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 Spring Term, Summer Term, and Fall Term. Each term is 12 weeks in duration.  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 term. 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 term. 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. The three Genera of Byzantine Music will be presented, and the relationship among modes and families will be introduced. 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).

Duration: 2 terms

2. Byzantine Music II – Cycle I and Cycle II (1st & Pl. 4th Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of both Plagal Fourth and First Modes of the Psaltic Art mainly 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) with additional didactic material consisting of representative Automela of those Modes, as well as one brief Cherubic Hymn, one Anaphora and “Axion estin”, and one brief communion hymn. Additionally, we will examine the characteristics of the diatonic genus and the heirmologic and sticheraric styles of chant. Study will be accomplished by parallage (solmization) and melos (melody). These hymns (as well as most hymns taught at the ASBM) although taught primarily in Greek, are available in both Greek and English.

Duration: 2 terms

3. Byzantine Music III – Cycle I and Cycle II (4th & pl. 1st Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of both Fourth and Plagal First Modes of the Psaltic Art mainly 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) with additional didactic material consisting of representative Automela of those Modes, as well as one brief Cherubic Hymn, one Anaphora and “Axion estin”, and one brief communion hymn. Additionally, we will examine the characteristics of the Kleton and the heirmologic and sticheraric styles of chant as well as introduce the student to the papadic style of Aghia. Study will be accomplished by parallage (solmization) and melos (melody). These hymns (as well as most hymns taught at the ASBM) although taught primarily in Greek, are available in both Greek and English.

Duration: 2 terms

4. Byzantine Music IV – Cycle I and Cycle II (2nd & pl. 2nd Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of both Second and Plagal Second Modes of the Psaltic Art mainly 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) with additional didactic material consisting of representative Automela of those Modes, as well as one brief Cherubic Hymn, one Anaphora and “Axion estin”, and one brief communion hymn. Additionally, we will examine the characteristics of the chromatic genus and the heirmologic and sticheraric styles of chant. Study will be accomplished by parallage (solmization) and melos (melody). These hymns (as well as most hymns taught at the ASBM) although taught primarily in Greek, are available in both Greek and English.

Duration: 2 terms

5. Byzantine Music V – Cycle I and Cycle II (3rd & Grave Modes)

This module is a systematic study of the theoretical and practical aspects of both Third and Grave Modes of the Psaltic Art mainly 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) with additional didactic material consisting of representative Automela of those Modes, as well as one brief Cherubic Hymn, one Anaphora and “Axion estin”, and one brief communion hymn. Additionally, we will examine the characteristics of the enharmonic genus, the heirmologic and sticheraric styles of chant as well as introduce the student to the papadic style of Grave Diatonic Mode. Study will be accomplished by parallage (solmization) and melos (melody). These hymns (as well as most hymns taught at the ASBM) although taught primarily in Greek, are available in both Greek and English.

Duration: 2 terms

6. 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 representative slow katavasiai of the most important periods of the liturgical year and common slow doxologies.

Duration: 1 term

7. 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.

Duration: 2 terms

Advanced Courses

8. Byzantine Music IX – Papadike & Old Sticherarion

The material taught in this module is equivalent to the material taught in the 4th and 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 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.

Duration: 1 term

9. 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.

Duration: 2 terms

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.

Elective Courses/ Seasonal Workshops:

Typikon and Rubrics – An in-depth Examination and Application

This module introduces the basis of the Typika from their origins and studies their evolution and how these evolutions were influenced. It examines the monastic as well as the cathedral-rite typika, the typika the led to the in-use Typikon of the Great Church or Christ (Violakis), and addresses matters that remain to be finalized by future synods. It also identifies local traditions that have entered ecclesiastic practice and where such traditions are in line with history and accepted practice and where they are not. It aims at also teaching the reader, chantor, clergy to learn to use the fundamental books of the church (Orologion, Minaia, Paraklitiki, Triodion, Pentikostarion) in everyday ecclesiastic practice in lieu of pre-prepared, pre-packaged material.

Duration: 1 term

Ekphonetics, Recitation, Epistles, Gospels

This module is primarily offered to those (especially the clergy; deacons and priests) who wish to enrich their musical ekphonetic repertoire and learn the most traditional ways of musically/ekphonetically-expressing readings such as the Gospel. Ekphonetics in all eight modes will be learned. Additionally, this module also will assist readers and chantors in learning the most traditional ecphonetic expressions of epistle and psalmic readings.

Seasonal

Theology in Hymnography

This module aims to sensitize the musician about the inseparable theologic basis of the ecclesiastic hymnography. A number of case studies will be presented to understand the theologic basis and objectives of Eastern Orthodox Hymnography including, the theology of the ancient hymns, the theology underpinning the works of Kosmas the Melodist and the Canon hymnographers (Andrew of Crete, John of Damascus, Kosmas bishop of Maiouma, Joseph the Hymnographer, Theodore of Studium, and the abbess Kassia). 11th-16th century hymnography will be dissected to understand the neo-platonic and neo-aristotelian philosophy underpinning their focus and intent.  

Duration: 1 term

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