About the St. Romanos Chanters Training Program

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Course Description

The course of the St. Romanos Chanters Training is a self directed course of study in Byzantine chant, divided into four units. These units are:

The Structure of Orthodox Worship
Upon completion of this unit, the student will have mastered the following:

    I. The order of the various chanted services in the Orthodox Church

    II. Knowledge of Liturgical Cycles and Seasons

    III. Knowledge and Ability to use Various Liturgical Texts

    IV. Comprehension of a list of liturgical terms

    V. The Apichima (Introductions) of the Tones (Vocal)

    VI. Singing Responses

Introduction to the Byzantine Tones

Upon completion of this unit, the student will recognize in which tone a particular piece of music is sung by listening to it being chanted. In Byzantine music, one must be familiar with the various qualities of the eight tones prior to beginning to chant them. Therefore this unit will emphasize recognition of the tones as a basis to begin singing the tones. The student will also understand that tones are not specifically related to any particular “key” in Western music. This unit will also cover the parameters of each tone including scale, range of scale, ison, etc. It is ideal that this unit should take place in a live setting, such as at the annual Chanter’s Workshop at the Antiochian Village or a deanery/regional Chanter’s Workshop.

The Irmologic Tones

Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to sing “God is the Lord…”, the Resurrectional Troparia and Theotokia in all eight tones as well as specified troparia and kontakia from major and minor feast days as representative of the troparia tones.

The Stichiraric Tones

Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to sing the “Lord, I have cried…” and its verses in all Eight Byzantine tones and will be able to distinguish the fast and slow versions of the stichiraric tones. Certain other specific hymns from Vespers and Matins will be learned, including the Praises in Matins and the Great Doxologies. The use of the ison will be introduced.

In addition to the self-directed study, students are encouraged to participate in chanters workshops at the Antiochian Village, at the Sacred Music Institute(s), and at various parish/deanery workshops. Students should make every effort to attend the workshops offered near their homes. A schedule of the workshops will be available to all students.

Upon successful completion of all four basic units, the student may be certified as having successfully completed the basic course in Byzantine Music and may receive a diploma/certificate to this effect. To be certified as completing, the student must coordinate with the program director for a time and place for an oral examination.

Successful completion of this course does not guarantee or imply tonsuring as a reader in the Church. Such can only be decided under the discretion of the bishop and parish priest.