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Observations on the technique of transcription (ΕΞHΓΗΣΙΣ) into the new method of analytical music notation of the Sunday koinonikon of the 18th century

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Author(s): Nicolae Gheorghiţă

Journal: Studii si Cercetari de Istoria Artei : Teatru, Muzică, Cinematografie
ISSN 0039-3991

Volume: 4(48);
Start page: 9;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Church music | Byzantine chant | Sunday koinonikon | New semiography | Old system | exegesis (εξήγησις) of Byzantine music | motivic formulas (theseis)

ABSTRACT
The phenomenon of exegesis (εξήγησις) of Byzantine music and of transcribing the old musical settings into the New Method of analytical music notation since the beginning of the 19th century is one of the extremely disputed subjects amongst musicologists. A true “apple of discord”, perhaps the practice of translating or interpreting the Byzantine music semiographic system is the best example to describe the totally irreducible mentality which has characterized and is still characterizing part of the researchers in the field with regards to this point. The discussions started from the difficulties in understanding the stenographic and mnemo-technical features of this notation and from the fact that both the oral tradition and the written one accredit the idea that the motivic formulas (theseis) in the old Byzantine music notation were semiographic units that focused on the melos or the real, truthful melody.As it is well known, the construction system of the Byzantine melos and, implicitly, of the Sunday koinonikon, is one in which the basic unit is the thesis (the motivic formula) and the succession of theseis. Thus, I chose to study the exegesis technique for the Sunday koinonikon in the 18th century on basis of the formulaic character of this music and its relation with the psalm text. This analysis method is known as regressive collations (ἀναδρομικός παραλληλισμός), i.e. starting from the received tradition and going back, step by step, until reaching the medieval sources.The current study presents the conclusions regarding the translation (interpretation) technique in the New Semiography of the eleven most important formulas (theseis) existent in the Sunday koinonika during the 18th century, beginning with the 42 Sunday creations of Daniel Protopsaltes (8 koinonika), Petros Lampadarios Peloponnesios (26 koinonika) and Petros Byzantios (8 koinonika), in the “interpretations” offered by the “fathers” of the New Semiography in the beginning of the 19th century: Gregorios Protopsaltes (1778-1821) and Chourmouzios Chartophylax (1770-1840).
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