Sunday, March 19, 2017

Audi Filia, et Vide, et Inclina Aurem Tuam

Above is a Stanford recreation of the acoustics of the Hagia Sophia and how chant would have sounded there in the Christian age. The Cappella Romana performed several Greek pieces, like the Cherubic hymn, which were then processed using an auditory blueprint of the cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum.

After listening to Greek chant in this setting the droning makes more sense than it does in modern Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches. Far from dominating the tone or drowning out inflections as it does today, the drone acts as background music to give body to the sound in the same way strings do to woodwinds in an orchestra or a bass does to a rock band. When the chant resonates the particular traits of words can be lost, but the drone, in the same key as the words sung when the drone was made, keeps the note clear as long as the noise persists. The melismatic nature of Gregorian chant in Latin Christendom and the chanting of reading doubtlessly accomplished the same end by slowing down the singing.

To have heard the Trisagion and to hear Chrysostom rebuke Eudoxia....


  1. Of course, Chrysostom rebuked her in the first Hagia Sophia, not the present one...

    But that wouldn't have made it any less worth the hearing.

    1. Very true, but the Golden Mouth's exploits are more memorable than those of say Justinian, Photios, Michael Cerularius, and that Mark of Ephesus fellow. Still, I would have loved to see the Sunday of Orthodoxy transpire with the triumphal return of the icons.