31 October 2008

The Byzantine musical scale

For those still attempting to master the intricacies of Byzantine chant and musical notation, I have now come up with a surefire method of learning the scale. Most westerners are acquainted with the western (solfège) scale:

Do re mi fa so la ti do

Fewer of us are as familiar with the Byzantine musical scale, which my father was taught as a child:

Πα βου γα δι κε ζω νη πα
(Pa vou gha thee ke zo ni pa)

Now there is a song to help us learn this:

The Byzantine Musical Scale Song

(To the tune of Do Re Mi, by Richard Rodgers,
lyrics by David T. Koyzis,
with apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II)

Πα, a name I call my dad,
βου, a Gallic word for “you,”
γα, the sound a baby makes,
δι is you and only you,
κε, conjoining words in Greek,
ζω, where animals are caged,
νη, arthritis makes it weak.
That will bring us back to
Πα - κε - γα - βου
Πα . . .

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