About this Site

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Welcome to the website of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh!

The mission of this website is to:

If you have any questions or suggestions concerning this site, please contact us.

Finding your way around

The header at the top of each page of this website contains links to the parts of the website that are of most general use:

The left-hand navigation bar contains subject-oriented pages on

The left-hand navigation bar contains some of the principal articles under each subject. For a complete list of topics, or if you can't find what you're looking for, see the Site map linked at the top of each page.

Most pages also have breadcrumbs - the names of the articles "leading to" the current page - above the article title. For example, on a page describing the prostopinije "Tone 2 troparion" melody, you might find the following:

Prostopinije > Melodies > Tone 2 troparion

which would allow you to go to the main prostopinije article, or the article on prostopinije melodies, with one click.

At the bottom of each page, you will find a link to this article, and also a link labelled Discuss this article which will take you to a thread on the Metropolitan Cantor Institute forum where you can post questions, corrections and suggestions. (You do not need to register with the forum to read others' comments, but you do need to register in order to post your own.)

Using the sheet music on this website

Unless otherwise noted, all printed music on this website may be downloaded for private use or (with the permission of your priest or bishop) for use in church. As noted on the home page:

The texts, music and commentary on this website were prepared by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.

Music in PDF format

On the Liturgical Calendar and Publications pages, you will find links to printable sheet music for various services. In general, these are in Adobe PDF format, identified by the letters "PDF" or the icon (), accompanied by a file size if the file is large. The Adobe PDF format allows high-quality viewing and printing of sheet music.

To view or print this music, you can use the free Adobe Reader software. (Download Adobe Reader.)

Once this software is installed, most web browsers will use it automatically to display PDF files.

You can also download PDF files to your computer, for later viewing or printing, or to take to a copy shop for printing. In many browsers, you "right click" a PDF file link to save the file instead of viewing it immediately.

Printing music in PDF format

Most printed music on this website uses a common page size of 8.5 inches (height) by 7 inches (width). This allows music to be printed "2-up" (that is, two pages on each size of a sheet) on ordinary legal size, 11 by 14 inch paper. To print this music, you can do any of the following:

To facilitate printing larger services or music books, we have prepared a number of the PDF files in an alternate format, already set up for two-sided booklet printing on 11 by 14 inch paper. When viewing a PDF file in a web browser, just add "_booklet" to the Web address, just before the ".pdf" at the end of the address. For example, if you are viewing the Akathist to the Mother of God:


you can change the address in the browser to


to view or download the "camera-ready" version of the same service.

Music in other formats

Most music displayed in individual articles is NOT in PDF format, but consists of graphics files (usually in .gif format) which will be automatically displayed by your web browser. In general, this format is not recommended for printing, since it will not "scale" to match your printer's page size and resolution. If you plan to print more that a small amount of music, we suggest you do this from music in PDF format.

Using the recordings on this website

This website also provides quite a few recordings of chant, in both English and Slavonic, all in MP3 format. All this music may be freely downloaded for personal study; it may not be redistributed without permission.

In most web browsers, you can click on any of the links on the Recordings page, or the Listen links on the instructional pages, to hear specific recordings. You may need to adjust settings for the audio player on your computer (such as Windows Media Player or Apple QuickTime) to suit your own needs.

We are looking for ways to add "on-screen" control for audio records, and may also be adding MIDI (computer generated audio) to meet certain specific instructional needs. But in general, we feel that hearing actual recordings of live singing is the best way to learn to begin learning plainchant.

Terminology and abbreviations

Studying Byzantine Rite liturgy and plainchant often involves learning a bewildering range of terms. To make matters worse, it is often the case that a single kind of hymn may have several names - one in Greek, one in English, and one in Slavonic, each with its own plural. As a rule, on this website we use the customary English names for liturgical services and hymnody (which is often the same as the Greek term). Parallel Slavonic terms will be mentioned whenever a new concept is introduced.

Greek and Church Slavonic are generally transliterated into Latin letters. (For the Church Slavonic system, see Church Slavonic.) We strongly recommend that cantors who sing in Church Slavonic learn the Cyrillic alphabet that is traditonally used for this language, since this can aid in singing correctly, and is an absolute necessity when reading older Slavonic chant books. We are looking to provide a way for website users to choose whether Slavonic text is to be displayed in Cyrillic or Latin characters; but for now, we are attempting to meet the needs of those cantors who only occasionally sing Slavonic hymns or services.

Throughout this site, we provide page references to published liturgical books, so that anyone who is interested can verify the text or music being explained, or find it in context for further study. The following abbreviations are used:

  Official publications of the Byzantine Catholic Church:
DL The Divine Liturgies of our holy fathers John Chysostom and Basil the Great (2006)
CC The Cantor's Companion (2006)
  Publications of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute:
CV Cantor Verses (Prypivy) in the Eight Tones for Vespers and Matins (2005)
DV The Order of Daily Vespers (2007)
SM The Order of Matins: Sundays and Feasts (2006)
SV The Order of Vespers for Sundays after Pentecost (2006)
  Publications of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great (Uniontown, PA)
FM Festal Menaion (1985)
LT Lenten Triodion (1995)
PENT Pentecostarion (1986)