St. Romanos Chant School

May 15th, 2016

Finale NotePad software

Chant Class Vocabulary

Once there:
  • Click on the icon ‘Triodion and Pentecostarion’
  • In the next list click the folder ‘Pascha and Pentecostarion’
  • You will see links to download the hymns of the current season that we are in (that of the Pentecostarion)
  • Each hymn can be downloaded in pdf, or as a finale file that you can listen to.

June 1, 2016

About the 8 Byzantine Modes of Music

  • Modes:
    1. Influenced by ancient Greek Music.
    2. Three ‘families’:
      1. Diatonic: Modes in which you’re singing something close to only white keys on the piano.
      2. Chromatic: A lot of black keys.
      3. Enharmonic:
    3. Within the three families there are eight “Modes” which the Church adopted from the fifteen modes of the ancient Greeks.
      1. “A mode is the manner in which a melody progresses.” (Cavarnos, Byzantine Chant, 34) It is the way one goes about singing from start to finish. One could compare this to how we go about signing a melody in major or minor key in western music, yet in Byzantine music there are eight different manners in which a melody might progress.
    4. 8 Modes are distinguished into two groups of four.
      1. The Chief Modes: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.
      2. The Plagal (Variations) Modes: Plagal of the 1st, and 2nd; Varys, or, Grave Mode;  and Plagal of the 4th.
    5. More modes belong to the diatonic family than chromatic or enharmonic:
      1. To the Diatonic:
        1. The 1st, and Plagal of the 1st; 4th and plagal of the 4th.
      2. Chromatic:
        1. 2nd, and Plagal of the 2nd.
      3. Enharmonic:
        1. Third mode, and Varys.

June 15th, 2016

On Tempo


  1. Tempo for each hymn remains constant throughout.
  2. Hymns that have a relatively fast tempo, one or two notes per syllable belong to the irmologic form, and  are said to be sung “irmologically.” Examples of types of hymns that are sung this manner are:
    1. Irmoi
    2. Kontakia
    3. Megalynaria
    4. Apolytikia
  3. Hymns that are sung at a moderate tempo belong to the sticherarchic form, and are said to be sung “sticherarchically” because many of them are preceded by a stichos (a verse). Examples of types of hymns sung in this manner are:
    1. Doxastika (The Hymns immediately following, Glory to the Father… and Now and ever…)
    2. Pasa pnoaria (Hymns following, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord… during Orthros)
    3. Kekragaria (Hymns following, “Lord I have cried…” During Vespers)
  4. Hymns that are chanted very slowly belong to the papadikic form, the ‘priestly species.’ The number of notes in these compositions may be ten or more times the number of syllables. Examples:
    1. Cherubic Hymn (Cherubika)
    2. Communion Hymns (Koinonika)

Audio from the lesson:

  1. O All Lauded Martyrs Ne Pa
  2. O Strange Wonder Tone 1 Ne Pa

Pdf: O All Lauded Martyrs; OStrange Wonder Ne Pa