Church of the Nativity

Old Rite Russian Orthodox

​An Old Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). We are located in Erie, PA.

Traditional Performing Techniques for Znamenny Chant

For a fairly authentic approach to traditional chanting of Znamenny Chant, each of the two choirs (Women’s and Men’s) should have a Starter, whose duty is to start the chanting. The choirs must wait until the Starter has completed the first few syllables or the first word (thus establishing the pitch) before they begin singing. In some parishes, it is customary to have the Starter give hand-signals during the singing to help guide the other chanters. This rudimentary form of directing or conducting has a long historical precedence in the Byzantine Church.

The church should also have a well-trained and musically skilled Canonarch for initiating the performance of certain important hymns. Sometimes this requires him/her to chant whole verses of hymns or complete a hymn solely on an individual basis.

Znamenny Chant is generally sung in a stately manner reflecting the importance of the occasion. Feasts are particularly rich in melodic content and are performed with great solemnity, while simple services are sung more quickly, and with simpler versions of the chants.