Abstracts (MMB-Symposium, Copenhagen June 2006):


Francesco d’Aiuto: The Formation of the Byzantine Hymnographic Books:

a Cataloguing Project


This paper is a presentation of a research project which is already being carried out by scholars from the Universities of Rome «Tor Vergata» and «La Sapienza», and from the University of Messina. The project aims at offering new descriptions of the oldest extant Byzantine hymnographic manuscripts, prior to the year 1000: the result will be a corpus of the «Codices hymnographici Byzantini antiquiores» that should include detailed textual, codicological, semiographical and palaeographical descriptions of the relevant manuscripts. Data will be included in an electronic data-base, but, if sufficient financial support will be granted, the research team should also be able to publish some volumes devoted to single libraries, or book-typologies. The corpus is intended to be a tool that can help to trace back, in a near future, the primitive structure of the hymnographic books of the Byzantine Church, about whose initial phases we now possess little information.




Maria Alexandru: Remarks on the Historiography of Byzantine Music and Hymnography


Byzantine Musical Studies evolved spectacularly during the last 75 years.

Research data offered by

·        analytical catalogues of Byzantine musical manuscripts

·        studies on different personalities, schools, periods, styles, genres, forms of Byzantine and post-Byzantine chant and poetry

·        editions of treatises on Byzantine music theory

·        investigations on Byzantine secular music and the research on the field of Greek folk music

·        studies about the impact of Byzantine music in the West, among the Slavs and in other countries,

open new possibilities for the study of the historical evolution of Byzantine music and hymnography.


The present paper aims

1) to give a brief account of some major historiographical works (Chrysanthos, Papadopoulos, Wellesz, Stathis, Chatzigiakoumis, Mitsakis, Detorakis)

2) to discuss some issues which concern

a)   the contents and methods of Byzantine music historiography, in the wider context of  Musikgeschichtsschreibung

b)   didactic applications in the teaching of Byzantine music and hymnography


Girolamo Garofalo: Father Bartolomeo Di Salvo and his transcriptions of the Byzantine chants among the Albanians of Sicily.

The Sicilian-Albanian (Arbëresh) community is made up of around 20,000 people living in 5 towns, all of which are in the province of Palermo. The origin of this community can be dated to the epoch of the diaspora of Albanian and northern Greek populations toward southern Italy, immediately after Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks in 1453. Nowadays the most important 'colony' is Piana degli Albanesi, where the Bishop (whose Greek name is Eparca) lives Sicilian Albanians' cultural identity is basically expressed by two elements: the language (Arbëresh is currently spoken both as a colloquial language and in religious rites by the largest part of the people) and the Greek Catholic rite. The Arbëresh of Sicily still today possess a vast Byzantine musical patrimony entirely handed down orally, with an own specific repertoire (melodically different from the modern Greek one) and with an own specific organisation of the oktoěchos. In the years 1950-1960 Father Bartolomeo Di Salvo, monk of the 'San Nilo' Abbey of Grottaferrata, attended to a wide collection of transcriptions (but without any introduction, critical notes, and musicological observations) that was to be published by MMB in the Serie Subsidia with the title Canti ecclesiastici della tradizione Siculo-Albanese. Unfortunately, the death of Father Di Salvo stopped this plan. Recently MMB is attending again to this project that will be edited by Girolamo Garofalo with the collaboration of Christian Troelsgĺrd.


Eustathios Makris: The challenge of editing an Akolouthiai-manuscript


The completely different character of an Akolouthiai-manuscript in comparison to the already edited Heirmologia, Sticheraria and Kontakaria makes the establishment of certain new editorial policies in the MMB series absolutely necessary. The present meeting is a very good opportunity for an exchange of views among scholars involved in the MMB project, concerning the coming edition of Athens 2406 (A.D. 1453). The way of transcribing the rubrics, the problem of incipits, the structure of the indexes and other relevant issues will be presented and discussed.

Simon Marinčak: The Importance of the MMB Series for Research in the Early Byzantine-Slavic Music in Central Europe


The present article develops some hypotheses regarding the very beginnings of the Slavic liturgy and music.  Most scholars would consider the main contribution that of Bulgaria and Kievan Rus.  There are only a few those who would survey also course of the Byzantine mission among Great Moravian Slavs of mid-9th century and the personal contribution of Constantine and Methodius.  Although there is a considerable amount of relevant literature, some problems still remain opened.  What kind of liturgy had been celebrated in the Great Moravia at the time of the mission?  The books of which liturgy had pope Hadrianuslaid on the Altar” in Rome?  What kind of liturgical music had been used among Moravian Slavs?

The MMB during its existence has considerably advanced the Byzantine musicological research.  Deciphering of middle Byzantine semiography has uncovered previous stage of Byzantine chant.  The music that we are now able to hear (with more or less level of probability) is only a few centuries away from the music of 9th century.



Ioannis Papathanasiou: The Significance of Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae for the Study of the Heirmological Tradition.


The objective of this paper is to present the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae publications devoted exclusively to Heirmologion as well as to highlight the reasons that have made the MMB publications an indispensable scientific tool for the study of the specific field.



Bjarne Schartau: Towards the editio maior of the "Hagiopolites"?


The "Hagiopolites" is a rather heterogeneous conglomeration of theoretical texts on Greek music. It comprises inter alia the oldest extant treatise(s) on the modal system and the Palaeobyzantine and middle Byzantine notations. The "Hagiopolites was edited paradigmatically, yet still provisionally by the late Jřrgen Raasted in 1983. By that time Raasted was already planning a more comprehensive, definitive edition of the text to be published eventually as one of the volumes of the MMB, Corpus Scriptorum de Re Musica. The paper is an attempt to envisage the perspectives by 2006 of the realization of Raasted ´s visions of an editio maior of the "Hagiopolites".




Nicolas Schidlovsky: Early Slavic Neumation - Meditations across the early Byzantino-Slavic Musical Divide –A Neumed Archetype?


Early Slavic music can be less than reassuring on questions of fundamental importance to chant historians.  What is the point of origin for this tradition?  Can we come to terms with the evidence?  Engagement with the sources offers a glimmer of perspectives on prevailing hypotheses still haunting the field.




Gregorios Stathis: The Monumenta Musicae ByzantinaeCorpus Scriptorum de Re Musica (CSRM) project "Akakios Chalkeopoulos' κριβολογήματα (’AkrivologemataorPrecise instructions’) of Music.


The Akakios Chalkeopoulosautograph, MS Athens 917 (c.1500), is important for three main reasons. First, for the content of the beginning (ff.1r-2r) of the 54 presrved 15-syllable verseSynaxarion” as it’s entitled by him, second for his aim to solve and clarify some theoreticl points concerning the interpretation of the notation from two pints of viewαπό παραλλαγήςand  από μέλους”, and moreover the interpretation and the analytical writing of themelosof some signs, and third, fro the delivery of his Anastasimatarion with the analytical notation of his own, according to his method to “turn the schemata into the keimenon-text… so that any teacher-singer can develop and sing everything unmistakably”. The communication will deal with these three themes.




Christian Troelsgĺrd: Transcription of Byzantine Chant – Problems – Possibilities - Formats.


The MMB Series ”Transcripta” has been resting for many years. This has – fortunately – not meant that transcriptions of medieval Byzantine chant have ceased to be published. A number of publications have continued to appear in a variety of formats, among which one finds both the old MMB style and a variety of alternative formats. The formats suggested by Raasted, Stathis, v. Biezen and others will briefly be presented and compared, among these also the format used my forthcoming MMB, Subsidia IX: „A New Introduction to the Middle Byzantine Musical Notation“.

It shall be defended that there remain several specific purposes for producing transcriptions (including electronic encoding and graphic representation) the Medieval Byzantine repertories, and that each purpose might require a specific style.



Gerda Wolfram: Ancient Greek and Patristic elements in Late- and Postbyzantine Theoretical Treatises about Church Music


The theoretical treatises concerning byzantine music differ widely according to their structure and contents. Nevertheless, all of them have references to ancient music theory and Greek grammar. A fundamental element is the term mousiké, the fifteenth-stringed lyre, which presents in the ancient system of the dis diá pasón (or double octave), in the Byzantine treatises the dýo diplasmoí.

The work of Pseudo-Johannes Damaskenos shows an eight-stringed ὄργανον μετὰ τῆς μουσικῆς (órganon metá tes mousikés), where the four authentic echoi (modes) are ascending from échos prótos (first mode) with the ascending interval sign olígon and descending (also from echos protos) with the descending interval sign apóstrophos. This mousiké shows the two tetrachords of which the Byzantine octave consists. There is also a comment in this treatise that the compositions in the extra modes nana and nenanó of Johannes Damaskenos apó tes mousikés etéthesan, i.e. set off from the mousiké. As a matter of fact these hymns have an ambitus of one octave.

On the other hand, in most of the theoretical treatises there are more or less intensive references to the patristic literature to show the sacred sphere of hymnography and to emphasize the positive influence on the souls of the people. Let me quote from the Akribeia: My task is to offer an interpretation of the signs. But what I have heard from the holy fathers, that I will say”.