Psachos, Konstantinos [Constantinos; Constantine] (Alexandros)
- Katy Romanou
(b Constantinople [Istanbul], May 19, 1866 or 1874; d Athens, July 9, 1949). Greek musicologist, music teacher, cantor, and composer. He was crucial in organizing a systematic teaching of Byzantine music in Greece and in establishing a uniform repertory and mode of interpretation in all church rites. After studying philology and theology in Constantinople and serving there as a cantor and a music teacher, he moved to Athens in 1904 to organize a course of Byzantine music in the Conservatory of Athens, an institution fully adapted to German and French music education. Through his articles (mainly in the music periodicals Phorminx (1901–10) and his own Nea [New] Phorminx (1921–2)), his lectures, and the performances he gave with his students, he was successful in changing prevailing ideas and practices, spreading the concept of the importance of preserving the ‘original’ sources.
The influence of equal temperament over Byzantine music performance was another concern of his. He organized concerts with the string professors of the Conservatory instructing them to use unorthodox tunings. In collaboration with the mathematician Stavros Vrachamis he designed, for teaching purposes, a keyboard of 42 keys in each octave, capable of producing all scales of the Byzantine echoi. An organ and a few harmoniums were constructed in 1924 in G.F. Steinmeyer’s factory in Oettingen in Germany; they were funded by his student Eva Palmer-Sikelianos, the American wife of the poet Angelos Sikelianos. Psachos gave the instruments her name (...