El canto bizantino

Inscrito en 2019 (14.COM) en la Lista Representativa del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad

© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport, 2018

Arte vivo con más de 2.000 años de existencia, el canto bizantino es una práctica cultural importante y un sistema musical completo que forma parte de las tradiciones musicales comunes que se desarrollaron en el Imperio Bizantino. Al realzar y valorizar musicalmente los textos litúrgicos de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Griega, el canto bizantino ha quedado íntimamente ligado a la vida espiritual y al culto religioso. Este arte vocal se centra principalmente en la interpretación de los textos eclesiásticos y, presumiblemente, debe su existencia a la necesidad de dar a conocer el verbo, la palabra, el logos”, ya que cada componente de este elemento del patrimonio cultural vivo tiene por objeto difundir el mensaje sagrado. Transmitido auditiva y oralmente de generación en generación, el canto bizantino ha conservado sus principales características en el trascurso de los siglos. Es una música exclusivamente vocal y esencialmente monofónica, en la que los cantos están codificados en un sistema de ocho modos o tonos y en la que se utilizan diferentes estilos rítmicos para acentuar las sílabas de determinadas palabras de los textos litúrgicos que se quieren destacar. Aunque el arte del canto bizantino ha estado siempre vinculado a la voz masculina, en los conventos de monjas es corriente que muchas de éstas lo practiquen y también hay mujeres que ofician de cantoras en algunas parroquias. El canto bizantino es un arte floreciente porque, además de ser transmitido en el seno de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Griega, cuenta con el apoyo ferviente de numerosos expertos y aficionados –músicos, coristas, compositores, musicólogos y universitarios– que se dedican a promover el estudio, la representación y la difusión de este elemento del patrimonio cultural vivo.

Father Nikolaos Lympouridis with his students, during their weekly Byzantine chant lesson at the School of Byzantine and Traditional Music of the Holy Metropolis of Lemesos, in Limassol, Cyprus
Nuns chanting at the Monastery of Saint Heraklidios in Politiko village, in the province of Nicosia, Cyprus
Cantors lead the procession around the church of Saint John’s Cathedral in Nicosia, celebrating The Sunday of Orthodoxy (first Sunday of Great Lent). The Service commemorates the restoration of icons and their veneration by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in AD 787
The Right Choir of cantors (Chorōs) during the Divine Liturgy celebrating The Sunday of Orthodoxy at Saint John Cathedral in Nicosia, Cyprus. The chanting is directed by the leader of the Right Choir, First Cantor Kyriakos Psaltis
Detail of wall painting in Saint John Cathedral in Nicosia, Cyprus. Although Byzantine chant is exclusively vocal music, musical instruments and singing with instrumental accompaniment are depicted in wall paintings inside churches as well as in manuscript miniatures
Byzantine music teacher and choir director Evangelos Georgiou leads Byzantine Choir ‘Cypriot Melodists’, at the Hall of the Cultural Centre of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation. The performance took place in March 2018 during the celebratory event for the inscription of new elements on the National Inventory of Cyprus
An old handwritten manuscript (c. 1825-1840) from the personal collection of Byzantine music teacher and choir director Evangelos Georgiou. “Parasimantikī” is the neumatic notation employed to transcribe the Byzantine chants into written form
Studying Byzantine Music at the Music Secondary School of Ilion, Athens
The Right Choir of chanters during the Divine Liturgy at the Transfiguration of Christ's Cathedral, Kallithea, Athens. The chanting is directed by the leader of Right Choir, Fotis Ketsetzis, Archon Protopsaltes of the Holy Archdiocese of America and Emeritus Professor of Holy Cross, Boston
The Left Choir of students from Music School of Ilion during the Liturgy at Saint Eleftherios' church, Patissia, Athens. The choir is directed by Konstantinos Politis, Protopsaltes and Teacher of Byzantine Chant
The Left Choir of students from Music Secondary School of Ilion during the Liturgy at Saint Eleftherios' church, Patissia, Athens. The choir is directed by the Lampadarios (leader of the Left Choir), Yiannis Karinos, cantor and theologist
A girl, pupil at Music Secondary School of Ilion, Athens, is chanting using the neumatic notation of the Byzantine Music
Detail of the Right Choir of chanters during the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nikolaos' church in Kaisariani, Athens. The choir is directed by Fotis Giannakakis, Archon Protopsaltes of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople
The Right Choir of chanters during the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nikolaos' Cathedral in Kaisariani, Athens. The chanting is directed Fotis Giannakakis, Archon Protopsaltes of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople
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