BYZANTINE MUSICAL NOTATION I
IN Byzantine manuscripts of service-books for the use of lectors and singers two systems of musical signs occur: one regulating the cantillation of the Lessons from the Prophets, Epistles, and the Gospel; the other fixing the flow and execution of the melodies of the model stanzas of the Kanons, the Stichera, Kontakia, and other poetical texts. Psalms, Alleluias, and Doxologies appear in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century manuscripts only.
The first system of signs, regulating the recitation (ἐκϕώνησις) of the Lessons, comprises the ecphonetic signs;1 the second the musical signs proper. Both systems derive from the Greek prosodic signs, but have a different development: the ecphonetic signs are set, in the main, at the beginning and at the end of a group of words; the musical signs correspond to the syllables of the text. The function of the ecphonetic signs, therefore, is equivalent to that of the system of Syriac accents whose introduction is ascribed to Joseph Hûzâjâ (c. A.D. 500),2 though their shape is very like that of the prosodic signs.
The system of the ecphonetic signs seems to have been introduced towards the end of the fourth century;3 it appears fully____________________