Byzantine and Palaeoslavonic Chant Notations

Annalisa Doneda
Università di Pavia - Facoltà di Musicologia (Italy)

Computer Applications to Byzantine Chant:

A relational database for the Koinonika of the Asmatikon

Cantus Planus, Papers Read at the 10th Meeting, Visegrád Hungary 2000
[ paper reproduced here by permission of the publisher ]

The issues facing anyone studying the Communion chants of the Asmatikon, inevitably include the problem of melodic transpositions among the Round notation sources and the comparison of the different notational systems transmitting this repertory (Kastoria 8 Great signs and kondakarian notation). As a result, up to fifteen neumatic rows need to be collated. Whereas tabulation of all the extant MSS is workable in the standard format of a paper edition, the sheer quantity of data to be compared and handled demands different solutions.
This paper intends to present a few aspects of the method applied during the designing and creation of a relational database for the koinonika repertory. Regarding the Copenhagen Code as a starting point (N. Schioedt, "A computer-aided analysis of thirty-five Byzantine hymns," in Studies in Eastern Chant, II, London, 1971, pp. 129-154), the main focus is on the method of storing Round notation neumes. The ultimate objective is to connect, for each chant, the texts, punctuations, signatures, neumations, pitches and intervals, in such a way as to make the data accessible for a variety of uses, enabling one to search for strings of sign-, pitch-, interval-combinations, and facilitate the comparison of different notational systems.

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Koinonikon 23 - MS Kastoria 8 - f. 40v (PDF file; 107 kB)
text and musical notation in parallel with modern 'dot-head' notation

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Contact the author (Dr A. Doneda) at:
Links at Dipartimento di Scienze Musicologiche e Paleografico-Filologiche, Facoltà di Musicologia, Università di Pavia (Italy)
Links to related sites at "Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae,"
Institute for Greek and Latin, University of Copenhagen

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Revision: 29 June 2006
Copyright © 2000-2006, Annalisa Doneda and Louis W. G. Barton