First Boston Byzantine Music Festival

The Relationship of the Byzantine Musical Heritage with Eastern Mediterranean Musical Traditions

Ἄναρχος Θεὸς καταβέβηκε, echos I, MS Gritsanis 8, folio 324 (date 1698). The earliest notated version of the alphabetic acrostic song on the birth of Jesus Christ.

Date: Feb 25, 2014 Time: 3:00 PM–4:00 PM Location: Hellenic College Holy Cross Building: Archbishop Iakovos Library Reading Room Address: 50 Goddard Ave Brookline, MA 02445-7415

Dr. Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, University of Athens, will explore the common classical musical heritage of the eastern Mediterranean and its neighboring lands, paying particular attention to the evidence provided by post-Byzantine musical manuscripts.

The eastern Mediterranean and its neighboring lands share a common classical musical heritage. Its roots in this ethnically and socially rich sphere of nationalities and civilizations are to be traced from antiquity. In spite of the wars, rivalry, and enmity that bedeviled the region, it has long enjoyed a free-flowing and perpetual cross-cultural exchange of influences, customs, and musical idioms. As a result, the various musical traditions of this area are linked by their rhythm forms, musical instruments, melodic themes, and the modal framework that constitutes the foundation of Oriental music and which is known by various names, including maqam, mugam, dastgah, and, in Byzantine music, echos.

Post-Byzantine musical manuscripts constitute a very important written source for the secular music of the Middle East. This source material covers a time span from the turn of the 15th century to the year 1830, when there appeared the first printed collection of secular music. The amount of the material is impressive, and the bulk mainly consists of official musical compositions for the Ottoman court, Fanariot songs, Greek traditional songs, and Persian Art Music. These manuscripts enlarge our knowledge of musical structure, terminology, names of composers, use of maqams in the period, and many other topics.

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