Liturgical Music

Music, Divine

Isn’t it always the way? While searching for some references online for a class, one thing led to another and I stumbled upon The Divine Music Project. What a treasure it is! The introduction states that the “website contains more than 6,000 pages of Byzantine music, in both Western and Byzantine notation, in the style of chanting used on the Holy Mountain.”

The project is the work of St. Anthony’s Monastery, established in the desert of southern Arizona in 1995. The six founding monks of this community brought with them the sacred, millennial heritage of the people of the Mount Athos peninsula in Greece. There are 20 independent Eastern Orthodox monasteries in this peninsula, so it has become known as Holy Mountain. The project covers "liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. James, and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, as well as various doxologies and hymns.” One can choose lyrics in Greek or a style of English (Elizabethan or modern) as well as a type of notation (Western using staffs or Byzantine using neumes). There is even an online tutorial to learn the Braille version of Byzantine music notation.

The information and resources compiled in the project are vast and well-beyond the musical abilities of this scholastic; however, I can marvel at the history and the tradition and the evolution of the music, so carefully preserved over the centuries.

Click here to listen to Let My Prayer, a sample of the music chanted at St. Anthony’s Monastery

Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3