Ioannes Koukouzeles' Mathema "Mega Ison"

This discussion is dedicated to the kalophonic method of Ioannes Koukouzeles as it can be learnt with the mathema Mega Ison.


A critical edition of Mega Ison was made by Maria Alexandru:

Alexandru, Maria. “Koukouzeles’ Mega Ison — Ansätze Einer Kritischen Edition.” Cahiers de l’Institut Du Moyen-Âge Grec et Latin 66 (1996): 3–23.

The author told me about her opinion that the beginning must be prôtos esô, a fifth lower than in this edition.


18th-century exegesis by Petros Peloponnesios transcribed into Chrysanthine neumes by Chourmouzios Chartophylakos (Athens, National Library, ΜΠΤ 703, pp. 1-19):

Kyriazides, Agathangelos, ed. (1896). "Τὸ Μέγα Ἴσον τῆς Παπαδικῆς μελισθὲν παρὰ Ἰωάννου Μαΐστορος τοῦ Κουκκουζέλη". Ἐν Ἄνθος τῆς καθ' ἡμᾶς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς Μουσικῆς περιέχον τὴν Ἀκολουθίαν τοῦ Ἐσπερίνου, τοῦ Ὅρθρου καὶ τῆς Λειτουργίας μετὰ καλλοφωνικῶν Εἴρμων μελοποιηθὲν παρὰ διάφορων ἀρχαιῶν καὶ νεωτερῶν Μουσικόδιδασκαλων (Istanbul): 127–144.


Luca Ricossa:

Ici par exemple le début de son Ison Oligon. Ma transcription est très approximative et ne reflète que l'essence des signe, en laissant de côté la plupart de l'ornementation.

Naturellement dans la mesure où c'est du Koukouzelis et pas du Glykys... :-)

Luca's transcription of the beginning

Two versions in Papadikai of manuscripts kept in the Vatican library:

1271845027?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024Beginning of Mega Ison

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  • Luca wrote:

    in fact, the protos eso is something different:

    It just means that the protos melos starts at the bottom of the protos pentachord (πλ α'), but basis and finalis are at the top (α'). Since we are here in the papadic genre a medial signature on plagios protos means a temporary change into this echos, but the whole section starts at the phthongos of the the plagios and ends (θεματισμός) at the kyrios like in the first kolon of the quoted sticheron in the Papadike. Which Papadike is it, by the way?

    Now, for this cadence at θεματισμός, the open question (which Alexandru's critical edition did not touch) is, whether the devteros-martyria at ὄρθιον is a so-called "wrong martyria"—a martyria not prepared by a diatonic phthora, which usually indicates the exact phthongos of transposition (μεταβολὴ κατὰ τόνον). In fact, the θεματισμός in red ink is shaped like a diatonic devteros phthora, but placed like the great sign which simply stands for a cadence.

    According to Alexandru's edition, the devteros section at ὄρθιον starts from a cadence at devteros (β'). Her transcription starts on b natural and agrees with those scribes who wrote after the first kolon a medial signature of mesos devteros (as the scribe of Vat. grec. 791 did). The advantage of this solution, which transposes the pentachord of the protos into the one of the devteros, is that the scribe could write devteros mesos as first medial signature.

    The scribe of Ottob. grec. 317 found another solution. According this version the first section finishes at protos (α') which is possible for a θεματισμός cadence. The medial signature in devteros is interpreted in another way, because these signatures are sometimes written before, sometimes after the cadence. In this alternative interpretation there is no transposition, but the signature means the neume which is emphasised by a parakletike, the dyo kentemata. This means, that there is a cadence in protos which is turned into a cadence to the diatonic devteros on b. Hence, the first medial signature of the devteros section is varys. At the end you arrive anyway at a protos pentachord between a—e, even without starting a fifth too high, but the transition during which the pentachord G-d is transposed into a protos pentachord is quite odd in comparison with other versions.


    Now what is the modern solution, since the papadic devteros echoi are both chromatic and no longer separated by a pentachord like in the diatonic oktoechos which was the base of Ioannis Koukouzeles' mathema?

    9126761652?profile=originalAthens, EBE ΜΠΤ 703, σελ. 3

    Within the Doxastikon oktaechon Θεαρχίῳ νεύματι Petros Peloponnesios did transpose the devteros (δ' = α'), today a chromatic form of the former mesos devteros (G = a), in order to re-establish the pentachord to the plagios devteros, now between a and D. It is no longer on the devteros, but on the protos phthongos. Hence, according to the modern Oktoechos Chourmouzios transcribes whole devteros sections in chromaticism with temporary changes into the upper diatonic tetarchord (μεταβολὴ κατὰ γένος). During the 14th century it was the other way round, but the cadences on δ' and πλ α' somehow fit very well to the meloi used today in the echos plagios devteros. But the cadences are a (δ'), "F sharp" in  a very low intonation (πλ β'), and D (πλ δ'). Despite Petros' little trick, Chourmouzios does nearly no transposition until the varys section. Here it is just due to the fact that the old papadic plagios devteros finishes in chromaticism on the tetrachord between α' and πλ β'. Since it is between δ' and πλ α' nowadays, the plagal tritos varys now slipped to E flat.

    9126761282?profile=originalAthens, EBE ΜΠΤ 703, σελ. 15

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