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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 6: Reproduction of the kalophonic stichēron Προτυπων την αναστασιν from the feast of the transfiguration



Reproduction of the kalophonic stichēron Προτυπων την αναστασιν from the feast of the transfiguration


Chosen from the kalophonic sea of the Byzantine Psaltic Art is the cluster of compositions — feet, anapodismoi, anagrams — for the kalophonic stichēron idiomelon for the Transfiguration Προτυπὼν τὴν ἀνάστασιν [Prefiguring the resurrection]. The reason for this choice came down to a combination of things, all having to do with the variety of morphological types of these compositions, and with the length of the chronological periods covered by them — (end of thirteenth and mid-fifteenth century). They also represent the technical and melourgic genius of the main composers of the Psaltic Art, from Theodoros Manougras to Manuel Chrysaphēs.

These mathēmata are published as reproductions lifted from Chourmouzios Chartophylax’s Athens, Nat. Libr. MΠT 732 (sixth tome of the Mathēmatarion), fols. 234r–251v, as he made the exēgēsis into the New Method of analytical notation. This was predetermined for purely aesthetic reasons, due to the beauty of its melos. All these compositions are also found in the synoptic notation, as written in the various Mathēmataria mentioned above. Anyone seeking a particular reference can refer to Athens, Nat. Libr. 886, fols. 379v–387r, or Xeropotamou 383, fols. 204v–209r. Clearly, those accustomed to analysing the compositions and gathering their conclusions using codices in the old notation are also capable of doing the same in the new analytical notation.

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