Abstracts of issue 15 (2002)

Ioannis Papathanassiou Nikolaos Boukas

The Hymn Επί σοι χαίρει Κεχαριτωμένη in the Byzantine Musical Tradition

The aim of this paper is to present the diachronic musical tradition of the hymn Επί σοι χαίρει Κεχαριτωμένη in Byzantine times and to highlight, rather than solve, the problems arising from the study of manuscript sources. It is a fact that contemporary musicological but also hymnological research has not dealt with this hymn systematically. The hymnographer remains unknown, but taking into consideration the inclusion of the hymn in the Liturgical Book of the Octaechos-Parakletike as Sticheron Kathisma-Theotokion, we postulate that St. John of Damascus maybe was involved in its composition.
Our study of the manuscript material available led us to draw certain conclusions. We found the oldest manuscript source containing the poetic and melodic text of Επί σοι χαίρει Κεχαριτωμένη (MS PRyland 25, late 7th to 9th c.). All later sources reveal a tradition different from the previous one. The Mt. Athos manuscripts (Athos Vatopediou 1493, 14th-15th c., Athos Dionysiou 570, 15th c.) show identity of melodic line with one another, while the melodies recorded on provincial manuscripts (St. Petersburg 764, 13th-14th c., Sin. gr. 1250, 15th c.) show a diversity, which is particularly marked in Sin. gr. 1250. The singular melodic line here is produced by the modulation of mode and genre, which contrasts with both the earlier and later melodic tradition for this hymn.