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Armenian chant

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Armenian chant

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Armenian chant is the melismatic monophonic chant used in the liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Armenian chant, like Byzantine chant, consists mainly of hymns. The chants are grouped in an oktoechos. The oldest hymns were in prose, but later versified hymns became more prominent, such as those by Nerses Schnorhali. The official book of hymns, the shakaran, contains 1,166 hymns.

The earliest surviving manuscripts with music notation date from the 14th century, and use a system of neumes known as Armenian neumes, which seem to use a developed system but which have not been deciphered. In the 19th century, a new notation was introduced, which is still used now.

Armenian chant is now sung to a precise rhythm, including specific rhythmic patterns which are atypical of plainsong. This is considered by some scholars (such as P. Aubry) to be a result of Turkish influence, although others (such as R. P. Decevrens) consider it of great antiquity and use it as evidence in favor of a more rhythmic interpretation of Gregorian chant.

The chants used by communities in the Armenian Diaspora are usually harmonized and differ from the original forms. The source of the most traditional music is the liturgies at Echmiadzin, the religious center of Armenia.

Reference

  • Apel, Willi. Harvard Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1972.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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