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The Late Byzantine and Slavonic Communion Cycle

Liturgy and Music

Dimitri E. Conomos

Dumbarton Oaks Studies

Byzantine Studies, Byzantine History

This book is a study of the complete extant repertory of Greek and Slavonic Communion hymns preserved in Byzantine, Russian, and Moldavian musical manuscripts of the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. These chants, based chiefly on texts from the Psaltar, are intimately related to the central action of the Eastern Divine Liturgy, the rite of Holy Communion. The author draws upon evidence from diverse data including manuscript tradition and provenance, concordances, contrafacta, musical and textual variants, notation, calligraphy, and other paleographic evidence, stylistic traits, approximate date of composition, and source of the melodies. The study, complete with a generous number of musical examples, attempts to place the varied repertory of Communion chants into its proper musical, liturgical, and historical environment and touches on the innovative processes of contrafacta, bilingual chants, and the practice of adding parts to existing material. It includes biographical notices about the composers who contributed to the Late Byzantine Communion repertory and describes a brief but unexpected digression into Italian-style polyphony.


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