Byzantine Chant: Adult Level 2
Why do we sing in church? There are so many good and true answers to this question, one of which is that singing brings beauty into our services as a love offering to God. The ancient tradition of what we call Byzantine Chant in our services is designed to call its listeners into prayer while manifesting God’s beauty as the Kingdom of Heaven is incarnated in our worship space.
This course is designed for adults who have a good grounding to Byzantine Chant and have experience with it but want to have a better grasp of the modes and notation. The course will attempt to follow the natural pedagogical approach of Byzantine Chant: it will start with trying to formulate a musical “image” of the eight modes in the students’ minds, so that any subsequent instruction in theory or notation will have a foundation upon which to be built.
We will begin to learn Byzantine notation (a style of notation using relative pitch rather than writing notes on a staff), alongside Fr. Seraphim Dedes’s English arrangements of the eight Apolyitikia of the Resurrection from memory so that we have a model hymn for each mode.
From there, we will be able to call to mind a model hymn for each mode, so that we can quickly “get into” each mode on command. Depending on the students’ progression in the course, we may also learn other hymns in each mode and/or get practice improvising hymns or verses in a given mode. We will use staff notation for any hymns that we learn.
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.
- Any recording device such as a smart phone in order to record audio files for submission.
- All other course materials will be provided in electronic format by the instructor.
Paul Murray is a 2021 graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, earning his Master of Divinity and Certificate in Byzantine Music. He has been chanting since the age of 10 at churches in the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses. He has studied under Fr. Romanos Karanos and briefly under Gabriel Cremeens. He has taught classes in Byzantine Chant at summer camps and other programs, and has given some private chanting lessons. He is currently the School Administrator of St. Herman of Alaska Christian School in Allston, MA, and serves as the Protopsaltis (lead chanter) of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Newburyport, MA. He lives in Boston with is wife, Despina, who is also a chanter, and his one-year-old daughter, Photini. firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Scanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.
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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.