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Introduction to Kalophony, the Byzantine «Ars Nova»

The «Anagrammatismoi» and «Mathēmata» of Byzantine Chant


Gregorios Th. Stathis and Konstantinos Terzopoulos

The anagrams, or more generally, the mathēmata and morphologically related kalophonic forms of Byzantine melopoeïa, constitute the artistic creations by which Psaltic Art is known in all its splendour and becomes an object of admiration. Kalophony as ars nova was born following the recovery of the city of Constantinople after the Latin occupation of Byzantium (AD 1204–1261) during the long reign of Andronicus II (1282–1328) and reached its final form in the first half of the fourteenth century. During the years 1300–1350, four key composers and teachers of the Psaltic Art imposed a new attitude of melic composition on the preexisting forms and designated new compositional techniques dominated by the beautifying kallopistic element. They created new compositions in the new spirit of kallōpismos and musical verbosity. This new musical creation was christened with the term kalophony and this period is the golden age of Byzantine Chant.
Originally published under the title Hoi anagrammatismoi kai ta mathemata tes byzantines melopoiïas (1979 plus seven reprints), this publication thoroughly investigates and reveals for the first time the entire magnitude of Byzantine kalophony with its individual forms, serving as a systematic introduction to the Greek Byzantine music culture and that of the Byzantine Psaltic Art at the height of its expression.
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Chapter 3: The tradition of the kalophonic melos



The tradition of the kalophonic melos


So far, the contents of the earliest known codex, the Athens, Nat. Libr. 2458 from the year 1336 (p. 49), was summarized above. This codex is the bearer of the new trends and tendencies of the compositional art, in other words, the codification of kalophony as it reached that year through the evolutionary road taken over the time-span of a century. Together with the development and the spreading of the kalophonic melos, from the year 1336 onward, an analogous formation of large divisions in the contents according to the forms and order [taxis] of the daily offices is noticed in the manuscript tradition of these melē. As a natural consequence, a new type of manuscript, the Akolouthiai or, commonly named, Papadikē was enriched and widened en masse in order to receive the continuously growing output of the kalophonic melos according to groups of similar compositions. From the year 1336 to the decade of the Fall of Constantinople, there exists a group of approximately sixty Papadikai, following the order of contents comparable to that of Athens, Nat. Libr. 2458. As to the kalophonic stichēra, their anagrams or anapodismoi, the katanyktika and the kratēmata, these codices dedicate a large number of folios, sometimes reaching half or even more of the codex. This swelling of the Papadikai during the first quarter of the fifteenth...

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