Melodies for Prokeimena and Alleluia

The prostopinije tradition provides eight different melodies for singing prokeimena, one in each tone. These melodies are also used for singing the Alleluia at the Divine Liturgy, and are more elaborate than the melodies for troparia and kontakia.

The psalm verse(s) with each prokeimenon are normally chanted to the usual psalm tone, on do - except in Tone 6, when the minor psalm tone on la should be used instead. In the table below, the basic form of each prokeimenon melody is shown, followed by the Alleluia in the same tone. A small detached block of music shows how the psalm verse is sung with the Alleluia.

  Prokeimenon melody and Alleluia,
showing the pitch for the chanted psalm verse
Examples, with recordings
Tone 1

Tone 2

Tone 3

Tone 4

Tone 5

Tone 6

Tone 7

Tone 8


Singing prokeimena and Alleluia

These hymns are sung by the congregation, led by the cantor, while a soloist (the reader at the Divine Liturgy, or the deacon or priest at Vespers and Matins) chants the verses. The cantor can chant the verse(s) but this may be confusing to the congregation, since they are used to singing everything the cantor does. If for some reason the reader does not chant the psalm verses, then they may be assigned to another cantor if one is available.

The prokeimenon and Alleluia melodies should be sung as smoothly as possible, since they are extended and elaborate hymns of praise. The Alleluia at the Divine Liturgy, in particular, should not be rushed, since the deacon must incense the Gospel book and faithful while it is being sung.

In general, the psalm verses should be chanted to the usual Psalm tone (except in Tone 6, when the minor psalm tone is used), on a home pitch or do that matches the prokeimenon or Alleluia melody. The cantor should show new readers how to do this, and work with them until they have mastered it.

When there are several prokeimena

When Sundays and feast days are combined, there may be two prokeimena and two Alleluias at the Divine Liturgy:

See the article on Singing the Readings of the Divine Liturgy for examples.