Byzantine Music

Byzantine Music is the music of the Byzantine Empire. In Byzantium, as a logical continuation of the Roman Empire and the ancient Greek culture, music had a prominent role. For secular (non-religious) music we have very little information. On the contrary, we have been saved important information about church music, to such an extent that the term Byzantine music is often associated today – incorrectly – only with church music. Byzantine church music comes from the ancient Greek, Syrian and Jewish religious music tradition.

Pythagoras is mentioned as the founder of the musical genre that later evolved into Byzantine music. This is true up to a point. Where the Jews contributed tradition and practice Pythagoras contributed theory. He was the first to connect music with mathematics and innovated with the study of acoustics. He was also the first to create musical “sounds” and assign their proportions to notes. This created the scales that are the basis of the octave of the center, that is, of Byzantine musical theory. It is called Byzantine, because it flourished in Byzantium and especially in Constantinople. From there it spread throughout the Byzantine Empire. It is also called Ecclesiastical, because this music is used by the Orthodox Church in its worship. In this way it stands out from the other music developed in Europe, i.e. European Music. Byzantine Music has a separate system of writing, reading, recitation, melody and spelling.

The school of Byzantine Music of our Conservatory has been operating since 1993. Since 2006, the rector of the school is the Cantor of the Great Church of Christ and Professor of Byzantine Music Lykourgos Angelopoulos. Anyone interested in learning Byzantine Music can come to the school. It is only required to have the appropriate vocal qualifications and love for the Orthodox Church and Liturgy. In addition to the compulsory courses, students are engaged in the study and research of theoretical texts. Also, the Renaissance Conservatory cooperates with the Byzantine Music Association “Holy Theophanes the Scribe”, organizing Chant Seminars and supporting members of the association to obtain Degrees and Diplomas. Duration of studies: 4 to 6 years For particularly talented students or for those who have taken private lessons, the years of study can be reduced following qualifying exams. In addition to the practical and singing part, the student is also taught the following theoretical courses: – Theory & Solfege of European Music – Byzantine Music Theory – Standard – Operative – Hymnology – Metric – History of Music To obtain the Diploma it is mandatory to prepare a diploma thesis.

If a student does not wish to progress to the Diploma in Byzantine Music, they can take the exams for the Diploma in Byzantine Music or the Diploma in Chanting. The following notable theoretical works have been prepared. A. Presentation of the pitch of the second sound, through theories of the 18th century. B. Theoretical approach of the enharmonic genus. C. Theoretical approach to the third sound.