as "earliest" theoretical treatise says, that two additional phthorai ("destroyers") were like proper modes which did not fit into the diatonic octoechos system, so the Hagiopolitan octoechos is in fact a system of 10 modes. Despite of a tendency that the two phthorai developed their proper melos and their models sung during the eight-week cycle, the original concept of phthora was a change useful for certain transitions. Changes between the echos tritos and the echos plagios tetartos were bridged by the enharmonic phthora nana, and changes between the echos protos and the echos plagios devteros by the chromatic phthora nenano. The theoretical concept of the Hagiopolites strongly suggested that nenano and nana as phthorai "destroy" some of the 7 diatonic degrees used within the octave of a certain echos, so that the chromatic and enharmonic genus was somehow subordinated and excluded from the diatonic octoechos. This raises the question whether music in the near eastern Middle Ages was entirely diatonic, before certain melodies were coloured by the other enharmonic and chromatic genoi.
The Hagiopolites also mentioned an alternative system of 16 echoi, with 4 phthorai and 4 mesoi beyond the kyrioi and plagioi of the Octoechos, and the author called this system the "echoi of the Asma":
|“||Οἱ μὲν οὖν τέσσαρρεις πρῶτοι οὐκ ἐξ ἄλλων τινων ἀλλ’ἐξ αὐτῶν γινονται. οἱ δὲ τέσσαρεις δεύτεροι, ἤγουν οἱ πλάγιοι, ὁ μὲν πλάγιος πρῶτος ἐκ τῆς ὑπορροῆς τοῦ πρώτου γέγονε. καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ὑπορροῆς τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ δευτέρου γέγονεν ὁ πλάγιος δευτέρου· ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖστον δὲ καὶ τὰ πληρώματα τοῦ δευτέρου [εἰς τὸν πλάγιον δευτέρου] τελειοῖ. ὁ βαρὺς ὁμοίως καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ τρίτοῦ· καὶ γὰρ εἰς τὸ ἆσμα ἡ ὑποβολὴ τοῦ βαρέως τρίτος ψάλλεται ἅμα τοῦ τέλους αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ τετάρτου γέγονεν ὁ πλάγιος τέταρτος. καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν τεσσάρων πλαγίων ἐγεννήθησαν τέσσαρεις μέσοι· καὶ ἀπ’αὐτῶν αἱ τέσσαρες φθοραί. καί ἀνεβιβάσθησαν ἦχοι ις’, οἵτινες ψάλλονται εἰς τὸ ἆσμα, οἱ δὲ δέκα ὡς προείπομεν εἰς τὸν Ἁγιοπολίτην.||”|
The 4 Echoi which come first are generated from themselves, not from others. As to the four which come next, i.e. the Plagal ones, Plagios Prōtos is derived from Prōtos, and Plagios Deuteros from Deuteros – normally Deuteros melodies end in Plagios Deuteros. Similarly, Barys from Tritos – “for in the Asma Hypobole of Barys is sung as Tritos together with its ending“. From the 4 Plagioi originate the 4 Mesoi, and from these the 4 Phthorai. This makes up the 16 Echoi which are sung in the Asma – as already mentioned, there are sung only 10 in the Hagiopolites.
This clearly suggests a distinction of the monastic octoechos reform and an older "sung rite" (ἀκολουθία ᾀσματική) which was the name of the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite with its own chant books asmatikon ("book of the choir"), psaltikon ("book of the soloist called 'monophonaris'"), and kontakarion (the name of the psaltikon, if it included the huge collection of kontakia, sung during the morning service). Unfortunately no treatise about the Constantinopolitan sixteen echoi survived, so that there is only this short paragraph of the Hagiopolites which says, that the singers of Hagia Sophia and other cathedrals of the empire followed in their chant books an own modal system, which was distinct from the octoechos.
The introduction of the eight mode system in Western chant traditions was part of the Carolingian reform, it was motivated by the confirmation of an earlier Eastern chant reform by Pope Adrian I also for the Western traditions during the synode in 787. Nevertheless, a Carolingian interest for the Byzantine octoechos can already be dated back some years before, when a Byzantine legacy introduced a series of antiphons sung during a procession for Epiphany which served as a model for the eight modes according to the Hagiopolitan system.
The contemporary invention of a proper Latin version of the eight mode system was mainly studied from two perspectives:
Latin theorists who knew the Hellenic tropes only by Boethius' 6th-century translation of Ptolemy (De institutione musica), did the synthesis of the Ancient Greek music theory with the Octoechos as a system of eight church tones, identified with the tropes. The synthesis has not been done earlier than during the Carolingian reform (usually dated according to Charlemagne's admonitio generalis which was decreed in 789), before music theory as science was strictly separated from chant transmission and the cantor as a profession dedicated to church music.
According to the Latin synthesis the plagal and authentic tones of protus, deuterus, tritus, and tetrardus did not use the same ambitus as in the Hagiopolitan Octoechos, but authentic and plagal tones used both the finalis of the plagios, so that the finalis of the kyrios, the fifth degree of the mode, was no longer used as finalis, but as "repercussa": the recitation tone used in a simple form of psalmody which was another genuine invention by the Carolingian reformers. The ambitus of the authentic tones was made up the same way as used in the Greek Octoechos, while the plagal tones used a lower ambitus: not the tetrachord above the pentachord, but below it. Hence, the hypodorian octave referred the "tonus secundus" and was constructed A—D—a, and the dorian as "tonus primus" D—a—d, both tones of the protus used D as finalis, the hypophrygian octave was B—E—b and was the ambitus of the "tonus quartus", and the phrygian octave E—b—e was related to the "tonus tertius" and its finalis E belonged to the deuterus, the hypolydian octave C—F—c was connected with the "tonus sixtus", the lydian octave F—c—f with the "tonus quintus" and both shared the finalis F called "tritus", the last was the seventh octave G—d—g called "mixolydian" which referred to the "tonus septimus" and its finalis G.
The terms tropus (transposition octave) and modus (the octave genre defined by the position of the tonus, the whole tone with the proportion of 9:8, and the semitonium, the half tone with the proportion of 256:243) were taken from Boethius' translation. But the Antique names of the seven modi were applied to the eight church tones called toni. The first attempt to connect Ancient Greek music theory known by Boethius' translation and the theory of plainchant can be found in the treatise De harmonica institutione by Hucbald of Saint-Amand Abbey, written by the end of the 9th century, and the author addressed his treatise explicitly to cantors and not to mathematics, whereas the reduction of 4 "finales" which made up the tetrachord D—E—F—G, was already done in Carolingian times in the treatises Musica and Scolica enchiriadis. Musica enchiriadis is also the only Latin treatise which testifies the presence of tetraphonic tone system, represented by 4 Dasia-signs and therefore called "Dasia system", and even the practical use of transposition (metabolē kata tonon) in plainchant, called "absonia". Its name probably derived from "sonus", the Latin term for ἦχος, but in the context of this treatise the use of absonia is reservated to describe a primitive form of polyphony or heterophony rather than it served as a precise description of transposition in monodic chant, as it was used in certain genres of Byzantine chant.
Hucbald used an own Greek letter system which referred to the double octave system (systēma teleion) and called the four elements D, E, F, G, known as "finales", according to the Greek system "lichanos hypaton" (Digamma [like "F"] = D), "hypate meson" (Σ = E), "parhypate meson" (Ρ = F), and "lichanos meson" (Μ = G).
The earliest chant theory connected with the Carolingian octoechos was related to the book tonary. It played a key role in memorizing chant and the earliest tonaries referred to the Greek names as elements of a tetrachord: πρῶτος, δεύτερος, τρίτος, and τέταρτος were translated into "protus", "deuterus", "tritus", and "tetrardus", but only the tetrachord D—E—F—G was supposed to contain the final notes ("finales") for the eight tones used in the Latin octoechos. Since the 10th century the eight tones were applied to eight simplified models of psalmody, which soon adopted in their terminations the melodic beginnings of the antiphons, which were sung as refrains during psalm recitation. This practice made the transitions more smooth, and in the list of the antiphons which can be found since the earliest tonaries, it was enough to refer to the melodic beginnings or incipits of the text. In the earliest tonaries no models of psalmody had been given and incinpits from all chant genres were listed, probably just for a modal classification (see the section for the "Autentus protus" of the Saint Riquier tonary).
According to Michel Huglo, there was a prototype tonary which initiated the Carolingian reform. But in a later study he mentioned an even earlier tonary which was brought as a present to the Palatine Chapel in Aachen by a Byzantine legacy which celebrated procession antiphons for Epiphany in a Latin translation.
Already during the 10th century tonaries became so widespread in different regions, that they do not only allow to study the difference between local schools according to its modal classification, its redaction of modal patterns, and its own way of using Carolingian psalmody. They also showed a fundamental difference between the written transmission of Latin and Greek chant traditions, as it had developed between the 10th and 12th centuries. The main concern of Latin cantors and their tonaries was a precise and unambiguous classification of whatever melody type according the local perception of the Octoechos system.
Greek psaltes were not interested at all in this question. They knew the models of each modes by certain simple chant genres as the troparion and the heirmoi (the melodic models used to create poetry in the meter of the heirmologic odes), but other genres like sticheron and kontakion could change the echos within their melos, so their main interest was the relationship between the echoi to compose elegant and discrete changes between them.
In contrary, the very particular form and function of the tonary within chant transmission made it evident, that the modal classification of Latin cantors according to the eight tones of the Octoechos had to be done a posterioi, deduced by the modal analysis of the chant and its melodic patterns, while the transmission of the traditional chant itself did not provide any model except of the psalm tones used for the recitation of the psalms and the canticles.
The tonary was the very heart and of the mainly oral chant transmission used during the Carolingian reform and as its medium it must had had a strong impact on the melodic memory of the cantors who used it in order to memorize the Roman chant, after a synode confirmed Charlemagne's admonitio generalis. The written transmission by fully notated chant manuscripts, the object of chant studies today, cannot be dated back to an earlier time, than nearly 200 years after the admonitio—the last third of the 10th century. And it seems that Roman cantors whose tradition had to be learnt, followed at least 100 years later by the transcription of their chant repertory and no document has survived which can testify the use of tonaries among Roman cantors. Pope Adrian I's confirmation of the Eastern octoechos reform had probably no consequences on the tradition of Roman chant, which might be an explanation for the distinct written transmission, as it can be studied between Roman Frankish and Old Roman chant manuscripts.
The eight sections of the Latin tonary are usually ordered "Tonus primus Autentus Protus", "Tonus secundus Plagi Proti", "Tonus tertius Autentus deuterus" etc. Each section is opened by an intonation formula using the names like "Noannoeane" for the authentic and "Noeagis" for the plagal tones. In his theoretical tonary "Musica disciplina" Aurelian of Réôme asked a Greek about the meaning of the syllables, and reported that they had no meaning, they were rather an expression of joy as used by peasants to communicate with their working animals like horses. There was usually no exact resemblance of the Latin syllables to the names of the Greek intonations or enechemata which were identified with the diatonic kyrioi and plagioi echoi, but Aurelian's question made it obvious that the practice was taken from Greek singers. Unlike the Hagiopolitan octoechos, which used two additional phthorai with the syllables Nana and Nenano for changes into the enharmonic and chromatic genus, the enharmonic and chromatic genus was excluded from the Latin octoechos, at least according to Carolingian theorists.
Since the 10th century tonaries also include the mnemic verses of certain model antiphons which memorize each tone by one verse. The most common among all tonaries was also used by Guido of Arezzo in his treatise Micrologus: "Primum querite regnum dei", "Secundum autem simile est huic" etc. Another characteristic was that melodic melisms called neumae followed the intonation formulas or mnemic verses. Usually they differed more among different tonaries than the preceding intonations or verses, but they all demonstrated the generative and creative aspect within chant transmission.
In comparison with Byzantine psaltes who always used notation in a more or less stenographic way, the exact patterns used during the so called "thesis of the melos" belonged to the oral tradition of a local school, its own modal system and its genre. But already the question of chant genre was connected with local in medieval times and the point of reference for the psaltes who performed a certain genre: the Hagiopolitan octoechos and its genres (the odes according to the models of the heirmologion, the troparia of the octoechos or tropologion), or the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite (akolouthia asmatike) and its books asmatikon, psaltikon, and kontakarion might serve here as examples.
The exact proportions which divided a tetrachord, had never been a subject of Greek medieval treatises concerned about Byzantine chant. The separation between the mathematical science harmonikai and chant theory gave space to various speculations, even to the assumption that the same division was used as described in Latin music theory, operating with two diatonic intervals like tonus (9:8) and semitonium (256:243). Nevertheless some treatises referred the tetrachord division into three intervals called the "great tone" (μείζων τόνος) which often corresponded to the prominent position of the whole tone (9:8), the "middle tone" (ἐλάσσων τόνος) between α and β, and the "small tone" (ἐλάχιστος τόνος) between β and γ which was usually a much larger interval than the half tone, and this division was common among most divisions by different ancient Greek theorists that were mentioned by Ptolemy in his Harmonics. Before Chrysanthos' Theoretika (the Mega Theoretikon was published by his students posthumously), exact proportions were never mentioned in Greek chant theory. His system of 68 commata which is based on a corrupted use of arithmetics, can be traced back to the division of 12:11 x 88:81 x 9:8 = 4:3 between α and δ.
Although Chrysanthos did not mention his name, but the first who mentioned precisely these proportions starting from the open string of the third or middle chord of the oud, was the Arab theorist Al-Farabi in his Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir which was written during the first half of the 10th century. His explicit references to Persian and Ancient Greek music theory were possible, because they had been recently translated into Arabic and Persian dialects in the library of Baghdad. Thanks to them Al-Farabi had also an excellent knowledge of Ancient Greek music theory. The method of demonstrating the intervals by the frets of the oud keyboard was probably taken from Al-Kindi. Here the intervals are not referred to the Byzantine phthongoi, but to the name of the frets. And the fret corresponding to β was called "ring finger fret of Zalzal" (wuștā Zalzal), named after the famous Baghdadi oud player Zalzal. It seems that the proportion of the Zalzal fret was a refined one in Bagdad using a large middle tone that came very close to the interval of the small tone, while the Mawsili school used 13:12 instead of 12:11. There is no indication that this division had been of Byzantine origin, so Western scholars felt seduced to ascribe the use of the division called "soft diatonic" (diatonikos malakos) and the chromaticism derived from it as an influence of the Ottoman Empire and to regard their view of the systema teleion also as a norm for the Byzantine tonal system. As Phanariots (Phanar was the Greek district of Istanbul with the residence of the Patriarchate) who composed as well in the makamlar, the teachers of the New Music School of the Patriarchate around Chrysanthos had certainly exchanges with Sephardic, Armenian, and Sufi musicians, but an intensive exchange between Byzantine, Arab and Persian musicians had already a history of more than 1000 years.
Unlike Latin treatises only a few Greek treatises of chant have survived and their authors wrote nothing about the intervals, about microtonal shifts as part of a certain melos and its echos, or about the practice of ison singing (isokratema). Nevertheless these practices remained undisputed, because they are still part of the living tradition today, while Western plainchant became rediscovered during the 19th century. Neither musicians nor musicologists were longer familiar with them which explains why various descriptions, as they can be found in certain Latin treatises, were ignored for quite a long time.
Ancient Greek music theory had always been a point of reference in Latin chant treatises, something similar cannot be found in Greek chant treatises before the 14th century, but there were a few Latin treatises of the 11th century which did not only refer to Ancient music theory and the systema teleion together with the Greek names of its elements, they even had parts dedicated to Byzantine chant. The appreciation for Byzantine chant is surprising, because there were very few authors except Boethius who had really studied Greek treatises and who were also capable to translate them, as he already had done in Visigothic Spain.
The systema teleion was present by the Boethian diagram which represented it for the diatonic, the chromatic, and the enharmonic genus. Several tonaries used letters which referred the positions of this diagram. The most famous example is the letter notation of William of Volpiano which he developed for the Cluniac reforms by the end of the 10th century. In his school a unique tonary was already written, when he was reforming abbot of St. Benignus of Dijon. The tonary shows the Roman-Frankish mass chant written out in neume and pitch notation. The repertory is classified according to the Carolingian tonary and its entirely diatonic octoechos. The use of tyronic letters clearly shows, that the enharmonic diesis was used as a kind of melodic attraction within the diatonic genus, which sharpened the semitonium. Even in Guido of Arezzo's treatise Micrologus, at least in earlier copies, there is still a passage which explains, how the diesis can be found on the monochord. It sharpens the semitonium by replacing the usual whole tone (9:8) between re—mi (D—E, G—a, or a—b) by a bigger one in the proportion of 7:6 which was usually perceived as an attraction towards fa.
But there were as well other practices which could not be explained by the Boethian diagram and its use of tonus and semitonium. The authors of one theoretical tonary of the compilation called alia musica used an alternative intonation with the name AIANEOEANE, the name was obviously taken from a Byzantine enechema ἅγια νεανὲς, a kind of Mesos tetartos with the finalis and basis on a low E, and applied the Byzantine practice to certain pieces of Roman-Frankish chant which were classified as "tonus tertius" or "Autentus deuterus". In the following section "De quarto tono" the author quotes Aristoxenos' description of the enharmonic and chromatic division of the tetrachord, which was possibly inspired by the Hagiopolitan concept of the phthora nenano which connected the echos protos on a with the plagios devteros on E.
Latin cantors knew about the theoretical concept of the practice of transposition since Boethius' translation of Ptolemy. Very few can be said, if they ever understood the practical use of it. Nevertheless there was a rudimentary knowledge which can be found in the Carolingian treatises Musica and Scolica enchiriadis. The Musica enchiriadis was also the only Latin treatise which documented a second tone system beside the systema teleion, but it does not explain at all, how these both systems worked together in practice.
The Hagiopolites did neither explain it nor did it mention any tone system nor the metabole kata tonon, but this was probably, because the hymn reform of Jerusalem was mainly concerned with simple models exemplified by heirmoi or troparia. Greek protopsaltes used the transposition only in very few compositions of the sticherarion, as example the compositions passing through all the modes of the Octoechos, or certain melismatic elaborations of troparia in the psaltic style, the soloistic style of the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite. This might explain that Charles Atkinson discussed Carolingian theory in comparison with the later papadikai, in which all possible transpositions were represented by the Koukouzelian wheel or by the kanônion.
Wheels are also used in Arabic music theory since the 13th century, and Al-Farabi was the first who started a long tradition of science, which did not only find the proportions of the untransposed diatonic system on the oud keyboard, but also those of all possible transpositions. The use of instruments had to adapt to a very complex tradition which had probably been a rather vocal tradition in its origins.
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In the history of the Byzantine rite the Hagiopolitan reform was described as a synthesis of the cathedral rite and the monastic rite. Nevertheless the Hagiopolitan octoechos did not come into use at Constantinople before the Papadic reform during the late 13th and the 14th century, after the patriarchate and the court had returned from exile in Nicaea. The reform of John Koukouzeles can be studied by a new type of treatise called "papadike" (παπαδική). It included a list of all neume signs which was also organized as a didactic chant called Mega Ison which passed through all the eight echoi of the octoechos. This chant or exercise (μάθημα) was composed by John Glykys, but most Papadikai also add a second version in the redaction of John Koukouzeles who was probably his student. These lists prefer the use of Byzantine round notation, which had developed during the late 12th century from the Coislin type. The modal signatures were referred to the Hagiopolitan octoechos. Because the repertoire of signs was expanded under the influence of John Glykys' school, there was a scholarly discussion to make a distinction between Middle and Late Byzantine notation. The discussion decided more or less against this distinction, because the Papadic school did not invent new neume signs, it rather integrated signs known from other chant books and their local traditions, including the books of the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite as they had been used until the Western conquest of Constantinople.
The so-called mixed rite which replaced the former tradition of the cathedral rite, resembled in large parts the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom, of Basil of Caesarea, and of the Presanctified Gifts, as they are in use until today. But many places of the Byzantine Empire did never accept the reform of the Palaiologan Constantinople.
These local differences explain, why the Erotapokriseis-treatises already followed the Studite reform and represent somehow an early form of Papadike, so parts of it can later be found in the classical Papadike manuscripts. The Papadike itself had much in common with Latin tonaries: intonation formulas and psalmody for the eight modes of the octoechos system could both be found in the book Akolouthiai and they were the only sources of Byzantine simple psalmody. The new book Akolouthiai replaced several books, the psaltikon, the asmatikon, the kontakarion, and the typikon, it puzzled the soloist's, the domestikos', and the choir's part, and the rubrics of the typikon together. It contained several little books as kratemataria (a collection of additional sections composed over abstract syllables), heirmologia, and embellished compositions of the polyeleos psalms.
But in this combination the Papadike appears since the 14th century, while the earliest version introduced a sticherarion written in 1289. This proves again the integrating role of the Middle Byzantine round notation that this notation had through the book sticherarion.
Despite of longer theoretical explanations by authors like Gabriel Hieromonachos (Hannick & Wolfram 1985), Manuel Chrysaphes (Conomos 1985), Ioannis Plousiadinos which were usually attached to it, the Papadike itself was rather based on lists and exercises with short verbal explanations. The composition of the Papadike can be illustrated by the Italian manuscript of Messina (Messina, University Library, Fondo SS. Salvatore, Ms. 154), which was edited and referred by Oskar Fleischer who dated it back to the 15th century. But the manuscript which he had published from the reliefs of Friedrich Chrysander, is in fact a late copy of the 17th century which introduced the Anastasimatarion of Chrysaphes the New.
The following schedule describes the content of the Papadike of the Codex Chrysander and explains the difference to earlier Papadikai:
The possibility of translating every style into an artistic experiment of psaltic art was based on the concept, that every step recognized by metrophonia was regarded as a degree of the mode as well as a mode (an echos) itself. The kalophonic method established a second method beside the traditional one and it created new books like the sticherarion kalophonikon, the heirmologion kalophonikon, etc.
The new book Akolouthiai quoted simple psalmody usually in connection with the gradual psalms (anabathmoi, Ps. 119-130) and the earliest examples can be found in manuscripts since the 14th century. The practice can be regarded as part of a synthesis between Hagiopolitan Octoechos and the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite which was another result of the Studite reform. These models followed the octoechos and showed close resemblance to the melismatic compositions of the cathedral rite, at least in the transmission of psaltikon in Middle Byzantine notation, from which the expression of psaltic art had been taken.
During the 13th and 14th century psalmody was used in rather elaborated form than in the simple one copied from sticheraria. Traditional (palaia) forms of elaboration were often named after their local secular tradition as Constantinopolitan (agiosophitikon, politikon), Thessalonian (thessalonikaion), or a monastic one like those from Athos (hagioreitikon), the more elaborated, kalophonic compositions were collected in separate parts of the Akolouthiai, especially the poetic and musical compositions over the Polyeleos-Psalm developed as a new genre of psaltic art and the names of the protopsaltes or maistoroi were mentioned in these collections.
The representation of the Hagiopolitan Octoechos by a wheel with four sparks or by four columns, separated in four authentic and four plagal modes called "echoi" which are organized in four pairs each using the same octave and its separation into a diatonic divided pentachord and a tetrachord above, are based on the four elements of tetraphônia (τετραφωνία). These four elements were represented by the numerals πρῶτος, δεύτερος, τρίτος, and τέταρτος, and in the practice of parallage (παραλλαγή) the distinction between the authentic echoi called "kyrioi" and the plagal echoi called "plagioi" was defined as a direction: the intonations of plagioi were always used to move down, those of kyrioi to move up. Where ever these four elements were repeated, they always generated a pure fifth for the pentachord between the pair of a kyrios at the top and a plagios at the bottom.
But according to the "method of parallage (solfeggio)" the logic of one column is not to represent the pentachord between kyrios and plagios of the same species, but the connection between a change of direction as α'↔πλδ', β'↔πλα', γ'↔πλβ', and δ'↔υαρ. The horizontal axis reads the first line from the left to the right for the ascending direction, the second is read from the right to the left for the descending direction. If these columns are organized in a circle like sparks of a wheel, the ascending direction becomes clockwise and the descending counter clockwise.
In the Papadike of the Codex Chrysander this circle can be found as a "crown" on the top of the Koukouzelian tree and the four columns of tetraphonia at the foot. For an understanding of the phthongoi and the way of parallage between them it is necessary to discover an additional protos signature which is written left to the left upper branch of the tree which has to be regarded as an own branch with a snake's head. The step to the next right phthongos is a descending step to the lower branch. The ways of parallage can be recognized by the blue arrows for the ascending direction, and by the black arrows for the descending direction. Following them we have two diagonal hemispheres for the circle on the top and two vertical hemispheres separated by the stem of the tree which still refer to the circles, only that they are repeated from the outer to the inner positions. A movement between two phthongoi of the same branch have no step, but are indicated by an ison as a transposition (μεταβολή κατὰ τόνον) on the same thetic place represented by each branch. The phthongos does not change its intonation, but its dynamic quality defined by the modal signature. The additional diatonic phthorai used in Middle Byzantine notation are used here in order to change this quality without any reference to the two additional Hagiopolitan phthorai νανὰ and νενανῶ.
In the circle the descending and the ascending parallage has to move within a half circle described by the enechemata of the plagioi or the kyrioi echoi. If the clockwise ascending direction arrived at the intonation of echos plagios (about 4 and a half), the way jumps back to the position of 12 o'clock where the signature of echos protos can be found. If the parallage changes the direction and descends from echos protos (ἦχος πρῶτος) to echos plagios tou tetartou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου), the way of parallage takes the spark down from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock. From here (echos plagios tetartos) the descending direction jumps to the position of half past 10 o'clock (ἦχος βαρύς) and continues in counter clockwise direction plagios devteros (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ δευτέρου), plagios protos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ πρώτου), and plagios tetartos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου).
The sparks are marked by dark blue double arrows because the change between the ascending and the descending parallage as well as vice versa.
The same movement within a half circle explains the necessity to jump from the branch at the top down to the lowest one of the tree. At the end of the branches the singers will find the "untransposed" way. They start from the echos protos signature written on the left side of the tree, marked by a circle and described as "α'" (the First), and continue in descending direction on the top branch with the signature of echos plagios tetartos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου), the black arrow leads down to the lowest branch where the singers will find the plagios tritos called "echos varys" (ἦχος βαρύς), and from there they have to move up to follow the descending way with plagios devteros (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ δευτέρου), and plagios protos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ πρώτου).
Following from the beginning of "the First" in ascending direction, singers have to change to the outer top branch on the right side of the tree, where they will find the signature of echos devteros (ἦχος δεύτερος). From there they have to move the branches down to follow the ascending way with echos tritos (ἦχος τρίτος, here represented by the short enechema of phthora nana), echos tetartos (ἦχος τέταρτος), and echos protos (ἦχος πρώτος). If they had to go further in ascending direction, they will jump back to the top branch.
The possible four transpositions used the same movement between the branches, but from an inner position of the branch closer to the stem. Unlike the circle with its sparks the tree does not allow a change of direction from whatever position. On the other hand, every branch could be used for a transposition which corresponds to the papadic use of the four phthorai, which changed the dynamis by a metabole kata tonon (μεταβολή κατὰ τόνον).
An example might be the first transposition which turns the echos protos (marked by a circle) into the plagios tetartos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου). This change could be recapitulated by singers, if they were singing the protos intonation ἀνανεανές, here imagined as a pitch like a, and then they intoned the echos plagios tou tetartou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου) νεάγιε on the same pitch, which would cause a transposition about a whole tone (α' = πλδ'). Here the outer protos signature can be replaced by the outer position of the left top branch (encircled by a yellow mark), and from here singers will move in the second ring of the branches in the same way as described above (also the descending and ascending ways are indicated by arrows, but they are still the same for the other rings, which are not further indicated).
The simplest and presumably earliest form which is also the closest to Ancient Greek science treatises, is the representation of the different metabolai kata tonon (μεταβολαὶ κατὰ τόνον) by the kanōnion (also used in the translation by Boethius). This table can be read in four directions. The vertical directions are indicated by the first and last column. The first column shows the 8 steps (phônai) in descending direction using the enechemata of the plagioi which are written at the bottom of each cell (follow the red arrows), the last column shows the 8 steps (phônai) in ascending direction using the enechemata of the kyrioi which are written at the top of each cell (follow the blue arrows). This way each cell can be left in ascending or descending direction.
On the first sight it seems that the vertical direction is ascending from left to the right and descending from the right to the left, but the intonation have to be sung on the same pitch on the vertical, because the phthorai indicate a change of the dynamis (the pitch class) whatever is the frequency of its pitch. As example the Doxastarion oktaechon Θεαρχίῳ νεύματι, one of the stichera which passes through all the echoi of the octoechos, in the short realization of Petros Peleponnesios finds the echos tritos on the wrong pitch. On the phthongos which is expected as the pitch of the echos tetartos, the echos tritos is introduced by the enechema of phthora nana. This metabole kata tonon (μεταβολή κατὰ τόνον) can be localized in the kanonion fourth row from below and in the fourth column with modal signatures, where the intonation of echos tetartos in the first column is replaced by the signature of echos tritos.
By this example the use of wheels and trees which can be found as illustrations of the Byzantine tonal system in different Papadikai, becomes evident. A protopsaltes or maistoros who was well skilled in the psaltic art, could use these memorial landscapes in order to find their way through the labyrinth of tonal relation- and kinships. Even in improvised teretismata or nenanismata, inserted sections using abstract syllables, complex structures were possible, a soloist could pass through several transpositions and was still able to find her or his way out—which meant back to the transposition of the first column and the echos of the main signature.
Directly on the fundament of the kanonion and its passage through 8 steps through the tetraphonic system of parallage is constructed the Koukouzelian wheel or trochos (τροχὸς), though it seems that the whole tone system is reduced to a window of one pentachord:
The four columns had been completed by a fifth identical with the first and the order of these five columns had been inverted, so that the second ring turns the echos protos into the plagios tetartos, the third into the echos varys, the fourth into the plagios devteros etc. It is the same order as we found it in the Koukouzelian tree: first a metabole kata tonon about one lower step, two lower steps, three lower steps etc.
The second coincidence with the kanonion is that each phthongos has a kyrios signature with the soma ("body") neume for one ascending step (ὁλίγον) and a plagios signature of the same echos with the soma neume for one descending step (ἀπόστροφος). This way the pentachord can be passed in ascending and descending direction clockwise as well as counterclockwise. From whatever phthongos, each place of the wheel can be left in ascending as well as in descending direction. The five rings are another important innovation in comparison with the other memorial landscapes, the substitution of the kyrios by the plagios (passing from the outer to the most inner ring) and vice versa was frequently used by composers for the effect of a register change.
The other important innovation is the combination of two diagrams which can already be found in the Koukouzelian tree: the circle for the melos at the top or the crown and the tree for a representation of all possible transpositions. Here four simplified circles have been derived from the transposition of the protos pentachord into the tetartos one (second ring), into the tritos pentachord (third ring), and into the devteros pentachord (fourth ring). While the rings of the big wheel in the centre are representing the tone system and all its possible transitions (including all the metabolai kata tonon), the four small outer rings represent the station within the melos of a certain echos with each pentachord which connects the kyrios with the plagios.
The picture in a late 18th-century manuscript of Papadike does not follow the former simplifications in the peripheral wheels, dedicated to the diatonic kyrios and plagios of a the four octaves. Instead the author tried to mix the heptaphonia within the Koukouzelian wheel. The older form is written outside and just shows the pentachord of protos in the circle on the left top and here its parallage was only written in clockwise direction (see the way marked by the arrows). The psaltes starts with the enechema of echos protos, which is descending and ascending stepwise the pentachord with its beginning and end on the kyrios finalis: ἀνανεανές, νεαγίς, ἀανές, νεχεανές, ἀνέανες, νεανές, ἀνεανές, ἅγια, ἀνανεανές.
Rather odd and outside the rule is the heptaphonic use of parallage within each peripheral circle. In the center the author of this manuscript wrote "heptaphonia of the first echos" (ἐπταφωνία τοῦ πρώτου ἤχου), and starting from the kyrios the parallage descends to the lower octave which is not heptaphonic at all, because the "octave" is now the plagios devteros, and for the devteros circle (on the right top) even the augmented octave between echos devteros (b natural) and echos varys (B flat). The system works only within the heptaphonic interpretation of the Byzantine tone system by Chrysanthos who defined the transcription according to the New Method.
The former use of heptaphonia within the melos of a certain echos can be rather explained by another method: the singer moves down and up within the pentachord, and within the higher tetrachord of the octave it is only possible to ascend two steps from the kyrios and then the octave has to be fulfilled by the octave of the plagios of each echos. This method follows exactly the Latin description of alia musica, whose author probably referred to the opinion of an experienced psaltes:
|“||For the full octave another tone might be added, which is called ἐμμελῆς: “according to the melos”.||”|
"Another" could mean "outside of the tetraphonia (τετραφωνία)", the tone system which was so strongly identified with the Koukouzelian wheel and its parallage, that it was also called the "trochos system" (σύστημα τοῦ τρόχου, σύστημα κατὰ τετραφωνίαν).
The short passage of the alia musica compilation contains an explanation which is usually not given in the systematic lists of signs of the Papadikai. It tries to solve a conflict, as it already existed since medieval chant treatises—the conflict between the heptaphonic and tetraphonic tone system. The solution can be found in other treatises of the psaltic art which offer further explanations to the Papadike as those by Gabriel Hieromonachos, Manuel Chrysaphes, and by Ioannis Plousiadinos. The solution of Manuel Chrysaphes is a formal distinction between the musical structure written in notation, its recapitulation by the solfeggio or the use of parallage (παραλλαγή) which is called metrophonia (μετροφωνία), and the establishment of the musical performance by the "thesis of the melos" (θέσις τοῦ μέλου) according to its traditional "method" (μέθοδος). The solution of Gabriel Hieromonachos was to establish a priority of the echos protos by the mese by the middle chord of the oud and to ascend seven steps with the enechemata of kyrioi echoi and to descend seven steps by the enechemata of the plagioi echoi which was a common method since Al-Kindi and probably taken from a Greek practice.
The 19th-century reform according to the New Method of Chrysanthos of Madytos replaced the former solfeggio or metrophonia based on the tetraphonic use of the enechemata which referred to the eight modes of the Octoechos by an heptaphonic solfeggio of seven syllables ζω, νη, πα, βου, γα, δι, and κε—not unsimilar to the Western solfeggio (Si, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, and La). But his concern was less the integration of the Western tone system which abandoned during the 11th century the tetraphonia in favour of the systema teleion than the integration of the Ottoman reception of the same which had become common to all musicians of the Empire, whether they were Sufis, Sephardic Hassans, Armenian, Persian or Kurdish musicians.
The "Occidental school" as Maria Alexandru liked to call it, went into the footsteps of Chrysanthos with the assumption that the systema teleion or heptaphonia was the only explanation and was adaptated according to the Western perception of the modes as octave species. According to Chrysanthos the tritone B—F had become the tritos pentachord, while Oliver Strunk defined G—g as the tetartos octave unlike Chrysanthos and the living tradition as the point of reference of the "Greek school" who all set the tetartos octave a fifth lower C—c, so that the seventh was big and not small. Both interpretations corrupt the tetraphonic or trochos system (σύστημα κατὰ τετραφωνίαν).
Manuel Chrysaphes' solution separates the level of metrophonia by the formal function of a changing disposition, which allows always to find a kyrios in the upper pentachord, if the phthongos is plagios, or a plagios in the lower pentachord, if the phthongos is kyrios. But plagios and kyrios on the level of metrophonia are only defined by the direction from which singers arrive at a certain phthongos. As a degree of a certain mode or echos like "kyrios" and "plagios" the psaltes left the level of parallage and metrophonia, and enter the level of a melos defined by one echos and one of the peripheral wheels, and on this level the tritos is always the octave on B flat or F, while the octave of B natural is always a devteros octave which can be reached by a transposition (μεταβολή κατὰ τόνον) which turns the protos on D into a tetartos and looks from there for its mesos on B natural. Such a transposition will cause a transition within the central wheel, which turns the phthongos of protos (α') on the top of the outer ring into the tetartos (δ') in the second ring. From here the metrophonia might descend two steps clockwise to the plagios devteros (πλ β'). According to the trochos system Chrysanthos' adaptation to the Ottoman tambur frets was already a transposition.
Nearly every melos is related to the heptaphonia by the reproduction of the plagios in the octave of the eighth phthongos. This practice separated the four octaves. Hence, the Hagiopolitan phthorai nana and nenano had an important function to bridge between the four octaves of protos, devteros, tritos, and tetartos. The tritos and the tetartos octave were separated by different degrees, e.g. the tetartos octave C—c and the tritos one B flat—b flat was separated by the use of b natural on the seventh phthongos in the heptaphonia of tetartos. Manuel Chrysaphes mentioned that phthora nana always bound the melos of echos tritos, so that it had to resolve in the enharmonic form of echos plagios tetartos. Bound by the phthora nana, the melos could not change into any other echos before its resolution into the plagios tetartos, so even a change to the diatonic tetartos melos had to follow after this resolution and needed a preparation by the change to another genos (μεταβολή κατὰ γένον). In a very similar way the phthora nenano always connected the echos plagios devteros on E with the echos protos on a—in both directions and bridged by the chromatic genos.
The inner and outer nature of whatever phthongos becomes evident by the difference between parallage and melos. The great wheel in the center rather represented all phthongoi as an element of a tone system, but by the solfeggio of parallage each phthongos was defined on the level of dynamis as an own echos according to a certain enechema. The four inner rings of the central wheel re-defined the dynamis of each phthongos constantly by the enechema of another echos, so each parallage defined the disposition of the intervals in another way, thus represented all possible transpositions as part of the outer nature. The inner nature was represented by the four peripheral wheels for protos (on the top left), devteros (on the top right), tritos (at the bottom left), and tetartos (at the bottom right). Within these circles each phthongos became part of a certain melos and its echos, so its function was defined as a modal degree of an echos, e.g. a cadential or final degree, or a mobile degree attracted by the others.
The practice of psaltic art and the disposition of the echoi through which a certain composition had to pass, can be studied by the kalophonic method of doing the thesis of the sticheraric melos. The psaltes skilled in the psaltic art usually opened his performance by an extended enechema which recapitulated the disposition of all the echoi which the kalophonic melos had to pass through. Usually the disposition was simple and did not change by the use of transposition, but some more complex stichera did as well and the tetraphonic system allowed always a new disposition between plagios and kyrios of a certain echos. And one of this complex stichera which pass through the eight echoi of Octoechos, was chosen by Oliver Strunk (1942) to find evidence for a fixed disposition of the eight echoi.
There is an alternative form of solfeggio which was called "the wisest or rather sophisticated parallage of Mr Ioannis Iereos Plousiadinos" (ἡ σοφωτάτη παραλλαγὴ κυρίου Ἰωάννου Ἰερέως τοῦ Πλουσιαδινοῦ). It uses a crossing point and three phthongoi into four directions. What makes this parallage wiser than the one of John Koukouzeles is simply, that it can be used for tetraphonia and for triphonia at the same time and without the use of any transposition.
The simpler case is triphonia which has its finalis between a descending and an ascending tetrachord which are connected by the finalis. Here the complication is similar to those between heptaphonia and tetraphonia. The simplest form of triphonia can be imagined as a permanent transposition of each tetrachord which always start on plagios tetartos (πλ δ') and ascends to the phthongos of tritos (γ'). The final note is always tritos and plagios tetartos at the same time (γ' = πλ δ'). In fact the ascending branch from the x at the bottom left continues from the phthongos of tritos (γ') to the phthongos of devteros (β'), but another signature of tritos (γ') is written aside as an alternative annotation of the same phthongos. This parallage corresponds to the convention of using notation, because there is no abundant use of the diatonic phthora of tritos or plagios devteros to indicate a metabole kata tonon, instead the use of the aphonic or great sign xeron klasma (ξηρὸν κλάσμα) indicates that there will be the same cadence that usually closes on the phthongos of tritos, and not on the phthongos of devteros. So outside of the tetraphonic parallage which will always find a slightly low intoned tritone going three steps up from tritos on F, the triphonic system finds again the tritos at a phthongos within the pure fourth of a tetrachord, which must be b flat. In the same way the last phthongos of the descending branch "plagios tetartos" is alternatively annotated as "echos varys" (υαρ), while the tritos in the crossing point has the signature of phthora nana (φθορά νανὰ) which can be found between two connected tetrachords: between plagios tetartos and devteros/tritos (C—F νανὰ—b flat) or between varys and devteros/tritos (F—b flat νανὰ—e flat).
The left half of the same cross means a completely different interval combination. Here the triphonia moves in ascending as well as in descending direction a middle tone and two great tones from a pitch which is a mesos tetartos on a low E which moves the middle tone (D—E) very close to the small one (E—F). The signature at the crossing point abbreviates "echos legetos" (ἦχος λέγετος). If the intervall step between the phthongoi protos and devteros is a diese (like the Latin semitonium), the diminished tritone (B flat—low E, low E—a) becomes a tetrachord (B flat—E flat νανὰ, E flat νανὰ—a flat). It just depends which signature of the crossing point has been chosen by the psaltes.
Nevertheless, the triphonic parallage which is ascribed to Ioannis Plousiadinos is used in combination with the all the chromatic and enharmonic phthorai which can be used within all the eight diatonic modes of the octoechos.
Another example is the first cross on the left top with the modal signatures of protos, tetartos and phthora nenano (φθορά νενανῶ). According to medieval signatures, this phthora connected the echos protos (ἦχος πρῶτος) with the echos plagios tou devterou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ δευτέρου). If only this tetrachord is chromatic, it is connected to a second diatonic tetrachord between α' and δ', so the signature is protos. In the current tradition the sticheraric melos the tetrachord between α' and δ' is chromatic, so the attraction of νενανῶ moves towards the tetartos, and between δ' and the tetartos octave of the plagios, the diatonic melos follows echos tetartos. In fact, the melos of echos tetartos today tends to chose the tetartos melos for the ascending direction (δ'—#α'—β'—πλ δ'), and the protos melos for the descending (δ'—γ'—β'—α'). The chromatic alternative is tetraphonic and no longer part of this diagram. Both possibilities were certainly well known in the time of the manuscript Ms. 319 of the Docheiarios Monastery, but if the ascription to Ioannis Plousiadinos is correct, it was already practice during the 15th century. There are some descriptions of the nenano phthora by Manuel Chrysaphes which point to a use of phthora nenano based on δ' as the mesos devteros and transposed on γ' as mesos protos:
|“||καὶ οὕτος ἕχει, ἀλλ οὐ συνίσταται πάντοτε εἰς τὸν πρῶτον ἦχον τὸ μέλος αὐτῆς, ἀλλὰ πολλάκις δεσμοῦσα καὶ τὸν τρίτον ποιεῖ τοῦτον νενανῶ, ὁμοίως καὶ τὸν τέταρτον· ἐνίοτε καὶ τὸν δεύτερον καὶ τὸν πλάγιον τετάρτου. πλὴν ἡ κατάληξις ταύτης γίνεται πάντοτε εἰς τὸν πλάγιον δευτέρου, κἂν εἰς ὁποῖον ἦχον καὶ τεθῇ, καθὼς διδάσκει καὶ ποιεῖ τοῦτο ὁ ἀληθὴς εὐμουσώτατος διδάσκαλος μαΐστωρ Ἰωάννης εἰς τὸ "Μήποτε ὀργισθῆ κύριος" ἐν τῷ "Δουλεύσατε"· τετάρτου γὰρ ἤχου ὄντος ἐκεῖ ἀπὸ παραλλαγῶν, δεσμεῖ τοῦτον ἡ φθορὰ αὕτη καὶ ἀντὶ τοῦ κατελθεῖν πλάγιον πρώτου, κατέρχεταιεἰς τὸν πλάγιον δευτέρου.||”|
And this is the situation, but its melody [μέλος] does not always belong to the first mode for frequently, by binding the third mode also, it makes it nenano, likewise the fourth plagal mode. However, no matter in which mode it is used, its resolution [κατάληξις] takes place in the second plagal mode [τὸν πλάγιον δευτέρου], just as the truly most musically-accomplished teacher and maistor Ioannes teaches and writes in Μήποτε ὀργισθῆ κύριος in the Δουλεύσατε. For since the fourth mode is there by parallage [ἀπὸ παραλλαγῶν], the phthora binds it, and instead of moving to the first plagal [ἀντὶ τοῦ κατελθεῖν πλάγιον πρώτου], it continues to the second plagal.
Both possibilities, the phthora nenano ending as the plagios devteros and ending as the plagios protos, are indicated in the right descending branch of the first cross. In the current practice in which the plagios devteros ends on the phthongos of plagios protos (πλ α' on D), but is chromatic according to the description of the chromatic tetrachord division of phthora nenano. The metabole kata tonon as it was still described by Manuel Chrysaphes, has become common practice today.
The second (legetos/devteros) and fourth cross (phthora nana) display other possibilities which have been already discussed here.
The Papadikai, their signs, phthorai, diagrams, and detailed explanations are hard to understand, especially for readers who were not well skilled in the psaltic art. In order to understand them in practice, didactic chants or "exercises" (μαθήματα) were added as practical illustrations. Among them there was probably no exercise which taught so much things at the same time than the mathema called "Mega Ison", which was originally composed by John Glykys and revised by John Koukouzeles, a protopsaltes of the next generation and probably a student of the former.
The use of the three tone systems heptaphonia, tetraphonia, and triphonia, and how they can be combined by different changes (metabolai kata systema), can be illustrated by a short analysis of the end of Mega Ison, before echos varys (ἦχος βαρύς) is resolved into echos plagios tou tetartou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου). A comparison and critical edition of Mega Ison shows that the oldest versions did not use any transpositions (μεταβολαὶ κατὰ τόνον), while the adaptation to the modern practice has to be studied by the exegesis of Petros Peloponnesios and its transcription into modern neumes according to the New Method.
Until the 19th century the medium of written transmission had been chant manuscripts. This explains why several manuscripts like sticheraria and papadikai offer different solutions that various protopsaltes found for the same problems, so that even medial signatures could be different. In this respect Maria Alexandru's "approaches towards a critical edition" are quite helpful, because a comparison assumes that the didactic chant Mega Ison had been originally untransposed, while there are enough versions which need several transpositions (μεταβολαὶ κατὰ τόνον). The section of echos plagios tou devterou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ δευτέρου) is the longest and most complex one and it has some medial signatures for the phthora nenano which is resolved frequently, especially when it is used before the great sign chorevma (χόρευμα, Νο. 39 & 40) which usually prepares a cadence before a transition to phthora nana. But here, by the end of the plagios devteros section, there is a plagios protos cadence marked by the name of the great sign thema haploun (θέμα ἁπλοῦν, No. 49) which is finally resolved into its mesos the echos varys. Manuel Chrysaphes wrote about this resolution of phthora nenano:
|“||Εἰ δὲ διὰ δεσμὸν τέθειται ἡ φθορὰ αὕτη, γίνεται οὕτως. ὁ πρῶτος ἦχος πολλάκις τετραφωνῶν γίνεται δεύτερος ἀπὸ μέλους. ποιεῖ δὲ τοῦτο ἡ τῆς δευτέρου ἤχου φθορᾶς δύναμις. εἰ γὰρ μὴ ἐτίθετο φθορὰ εἰς τὸν πρῶτον, κατήρχετο εἰς τὸν μέσον αὐτοῦ τὸν βαρύν.||”|
If this phthora is used in order to bind [δεσμὸν], it functions as follows: the first mode, frequently tetraphonos, becomes the second by melody [δεύτερος ἀπὸ μέλους] this effected by the strength of phthora of the second mode [τῆς δευτέρου ἤχου φθορᾶς δύναμις]. If a phthora were not placed in the first mode, the melody would enter its mesos [τὸν μέσον], the Barys.
This is exactly what happens here and it explains, why the end of this section finishes in the diatonic genus unlike the exegesis of Mega Ison by Petros Peloponnesios, and it continues with the echos varys, the tonality of the new section. The beginning of this section emphasizes the tetraphonic melos of the diatonic echos varys, its characteristic is the tritone above the finalis within the tritos pentachord F, and the word "τετράφωνος" has the cadence formula of ἦχος βαρύς. At the sign epegerma (ἐπέγερμα, Νο. 55) is already the end of the varys section. Concerning the medial signature at this kolon the manuscripts do not agree. In the Papadike Ottoboniano greco Ms. 317 (fol. 7r) of the Vatican Library (see example) it is the signature of echos tritos (ἦχος τρίτος) on F which opens the lower ambitus of the tritos octave on B flat. The critical edition of Maria Alexandru continues to the beginning of the following section on G as plagios tetartos (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου), while the version indicated in blue follows the version of Vaticana greca Ms. 791, here the sign epegerma turns the phthongos on G into a tritos (already at the cadence marked by an apoderma) and prepares a plagios tetartos cadence according to the melos of phthora nana (νεἅγιε νανὰ) at the following kolon. Petros Peloponnesios follows here another great sign stavros (σταυρός) which can be only find in a few manuscripts, but it indermediates between the different versions by preparing the section of plagios tetartos with an additional tetartos cadence on the phthongos G.
In Ms. Ottob. grec. 317 the cadence of epegermatos is on the phthongos F and, as a phthora nana in the triphonic tone system, it becomes as well the phthongos of the tetartos octave based on its plagios. This version forces two phthorai, the one of tritos at the fourth degree (b flat) which would correspond to the triphonia of the "phthora" (nana), if F was still the phthongos of echos tritos (as the great sign epegerma once created it). And as well the following one of the fifth degree (c) which turns it into the kyrios devteros (b natural).
Both phthorai are not needed in the untransposed reconstruction of Alexandru's edition which finds the tetartos octave on G, on the fourth degree (c) the tritos and its kyrios (ἦχος τέταρτος) on the fifth degree of the mode. In the original version, the transformation of the plagios tetartos into the triphonic phthora nana happens not earlier than on its octave at "ἐπταφωναὶ δίπλασμος" (No. 64). It is a composed change of the tone system, which changes first from the tetraphonia ("πνεύματα τέσσαρα") of echos varys and echos plagios tetartos and arranges the tetartos octave on G which requires an f sharp as the seventh degree of the mode, nothing less than the alteration of the basis and finalis of the echos varys, the mode of the previous section. In a second step the lower octave on the phthongos G changes from the heptaphonic tone system of tetartos to the triphonic one of phthora nana, which places the finalis G as the connection between two tetrachords (D—E—F#—G—a—b natural—c) as we could learnt it by the "parallage of Ioannes Plousiadinos".
Petros Peloponnesios' version, as it was transcribed into the printed books by the beginning of the 19th century, is indeed closer to the rather odd interpretation of the scribe in Ms. ottob. gr. 317. But he introduced the interpretation of F as phthongos of the plagios tetartos in a more elegant way which was possible thanks to the triphonic tone system of the melos of echos varys (in a certain way the elegant way was simply a thesis of the papadic melos of this version). After the cadence in the diatonic tetartos on G at stavros, the plagios tetartos section starts rather in the triphonic melos of echos nana, which was not used during the varys section of the untransposed original version. At "(ἀνάπαυμα) σήμερον" (No. 56) the phthongos of varys F is simply taken as the melos of plagios tetartos (νεἅγιε νανὰ) which turns the former phthongos of tetartos G into the one of protos. Hence, C and G are indeed perceived as the protos pentachord D-a like in the untransposed version of Vat. gr. 791, so the former phthongos of echos varys turns finally into the one of echos plagios tetartos ("γορθμός", No. 57). In Ms. ottob. gr. 317 the cadence on F which was marked by the medial siganture of plagios tetartos, points to a mesos devteros, in Petros Peloponnesios' realization it is prepared by the formula of the cadence used for echos tetartos (ἦχος τέταρτος), but in the very end slightly modified towards the formula of phthora nana. Even the diatonic phthora for the echos devteros ("ἔναρχις", No. 60) was integrated by Petros Peloponnesios, but as mesos devteros in the soft chromatic genos which corrects the change to the triphonia of the great sign phthora ("φθορά", No. 59) which was in fact as the diatonic phthora of echos tritos once separated from the enharmonic melos of the phthora nana, unlike the melos of the echos tritos in the current tradition. Already in the parallage of the 18th century it was memorized by the name "νανὰ", not by its former name "ἀνεανές" (see above).
Until now the version of Ms. vat. gr. 791 was not identical, but closer to Maria Alexandru's reconstruction (see the change of the melody indicated by the phonic signs in Ms. ottob. grec. 317 at "προσχές μάθητα"). This changes within the end of the plagios tetartos, the medial signature of the phthongos g as plagios tetartos was obviously no longer interpreted as a a metabole kata systema (μεταβολή κατὰ σύστημα), but as a change from the enharmonic genos of phthora nana to the diatonic genos within the echos plagios tou tetartou (ἦχος πλάγιος τοῦ τετάρτου) or better the echos tetartos on G within the tetartos octave on C. Protopsaltes of the 18th century already used the lower alteration of the seventh degree of the mode, so that the tetartos melos could have been mistaken for that of protos (G=a). This is the only justification for the modification of the traditional model which can be found at the beginning of the last section of echos protos
The comparison of different manuscript sources shows, that rather odd interpretations of Mega Ison in certain Papadike manuscripts had been important milestones towards the transcription of Petros Peloponnesios' realization of the John Koukouzeles' mathema. His own transposition from the varys section on did no longer allow him to leave the labyrinth of the Octoechos and its various connections based on ambiguities of modal perception. Even if it was no longer perceived by the audience, it becomes evident during the study of the manuscripts that the protopsaltes got lost in the labyrinth without finding their back to the exit of the same transposition. Even skilled experts got easily lost in the very sophisticated psaltic art as it had been taught by the Papadike over the centuries.
There is another possible point of view concerning the reform than the simplification of the former Byzantine notation and its signs memorized by the didactic chant Mega Ison. Greek musicians of the Ottoman Empire, especially those who lived in sea ports like Istanbul, in the Fener district in particular (phanariotes), did not only sing in the churches the daily services, they also joined Sufi lodges, and sometimes even the Court as invited guests but also as paid musicians, and it is known from several musicians that Sufis and Christians went to the synagogue to listen to Jewish singers and vice versa. These inspiring exchanges developed other needs like the adaptation to a tone system which was common knowledge of all musicians of the Ottoman Empire, which allowed to understand makamlar within the system of the octoechos tradition or without it as so-called "exoteric music" or "external music" (ἡ μουσική ἐξωτερική). Some signs of the former Byzantine notation were too specific for the own tradition, so that they were abandoned. Thus, the ornamentation became part of the oral transmission, whether it was makam or a certain melos of an echos, and thus, a new more universal notation was created which had been even used to notate primitive models of Western polyphony, despite it had been developed over centuries to notate very complex forms of monodic chant.
Phanariotes, Armenian musicians as well as Danubian Boyars were the first, who invented different notation systems to transcribe the orally based music traditions of the Ottoman Empire, while Greek treatises still tended to reformulate passages taken from the Hagiopolites treatise. Even before the invention of the universal New Method and its various new phthorai used for certain makamlar and named after them, their integration was just another demonstration of the integrative function, that Byzantine Round notation had already developed before the Papadic reform. The phthorai itself played a central role, as "destroyers" they marked a transition between the "internal" (ἐσωτερική) and "external music" (ἐξωτερική). This way Greek musicians could use the interval structure (διαστήματα) of a certain makam for a temporary change (ἡ ἐναλλαγή μερική) which was not at all a proper melos within the octoechos system, but rather a refined way of a transition between two meloi and their echoi. But developing its own architecture within a section sung over abstract syllables (teretismata, nenanismata, etc.), it could soon develop its own proper melos as an echos kratema like phthora nana and phthora nenano before.
In practice the integrative process was not so controlled as the Papadic theory and its Hagiopolitan reformulations suggested it. Several liturgical genres were composed entirely in certain makamlar and were certainly in no way "external music".
The earliest compositions are probably those by Petros Bereketis (about 1665-1725), a protopsaltes who became very famous especially for his contributions to the Heirmologion kalophonikon (the heirmologion elaborated according to the psaltic art), despite the fact that he was never directly connected with the Patriarchate. Some of his heirmologic compositions like Πασᾶν τὴν ἐλπίδα μοῦ use several makam models for extravagant changes between different echoi, at least in the later transcriptions according to the New Method and its "exoteric phthorai". This early use corresponds to the early state of a phthora which is rather a model of modulation or transition between different meloi than an exposition of a proper melos that can be perceived as an own echos. Nevertheless it was already used for Orthodox chant and not for compositions in Ottoman makam genres.
During the 18th century, models dedicated to a certain makam (seyirler) were already collected in the manuscript by Kyrillos Marmarinos and were later organized according to the Octoechos order like the great signs in the mathema "Mega Ison". An example is the edition of Panagiotes Keltzanides' "Didactic practical and theoretical Method to organize the external meloi of Arabo-Persian Music according to the Greek Music and its Octoechos" which was published in 1881.
Chrysanthos defined most of the meloi of the tritos echoi as phthora nana, but the diatonic varys ("grave mode") was no longer based on the tritos pentachord B flat—F, it was based according to the Tambur frets on an octave on B natural, so that the pentachord had been diminished to a tritone. Thus, some melodic models which were well-known from Persian, Kurdish, or another music traditions of the Empire, could be integrated within echos varys.
The Byzantine echoi are currently used in the monodic hymns of the Orthodox Churches in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Russia. Their melodic patterns were created by four generations of teachers at the "New Music School of the Patriarchate" (Constantinople/Istanbul), which redefined the Ottoman tradition of Byzantine chant between 1750 and 1830 and transcribed it into the notation of the New Method since 1814. Whereas in Gregorian chant a mode referred to the classification of chant according to the local tonaries and their psalmody, the Byzantine echoi were rather defined by an oral tradition how to do the thesis of the melos, which included melodic patterns like the base degree (ison), open or closed melodic endings or cadences (cadential degrees of the mode), and certain accentuation patterns. The melodic patterns were further distinguished according to different chant genres, which traditionally belong to certain types of chant books, often connected with various local traditions. The detailed transcription of the thesis of the melos and its various methods into the medium of the New Method redefined the genres according to parameters like tempo, rhythm, and the melodic treatment of text (between syllabic and highly melismatic). Often the strict rhythmic form of the melos was criticized as an innovation and an alternative slower style was created for the heirmologic and sticheraric melos.
The eight Byzantine Tones are:
Hymns are typically divided into four chant genres and their melodic patterns used for each echos:
This classification is reflected in the structure of a hymn's melody. Hymns of the same tone belonging to different genres are structured musically in different ways. This holds true for hymns belonging to every tone (with the possible exception of the third tone) but for some tones, e.g., the fourth tone and the grave tone, it is apparent. There is a popular misconception that the division into genres is based on the complexity of the melody versus the text. According to this misconception heirmologic hymns have one note per syllable, sticheraric two or more notes per syllable and papadic many notes per syllable. However one can encounter hymns of the three genres with exactly the same notes per syllable ratio. For example "syntomoi polyeleoi" or "doxologiai", "syntoma stichera" and "katavasiai" have all typically two notes per syllable, the first two being papadic hymns (based on troparia which were originally sung as refrains within psalmodic recitation), the third sticheraric and the fourth heirmologic. That being said, typically the heirmologic hymns are faster than the sticheraric and the sticheraric faster than the papadic.
There are typically two main notes that define each of the Byzantine Tones. The base note or ison is the final note on which the hymn ends. The ison is typically droned against the melody. Any other notes different than the ison that occur more often than others during the course of a hymn are called dominant notes and also help define the Tone. The plagal (oblique) tones mentioned above employ the same scales as their counterparts, however their base notes (ison) are a fifth below that of their counterparts.
Byzantine music does not distinguish between major and minor scales, and in fact the majority of Byzantine tones, as they are practically performed in Mediterranean churches, cannot be played on a conventionally tuned piano. Byzantine music theory and its reference to Ancient Greek music theorists and their distinction between the diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic genus (gr. γένος) widely employ microtones, with intervals either narrower or wider than the Western-style diatonic interval (both equally tempered and just). In the early Hagiopolitan octoechos (7th-12th century) the diatonic echoi were destroyed by two phthorai nenano and nana, which were like two additional modes with their own melos, but subordinated to certain diatonic echoi. In the period of psaltic art (13th-17th century), changes between the diatonic, the chromatic, and the enharmonic genos became so popular in certain chant genres, that certain echoi of the papadikan Octoechos were coloured by the phthorai – not only the traditional Hagiopolitan phthorai, but also additional phthorai which introduced transition models taken from maqam traditions. After Chrysanthos' redefinition of Byzantine chant according to the New Method (1814), the scales of echos protos and of echos tetartos are usually soft diatonic, those of the tritos echoi and the papadikan echos plagios tetartos enharmonic (phthora nana), and those of the devteros echoi chromatic. Whereas modern Western music is ultimately based on two different scales (major and minor), and the Latin octoechos on eight diatonic modes, four basic scales are used in the different Orthodox traditions of monodic chant today:
"The precise nature of the steps within this series remains for the present unknown; for all that we can learn from the Papadike, the step α [prôtos] to β [devteros] may be a whole tone, a half tone, or some other larger or smaller interval. … If we may assume, however, that the interval α [prôtos] to δ [tetartos] is a perfect fourth–a reasonable assumption, to say the least, for a tetrachordal system based on any other interval is virtually inconceivable–the interval δ [tetartos] to α [prôtos], as the difference between an octave and two fourths, becomes a whole tone and the remaining intervals fall readily into line."
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