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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 5: Incipits of the anagrams and mathēmata in the Mathēmatarion transcribed by Chourmouzios



Incipits of the Anagrams and mathēmata in the Mathēmatarion transcribed by Chourmouzios


‘Chourmouzios Chatophylax and Grēgorios lampadarios–protopsaltes are the two music teachers and benefactors of the nation’ (Chrysanthos ek Madyton 1832: ϛ´)1 who, immediately after the reformation of the notational system for Byzantine Music and the resulting New Method of analytical notation in 1814, undertook the huge task of transcribing the manuscript tradition into the analytical notation, this major offshoot of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine melopœïa. Unfortunately, Grēgorios died young, in 1821, leaving behind 18 manuscripts of exegetical labour.2 Chourmouzios was blessed to live longer, until 1840; for the duration of approximately twenty-five years, devotedly working night and day, he passed down thirty-four multi-folio manuscript codices in which are preserved the truly momentous repertory of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine melopœïa transcribed into the New Method. Today, these codices are preserved in the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Greece, in Athens.

Directly relating to the present discussion of the anagrams and mathēmata of the Psaltic Art of the Byzantine period chiefly, but also the post-Byzantine, detailed knowledge is invaluable; herein lies the value of the analytical transcription exēgēseis passed down to us in the New Method by these exēgētai and didaskaloi, Chourmouzios and Grēgorios. The list of ← 173 | 174 → heading and incipits below is provided as an important resource for those engaged in the study of...

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