Byzantine Chant: Adult
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 young people who are either brand new to Byzantine Chant or have some experience with it but want to have a better grasp of the modes. 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.
This approach means the following about this course: we will not be learning Byzantine notation (a style of notation using relative pitch rather than writing notes on a staff), nor will we be learning very much theory about the modes. Instead, we will learn 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.
Students who complete this course should be able to get the job done if they are alone chanting a service. They should also be well prepared should they choose to pursue a more thorough chanting education through private instruction or in classes, including those offered in the St. Raphael School curriculum.
- 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.
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
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. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending 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 an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps 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.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
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.
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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.