Main SourcebooksAncientMedievalModern

Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEast AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen

About IHSP Help Page IHSP Credits


University of Missouri-St. Louis


MUSIC 327, Spring 1995
Dr. Diane Touliatos

Wellesz, Egon. A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography, 2nd. ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.

Dr. Diane Touliatos, Music Building Room 310
Office Hours: 11:00-11:45 am, MWF & appt.
Phone: 516-5904, Secretary's phone: 516-5980
e-mail: [email protected]


Lectures will focus on the music and musical forms of the Byzantine Empire by

discussing the various stages of development of the earliest Christian hymnography

examining the notation of the music and the text

listening and analyzing representative pieces of music

examining the influences of this music

talking about people, events, and culture environment that influenced the period.

There will be no outside listening assignments. Listening will be analyzed during class time.


Chapters from the text are designated in the syllabus as reading assignments. There will also be designated readings of articles. Students are expected to have read these assignments prior to the designated dates so that they can participate in classroom discussions. Classes will consist of lectures and discussions and a portion of the student's grade will be based on participation in class. Each student will present two oral presentations. One presentation will be on the notation based on a volume of the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae. The second presentation will be based on the term paper so that scholarship can be shared among peers. Students are expected to prepare a term paper (with correct footnote and bibliographic form) on a topic of music and / or text of Byzantine music. The typed term paper must be turned in no later than April 28th.

There will be two exams given throughout the semester: the midterm and the final exam. Both of these exams will be in an essay format and will be based on a 100 point system.

Make-up Procedures:
Generally there will be no make-up procedures for an exam unless there is some dire emergency which can be validated with a physician's excuse. In such cases, the professor's discretion will be used on an individual basis.

Final Exam: Monday, May12th, 10 -12 noon. There can be no changes in the final exam schedule.

The final course grade will be a letter grade. The determination of this letter grade is based on the following:

Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 20%
Classroom participation 10%
Oral presentation 25%
Paper (20%) and oral 25%
presentation (5%) ______

The points, percentages, and letter grade equivalents are given below:

A = 93 - 100
B = 83 - 92
C = 73 -82
D = 63- 72
F = 62 or below

Plus and minus will indicate extremes on either end of the above scale.

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Music 327: Byzantine Music and Hymnography


Winter 1997


13: Introduction

15: What is Byzantine music?

17: Surveys on Byzantine music pp. 1-28

20: University closed

22: Status of research articles

24: ---"---

27: Origins of Byzantine music pp. 29-41

29: Survival of Greek musical theory pp. 42-64

31: ---"--- pp. 64-72

3: out of town

5: Pagan background pp. 73-94

7: ---"---

10: Secular music

12: Byzantine notation Chap. X

14: ---"--- Chap. XI

17: ---"---

19: Transcription Chap. XII

21: "

24:Structure of melodies Chap.XIII

26: ---"---

28: Words & Music Chap. XIV


3: Presentations (alphabetical order of students)

5: ---"---

7: ---"---

10 - 16: Spring Break

17: Music in Ceremonies Chap. IV

19: ---"---

21: Byzantine liturgies Chap. V

24: ---"---

26: Early Christian hymns Chap. VI

28: ---"---

31: Hymnography Chap. VII

April 2: ---"---

4: Troparion Chap.VIII

7: Kontakia Chap VIII

9: Poetical Forms Chap. IX

11: ---"---

14: Articles/Readings

16: ---"---




25: Presentations

28: ---"---


May 12:
Final Exam, Monday, 10 - 12 noon



According to Medieval and Postmedieval Musical Manuscripts

The Greek Byzantine Choir

directed by

Lycourgos Angelopoulos

St. Louis Cathedral, Thursday, March 20, 1997 at 8:00 p.m.

Lycourgos Ant. Angelopoulos studied law at at the University of Athens, but it was his abilities as a psaltes and his studies of chant with Simon Karas that decided his later career. In 1977 he founded The Greek Byzantine Choir with which he has given many concerts all over the world. Also his many recordings have gained him a reputation as one of the leading interpreters of Byzantine chant. Together with Marcel Peres he has in recent years produced remarkable reconstructions of the Old-Roman, Beneventan, and Ambrosian chants demonstrating the predominance of Eastern influences on early Western chant.


(Ti Hypermacho stratigo)
This Kontakion of the Akathistos Hymn was sung in honor of Our Lady as the patron saint Fourth Plagal Mode of Constantinople.

Part One: Chants from Research

Hymn to the Holy Trinity
This is the earliest preserved Christian hymn from Oxyrinchos Papyrus No. 1786 from the 3rd century A.D. The hymn is written in an ancient Greek musical notation and a Greek text. Soloist: Damianos Serefoglou

Allelouiarion First Plagal Mode
This old Roman chant dates from the Byzantine period (7th-8th centuries) and is from Vatican LAT MS 5319. This is chanted in Greek in the Vespers of Easter in the Roman rite. Transcription by Marcel Peres and Lycourgos Angelopoulos.

Sticheron for the Feast of St. Symeon the Stylite (Sept. 1) Second Mode
This piece is ascribed to Kassia (b. ca. 810), the earliest woman in the history of music for whom we have preserved music. This is found in MS Ambr. gr. 139 Sup. Research and transcription by Diane Touliatos.

Communion Chant "Praise the Lord" Fourth Mode and Fourth Plagal Mode
This Koinonikon is by the Lampadarios Manouel Gazis (15th c.). This is an example of polyphony in Byzantine music from the late Middle Ages notated for two voices from Athens Nat. Lib. MS 2401 of the 15th c. Research and transcription by Michael Adamis.

Akolouthia of the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace
This liturgical drama is based on Daniel 3. The play was according to certain MSS staged in the church room, but later it became a part of the office on the two Sundays preceding Christmas. Transcribed and arranged for performance by Michael Adamis from Athens MS 2406, dated 1453.
Precentor/ Director: Lycourgos Angelopoulos
Reader: Leonidas Lioumis
Three Youths: Myriam Marinou, Maria Melahrinou, Theodora Panagopoulou


Part Two: Chants from the Tradition

Kathisma from Orthros for the Feast of the Annunciation for the Most Holy Theotokos (March 25) First Mode
Chanted according to the Mount Athos tradition. Transcribed by a priest from Skiathos, Georgios Rigas (+ 1958)

Troparion from the Kanon for the Feast of the Annunciation and the Heirmos from the Ninth Ode
The text of the Troparion from the Kanon is written by Ioannes Monachos and set to a syllabic melody for the shortened Heirmologion. The Heirmos from the Ninth Ode is for the slow Heirmologion. The melody is by Ioannes Protopsaltes (19th c.).

Doxastikon of the Vespers for the Dormition of the Mother of God. (August 15) Modes I - VIII Music by Petros Lampadarios of the Great Church. This hymn is the last of a series of hymns sung at the beginning of the Vespers Office of August 15 in combination with verses from Psalms 140, 141, 116, and the Lesser Doxology and is divided into nine sections.

Typika Fourth Plagal Mode
The Typika are the verses of Psalm 103. This transcription by Lycourgos Angelopoulos is in the traditional way in which they are chanted on Mount Athos.

Communion Hymn "Praise the Lord" First Plagal Mode
This Koinonikon of the famous Byzantine Maistor St. Ioannes Koukouzeles (14th c.) is performed as it has been preserved through the transcription of the "three teachers," Chrysanthos, Gregory, and Chourmousios at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Polyeleos "Confess unto the Lord" Modes I - IV
The Polyeleos is Psalm 136. This is a syllabic melody as it was sung by the Protopsaltes of the Central Church of Karies on Mount Athos, Deacon Dionysios Firfiris (1912 - 1990). Transcription by Lycourgos Angelopoulos.

Kratema First Mode
This Kratema is written by Ioannes Koukouzeles, the Maistor. Kratemata are vocal music without text that are sung to nonsense syllables as "te-re-rem" and "to-ro- ro" representing a new "instrumental" and artistic trend in Byzantine music beginning before the year 1300. Transcribed from a MS written by Chourmousios Chartophylax.


Excellent Byzantine music performance
(James Dimos Dimarogonas <[email protected]>, 12:29)

Yesterday, The Greek Byzantine Choir, under the direction of Lycourgos Angelopoulos gave a performance at the St. Louis Cathedral. They are going to give a performance in NY at the Metropolitan museum of art, but I don't know anything more than that. I just wanted to say a few words about this truly remarkable performance, from a group that is considered to be the best byzantine group in the world.

The setting was quite appropriate, since the St. Louis cathedral is built in the style of St. Sophia, and it is decorated exclusively with mosaics in a style that is other times more byzantine, other times less. The program was divided into two parts, one which was chants transcribed from manuscripts, and the second was 19th-20th century byzantine pieces in liturgical use today. Pieces included "Hymn to holy trinity", the earliest known christian hymn to have survived, in ancient greek musical notation from the 3rd century A.D, transcribed from the Oxyrinchos Papyrus No. 1786. An old roman chant from the 7th-8th centuries in Greek, from Vatican LAT MS 5319, a few pieces from St. John Koukouzelis (14th c), one from Kasia (9th century) and so on. The most interesting piece was a litorgical drama "Three youths in the fiery furnace". From the program notes:

" This liturgical drama is based on Daniel 3. The play was according to certain MSS staged in the church room, but later became a part of the office on the two Sundays preceding Christmas. Transcribed and arranged for performance by Michael Adamis from Athens MS 2406, dated 1453"

The piece starts out with the choir, all dressed in black, singing the introduction, and then three young ladies, dressed in white, slowly coming to the front from behind the altar. The piece is divided in the parts of the three youths, the reader (which reads at some points the story from Daniel I think), the chorus and the presenter. The acoustics of the cathedral were terrible, so I could not hear the words clearly, and therefor could not understand what the role of the presenter was. Maybe to fill in details of the story not mentioned in the bible? The combination of the three female soloists, two male soloists, and a male choir was striking. I don't I have ever heard anything quite like that. Unfortunately, we were told that this piece has not been recorded yet, so if anyone is interested in hearing it, he will have to go to their performance in NY. It is a very unique experience.


The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 6 October 2023 [CV]