New York SkyMusic logo
"I will sing praises to my God all my life long." Psalm 145(146)

Welcome to the World of Byzantine Music

The Byzantine Music

Byzantine music is the type of music being used in ecclesiastical services of Christian Greek Orthodox church. The music is written in symbolic characters and each note is depended on the previous note. The rhythms are categorized in two-beat, three-beat and four-beat rhythms as well as slower and faster rhythms. Byzantine music is chanted acapella and when accompanied by a second or more voices to “keep” the base note of a melody( isokratima, in Greek) produces an aesthetic result.

Scales & Modes

The music scales that are used in the Byzantine music fall into three categories, diatonic scale, chromatic scale, and harmonic scale. Octaves are divided in 72 cents. Byzantine music has eight modes. The modes are: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Plagal of First, Plagal of Second, Heavy, and Plagal of Fourth.

Composers & Cantors

Some famous Byzantine music composers are: Saint Damaskinos who is considered the father of Byzantine music, Petros Lampadarios, Redestinos, Hatziathansiou. A couple of notorious Byzantine music cantors, who chanted at the Greek Patriarchate in Constantinople, were Stanitsas and Priggos.

Back to Top