A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography

By Egon Wellesz | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

STUDIES in Byzantine music have made remarkable progress since the SYSTEMation of the first edition of this book in 1949. The field of research has been widened by the inclusion of melismatic chant and other forms of liturgical chant which we had hitherto not attempted to decipher. On the other hand, the number of scholars working on Byzantine music has increased and there are more musicologists interested in Byzantine music as an important branch of Christian Chant in general.

For these reasons it was not sufficient to reprint this book; considerable enlargement and revision have proved necessary. The sections which needed most expansion were those on "'Byzantine Liturgy'" (pp. 130-45), on the "'Poetical Forms' I" (pp. 191-7), and "'Byzantine Musical Notation'" (pp. 246-60, 271-84, 305-8). A new section on "'Melismatic Chant and Psalmody'", a new field in our studies, had to be added (pp. 329-48, Appendix pp. 401- 15). It was, furthermore, necessary to bring the 'Introduction' up to date (pp. 20-28). Minor additions were put together in an appended section under the title 'Excursuses', to which reference is made in the text by an asterisk*.

As mentioned in the preface of the first edition Byzantine musical manuscripts have neither a standardized system of accents, nor of punctuation. They have, however, dots, carefully placed at the end of the lines of the poems. When examples are taken from manuscripts, the transcription follows the original as closely as possible.

Inconsistencies between Greek and Latin forms of names and terms could not be avoided. Some authors, for example, whose articles are quoted, prefer the Latin form Hirmologium, others the Greek spelling Heirmologion or Hirmologion.

I am deeply grateful to the late Professor A. M. Friend, Jr., of Princeton University, who invited me to go in the Summer semester 1954 as a Visiting Scholar to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection ( Harvard University), in Washington, and to take part in the "'Symposium on Byzantine Liturgy and Music'". This stay and another one in the Winter semester 1956-7 enabled me to pursue my work in the Dumbarton Oaks Library, which specializes in Byzantine studies. My thanks are due to John Thacher, Director of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, to Professor Sirarpie Der Nersessian, and to Professor

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