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Article

Christian Troelsgård

A chant of the Byzantine rite sung at the Little Entrance (hē mikra eisodos) of the Divine Liturgy when the clergy enter in procession with the Gospel lectionary. The Ordinary text of the eisodikon is adapted from Psalm xciv.6a, ‘Come, let us worship’, but alternative psalm verses are chosen for the high feasts of the Church year. The psalm verse is followed by a tripartite refrain, of which the first part (‘Save us, Son of God’) and the third (‘allēlouïa’) do not vary, but the second changes according to the feast. Although the text of the ...

Article

A term in ancient Greek music theory referring to notes of definite pitch (as opposed, for example, to speech). More particularly, it is used to describe intervals smaller than a 4th that can be calculated as superparticular proportions (e.g. the whole tone measured as the ratio 9:8 or 10:9)....

Article

Michael W. Lundell

A work of prose or poetry composed in praise of an individual. In its original sense, encomium denotes a choral song, sung by a kōmos (group of revellers), praising the winner of a musical or athletic competition. The meaning was later extended to include any laudatory song, poem or speech. A eulogy, a funeral oration for those who died in battle, an epideictic speech in praise of a historical or mythical figure, a verse-epitaph praising the life of the deceased, a ...

Article

James W. McKinnon

(b Nisibis [now Nusaybin], c309; d Edessa [now Urfa], June 9, 373). Exegete, preacher and poet. He was known by the sobriquet ‘the lyre of the Holy Spirit’. Born to Christian parents in Nisibis, he became a deacon before 338; unlike the majority of his outstanding Greek and Latin patristic contemporaries who were bishops, he remained a deacon and spent his life preaching and teaching. He left Nisibis sometime after the Persians captured it in 363, moving to Edessa where he stayed for the rest of his life, possibly establishing a theological school there. He was a figure of such immense influence that soon after his death his biography was much elaborated with apocryphal events, and his literary output was greatly expanded by spurious works. Modern scholars such as Edmund Beck and Bernard Outtier have arrived at a reliable biography, and Beck has edited all the authentic Syriac works....

Article

A term used from antiquity to denote a refrain; in Byzantine chant, more specifically, a short concluding refrain to the oikoi (stanzas) of a kontakion. See Byzantine chant, §10, (ii).

Article

Epistle  

Michel Huglo and James W. McKinnon

Generic term for the reading or readings that precede the Gospel in the pre-eucharistic synaxis of the Eastern and Western liturgies. The term derives from the fact that the Epistle is frequently taken from one of the epistles of Paul, but it is nonetheless applied to other scriptural readings, too, including those taken from the Old Testament. Similarly, the term ‘Apostolus’, a reference to the ‘Apostle’ Paul, was frequently used in patristic literature to refer to the Epistle....

Article

The Muse of song and dance and of erotic lyric, sometimes represented with the lyre. See Muses.

Article

Lukas Richter

(b Cyrene [now Shaḥḥāt, Libya], c276 bc; d Alexandria, c196 bc). Greek scholar. He was educated at Alexandria by the poet Callimachus and the grammarian Lysanias, and at Athens encountered the philosophers Arcesilaus and Ariston of Chios. In about 246 bce...

Article

Lawrence Gushee and Bradley Jon Tucker

(b Ireland, c810; d ?England, c877). Theologian, philosopher and translator. He arrived in Gaul in about 845 and taught grammar and dialectic at the palace school of Charles the Bald, of which he is also thought to have been the head for a time. The story told by William of Malmesbury that he died in England, stabbed to death by the pens of his pupils, is considered legend. His early theological writings rendered him open to attack in the late 850s. Between about 860 and 865 he translated a number of works from Greek at the behest of Emperor Charles. His masterpiece, the ...

Article

Edward V. Williams and Christian Troelsgård

(fl c1300). Byzantine composer of liturgical chant. Ethikos held the office of domestikos, the leader of the left choir in a Byzantine church, but it is not known in which church or city he worked. His name is mentioned by Manuel Chrysaphes...

Article

Ethos  

Warren Anderson and Thomas J. Mathiesen

An ancient Greek musical term, describing a concept important in the relationship between ancient Greek music and education.

The term occurs as a noun, ēthos, from Homer onwards. Its original meaning was ‘accustomed place’; Hesiod first used it as ‘custom’. With Heraclitus it acquired the added sense of ‘character’, more precisely ‘moral character’, often regarded as the result of habituation. When the term is used in English transliteration, ‘ethos’, with reference to ancient Greek music, the last-named meaning should be understood. Ethos should be taken as an attribute not merely of persons but also of musical phenomena, which are then considered as vehicles for conveying ethical attitudes, not as having any kind of moral nature in themselves....

Article

Euclid  

André Barbera

(fl Alexandria, c300 BCE). Mathematician and theorist. His Elements has from the earliest times been the basis for the study of geometry and number theory in the West. The definitions in book 5 of ratios and proportions, perhaps attributable to Eudoxus, are of great mathematical importance because they accommodate incommensurable magnitudes. Numerous other mathematical works, some no longer extant, have been ascribed to Euclid, and writings on music have also been attributed to him in several ancient and medieval Arabic, Greek and Latin sources (Proclus even claimed that he wrote an ...

Article

Euterpe  

The Muse of lyric, represented with the double aulos. See Muses.

Article

Dimitri Conomos

(fl ?early 16th century). Romanian domestikos, prōtopsaltēs and composer. He was active at the monastery of Putna in Moldavia (now Moldova). Two extant manuscripts copied by him, RUS-Mim Shchiukin 350 (dated 1511) and SPan 13.3.16, which originally formed one akolouthia (the ‘Evstatie songbook’), show him to have been a remarkably competent scribe, skilled in Greek and Church Slavonic and in the late Byzantine musical tradition. He was also a prolific composer, whose chants (...

Article

John A. Emerson, Jane Bellingham and David Hiley

In 

See Plainchant

Article

Farse  

Michel Huglo and Alejandro Enrique Planchart

An insertion into set texts, especially liturgical texts, of phrases or words not originally part of those texts. It would appear that the term is virtually synonymous with trope (see Trope); this is shown by a text quoted by Du Cange (‘Qualiter debeant cantare Kyrie eleyson cum Farsa’), but as a rule the term ‘trope’ was used for interpolations into the Mass and Office chants, while ‘farsa’ was used for interpolations into the lessons, even though farses were usually copied within the trope and ...

Article

Feria  

Richard Sherr

In Roman antiquity the word denoted a holy day, and by the 3rd century at the latest had become a liturgical term for a weekday on which no feast falls. The practice of numbering the days of the week after Sunday as Feria II (Monday) to Feria VII (Saturday, which also retained its Hebrew name Sabbato) may have arisen as a Christian attempt to eliminate a nomenclature based on the names of heathen gods. Isolated polyphonic masses without Gloria and Credo are entitled ‘De feria’, among them examples by Antoine de Févin and Palestrina....

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

Ribald or taunting songs or dialogues sung especially at weddings, festivals or processions. The fescennini are doubtless related to the Greek epithalamion and Hymenaios. In Aristophanes’ Peace (1329–57), an elaborate hymenaios exhibits an antiphonal structure and a considerable amount of innuendo and erotic word play. The term, which came to be applied to scurrilous verse in general, is derived either from the name of the town Fescennium in Etruria or from the phallus (...

Article

Fidicen  

A Kithara player.

Article

Ruth Steiner and Susan Boynton

(b nr Treviso, 530–40; d Poitiers, c600). Poet and churchman. He was educated at Ravenna, at that time under the rule of Byzantium. In 565 he went to Gaul, a journey that he later described as a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Martin at Tours. The immediate reason for the visit was more likely the wedding at Metz in 566 of King Sigebert to the Visigothic princess Brunhild, after which he spent a year at Sigebert's court and a winter at the court of Sigebert's brother Charibert in Paris. After a pilgrimage to Tours, he settled at Poitiers, where he became a close friend of Radegund, the widow of Clotaire, king of the Franks, and Agnes, abbess of the convent that Radegund had founded before the death of her husband. Fortunatus became Bishop of Poitiers not long before his death and was venerated as a saint during the Middle Ages (but was never canonized)....