Singing the Service of Typika

This article covers the practical aspects of singing the mid-day service of Typika, which can also be led by a deacon (at any hour of the day) as a Communion service.

You will need one of the following two books:

Neither book includes music, but fortunately the musical requirements are fairly straightforward, and are described below. For convenience, we will refer to these two books as Hours and Typika and Holy Communion.

(During the coronavirus pandemic, Father David Petras is also preparing weekly services of Typika. These can be found on the home page of this website.)

Before the service

If the Holy Communion book is used, then before the service the deacon makes a solemn transfer of the Body of Christ from the altar to the table of preparation, then incenses the entire church. The faithful can either attend in silence, or the cantor can lead the singing of liturgical hymns (such as the troparia of the day, since these are not part of the service itself) or spiritual songs. These should be appropriate to the liturgical season and the hour of the day.

The Typical Psalms

The service begins with an opening invocation:

The cantor and faithful respond with the usual short Amen (matching the leader's pitch if possible) and then chant the usual beginning prayers to a psalm tone. If you are using the Holy Communion book, be aware that the psalm-tone divisions are NOT provided with line breaks and indentation, as is normally done in other publications. You may wish to mark the points at which the singing goes up by a whole step for the second half of the psalm tone.

It is not necessary to use the ordinary psalm tone. For example, you might use the minor-key psalm tone during the Great Fast, for variety.

After the singing of "Come, let us worship" (again, you may wish to place a mark before the third "Come, let us worship" to indicate where the pitch rises in the psalm tone), the cantor and faithful chant Psalms 102 and 145. You can choose any psalm tone; the Tone 8 kontakion melody can also be used.

After Psalm 145, sing the hymn of the Incarnation, "O Only-begotten Son and Word of God," using one of the melodies for this hymn from the Divine Liturgy. Notice also that this hymn is preceded, NOT by "Glory... now and ever...." (as at the Divine Liturgy) but by "Now and ever and forever. Amen." My suggestion would be to sing it as marked, using the same psalm tone as you chose for Psalm 145.

The Beatitudes

After "O Only-begotten Son", the Beatitudes are chanted, together with special hymns (called, confusingly, troparia) inserted after the last 6, 8, or 10 verses. The Beatitudes can be thought of as the "rule of life" for the Kingdom of God. As an introduction, we sing, one time:

Remember us, O Lord, when you come in your kingdom.

There are at least two traditional melodies for this verse:

From the Divine Liturgy (DL 23), in Tone 8 kontakion:

Remember us O Lord

Or from the funeral service:

Remember us O Lord

Then the cantor and faithful continue singing the verses of the Beatitudes. If you chose Tone 8 kontakion for "Remember us, O Lord," continue using it for each verse of the Beatitudes, and for the Glory / Now and ever at the end:

beatitudes verse

and if you chose the funeral melody for "Remember us", then use the minor psalm tone for each verse, and for the Glory / Now and ever:

Beatitudes verse

Depending on the day, there will be six, eight, or ten of the short hymns called troparia to be inserted after the verses of the Beatitudes, and also after "Glory..." and "Now and ever..." These are chanted by the reader. (If the cantor sings them, the congregation will probably try to sing along, which will not work well.) They should be chanted recto tono, or using the reading melody. If the funeral melody is used for the verses, then the minor psalm tone is also a possibility.

Recorded examples to be added here

The hymns for ordinary Sundays (in all eight tones) and for weekdays can be found in the back of the Holy Communion book. For the Hours and Typika book, consult the Typikon; but if the necessary books are not available, you can simply omit the troparia and sing the verses of the Beatitudes.

The readings

The prokeimenon, apostolic reading (epistle), and Alleluia are sung exactly as at the Divine Liturgy. If someone other than a priest or deacon reads the service, then the Gospel should not be chanted, but read in a normal speaking voice, and the Gospel should be read facing East (toward the altar) rather than facing the congregation.

The pre-Communion hymns and prayers

After the readings and homily (if any), the cantor and congregation sing a series of short hymns and Scripture verses, to the usual psalm tone; these are properly indented for chanting in both books.

The Symbol of Faith (Creed) can be sung to either melody in the Divine Liturgies book.

The prayer, "Remit, pardon, and forgive" is chanted to the usual psalm tone. Be sure to mark the place when the pitch rises. (This is at the discretion of the cantor, but I usually do this at "forgive them all, O Lord.")

The Our Father can be sung to any melody, or chanted to a psalm tone. Then

and the cantor and faithful respond with the short Amen.

The Lord's Prayer is followed by the kontakion of the day, sung to the usual kontakion melody. For Sundays and feasts, this will be the ordinary Sunday or feast-day kontakion. For weekdays, the Typika books appoint a series of kontakia, including the kontakion of the patron of the church (see the table in the Annual Typikon), of the day of the week (DL 406-413), and of the saint of the day (see the Menaion), followed by two fixed kontakia. Kontakion melodies are used for all of these; music for "Glory" and "Now and ever" can be found in the Eight Tones section of the Divine Liturgies book.

Then "Lord, have mercy" is sung 12 times, as at Vespers:

LHM x6

The leader chants the prayer "Most holy Trinity, consubstantial Power..." either recto tono, to the reading melody, or to a psalm tone. If at all possible, this should end on the tonic, do. This will make it easy for the cantor and congregation to immediately sing "One is holy":

One is holy

Holy Communion

If the Holy Communion book is being used, then the deacon, cantor and faithful recite the pre-Communion prayer, "O Lord, I believe and profess", as at the Divine Liturgy. The deacon intones:

Come to receive!

and the faithful respond, "I will bless the Lord at all times. Alleluia!" This is a particularly solemn moment, and so something as simple as a psalm tone is not really appropriate here. And while this is the same response as we give at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, those melodies would not be appropriate outside the Great Fast. So I would suggest a variation of the music we use at the Divine Liturgy for "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", immediately before Communon:

I will bless

During Holy Communion, sing the liturgical Communion Hymn of the day, extending it with verses from the same psalm if necessary. If it is an aliturgical day, such as Lenten weekday, consult the calendar of saints and use the communion hymns for classes of saints (DL 358-405), or sing the Communion Hymn for the day of the week (DL 406-413)

The Post-Communion hymns and prayers

Immediately after Holy Communion (or if Holy Communion is not distributed, immediately after "One is holy"), the cantor and faithful sing "Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever.", three times. To allow for a three-fold repetition of the entire verse, the following melody from the Divine Liturgy can be used:

Blessed be the name

Then chant Psalm 33 to the usual psalm tone.

The last hymn of Typika is the hymn to the Mother of God ("It is truly proper", or during Paschal season, "The angel exclaimed to her.... "). Use the same music as at the Divine Liturgy.

The dismissal

The priest or leader gives the dismissal ("May Christ our God...." or "Through the prayers of our holy fathers..."), and the cantor and congregation respond with the long Amen:

Long amen

Typika has come to an end.