he
intervals of the diatonic, enharmonic, and hard chromatic modal genres
in Byzantine music theory approximate more or less to the corresponding
intervals on an equal-tempered keyboard. The same, however, cannot be
said for the intervals of the soft chromatic genre, which is used for
the second mode and for some heirmologic settings in the fourth and
second plagal modes.

In order to clarify
interval differentiation with respect to the soft chromatic "scale,"
[*] reference here will be
made to the modern system of "cents," which divides the octave into
1200 elements; each semitone, or half step, consisting of 100 cents.

In the following
chart, the intervals of a scale with equal temperament (the standard
for most contemporary Western music) appear, measured in cents, on the
upper row. Below are the intervals of the soft chromatic scale, using
the note C as a theoretical "Νη"
("Do").

Click
here to listen to a soft chromatic chant

that
begins with the notes: G-A-B-C-B-A-G (165 KB)

A comparison of the two sets of measurements makes evident
the discrepancies between the 2^{nd} and 3^{rd}, 3^{rd}
and 4^{th}, 5^{th} and 6^{th}, 6^{th}
and 7^{th}, and 7^{th} and 8^{th} degrees. Most
of these intervallic disparities are insignificant, as with D-E, E-F,
A-B and B-C (each has a differentiation of 33 cents). The principal
difficulty, however, lies with the soft chromatic "A." If equated with
either A-natural or A-flat of the equal-tempered scale, either the interval
G-A or A-B will diverge from its proper value by 67 cents. It is recommended,
therefore, that, in general, the soft chromatic A be preserved as natural
except when the melody oscillates between G and A (without ascending
to B), in which case it should be flattened. Adherence to this rule
(admittedly arbitrary) will go a long way in conserving the ethos of
the soft chromatic modal genre.

When a melody modulates to the
soft chromatic, the accidentals are introduced as indicated (in the version of this book in staff notation),
in order to approximate the intervals of that genre. But for those who
desire and are able to sing the exact intervals of the soft chromatic
modal genre, the Byzantine musical symbol
is attached to Δι
(Sol) (which is not always G) in order to identify where the alteration
begins. Note that this symbol is not used for hymns that begin in the
second mode, since for them G always corresponds to Δι of the soft chromatic
scale. When the melody reverts from the soft chromatic modal genre to
a mode that can acceptably be accommodated by regular accidentals, the
appropriate Byzantine music symbol
is used.

_______________________

[*]
Strictly speaking,
it is incorrect to refer to the eight divisions of the Byzantine octoechos as "scales." While some of their musical
gestures are reminiscent of those in modern Western scales, the Eastern
melodies, like their counterparts in the old Latin musical repertories,
behave in ways entirely alien to contemporary scale-based tunes.
In order to differentiate between the two, chants are said to belong
to one of the eight "modes." (vid. *Harvard Dictionary of Music*,
Revised Edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
1970, pp. 753-4.)

For a simplified explanation of the Byzantine musical system, see: http://geocities.com/takistan/namethattone.pdf

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