Monday, April 11, 2022

Put some plain chant in your 2022

(Raphael School) - Fundamentals of Carpatho-Rusyn Plain Chant from St. Raphael School

Term: Yearlong 2022–23, September 6–May 26
Grade Level: Grades 7-12
Schedule: 1x / week, 75 min.
Price: $400 
Section: Section 1: T 5:00 p.m. ET with Danielle Bartko

Carpatho-Rusyn Plainchant, also known as Prostopinije, is a style of congregational liturgical chant originating from Carpatho-Rusyn villages in Slovakia, Ukraine, and other regions in Eastern Europe. This chant is used in both Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches. Its intention is congregational singing – a single cantor leads the entire congregation. Carpatho-Rusyn melodies are complex enough to inspire prayer, but simple enough for a congregation to pick up by ear and memorize. This chant is particularly useful for congregations without a formal choir, small choirs that cannot field four parts, or children’s choirs. However, this chant is truly at its best when sung by an entire congregation of hundreds of people!

Students will attain a working knowledge of this chant, and will be prepared to lead congregational singing. They will learn how to chant as a congregational leader, rather than as a soloist. Students will learn how to match musical pitch with clergy, and when to change pitch for the benefit of the congregation. They will learn how to find the root note of a hymn, and how to regain their footing if they get lost or if the congregation throws them off.

Music will be memorized and sung in class and on student recordings. Students will learn how to employ solfege scales as a sight reading tool. Those that quickly master melodies will be taught harmonization techniques in Carpatho-Rusyn style.

The class will provide some listening exposure to Carpatho-Rusyn chant in its original Church Slavonic language, but all student work will be done in English. Carpatho-Rusyn chant is primarily based in major and minor scales, which is familiar to the western ear. Music will be written entirely in western notation.

Musical selections will be drawn from the Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, Funeral, and other services. Students will be introduced to the eight tones, and taught to sing Holy Day Troparia in those tones. Students will also learn appropriate chant responses for Hierarchal services. Occasionally, classes will include paraliturgical hymns to the Theotokos, and folk Christmas Carols.

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