The Amomos in the Byzantine chant: a diachronical approach with emphasis on musical settings of the 19th and 20th centuries


  • DIMOS PAPATZALAKIS Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Greece


amomos, chant, funeral, interpretation, analysis.


The book of the Psalms constitutes the main source from where the Offices of the Orthodox church draw their stable parts. It has been diachronically one of the most used liturgical books of the cathedral and the monastic rite. In this paper we focus on the Psalm 118, which is well known under the designation “Amomos”. In the first part of our study we look for the origin of the book of the Psalms generally. Afterwards we present the Offices in which the Amomos is included, starting from the Byzantine era and the use of the Amomos in the cathedral and the monastic services. Then, we negotiate the question of its use in the post-Byzantine era. In the next section we quote the most important settings of the Byzantine, post-Byzantine and new-Byzantine composers in Constantinople, Smyrna and Thessaloniki, as well as some evidence of their lives and their musical works. In the next section we introduce some polyprismatic analyses for the verses of the first stanza of the Amomos, which are set to music in 19th and 20th centuries. After some comparative musicological analyses of the microform of the compositions or interpretations, we comment on the music structure of the settings of Amomos in their liturgical context. Our study concludes with some main observations, as well as a list of the basic sources used to write this paper.



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