[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Workshop: October 5, 2012

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Fri Sep 28 06:18:55 PDT 2012


Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


The Contested Origins of Byzantine Chant

Alexander Lingas

alingas at princeton.edu <mailto:%20%20%20%20%20%20alingas at princeton.edu%20%20%20%20%20%20>

City University London

Visiting Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

For the past two centuries there has been basic agreement in both scholarly and popular literature that Byzantine chant, which in its received forms continues to be experienced regularly in worship by millions of Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians, somehow arose in the Late Antique Eastern Mediterranean and then crystallised in Byzantium before undergoing further development in the late and post-Byzantine periods. Attempts to provide more detailed narratives have diverged widely over issues of lineage and continuity in ways that echo wider debates over Byzantine and Neo-Hellenic cultural identities. One finds in both nineteenth-century French scholarship and the writings of modern Greek authors the notion that Ancient Greek Music survives to a significant degree in the central (Constantinopolitan-Athonite) traditions of contemporary Byzantine chanting. The influential History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (2nd ed., 1961) by Egon Wellesz, on the other hand, offers a contrasting vision of discontinuity at both ends of the historical spectrum. According to Wellesz, Semitic (Jewish and Syriac) sacred song provides the foundations for medieval Byzantine chant, which is itself historically distinct from the 'Neo-Greek' chant heard in modern churches. The ideological backgrounds of these opposing positions on the question of continuity will be discussed as a prelude to a reassessment of the origins of Byzantine chant in the light of recent advances in musicological and liturgical scholarship.

Alexander Lingas is a Senior Lecturer in Music at City University London. Having received his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of British Columbia, his present work embraces historical study, as well as ethnography and performance. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana<http://www.cappellaromana.org> and a Fellow of the University of Oxford's European Humanities Research Centre<http://www.ehrc.ox.ac.uk>. His awards include Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies with cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, the British Academy's Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship, and the St Romanos the Melodist medallion of the National Forum for Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (USA).
Friday, October 5, 2012

1:30 p.m.

Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

The HELLENIC STUDIES WORKSHOP provides an opportunity for post-doctoral fellows, visiting fellows, and graduate students to present their work-in-progress or recently published research. The aim is to encourage exchange of ideas across disciplines among Classical scholars, Byzantinists, and Modern Greek Studies specialists.

DATES:  Most Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m., during the term. Dates, speakers and titles will be announced in advance via e-mail.

PLACE:  Room 103, Scheide Caldwell House, Princeton University

For further information about current events in Hellenic Studies, please refer to the calendar posted on our website: http://www.princeton.edu/~hellenic/
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