Overview

The ASBM program is based on the traditional structure and standards of music conservatories and schools of Byzantine Music in Greece and the United States. The program consists of ten modules which are designed to be completed over a 5-year period. The school offers classes during the Fall Semester and the Spring Semester, each lasting 12 weeks.  Upon enrollment, the student will be evaluated and placed into the appropriate module by the faculty. The class schedule will be established between the student and their instructor with the expectation of one class per week during the semester. Each class will be approximately 45-60 minutes in duration. Classes will be limited to no more than 4 students per instructor.

Objectives

Upon completion of the ASBM curriculum, the student will:

  1. be fully versed in the notational system of Psaltic Art;
  2. be able to perform the repertoire studied using a musical score;
  3. be able to perform the most important hymns of Holy Week from memory;
  4. have extensive knowledge of the structure and rubrics of Holy Week and Pascha services;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the Orthodox Church’s liturgical life, particularly as it pertains to liturgical music;
  6. demonstrate an appreciation of the musical dimension of pastoral ministry with an ultimate goal of incorporating the learned practical competency at chanting with spiritual integration and theological reflection;
  7. have an increased capacity for musical ministry and leadership in the parish life of the Orthodox Church.
  8. Knowledge of the notational system of the Psaltic Art.
  9. Knowledge of the theory of the eight modes
  10. Ability to sight-read musical scores in psaltic notation at all levels of complexity
  11. Thorough familiarity with the contents and usage of music books
  12. Extensive familiarity with the contents and usage of liturgical books
  13. Extensive familiarity with the rubrics of liturgical services in the Byzantine Rite
  14. Ability to perform all the musical parts of the daily office of the Greek Orthodox Church
  15. Ability to perform all the musical parts of the sacraments of the Greek Orthodox Church

In addition to these modules, the following practical topics will be taught:

  • Standing on the Psaltiri (Chant Stand)
  • Liturgical Books and how to use them
  • Hemerologion (Calendar) of the Church and the Liturgical Cycle
  • Study of the Services of the Orthodox Church
  • Typikon
  • Rubrics of Vespers, Orthros, Divine Liturgy and Sacraments
  • Outline of Services of the Great Lent, Paraklesis, how to serve with a Hierarch, etc.)
  • Memorization of Popular Hymns of the Church
  • Vocal techniques
  • Chanting in a choir

Cost

$750 per student per semester. This amount does not include materials the student will need for his/her studies throughout the duration of the program (i.e. books, textbook, etc.). Private classes are available for an additional fee. Contact the Director for more details about private classes.

Curriculum

1. Byzantine Music I – Introduction

This module is a systematic introduction to the basic theory and notation of the Psaltic Art. It will provide a solid foundation for a further study of the liturgical repertoire of the Greek Orthodox Church. Topics to be covered include the history and function of the notation, a thorough examination of key musical concepts (e.g. note, interval, scale, tempo, rhythm, genus, mode, tetrachord, etc.), and a study of the role of music in Greek Orthodox worship. By the end of the module students will be able to sight-read and perform simple hymns written in the New Method of Analytical Notation in both parallage (solmization) and melos (melody).

2. Byzantine Music II – Anastasimatarion (1st & Pl. 4th Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of the First and Plagal Fourth Modes of the Psaltic Art within the context of the Anastasimatarion. We will study the resurrectional hymns of the liturgical book of Octoechos or Parakletike of the aforementioned modes in both parallage (solmization) and melos (melody). Additionally, we will examine the characteristics of the diatonic genus and the heirmologic and sticheraric styles of chant.  These hymns (as well as most hymns taught at the ASBM) will be primarily in Greek, with some in English.

3. Byzantine Music III – Anastasimatarion (3rd, 4th & Pl. 1st Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of the Third, Fourth and Plagal First Modes of the Psaltic Art within the context of the Anastasimatarion. By the end of the module students will be able to perform the resurrectional hymns of the liturgical book of Octoechos or Parakletike of the aforementioned modes in both parallage (solmization) and melos (melody).

4. Byzantine Music IV – Anastasimatarion (Varys/Grave, 2nd & Pl. 2nd Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of the Second, Plagal Second and Varys (Grave) Modes of the Psaltic Art within the context of the Anastasimatarion. By the end of the module students will be able to perform the resurrectional hymns of the liturgical book of Octoechos or Parakletike of the aforementioned modes in both parallage (solmization) and melos (melody).

5. Byzantine Music V – Prosomoia & Sacraments

This module is a systematic study of (i) the model melodies (prologoi-prosomoia) commonly used in musical settings of Byzantine hymns, and (ii) the hymns chanted in sacraments and other services of the Greek Orthodox Church (baptism, wedding, funeral, sanctification of water, etc.). By the end of the module students will be able to perform the majority of hymns found in the liturgical books without relying on a musical score.

6. Byzantine Music VI – Holy Week

This module is a systematic study of the hymns chanted during the Great and Holy Week and the Feast of Pascha in the Greek Orthodox Church. The repertoire includes hymns in all eight modes and in all three melodic styles (heirmologic, sticheraric and papadic). Additionally, we will study the structure and rubrics of Holy Week and Pascha services.

7. Byzantine Music VII – Doxastarion & Heirmologion

This module is a systematic study of Byzantine hymns chanted during major feast days of the ecclesiastical year of the Greek Orthodox Church within the context of the Doxastarion. A great emphasis will be placed on studying the idiomela and doxastika for the feasts of Christmas, Theophany, Annunciation, Dormition of the Virgin Mary, as well as the idiomela and doxastika for the periods of Triodion and Pentecostarion. Additionally, we will study the slow katavasiai of the most important periods of the liturgical year.

8. Byzantine Music VIII – Papadic Genus

This module is a systematic study of the papadic genus of the Psaltic Art in all eight modes with a great emphasis on hymns for the Divine Liturgy (trisagion, cherubic hymn, communion hymn, etc.). We will also briefly study slow doxologies, Triodion hymns and kalophonic heirmoi.

9. Byzantine Music IX – Papadike & Old Sticherarion

The material taught in this module is equivalent to the material taught in the 4th year of Greek conservatories and provides comprehensive preparation for the final examination required for a Certificate in Byzantine Music. Students are expected to become competent in performing more technically demanding repertoire, including Gregory Protopsaltis’ cherubic hymns, Petros the Peloponnesian’s communion hymns, Petros the Peloponnesian’s Kyrie i en pollais amartiais, Ioannis Koukouzelis’ Anothen oi profitai, the ancient hymn Ton despotin kai archierea, and the anaphora hymns for the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil.

10. Byzantine Music X – Papadike, Old Sticherarion & Kalophonic Heirmologion

The material taught in this module is equivalent to the material taught in the 5th year of Greek conservatories and provides comprehensive preparation for the final examination required for a Certificate in Byzantine Music. Students are expected to become competent in performing more technically demanding repertoire, including Petros Bereketis’ eight-mode composition Theotoke Parthene, the Athenian funeral Trisagion, kalophonic heirmoi and kratimata in all eight modes, and a selection of verses from Ioannis Koukouzelis’ Anoixandaria.

Certificate

Upon successful completion of the ASBM curriculum, the student will be adequately prepared to apply for a Certificate in Byzantine Music through Hellenic College Holy Cross.

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