Fundamentals of Carpatho-Rusyn Plain Chant
Carpatho-Rusyn Plainchant, also known as Prostopinije, is a style of congregational liturgical chant originating from Carpatho-Rusyn villages in Slovakia, Ukraine, and other regions in Eastern Europe. This chant is used in both Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches. Its intention is congregational singing – a single cantor leads the entire congregation. Carpatho-Rusyn melodies are complex enough to inspire prayer, but simple enough for a congregation to pick up by ear and memorize. This chant is particularly useful for congregations without a formal choir, small choirs that cannot field four parts, or children’s choirs. However, this chant is truly at its best when sung by an entire congregation of hundreds of people!
Students will attain a working knowledge of this chant, and will be prepared to lead congregational singing. They will learn how to chant as a congregational leader, rather than as a soloist. Students will learn how to match musical pitch with clergy, and when to change pitch for the benefit of the congregation. They will learn how to find the root note of a hymn, and how to regain their footing if they get lost or if the congregation throws them off.
Music will be memorized and sung in class and on student recordings. Students will learn how to employ solfege scales as a sight reading tool. Those that quickly master melodies will be taught harmonization techniques in Carpatho-Rusyn style.
The class will provide some listening exposure to Carpatho-Rusyn chant in its original Church Slavonic language, but all student work will be done in English. Carpatho-Rusyn chant is primarily based in major and minor scales, which is familiar to the western ear. Music will be written entirely in western notation.
Musical selections will be drawn from the Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, Funeral, and other services. Students will be introduced to the eight tones, and taught to sing Holy Day Troparia in those tones. Students will also learn appropriate chant responses for Hierarchal services. Occasionally, classes will include paraliturgical hymns to the Theotokos, and folk Christmas Carols.
No prior knowledge of music is necessary, but students should be comfortable with singing in class.
*Please note that this course will start two weeks later than other SRS courses. Start date: Sept 20
Examples of Carpatho-Rusyn Plainchant: https://www.acrod.org/multimed
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Danielle Bartko is an experienced Math and Science teacher, and Orthodox Church Cantor and Choir Director. She taught in public schools and a Montessori based Orthodox private school. She has served the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese as a Cantor and Choir Director, and the Orthodox Church in America as a Choir Director. She spent countless summers at Camp Nazareth, first as a camper, and later as a counselor and chant teacher.
She holds degrees in Biology and Music from Lafayette College, and Secondary Teacher Certification from DeSales University. She has taught grades 5-12, and currently homeschools her children. She has experience in a variety of teaching methods, and has taught students with diverse academic needs. She is a lifelong learner, and has enjoyed growing and changing as an educator over the years. Her goal is to inspire her students to become lifelong learners as well.
Her Liturgical music education comes from a variety of coursework in Orthodox Music and Choral Directing. She has taken classes through Christ the Saviour Seminary and the OCA Liturgical Music Department, and independent study with Very Rev. Protopresbyter Michael Rosco and Professors Paul Hilko, George Hanas, Andrew Talarovich, and Jerry Jumba. Whenever she travels and visits a church, she will sneak into the choir loft, wait for an invitation to sing with the choir, and then ask for copies of good music to keep as a souvenir.
She grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in Pittsburgh PA with her husband and two young daughters. When she is not homeschooling her children or teaching classes, she enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, SRS Iconography classes, visiting with friends and family, and going to the beach. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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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