by Nikita Simmons, June 3, 2004
Edition consulted: Moscow Synodal Press, 1909. This edition is a collection of common melodies from various sources dating from the 1700s and later. The Znamenny melodies (which make up only a portion of this Obikhod) are not based strictly on original neumatic chant manuscripts, but are drawn from transcriptions and adaptations of the Znamenny repertoire that survived into the 1700s. The purpose of this analysis is to determine whether or not the melodies labeled as "Znamenny" have any correlation with original neumatic sources, or how closely they compare.
The reader should keep in mind that there was more than a century between the time of the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon (the mid-1600s, which also saw the loss of the neumatic chant tradition) and the printing of the first chant book in Russia (the 1772 Obikhod). Prior to the advent of printed chant books, singers had to rely on transcriptions and adaptations of Znamenny Chant, as well as compositions and alternative chant systems (such as the Kievan and "Greek" Chants) which could be easily harmonized.
While the Synodal square-note editions of the Octoechos, Heirmologion, Triodion and Prazdniki (Feasts) contain primarily Znamenny chants, the Obikhod is a random collection of various chants from several different repertoires. Furthermore, the Znamenny melodies preserved in the Synodal Obikhod represent only a small fraction of Znamenny melodies available in the original neumatic notation, and thus give us an extremely narrow glimpse into that repertoire. It is only among the Russian Old Believers that the complete repertoire of the original neumatic chants has been fully preserved.
|1a-1b||Ps. 103||The melody has been dramatically truncated and simplified when compared to pre-Nikonian originals. While the earlier version gravitates toward a smooth duple meter, the 1909 edition is quite uneven and awkward in rhythms. It's not very singable, nor does it have a truly pleasant and memorable melody.|
|3b||The Great Litany||The first set of "Znamenny" melodies do not correspond with anything I've been able to locate in pre-Nikonian chant books. The second set, the "Abbreviated Znamenny" melodies are actually quite close to original neumatic sources.|
|4b-5a||1st Kathisma||The version presented here is labeled "Abbreviated Znamenny Chant" and does not resemble the pre-Nikonian version, which is a more elaborate Znamenny melody. This version sounds like it requires harmonization to take it beyond the 4 pitches of its monotonous melody.|
|7a-14a||"Lord, I have cried", Refrains, Small Znamenny model melodies ("Samoglasny"), and Dogmatica||
Despite the fact that the New Rite uses a different format for singing "Lord, I have cried" than the Old Rite, these selections are quite close to the neumatic originals, and may be considered as reliable Znamenny melodies.
In actual practice, however, the Small Znamenny melodies are usually simplified a bit because the model melodies found here tend to be too difficult to adapt to other texts. (See the comments on the Resurrectional Troparia at Matins.)
|25a-b||"O gentle light"||
While this is certainly a Great Znamenny Chant melody, there can be no question that it is an adaptation or newer composition, since the pre-Nikonian text is noticeably different. In original sources the deacon intones "O gentle light..." and the choir then sings the rest of the hymn "...of the holy glory, etc." The text of the final phrase is also quite different, requiring a different melodic structure. For New Rite use, however, I feel that this setting is adequate.
The 2nd and 5th settings (on pages 25a-b and 26a) are "Common Chant" melodies and are similar to some of the pre-Nikonian versions, but they have different rhythms and melody. (The 3rd and 4th versions are not Znamenny melodies.)
|26a-b||The Daily Prokeimena||
In the Old Rite, the Prokeimena and Alleluia, wherever they are sung, are almost always sung according to special formulaic melodies which do not follow the Tones. In the New Rite, however, they are almost always sung to the Tones. In the case of the Vespers Prokeimena, the melodies in New Rite chant books reflect this practice; according to this standard, the Obikhod melodies for the Vespers Prokeimena are accurate.
There are alternate settings on pages 27b-28a labeled as "Abbreviated Znamenny Chant". They have no historical connection with the proper Znamenny repertoire and should not have been included in the Obikhod.
|28a||The Augmented Litany||Like the Great Litany, the first set of "Znamenny" melodies do not correspond with anything I've been able to locate in pre-Nikonian chant books. The second set, the "Abbreviated Znamenny" melodies are actually quite close to original neumatic sources.|
|28b||The Litany of Supplication||The first set of "Znamenny" melodies do not match those found in pre-Nikonian chant books, but they are actually quite close in style and structure. The second set, the "Small Znamenny" melodies, are not found in original sources.|
|29a||"God is with us"||The first part of this hymn (the first three lines) matches the pre-Nikonian originals precisely, but the originals do not present all the other phrases with the same complex melody (which continues on for 3 more pages). There is an abbreviated manner of singing the phrases found on page 30b, but this does not correspond with the neumatic melody.|
|31b||"Blessed be the name of the Lord"||This is the same as the original neumatic melody.|
|32a-34b||"God is the Lord" and the Resurrectional Troparia||
The settings of "God is the Lord" are quite faithful to the neumatic originals, and may be considered as reliable Znamenny melodies.
However, the Resurrectional Troparia do not correspond to pre-Nikonian practice. Historically, and by strict hymnological standards, it is not proper to sing Troparia using Stichera melodies, since these are two separate classes of hymns sung at different occasions. Before Patriarch Nikon's reforms, the Russian Church did not have a separate repertoire of melodies to sing Troparia, Sessional Hymns and Kontakia. The practice was either 1) to read these hymns and the chanters repeated the final phrase using the melody currently associated with Prokeimena, or 2) the chanters intoned them on a simple pattern of a few notes and the final phrase is sung to the elaborate Prokeimenon melody. The model for this liturgical style is derived from the Kontakion and Oikos, which were purposely written to have the same final phrase; St. Romanos ascended the ambon and chanted the kontakia, and the chanters sang the final phrase. There are a few notable exceptions that require borrowing the Stichera melodies (the Beatitudes troparia sung at the Liturgy), but this is acknowledged to be an improper practice, although justified by necessity and by the fact that these Troparia come instead from the Canons. (There are Great Znamenny settings of Troparia and Kontakia of the Great Feasts, but they are not contained in the Obikhod.)
After the church reforms of the mid-1600s and the acceptance of newer repertoires of chant melodies to replace Znamenny Chant, there evolved separate sets of melodies to sing Troparia, Sessional Hymns and Kontakia. Fortunately this preserved the dichotomy between Stichera and Troparia classes of hymns and is in accordance with their Greek origins. But since it now became the practice to sing these Resurrectional Troparia following "God is the Lord", it was felt necessary by musicians in the modern Russian Church to borrow the Small Znamenny Chant melodies for Stichera. Unfortunately, this is a violation of the principle of keeping Stichera and Troparia as separate classes of hymns.
The Small Znamenny Chant melodies found here have been slightly simplified to make them easier to sing to any given text (see the comments on the original model melodies at Vespers). These particular settings are important primarily because they give witness to HOW the Small Znamenny Chant was commonly sung in the 17th century. (It is interesting to note that Old Believers also tend to simplify the model melodies in almost the same manner.)
Since there are days when "Alleluia" is appointed to replace "God is the Lord", pre-Nikonian chant books also include settings of "Alleluia" in the 8 Tones according to melodies currently associated with Prokeimena. In this Obikhod these "Alleluia" melodies have been transferred to the Liturgy. Pre-Nikonian chant books also include the final phrase of the Resurrectional Troparia written out according to the Prokeimena melodies of the 8 Tones, giving witness to the older liturgical tradition.
|42b-43a||Polieleos||There are two settings, both labeled as "[Abbreviated] Znamenny Chant", probably because the compilers of the Obikhod were in question whether the Polieleos was abbreviated or not. The first setting is not abbreviated and comes fairly close to the original pre-Nikonian melody (although it lacks a few extra turns in the melody). The second setting is certainly abbreviated and does not represent the original neumatic melody.|
|43b-47b||Velichanii||These melodies are very close to original neumatic sources, although they tend to be slightly simplified. (The Kievan Chant settings are obviously regional variations of the Znamenny melodies, since their melodic structure is quite similar.)|
|50b-51b||Evlogitaria||This melody (labeled as Small Znamenny Chant) is interesting because it is similar to pre-Nikonian originals, but it certainly is not the same. Although a close match, it sounds like it was transcribed from someone's memory instead of from original sources. (There are no Great Znamenny settings that I am aware of, so it is not necessary to call this "Small Znamenny". It would be more accurate to label this as "Common Chant.")|
As I mentioned previously in the commentary on the Vespers Prokeimena: In the Old Rite, the Prokeimena and Alleluia, wherever they are sung, are almost always sung according to special formulaic melodies which do not follow the Tones. In the New Rite, however, they are almost always sung to the Tones. In the case of the Matins Prokeimena, the melodies in New Rite chant books reflect this practice; according to this standard, the Obikhod melodies are accurate.
However, on page 56a (at the top) there is an example for how to sing the Prokeimena according to a common melody. The pre-Nikonian chant books provide a much more elaborate melody than what is given here.
|55a-b||"Let every breath"||The Obikhod provides both a common melody (similar to the original neumatic form, but with noticeable differences), and melodies in the 8 Tones (following New Rite practice). The 8 Tone melodies are not found in neumatic chant books.|
|55b||Gospel sequence||These melodies are quite similar to neumatic sources. However, in the Old Rite we chant "Glory to Thee, O Lord", not adding a final "...glory to Thee". The New Rite melody here is an adaptation to include the extra words. (It is important to know that the version found in Matins has a shorter melody, while the Liturgy version has a longer melody; this is reflected in both the Old and New Rites.)|
|55b-56a||"Having beheld the resurrection of Christ"||This is quite accurate according to original sources.|
|56a-b||"Through the prayers..."||This sequence is likewise faithful to original sources.|
|56b||"Jesus having arisen..."||I am uncertain about this setting. It seems to match the style of the previous hymns and could certainly be a regional variant, but it does not resemble the Great Znamenny Chant melody found in all the neumatic chant books I have seen.|
These stichera for the feasts of the Annunciation, Nativity, Theophany, Palm Sunday and Transfiguration are fairly accurate settings of original neumatic chants. There are some occasional awkward phrasings resulting from the use of reformed Slavonic texts (such as in the first line of page 59a).
On pages 60a-b there are Small Znamenny Chant settings of these stichera. They do not appear in any pre-Nikonian books and I feel they have dubious origins.
Although these melodies have been adapted to the New Rite texts, they may be considered as reliable sources for the Heirmoi melodies. It should be kept in mind that Znamenny Chant does not have formulaic melodies for Heirmoi, but each Heirmos has its own melody.
There are additional settings on pages 73b-74b (Tone 2), 77a-78a (Tone 5), 82b-83b Tone 1), which are labeled "Small Znamenny Chant". Although these are slightly different from the versions preserved in the oral tradition of Old Believers, they give witness to the fact that Old Believers do in fact preserve simpler ways of singing the most common sets of Heirmoi, particularly for the Sundays in the 8 Tones, the general Katavasii for the Theotokos, and for some of the Canons sung at Molebens. It would be difficult to collect all these melodies because each community seems to have its own way of singing these Heirmoi. Furthermore, this is made more complicated by the fact that many communities of Old Believers living in remote areas and lacking education or books, have never learned to sing the Heirmoi from official chant books, but sing these "Small Chant" melodies exclusively.
|62a-b||Magnificat||The pre-Nikonian chant books do not have this written out in full, but instead only provide a simple setting of "More honorable than the cherubim..."; the melodies for the verses are sung according to a simple melody preserved only in the oral tradition. The Obikhod is drawing upon a later source where someone has taken the effort to provide written documentation of how the Magnificat verses are sung, but undoubtedly this represents a local or regional variant that is slightly different from the way Old Believers currently sing it. (The disadvantage of printed editions is that local and regional melodies eventually are displaced by such "official" versions.) For lack of anything else in documented neumatic sources, this setting of the Magnificat is quite acceptable.|
|94b||"Holy is the Lord our God"||
These are faithful to original sources. (There are similar settings in the Sputnik Psalomshchika which repeat the text three times, but this is not according to the historical tradition. I recommend not using those settings.)
Following "Holy is the Lord our God", we sing the Exaposteilaria and the Praises on important feasts. There are Znamenny melodies for these, but the New Rite has not preserved them. (Some of the Exaposteilaria are preserved in the Prazdniki and Triod chant books.)
|95b||Theotokion||The original neumatic chant books provide melodies in all 8 Tones. In the New Rite the Byzantine practice of singing this Theotokion only in Tone 2 has resulted in the loss of the other Znamenny melodies. However, the melody that is preserved here is accurate.|
|97b-98b||The Great Doxology||
This melody does not resemble original pre-Nikonian sources, although it has a "Znamenny-like" feel to the melody. I have managed to locate some evidence (in a 3-part Strochnoe manuscript from the late 1600s) that this is either a composition or an adaptation of a regional melody (which I feel is more the case, since it preserves some of the rhythms and nuances of the original neumatic sources).
The concluding Trisagion resembles nothing found in neumatic sources. I have no idea where this comes from, and I personally don't feel it is a reliable melody. Pre-Nikonian sources give a more elaborate and melodic setting.
|98b-99a||Resurrectional Troparia||As mentioned previously, Troparia are usually not sung with complete melodies in the strict Znamenny repertoire. There are no settings of these Troparia existing in original neumatic chant books. The two settings found in the Obikhod (labeled "Znamenny Chant") are in fact not Znamenny melodies at all, as a musical analysis demonstrates. These do not even sound like Znamenny Chant because they do not make use of identifiable "popevki" (the fundamental phrases which each Tone is made up of).|
|100a-b||"To thee, our mighty leader"||
The inclusion of this hymn at this point in the services is a result of the Nikonian reforms. This is not the same melody found in pre-Nikonian books (there are several settings in the neumatic Prazdniki and Triodion). This setting, labeled "Znamenny Chant" sounds somewhat like Znamenny, but I have never seen this setting in any neumatic sources. Furthermore, the frequent repetition of the same melodic phrases makes me suspicious of its origins, since most Znamenny melodies make more use of the available "popevki" in each of the Tones. I am of the opinion that this is a post-Nikonian composition. Still, it could be genuine, and I am hesitant to rule it out altogether.
The Small Znamenny setting which follows is similar to the way this melody was presented earlier in the book, although it has a bit of awkwardness in a few places.
|1a||The Great Litany||As I wrote previous in the Vespers section: The first set of "Znamenny" melodies do not correspond with anything I've been able to locate in pre-Nikonian chant books. The second set, the "Abbreviated Znamenny" melodies are actually quite close to original neumatic sources. (It is interesting to note that the Liturgy melodies are the same, but are notated a fourth lower.)|
|4a-b||"O only-begotten Son"||
These two settings are similar to original neumatic sources, but do not have the same melodic nuances. The second setting is closer to some of the Znamenny settings in my extensive collection.
The Small Litany which follows is close to neumatic sources, although the rhythms are slightly different.
Notice that there are no Znamenny settings of the opening Psalms at the Liturgy. These are traditionally only read in the Old Rite, although on some feasts they are sung with Small Chant melodies according to the Tone of the Week or according to a Podoben melody.
|6a-7b||The Beatitudes Troparia||These are quite close to neumatic originals and are reliable melodies.|
|9a||"Come let us worship"||The two settings (including the second one which is labeled "Abbreviated Znamenny Chant") are close to the original neumatic sources.|
|9a||"O Lord save..."||This selection was never included in the Liturgy until Patriarch Nikon's reforms. It is sung here with the Tone 6 Prokeimenon melody.|
|9a||Trisagion||Like the concluding Trisagion at the Great Doxology, this setting resembles nothing found in neumatic sources. I have no idea where this comes from and I don't feel it is a reliable melody. Pre-Nikonian sources give an elaborate and more melodic setting.|
|9b||"As many as have been baptized" and "Before Thy Cross"||These are faithful to original neumatic sources.|
|9b-12a||Prokeimena||As I mentioned previously in the commentary on the Vespers Prokeimena: In the Old Rite, the Prokeimena and Alleluia, wherever they are sung, are almost always sung according to special formulaic melodies which do not follow the Tones. In the New Rite, however, they are almost always sung to the Tones. In the case of the Liturgy Prokeimena, the melodies in New Rite chant books reflect this practice; according to this standard, the Obikhod melodies are accurate.|
The Znamenny "common melody" given here is not in accordance with the pre-Nikonian tradition, which sings "Alleluia" once, not as a "triple Alleluia". I have no idea where this melody comes from.
It is puzzling that the Alleluia melodies in the Znamenny 8 Tones are not included in this Obikhod, although they may be found in the Triodion and the Sputnik Psalomshchika. According to New Rite practice, these are the proper melodies to use.
|14a||Gospel sequence||These melodies are quite similar to neumatic sources. However, in the Old Rite we chant "Glory to Thee, O Lord", not adding a final "...glory to Thee". The New Rite melody here is an adaptation to include the extra words. (It is important to know that the version found in Matins has a shorter melody, while the Liturgy version has a longer melody; this is reflected in both the Old and New Rites.)|
The Augmented Litany is similar to the neumatic version, but the "Amen" is quite different.
The other litanies, presented on the fifth and sixths staves but not labeled as Znamenny, are similar to neumatic sources, but have significantly different nuances and rhythms.
This melody is similar to the original neumatic version, but there are a few places where the original chants have more distinctive rhythms. The neumatic notation also conveys more information about phrasing and melodic stress, which is lost in staff notation. This version seems a bit bland in comparison.
One of the distinctive changes that resulted from the church reforms is the "Triple Alleluia" at the end of the Cherubic Hymn. Here the long melismatic melody has been retained, but two simple repetitions of the word "Alleluia" have been inserted just before the original version of the "Alleluia" melody.
|23b||The Litany of Supplication||This is close to the neumatic version, but has some noticeable differences.|
|23b||"The Father, Son and Holy Spirit..."||This does not correspond at all to the original neumatic version, which is lengthier and more elaborate.|
|25b||The Anaphora||In the Anaphora we have varying degrees of faithfulness to the original neumatic versions. "A mercy of peace", while it has a different wording, is very close to the original. The New Rite text for "It is meet and right" continues with the lengthier Greek text, and so the Znamenny melody has been modified from its original. (The Old Rite has only the words "It is meet and right".) The melody for "Holy, holy, holy" has an extended melismatic final phrase in the originals, which is not included here. "We hymn Thee..." is quite close to the neumatic version.|
|26a-b||"We hymn Thee..." and the Anaphora||These melodies on pages 26a-b, for "We hymn Thee..." and the Anaphora for the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, are labeled as "Another melody" and "Kievan Chant". (There is another selection in the middle of page 29b: "On behalf of all and for all", which is only sung in hierarchical Liturgies in the Old Rite.) It is interesting that while these particular settings are not known in the Old Rite, the same melody is used for an Old Believer version of the Cherubic Hymn, which is labeled as a "Kirgiz melody". It undoubtedly dates from after the church reforms and the melody was borrowed from the New Rite. (Strictly speaking, this does not belong to the Znamenny repertoire.)|
|28b||"In thee rejoiceth..."||This is the Megalynarion for the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. It is close to the original neumatic melody, although it has a few minor alterations that warrant correction from the original notation.|
|30a-43b||The Festal Refrains and Megalynaria||These Festal Refrains and Megalynaria have been adapted to New Rite texts, but for New Rite use these are reliable melodies, since they are quite close to the neumatic originals. The Old Rite texts have some slightly different melodic structures, and the Old Rite refrain melodies are slightly more elaborate. There are no festal refrains for Pascha in the Old Rite, so these have been composed to meet this need in the New Rite.|
|38a||Dialogue and Litany||Here we have two variations of "On behalf of all and for all", the blessing and the Litany before the Lord's Prayer. These selections do not closely correspond with the neumatic versions, but are significant variations.|
|39b||"Our Father" and Dialogue||
Here the Lord's Prayer is set to a "Common Chant" melody, while there are no known examples of this being set to neumatic notation. I think it represents a regional melody, although it certainly is monotonous and unimaginative. It is possible that it is a type of "communal ecphonesis", a communal manner of intoning or reciting the text, and it was perhaps not intended to be "sung".
The following dialogue has noticeably shorter melodies than the neumatic originals. While one can see that they are indeed based on the neumatic melodies, upon comparison it is apparent that they were deliberately simplified.
|39a-42b||Koinonica or Communion Antiphons||Although the Communion Antiphons have been textually adapted for the New Rite, these melodies are quite faithful to the original melodies. And although the concluding "Alleluia" melody is the same as the neumatic version, the pre-Nikonian "single Alleluia" text has been altered into a "triple Alleluia".|
|45b||"Blessed He Who cometh..."||This is the same as the neumatic version.|
|45b-46a||"We have seen the true light..."||This sticheron, which was introduced from the modern Byzantine Rite after the church reforms, is a fairly reliable Znamenny melody. However, it was "lifted" from the Pentecostarion, where it is sung at Pentecost. (Note that this same melody,as it appears in the Synodal Triodion, has several minor variations. It is impossible to say which of these is more accurate, since the Old Rite neumatic version is different from both of these two versions.)|
|46a||"Let our mouths be filled..."||This is a "Common Chant" setting which is different from the neumatic original, although similar in its recitative style. The concluding "Alleluia" is sung once in the Old Rite, while the New Rite has expanded it into a "triple Alleluia".|
|46a||Dismissal sequence||The Dismissal Sequence, a dialogue between priest and chanters, is similar to the original neumatic versions, but has some subtly different nuances. The setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord..." is the same as at the end of the Vespers portion of the Vigil.|
|47b||Polychronion||This is a (monotonous) Common Chant melody, which is not the same as the melody found in neumatic chant books.|
|48a||"It is truly meet"||This Tone 6 Great Znamenny Chant melody, which is presented here at the entrance of the bishop at a hierarchical Liturgy, is quite faithful to original sources. Since the Obikhod does not give a Znamenny melody after the Anaphora in the Liturgy, it may be sung at that time. (This is the practice in the Old Rite, although there are about 20 different settings to choose from, include a setting in each Tone for the Sundays.)|
|48b-50b||Hierarchical Liturgy selections||The selections from the Hierarchical Liturgy labeled as "Znamenny" or "Demestvenny" are of mixed accuracy. (I will attempt to clarify this matter at a later time.)|