Byzantine Scales


Analyses of Byzantine Scales performed by Four Lebanese Cantors

The analyses of the scales of Byzantine chant (the Eight modes) proposed on this page come originally from the book of Amine Beyhom Théories et pratiques de l’échelle dans le chant byzantin arabe : Une approche comparative et analytique proposant une solution inédite pour le système théorique de Chrysanthos le Madyte and were edited for video.

Four Lebanese cantors of Byzantine chant, each of them a renowned soloist and choir director, accepted to record (among other performances) the scales of the eight canonical modes of their liturgical chant for research purposes.

Opening Screen of the video for the First Byzantine Mode

The complete results of the analyses of these recordings are proposed in the aforementioned book, while particular results concerning the first mode were presented on various occasions in Greece and in Cyprus, but also in France, Tunisia and in Lebanon.

The analyses proposed in the videos are based on these presentations, which in turn were based on power point animations proposed in the aforementioned book.

There are eight videos in this (Byzantine Modes and Scales from four Lebanese cantors) series, each for one mode, with each video comprising a short theoretical introduction contextualizing the scales of the current mode within the general frame of the 19th-Century Second Reform of Byzantine chant.

Example of a slide with explanations on the scale of the First Byzantine Mode according to the teaching of Thrasyvoulos Stanitsas

Moreover, the first video (for the First mode) features a General Introduction which explains shortly:

  • The solmization of the Byzantine – and equivalences between Byzantine and Western – degrees of the scale
Byzantine chant solmization with transliteration and equivalences with the degrees of the Western Common-Practice scale
  • The accidentals used in the theory of the Second Reform (and in the Western/Byzantine notation proposed by the author)
Accidentals used in the theory of Byzantine Chant (19th-Century Second Reform) with equivalents in fractions of the tone (including cents)
  • The scores and literal notations
Western/Byzantine and literal notations of scales
  • (And) Explanations about the graphic representation of the results
Conventions used for the Graphic notations of scales

The videos proposed on this page are in High resolution. An alternate, Low resolution version is proposed for each mode (and the Intro) in a dedicated page.

First Byzantine Mode (and Intro…)

Second Byzantine Mode

Third Byzantine Mode

Fourth Byzantine Mode

Fifth Byzantine Mode

Sixth Byzantine Mode

Seventh Byzantine Mode

Eighth Byzantine Mode

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