The Greek Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music (ASBM) has recently published Byzantine Music: Theory and Practice Guide to assist novice-level Byzantine music students and to enrich liturgical music programs in local parishes. Prior to the guide’s publication, the only sufficient Byzantine music textbooks were available in Greek.
After the first year of the school’s operation, officials re-evaluated the teaching methods and the resources offered to ASBM students. They concluded that a theory book in English was needed and formed a committee to produce a student-friendly beginner’s level textbook. An audio CD also was created to help students learn the eight modes, along with the various musical exercises in the book. Special attention was given to the guide’s layout and graphic design to make it visually appealing. The book’s scope, which initially focused on serving ASBM students, has expanded beyond the school.
St. Nicholas Church in Flushing, N.Y., incorporated the guide into its parochial school curriculum for grades 4-8 (more than 300 students), and Holy Cross School of Theology uses it to train future priests. Many local schools in each Metropolis also train future church musicians with the book. The Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music ministry has more than 40 students enrolled, both men and women, ranging in age from 7 to over 50 years old. Its Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir, comprised of 25 young Greek-American trained Byzantine chanters, has produced albums and recently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Since the creation of ASBM in October 2010, and the publication of the Byzantine Music: Theory and Practice Guide, Orthodox liturgical chant has inspired many to sing a forgotten song that has nurtured the minds and souls of Orthodox faithful for over a millennium. With this book, along with efforts of the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir, a new horizon of the beautifully refined and ageless expression of Byzantine music is in view and is already reaching the ears and hearts of many. For more information and to order the Byzantine Music: Theory and Practice Guide, visit www.asbm.goarch.org or call (212) 570-3590.