Traditional Eastern Orthodox Chant Documentation Project
Regional Chant Systems: Byzantine Chant
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INFORMATION (History, Theory, Practice, Notation, etc.)
I. Greek Byzantine Chant
II. Balkan (South-Slavics) Chants:
- Albanian Byzantine Chant
- Bulgarian and Macedonian Byzantine Chant
- Romanian Byzantine Chant
III. Arabic Byzantine Chants (Syrian, Lebanese, etc.)
Date: Sat, 8 May 2004 22:12:17 +0300
From: "Cezar Login"
Subject: RE: Choral music in Romania
There are 2 different traditions, as far as I know.
In Transylvania and Banat we sing a simplified music, which was composed by Dimitrie Cuntanu by the 2nd half of the 19th century. It resembles somehow to the Byzantine music, but there is a long way between the 2 of them. Cuntanu wrote all the 8 tones, and also a Liturgy, and some other chants (axions, etc.). This is the music I'm familiar with, and that we generally use here.
In towns generally all churches have a choir, which sing only on Sundays or even on great Feasts, but only for the Liturgy - they use harmonized music (Cuntanu, Sabin Dragoi, Musicescu, Humulescu, Cucu...). The rest of the services are performed by chanters, and some churches even have 2 choirs, for an antiphonic singing. But also there are a some churches that use omophony, and all the church sings at the Liturgy, and we hope this practice will became the rule in our archdiocese.
But in Moldavia and Muntenia and Dobrogea, the situation is different. They use only Byzantine music. But as far as I know, even there are Sunday choirs for the Liturgy. I believe in that area, the uniform Anastasimatar and a Liturgy books, issued by prof. Lungu is largely known and used.
There was an attempt by the middle of the 20th century to introduce the uniform Anastasimatar and other uniform music books in the entire patrarchate, but this idea failed in Transylvania.
However, in the last years, we started also to use some Byzantine melodies, and they gain popularity, and people starts appreciating them. But we use them generally on a linear notation, not on the Byzantine one.
This is only an abstract. I believe that in reality the situation is more complex.
Subject: Re: Choral music in Romania
I don't believe that it's quite accurate to say that Cuntanu *composed* the chant used in Banat and Transylvania. The title page of his book _Cantarile Bisericesce dupa melodiile celor opt-glasuri_ describes the music as '_culese, puse pe note si arangeate de Dimitrie Cuntanu_' (which being interpreted, ye Anglos, is 'compiled, set in notes, and arranged by D.C.'). And Cuntanu is only one of the compilers of this variety of chant. He noted down the version sung in Sibiu; the chant varies a bit from place to place, as is characteristic of oral-traditional music. In fact, it is noticeably similar to the Serbian _crkveno pojanje_, and must have originated with the latter. Like the pojanje, this sort of chant was recorded and published only in the second half of the nineteenth century, but must be considerably older than that. It came into use for the same reason: training in Byzantine chant could be maintained in an eastern zone including Bulgaria, part at least of modern FYROMacedonia, Wallachia, and Moldavia; but not in a western zone including Serbia, Banat, and Transylvania. So the West developed a simpler variety, Byzantine-based but tranmissible orally. There is a somewhat extensive bibliography of collections of this chant, although most of it is entirely unavailable in North America, alas.