THE STATUS OF BYZANTINE MUSIC THROUGH
THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
by Diane Touliatos-Miliotis PHD
In Memoriam Jorgen Raasted 19. 3. 1927 - 5. 5. 1995
Throughout the twentieth century, there have been several surveys written on the status of research in Byzantine musicology by scholars such as Rene Aigrain, Dom Lorenzo Tardo, H. J. W. Tillyard, Egon Wellesz, Oliver Strunk, Kenneth Levy, Milos Velimirovic, and Diane Touliatos. It was at the XIIIth International Congress of Byzantine Studies in 1967 at Oxford that Oliver Strunk addressed the congress on the recent research of Byzantine music.
Kenneth Levy immediately followed at the XIVth Congress with his assessment of Byzantine music since the Oxford congress. Since the reports of these congresses, other surveys have ensued. As we are quickly approaching the twenty-first century, it is only appropriate that the status of the discipline be examined again at an international congress held at Copenhagen, the birthplace of the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae.
Because of the prescribed limits, it is impossible that this survey can be all inclusive. It is hoped that at least some of the significant achievements can be mentioned beginning with the starting point of 1985, the termination date since the last survey in the field, and continuing with the prognosis of the discipline through the twenty-first century. During the last decade of this century, the ranks of Byzantine musicologists have exploded world-wide.
However, we have also suffered the loss of one of our senior scholars, Jorgen Raasted, who died on May 5th, 1995 and who had looked upon this congress with such anticipation and happiness. Although his absence leaves a void in the field, Raasted has left a legacy in scholarship, fulfilling the dreams of his Danish mentor, Carsten Hoeg, who was the moving force behind the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae. The editorial program of the MMB began in
1935 under the direction of Carsten Hoeg along with the cofounders Henry Julius Wetenhall Tillyard and Egon Wellesz. Since then, the University of Copenhagen has housed continuous research activities in the field of Byzantine chant. This activity continued under the distinguished successorship of Oliver Strunk and the active and imaginative leadership of Jorgen Raasted, who served as the director of the MMB from 1993-95 after having served for years on the editorial board. Throughout the years the MMB has progressed with a variety of publications in five different series that number over 40 volumes.
After a ten year lapse in the publications of the MMB, a facsimile edition appeared as volume 10 of the Main Series in 1987. This edition with companion volume was prepared and edited by Gerda Wolfram and includes the reproduction of manuscript Viennese Sticherarion Theol. gr. 136, which dates from the first half of the twelfth century. Wolfram's accompanying volume provides a description of contents, references, bibliography, and of great importance--an analysis of martyriae or notation of intonation formulae. In 1992 an entire reproduction of Cod. Ambrosianus A 139 sup. (olim gr. 44) dating from 1341 appeared as volume 11 of the Main series f the MMB. This facsimile edition of 319 folios along with its companion volume was prepared by Lidia Perria and Jorgen Raasted, who provide a brief preface and exhaustive codicological study. With the collaboration of B. Schartau, they have compiled three detailed indices. This volume is dedicated to the memory of the late Oliver Strunk.
It was always the desire of the late Carsten Hoeg that the MMB publish Byzantine treatises on music in a modern and critical edition. In 1985 (the 50th anniversary of the MMB), the first two volumes of the new sub-series Corpus Scriptorum de re Musica, which is dedicated to the translations of Byzantine musical treatises, appeared. In volume I Christian Hannick and Gerda Wolfram prepared the original text with a facing German translation of the musical treatise of Gabriel Hieromonachos that describes echoi and phthorai. In volume II Dimitri Conomos provided the original Greek text with facing English translation of the musical treatis of Manuel Chrysaphes which described the process of theseis. In 1990 the third voume of this sub-series was prepared by Bjarne Schartau on the Greek musical treatise of Hieronymos Tragodistes. Another two volumes are close to being finished in the CSRM series: volume IV will be Schartau's Anonymous "Akribeia" and volume V will be Hannick and Wolfram's "Ps.- Damaskenos." With all of this renewed activitivity, other projects will be forthcoming. Sysse Engberg is in the process of producing two MMB Subsidia volumes on the Prophetologia, a catalogue of the manuscript sources and a textbook.
Under the leadership of Jorgen Raasted, the MMB has had to reexamine its transcription method. Raasted was among the first of the Western scholars to acknowledge the concerns of the Greek musicologists along the lines of melodic exegesis and chromaticism in Byzantine chant. To this end he initiated several dialogues over the years with his fellow colleagues, the last one being a Symposium held by the Danish Institute at Athens, November, 1993. The transcription method of the MMB was originally codified in 1935 in Tillyard's Handbook. In the reprint of this publication in 1970, Oliver Strunk diplomatically remarked that "it will someday be necessary to reconsider it" [i.e. the methodology], but he did not offer suggestions for this difficult task. Being cognizant of this problem and others, the Editorial Board of the MMB suspended by 1958 all publications of the Transcripta. However, it was not until 1986 that Raasted produced some publications on the use of chromaticism and rhythm in chant and some revision rules on the transcription of the MMB. The catalyses to his quest of solutions for transcription problems were Raasted's former Greek students and colleagues, Amargianakis and Stathis. Consequently, toward the end of his life Raasted was working on a Transcription Handbook for the MMB series which would replace the outdated Tillyard book. This Handbook begun by Raasted will be completed by Christian Troelsgaard. Because of Raasted's prolific research, he left few aspects of Byzantine music untouched. Among his more recent research areas were rhythm and compositional devices in Byzantine chant, investigations in paleobyzantine notations, and the exegesis of the Hagiopolites musical treatise.
There have been many other Danish scholars who have made valuable recent contributions to Byzantine chant. Christian Troelsgaard produced his dissertation in 1991 on a comparative study of responsorial chants in Byzantine and Western traditions and has continued with other comparative studies on the Hodie chants and Western antiphons with the Byzantine stichera. Of major significance, Troelsgaard has published an electronic inventory of the microfilm holdings, photos and database of the collection of the MMB in Copenhagen. Bjarne Schartau has also made significant contributions. Besides the above mentioned treatises, Schartau has published a checklist of the settings of George and Ioannes Plousiadenos and he has also done extensive codicological research on Byzantine/Greek manuscripts in Denmark and in the microfilm holdings of the MMB. In her continued research of Prophetologia, Sysse G. Engberg has also examined Greek-Venetian editions of liturgical books. Nana Schiodt has examined over 740 final cadences of Sticheraria hymns and Peter Weincke has applied a duple rhythmic interpretation to Byzantine chant. A musicologist now residing in Denmark, Nina Konstantinova Uff-Moller has produced transcriptions of the Old Russian Stichera for the month of April.
As might be expected, Greece has produced an overabundance of activities in Byzantine music. Offering the Greek interpretation to the reforms for transcription revision, two important methodologies have been published. Grigorios Stathis has produced two books of exegeses for the transcription of Middle Byzantine notation, which includes chromaticism, as well as for the new method and Simon Karras has published his theoretical interpretation of the methodology for the Authentic and Plagal modes. In addition, Lycourgos Angelopoulos has offered his interpretation on the theory and practice of Byzantine chant. Simon Karras has also produced important research which questions the date of Ioannes Koukouzeles. Karras emphatically states that the true date for Koukouzeles is in the second half of the twelfth century and offers as an explanation that Ioannes was confused with Grigorios Domestikos, the Koukouzeles, who was the fourteenth century domestikos at the monastery of Lavra. Angelopoulos has also published a selected anthology of Ioannes Koukouzeles' music.
The Greek musicologists Georgeos Amargianakis, Angelopoulos, and Stathis (along with a Preface by Michalis Adamis) wrote a book on the Byzantine composers Manouel Chrysaphes, Ioannes Kladas, and Ioannes Koukouzeles. Furthermore, Angelopoulos with Stathis and Antonios Aligizakis have coauthored a book on post-Byzantine composers of the seventeenth century: Panagiotes Chrysaphes, Germanos Neon Patron, Balasis Iereos, and Petros Bereketes. Stathis has continued his monumental cataloguing project of the musical manuscripts of Mount Athos and has published volume 3 which includes 353 musical manuscripts from Agiou Paulou, Koutloumousiou, Karakallou, Philotheou, Stavronikita, and Iviron. Stathis has also written an extensive book analyzing the catagories of chant known as the Anagrammatismoi and Mathemata. Euthimios Litsas has published a short catalogue of the Greek manuscripts of the Monastery of the Prophet Elias in Thera. Of the 45 manuscripts dating from the twelfth through the nineteenth century, only twelve contain Byzantine music--not including the ecphonetic evangelia. Antonios Aligizakis has produced a monumental doctoral dissertation on the octoechos of Greek liturgical music. Of importance is that Aligizakis' thesis contains the original Greek text for practically every existing Byzantine musical treatise. Another Greek scholar to write a recent dissertation is Nikos Maliaras who wrote on the Byzantine organ of the ninth and tenth centuries. His work compliments other organ studies that explore the evolution of the organ from Hellenistic to Byzantine times. Markos Dragoumis has examined demotic Greek melodies that have been transcribed from the neo-Byzantine notation and he has also published an important study on transcription revisions based on the pioneering work of Markos Vasileiou. Also worthy of mention for Greek publications is that on April 16, 1995 there was a special issue of the Kathimerini dedicated to Byzantine music that featured articles by the Greek musicologists: G. Stathis, Achillea Chaldaiakis, L. Angelopoulos, M. Dragoumis, Marios Mavroeidis, M. Adamis, Giannis Arvanitis, D. Touliatos, Athonite Monk Moses, Ioannes Papathanasiou, and Georgios Metallenou. Nikos Panagiotakes, the Director of the Istituto Ellenico di Studi Bizantini e Post-Bizantini of Venice, has also published some articles on Byzantine musicians during the Venetian occupation of Crete.
The American musicologist Milos Velimirovic has continued to pursue his research on the relationship of Byzantine and Slavonic liturgical music. His research has led the way in tracing the roots of the musical notation of Russian and Slavic chant to Byzantine origins. Among the multitude of recent scholarly contributions, Velimirovic has written two chapters on Eastern chant in The New Oxford History of Music; several articles on the evolution of musical notation in medieval Russia; and has even written on the first organ builder in Russia. Velimirovic has also completed his commentary and translation of Findeyzen's Studies in the History of Music in Russia from Ancient Times to the End of the 18th Century, which is awaiting publication by Indiana University Press.
With the year 1988 marking the millenium of the conversion of medieval Russia to the Byzantine form of Christianity, several publications appeared. Of significance is the anthology One Thousand Years of Russian Church Music: 988-1988 edited by Vladimir Morosan. Volume one contains monophonic chants from the eleventh through the late seventeenth centuries. The Russian contributors are Z. Guseinova, T. Vladyshevskaya, and N. Gerasimova-Persidskaya; the Canadian contributor is G. Myers; from Denmark, N. K. Ulff-Moller; and the American contributors, O. Dolskaya-Ackerly, N. Schidlovsky, and M. Velimirovic.
As might be expected in Russia, there is an abundance of scholarship on the relationship of Byzantine to Russian chant. Irina Shkolnik has focused on a comparative research of the Byzantine octoechos and its formulae to the old Russian Glas . On the other hand, Marina Shkolnik has concentrated more on the Slavic and Russian comparative chants. Eugene Gertzman has specialized on the musical relationship of Greek Antiquity to Byzantium and also Greek/Byzantine musical treatises in St. Petersburg. Zivar Guseinova has also examined music theoretical handbooks from Medieval Russian. Dmitrii Shabalin has published on Old Russian singer's alphabets; Nikolai Parfentyev has written on the Old Russian art of chanting; and J. Keldysch has examined Old Russian music in the former USSR. Irina Lozovaya has examined the Kanon odes in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Russian chant and has also written on Znamenny chant. Konotop has studied Russian cheironomy in Russian art. Tatiana Vladyshevskaia has tried to find links between music and icon paintings of Medieval Russia. Galina Alekseyeva has attempted to offer the Russian response to the notational influences of Byzantine chant. In Cyprus Andrija Jakovljevic has established a Research Center at the Kykkos Monastery where he has compiled several catalogues of Byzantine chant in Cyprus manuscripts and in monastic and episcopate libraries. Jakovljevic is also preparing together with Djordje Trifunovic of Belgrade a facsimile edition of Codex Lavra E-108, which is the earliest Serbian-Greek Anthologion.
In the former Yugoslavia, Dimitrije Stefanovic continues to produce studies on Byzantine-Slavonic chant while Danica Petrovic writes more on the Serbian-Slavonic musical tradition. Romania continues to produce a steady flow of research under the direction of Titus Moisescu, the director of the Musical Publishing House of Bucharest. Moisescu has published two important studies: Byzantine music in the Romanian Middle Ages and the hypostases in the evolution of Byzantine music in the Romanian middle ages. A recent dissertation from Romania is that by Ozana Irina Alexandrescu whose thesis examines the Byzantine tradition of music of the seventeenth century based on researching existing documents and provides a catalogue of 28 seventeenth-century musical manuscripts. A Romanian scholar residing in Paris is Adriana Sirli. After Sirli completed her monumental work on the Anastasimatarion with a compilation of over 1500 melodies, she went on to complete a three volume dissertation at the Sorbonne on the Akathistos Hymn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her extensive research on the Akathistos includes over 200 pages of transcriptions and facsimiles in the third volume. Another noteworthy dissertation was produced by the Australian Margaret Patrikeos Cominos, who analyzed the textual musical implications of Romanos, the kontakion, and the Akathistos Hymn. Also, the young Greek Dimitris Giannelos wrote a dissertation on the oral and written neo-Byzantine musical tradition.
In Bulgaria there has been a preponderance of scholarship. Bozhidar Karastoyanov has published extensively in Bulgarian musicological journals on neumatic notation in early- and late-medieval Russian musical manuscripts. Most recently he has published an anthology of all neumated chants in honor of the two Slavic saints Cyril and Methodius found in all known manuscripts. Elena Toncheva continues to produce research on the Bulgarian response to Byzantine chant and to the Polyeleos, the Boulgarikon. Svetlana Kouyoumdjieva has focused on post-Byzantine and also the relation of sacred chant to Bulgarian demotic music. Asen Atanassoff has published extensively on late Byzantine neumatic notation and also church Slavonic chant. Other musicologists are Stefan Harkov, Georgi Gerov, and Albena Naidenova. Also of importance in Bulgaria is the Ivan Dujcev Centre for Slavo-Bulgarian Studies, whose publications are under the general editorship of E. Toncheva and Greek editor, A. Atanassoff. This centre has recently published the Lavrsky Troitsky Kondakar which was compiled by Gregory Myers. This computer-generated facsimile of the late twelfth century medieval Russian manuscript includes Myers' commentary with incipits in Greek and Church Slavonic.
From Germany and Austria the respective research contributions of Christian Hannick and Gerda Wofram have already been mentioned. Another active German scholar is R. Schlotterer. In England Simon Harris, who was inactive in the Byzantine field between 1971 and 1990, has returned to Byzantine music focusing on the thirteenth-century Psaltika and Asmatika manuscripts in Italy that Strunk had dismissed in 1966. Dimitri Conomos, who is now residing in England, has also made some contributions not already mentioned. Conomos has written a monograph on the late Byzantine and Slavonic communion cycle and he has also published a short book on Byzantine hymnography and chant. Also, much research has been produced by Hilkka Seppala, a Finnish researcher teaching at Upsala University in Sweden. Seppala has concentrated her efforts on finding connections between the Byzantine and Finnish Orthodox chant.
There has been much activity in the discipline of Byzantine/Greek musicology in North America. The research of Milos Velimirovic has already been mentioned with the comparative research to Russian chant. Eric Werner, the leader of contemporary Hebrew musicology, has produced a second volume of The Sacred Bridge, which contains eight chapters that investigate the liturgical music of the Hellenistic Palestine. Although this tome occasionally skirts Byzantine musicology with some comparisons, it does offer some valuable writings. Kenneth Levy continues to be interested in the cross-cultural transmission of Byzantine to Western chant. Although perhaps during this last decade, Levy has been more productive in Western chant comparisons. Levy, however, has presented a paper on the Byzantine melos at the Dumbarton Oaks Symposium. The Canadian Neil Moran has published a book on the iconographic study of the psaltai with extensive discussion of the cheironomia (signs of musical notation which was conveyed through the fingers and which was part of the art of Byzantine conducting). Thomas Mathiesen continues to center his interests on Byzantine and Greek treatises. He has completed a catalogue of about 300 musical treatises found in Byzantine manuscripts from the eleventh through the eighteenth centuries. Mathiesen has also become the editor of the Greek and Latin Music Theory series, published by the University of Nebraska Press, which includes text, translation, and commentary of Greek/Byzantine musical treatises dating from antiquity through the Renaissance. Nicolas Schidlovsky continues his comparative studies in Byzantine, Slavic, and Russian chants. Joan Roccasalvo has written a book on the Carpatho-Russian chant. Alex Lingas is completing a dissertation on an unpublished treatise of Symeon Archbishop of Thessaloniki, the Diataxis, which is found in Athens MS 2047. Peter Jeffery has also published some comparative studies of early Christian chant, including Byzantine, Syriac, Georgian, and Latin. Jeffery has also been a contributor of a comprehensive bibliography of chant (with some inclusion of Byzantine music) for the new journal Plainsong and Medieval Music, which includes Eastern as well as Western medieval music.
Diane Touliatos has explored a variety of areas in Byzantine chant. Since her comprehensive research on the Amomos chant, Psalm 118 (the longest psalm in the Psalter), Touliatos has moved on to catalogue the Byzantine musical manuscripts in the Vatican Library and also the Athens National Library. She has published on the use of nonsense syllables in Ancient Greek and Byzantine music; medieval Balkan music and Koukouzeles; the role of Greek women in music from Antiquity to the end of the Byzantine Empire, and the musical treatise of Ioannes Plousiadenos. Touliatos has written several articles on Kassia and Byzantine women composers. Furthermore, Touliatos has been commissioned by Hildegard Press to transcribe the fifty-odd musical compositions of Kassia, which she has catalogued, in order to bring forth the entire repertoire of the earliest woman in history for whom there is extant music. During the last few years, there have been several commerative tomes that have come forth to honor our distinguished scholars. In 1990 Constantine Floros was honored with a Festschrift and in 1995 Giovanni Marzi was honored. Two volumes in honor of Kenneth Levy and Milos Velimirovic are forthcoming. Also, during this Time volume 5 of the occasional series Studies in Eastern Chant was published. Volume 6 of this series has been in press for years and appears to be inextricably tangled unless a new publisher is found.
There have been a multitude of meetings which have taken place which included papers on Byzantine music. Besides the International Congresses of Byzantine Studies with music sessions in 1986 in Washington D.C. and in 1991 in Moscow, the National American Musicological Society featured a session on Byzantine chant in Oakland in 1990. Colloqiums on Byzantine music were held in Finland in 1989 and in 1991. The Bredius Foundation at the Hernen Castle in Holland published the proceedings of their "transcription solution" meetings in 1991 and 1995. In May of 1993 the prestigious musical Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi of Venice, Italy featured a week-long conference on Byzantine music with prominent Italians participating, such as Enrica Follieri, Antonio Carile, and Fernanda de Maffei, as well as Diane Touliatos and Max Haas. Other conferences in 1993 that offered sessions on Byzantine chant include the First Mediterranean Musical Meeting of Crete in Heraklion, the 19th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference at Princeton, and Proceedings of the Danish Institute at Athens. In 1994 the Musica Antiqua Europae Orientalis Conference in Bydgoszcz, Poland dealt with the use of Psalms in the Byzantine rite.
The most dramatic new tool for research of Byzantine music into the twenty-first century is the World Wide Web. The Web is a networked hypertext system that allows documents stored on one computer to be accessed by any other computer connected to the Internet. In addition to text in any language, the Web can provide pictures, audio, music notation, animation, movies and even musical concerts. Music research or music journals loaded onto the Web is instantly available anyplace in the world where there is an Internet connection.
In Byzantine music, the MMB has taken the frontline in internet research. The MMB provides an inventory of microfilms and photos which was compiled by Troelsgaard in 1992 and is constantly updated. It also houses a handlist of the Standard Abridged Version in Greek of the Sticherarion according to O. Strunk; a computer-generated facsimile of the Chartres fragment; an "In memoriam J. Raasted" by Dimitrije Stefanovic; a current listing of MMB publications; and other Gophers and WWW servers related to medieval chant (Eastern and Western) and Byzantine Studies. In the TLG, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, Thomas Mathiesen will eventually house the entire corpus of Greek music theory which will be accessed by the internet. Via the internet one can even access the catalogue of manuscripts in the library of the Philotheou Monastery, Mount Athos. Although only a few are chant manuscripts, this web address provides an electronic archive of watermark prints and database of paper descriptions for papers in Greek manuscripts. In addition, this writer has found over 40 web sites worldwide which provide some information and research on Byzantine chant. The importance of this tool is that scholars can now be linked world-wide and have access to resources and research from one's computer. This opens the possibilities and the doors for an exciting new era of research in Byzantine chant in the twenty-first century.