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Issue 1389 in lilypond: Enhancement: interval-based Byzantine chant nota

From: lilypond
Subject: Issue 1389 in lilypond: Enhancement: interval-based Byzantine chant notation
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 2010 11:43:14 +0000

Status: Accepted
Owner: ----
Labels: Type-Enhancement Priority-Low

New issue 1389 by v.villenave: Enhancement: interval-based Byzantine chant notation

This feature has been requested in the following discussion:

In Byzantine church music (not sure on other forms of Byzantine
music), we have the following:

1) A notation that is completely relative, based on a particular place
in a scale (roughly analogous to saying "Start on fa").  There is no
notion of absolute pitch whatsoever.  Just interval.  This allows for
easy accommodation of the same music to different chanters' voices
without transposition.  Likewise, there is no necessity for a key
signature.  Only scale.

2) A one-to-many correlation between Byzantine neumes and Western
notational elements.  One Byzantine neume might translate into several
Western noteheads, dynamic markings, and stylistic markings

3) An entirely different font, with generally, but not strictly
left-to-right (but with Arabic, right-to-left) direction.  Sometimes
neumes are stacked, and sometimes seems more like adding linguistic
diacritical markings.

4) A multitude of standard (within Byzantine chant) scales, which have
microtonal intervals.  Many Byzantine music theoreticians break down
an octave into 72 "moria".  6 moria are a Western half step.  But
different theoreticians differ on the exact spacing.  Here's one
version (using our version of solfege: Ni, Pa, Vu, Ga, Di, Ke, Zo,

Soft Chromatic: Ni - 8 - Pa - 14 - Vu - 8 - Ga - 12 - Di - 8 - Ke - 14
- Zo - 8 - Ni'
Hard Chromatic:          Pa - 6 - Vu - 20 - Ga - 4 - Di - 12 - Ke - 6
- Zo - 20 - Ni' - 4 - Pa'
Diatonic:          Ga - 12 - Di - 10 - Ke - 8 - Zo - 12 - Ni - 12 - Pa
- 10 - Vu - 8 - Ga'
Enharmonic:    Ga - 12 - Di - 12 - Ke - 6 - Zo - 12 - Ni - 12 - Pa -
12 - Vu - 6 - Ga'

The Byzantine enharmonic scale is the only one that fits on the piano
nicely, corresponding to the Western diatonic scale.

5) To make matters more tricksy, Byzantine music isn't even
octave-based.  So, when you extend beyond these ranges, there are
standard expected intervals, but they're predictable on a
tetrachordal, trichordal, or pentachordal basis, not on octaves.

6) There's a syntactic rules of orthography that could ideally be
included, including which way to properly notate something in relation
to the particular accentuation of your text.

7) The fundamental assumption of the music fitting to the text, and
not vice versa.  It is primarily the words that are read and properly
spaced, and the neumes are read in the periphery.

The main difference between this model and what LilyPond currently offers
is that LilyPond is tied to a specific tuning.  Hans noted: "It is
mostly the interface that is is absolute, but the underlying pitch
model need not be so, even though one must have some reference point.
If one outputs a MIDI file, one still needs a tuning note."

A prime example of Byzantine notation in modern use can be found here: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Vespers/b2100_Lord_I_have_cried.pdf

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