The Tone 1 Troparion Melody
Introduction - examples - analysis
This melody is used to sing troparia and kontakia in tone 1, as well as sessional hymns for which no podoben is appointed in the liturgical books. This page explains how to sing tone 1 troparia according to the patterns established by the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission.
The form of the melody
The Tone 1 troparion melody consists of two phrases sung in alternation, followed by two concluding phrases.
The A phrase
alternates with the B phrase
The next to last phrase is sung as follows:
and a final phrase:
We denote the last two phrases as E and F. So, depending on the number of phrases, any of the following patterns might be used:
A - B - E - F
A - B - A - E - F
A - B - A - B - E - F
and so on.
Singing the A phrase
For reasons explained below, the A phrase of the Tone 1 troparion melody is one of the most problematic in the prostopije repertoire. If you are just beginning to learn these melodies, you might want to start with the Tone 2 troparion melody instead!
The problem with this part of the Tone 2 troparion melody goes back to the Church Slavonic version of the Resurrectional troparion in Tone 1, which was frequently used to teach this melody. Here is the opening phrase. (In general, we use only English texts when teaching the prostopinije melodies to new cantors, but there are good reasons for looking at the Slavonic here.)
The small angle marks (>) which indicate dynamic accents are used very infrequently in prostopinije chant books. Here, they show that there should be a musical emphasis on the second note, and another on the note just BEFORE the reciting tone on D. (This second accent is usually ignored; see the analysisis.) Under the influence of the idea of an accent on a second note, this second note has become a half note in most modern settings.
Falling where is does, the marked accent on the second note leaves it unclear whether the three quarter notes that follow the accent are distributed like this:
or like this:
Thus, the marked accent in the Slavonic exemplar has led to two different versions of the A phrase melody.
The more common version treats the four quarter notes as a four note pattern leading up to the reciting tone, with accents (if any) falling on the first and third notes:
The other version of the A phrase melody joins together the three notes on "Kameni" and puts an accent at the bottom of the melodic arc:
The half note (here, the second note) may "migrate" to the beginning or become a quarter note, if the syllable on the second note is not accented. It is not really necessary to do this, since with practice a singer can sing the half note WITHOUT accenting it. But in practice, those writing out the melodies have sometimes reversed the quarter and half note time values, or just used quarter notes, in order to prevent incorectly sung accents.
Here is an example of the "more common" beginning of the A phrase:
An example of the more common beginning, with the half note sung first:
The same beginning, with two quarter notes:
Here is an example of the less common beginning of the A phrase, with the accent at the bottom of the melodic arc. (Compare this with the example "As God, you arose in glory..." above.)
And here is an example with the same rising notes together, even through the accent on the bottom note is rather weak:
The A phrase becomes much easier once we reach the reciting tone, or note on which a variable amount of text can be sung. The words on the reciting tone are sung on the indicated pitch, in the rhythm of normal speech. The reciting tone is followed by two quarter notes which prepare for the cadence, and a half note to end the phrase. In Slavonic, these quarter notes are almost always slurred together and used to sing a single syllable. In English, they may be slurred or not, as long as the SECOND note (the one before the cadence) is not accented. For example:
So here is the A phrase, in two versions. Note where the accents fall in each.
Fortunately, this very complicated manner of singing the A phrase is only used at the very beginning of a troparion. When the A phrase is used again (in alternation with the B phrase), it begins a little differently:
Additional notes are sometimes inserted to match the English text:
Here are two examples of the A phrase as used later in a troparion:
Singing the B phrase
The B phrase is significantly simpler than the A phrase:
As with the A phrase, the half note may migrate to the beginning:
or the initial quarter note may be repeated, to fit the text:
There is often an accent at the bottom of the melodic arc, but not always:
This is why it is important to sing through any Tone 1 troparion or kontakion in advance, to be sure of where the text accents are. (Marking them may help!)
The final half note is sometimes repeated, especially if the next-to-last syllable is accented.
Singing the E phrase
The Tone 1 troparion melody has two concluding phrases, which we call E and F. The E melody is used to sing the next to last phrase of the text, and marks the transition to the concluding phrase:
The accents in this phrase usually fall on every other beat:
but not always:
If the text is long, one of the first notes may become a reciting tone:
while if the text is short, the first two notes may be omitted:
Singing the final (F) phrase
The final or F phrase is actually the most regular of all the phrases in the Tone 1 troparion melody:
Note that either or both of the first reciting tones may be used:
This distinguishes the Tone 1 troparion F phrase from most prostopinije melodies, which have at most one reciting tone in each phrase.
In a significant number of tone 1 troparia, there is actually a brief pause in the middle of the final phrase, making it sound like the F phrase melody is split in two:
Sometimes there will even be a bar line between the two parts of the F phrase melody.
A special case: the troparion of the Cross
The troparion of the Cross, which is used a number of times throughout the year, consists of exactly three phrases. In this one troparion, the B and E phrases are combined; that is, the first part of the middle phrase is sung to the B melody, and the second part of the middle phrase is sung to the E melody:
If the B phrase melody were followed in its entirety, the two syllables of "evil" would be sung on the same pitch; but since we are setting up for the final (F) phrase, the second syllable of "evil" needs to drop one more step.
Melodies for Glory / Now and ever
Here is how "Glory... Now and ever...." should be sung before a troparion or kontakion in tone 1; just the A and F phrases are used.
Here is how "Glory...." and "Now and ever...." should be sung when one or the other is sung before a troparion or kontakion in tone 1:
For "Now and ever", the A and F phrases are combined.
Other uses of the melody
At Matins, "The Lord is God" is always sung to the melody of the troparion that follows it. Here it is in tone 1 (Sunday Matins book, page 68):
Learning the melody
Memorize the Glory, Now and ever melodies (above) and practice singing them from memory, immediately followed by troparia or kontakia in tone 1.
Then try singing a troparion in each of the other tones, followed by either Glory or Now and ever, and a troparion or kontakion in tone 1.If your parish celebrates Vespers, learn the festal theotokion in tone 1 ( Sunday Vespers book, page 34).
If your parish celebrates Matins, learn "The Lord is God" in tone 1 (above).
Ordinary - Psalms - Stichera - Prokeimena - Scripture - Troparia - Kontakia - Canons