Introduction to the Psaltic Art
Term: Yearlong 2021–22, September 7–May 27
Target Grade Levels: Grade 8+, Adult
Schedule: 2x / week, 50 min.
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This course provides a basic introduction to the Psaltic Art (the art of chanting), which encompasses music theory, history, hymnography, hagiography, and the development and tradition of the worship of the Orthodox Church.
In large part, this course will focus on learning the New Method of Analytical Notation, the musical notation system used to read the hymns of the Orthodox Church. This notation system, which is the “language” in which our hymns are traditionally written, will be taught through practicing various exercises and hymns. Ample time will also be dedicated to learning the history of Church music and the historical figures that influenced the development of hymnography, melodic composition, and liturgics. Finally, students will receive a basic introduction to the liturgical cycles/seasons and the liturgical books used in Orthodox worship services.
Sample Syllabus from Last Year
*Required Course Materials:
- Psilacos,Basilios. Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music. Sydney, Australia 2010. http://www.lulu.com/shop/basilios-psilacos/byzantine-ecclesiastical-music/hardcover/product-14846377.html
- Psalter (One option listed below):
- The Pocket Psalter. Translated by Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Brookline, MA. https://store.ancientfaith.com/the-pocket-psalter/
- If the student already has a Psalter, please be sure that it follows the Septuagint Numbering. Please contact the instructor if there are any questions.
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Irene Bullock was born and raised in Tarpon Springs, Florida. She attended Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she received a bachelor’s degree in religious studies (2014), a Byzantine chant certificate (2015), and a master’s degree in theological studies (2016). During that time, Irene was an active member in two of the school’s choirs—the St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir and the St. Kassia Byzantine Women’s Choir. After graduating, Irene worked as an adjunct instructor of Byzantine liturgical music at Hellenic College/Holy Cross. In 2017, Irene was officially tonsured a canter by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios. Irene’s husband, Trevor, graduated from Holy Cross in 2018 and accepted a pastoral assistant position at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Baltimore, Maryland. Irene currently gives private chant lessons and presents on topics of liturgical music. She recently started a Byzantine choir composed of women from the Baltimore/DC area. Outside of chanting, Irene enjoys listening and dancing to Greek folk music, cooking, drinking coffee, and spending quality time with her husband. E-mail: 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.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
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.
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.
- 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.
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