Innovative Compositional Attempts in the Nineteenth-Century Greek Orthodox Church Music

The Sticheraric Meli in Diatonic Echos Varys


  • Nikos Andrikos Assistant Professor
  • Stavros Sarantidis


sticheraric, Varys diatonic, nineteenth century, form, modality, Byzantine music, Ottoman Empire


After the establishment of the new notation system in 1814 and the invention of music typography, a new productive period in the field of Greek Orthodox church music began. Apart from Istanbul, several urban centres of the Ottoman Empire became established as important poles for original compositional production. The common feature that characterizes all of the aforementioned instances is the creative assimilation and use of numerous elements originating in the secular music of the nineteenth century. The progressive composers of the Ottoman periphery, utilizing the analytical potential of the Chrysanthine system, were able to employ a plethora of idiomatic and idiosyncratic elements. One indicative instance of these innovative practices is the composition of the sticheraric meli in the diatonic echos Varys. In contrast to the established practice of composing the sticheraric melodies of the echos Varys on the base note ga, several masters attempted to use the mild diatonic version of the same mode based on the note zo (a fifth lower). Therefore, in the context of this material it is possible to detect modal behaviours, movements and phenomena that refer to Ottoman urban music. Thus, the priority given to modality weakens the determinative character of the formal rules, and modality ensures its autonomy and becomes a catalytic factor for any innovative compositional attempt.
Peer-reviewed Articles


2021-07-25 — Updated on 2021-08-05

How to Cite

Andrikos, Nikos, and Stavros Sarantidis. 2021. “Innovative Compositional Attempts in the Nineteenth-Century Greek Orthodox Church Music: The Sticheraric Meli in Diatonic Echos Varys”. Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Music 5 (1):1-23.