Abstracts of issue 22 (2015)

Achilleas G. Chaldaeakes

Byzantine Music as “Τabula Rasa” or Which should be the “language” of Byzantine music?

As the major proportion of written (as well as the relevant oral) tradition of Byzantine Music is delivered (uninterrupted from the 10th century until now) listed (or expressed) in Greek, it seems perhaps obvious that Greek language has to be recognized as “mother tongue” of psaltic expression. And although, even from a very early age, similar formulations of Byzantine Music in other (mostly Balkan) languages have not only been attempted, but they have also been successfully listed, this attempt seems to be absolutely adherent to every initial Greek musical model (as every foreign musical formulation is usually shaped and formed towards it); that is why the terminology which was introduced and is used for similar attempts is rotated around the typical term “adjustment”.

I recently had a relevant experience while trying to adjust Byzantine Music to Korean language; this corresponding attempt gave me the opportunity to develop additional fertile thoughts on the typical procession and also form (even in an early level) a different relevant methodology, which I hope that it will expand the usual and established procession of corresponding “adjustments”. My speculations launch from the disclosure of the inherent elasticity of Byzantine Music (a crucial component which allows music to actually “speak” in every other language), while they are also related to the obvious dynamic dimension of all individual parameters (notation, modality, melodic development, etc.). Whatever I have observed screen the unlimited prospects of the nature and function of music itself, so as to be extricated from every sterile, dogmatic review: it doesn’t have to do with some kind of “holy music” that it would be unacceptable to be violated, but for an open and flexible “musical arrangement” that is imposed to change and evolvement, whenever it is necessary and indispensable.

In the present paper I’m trying to present aspects of the above speculations.

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