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Diocesan Cathedral Hosts Byzantine Music Seminar for Southern California Deanery - 11/18/2006

Los Angeles, California

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Byzantine Music has forever formed part of the fabric of the tradition of the Orthodox Church, and this art of liturgical expression was explored Saturday, November 18 at the Diocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Los Angeles. The four-hour seminar was attended by more than 50 participants across the Southern California Deanery, hosted by the Very Rev. Michel Najim, (Dean of St. Nicholas and Great Economos of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West) and the Cathedral Church School and Youth Department. Subdeacon Karim El-Far (All Saints Church, Rohnert Park, California), a noted Byzantine musicologist, led the workshop.

The participants from throughout the Deanery got a taste of the structure and history of Byzantine music. They learned notation and basic melodies of the eight tones through a series of oral exercises. In the second half of the seminar, the participants learned an arrangement of the Holy Anaphora in Tone Five. The music was composed in Byzantine notation, but Western notes were provided on the same page for comparative purposes. It originated in a CD called “The Divine Liturgy of the Holy Church of Antioch”, which was sung in English by the famed Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon. The CD also includes all the notation in Byzantine and Western styles.

Subdeacon Karim has put his entire seminar on his website: It includes oral exercises, an overview on Byzantine notation, history of Byzantine music and chant, and information for purchasing CDs to increase personal proficiency.

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

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