Kazantseva Tat'iana

Old Believers’ Work about a Tempo of Znamenny Chant and the Realities of Contemporary Liturgical Practice

Kazantseva Tat'iana (2015) "Old Believers’ Work about a Tempo of Znamenny Chant and the Realities of Contemporary Liturgical Practice ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2015, vol. 19, pp. 130-144 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV201519.130-144


The problem of tempo of znamenny chant is one of the least explored topics in Russian musical medieval studies. In this article the characteristic of the main sources of knowledge of the tempo of Old Russian monody (singing practice of modern Old Believers, guidance of the liturgical charter, some positions of the general theory of rhythm and tempo) are presented. It is noted that all of them give only a routh idea about the proper tempo. Further, an Old Believer treatise, which was written specially on this question at the beginning of the 20th century, is analyzed in details. In our opinion its author is the leader of Tula Pomor community D. V. Batov. The author connects the internal feeling of tempo with human physiology (walking at moderate pace) and considers monomeric pulsation as the basis of the temporary organization of znamenny chant. On this basis, he formulates the concept of tempo norm which is 90 steps or beats per minute. In his reasoning he not only repeats the discoveries of unknown to him West European musical theorists of the past, but also anticipates many provisions of the modern theory of rhythm and tempo. Then the theoretical positions of the treatise are extrapolated on the results of study of the tempo of singing of modern Old Believer communities belonging to different denominations. The fact of diff erent interpretations of tempo is established. However the differences don't overstep the bounds determined by physiology of perception of time. In addition, the dependence of the tempo interpretation of the chants on tradition established in this or that group of Old Believers communion can be observed. On the basis of these studies we can conclude that the author of the analyzed treatise relied on the continuing up to the present time practice of Old Believers Pomor communion.


znamenny chant, tempo, quantitative rhythmic system, musical and theoretical handbooks, liturgical singing of Old Believers.


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Kazantseva Tat'iana