musicologist-medievalist, researcher at the Komitas Museum-Institute. She graduated from the Department of Musicology and Composition of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. Misakyan is the author of numerous articles and a participant of international conferences. She is also engaged in teaching. The scope of her scientific studies focuses on a range of problems related to Armenian sacred music, particularly the Ut-dzayn (Armenian eight-mode) system. Interconnection issues between Armenian sacred and composition music are also within N. Misakyan’s research interests.
OBSERVATIONS OF THE EIGHT-MODE SYSTEM BASED ON TWO ARMASH MANUSCRIPTS FROM THE MASHTOTS MATENADARAN
Conducting a comprehensive comparative study of the Armenian five singing traditions formulated in the XVIII-XIX centuries in Etchmiadzin, Constantinople, Venice, Jerusalem and New Julfa is one of the most significant tasks of Armenian medieval music studies. This article is a part of an ongoing study on the Armash tradition of Armenian sacred chanting. It was formed in Armash, a village located in the province of Nicomedia (Izmit) in Asia Minor, famous for its monastery of the Holy Mother of God Destroyer of Evil.
The Armash tradition was established by Hambardzum Cherchyan (1828-1901), a master of music notation, a music theorist, a teacher and a public figure in Constantinople. For a long time he served as a musical director at the Armash Zharangavorats School and later on at the Armash Dprevank (Theological Seminary). The latter had a significant role as an educational institution with its own musical traditions, thus having an invaluable contribution to the history of the Armenian school of sacred chanting. The Armash tradition is a separate and independent sub-branch of the Armenian traditional singing style of Constantinople.
H. Cherchyan left us a considerable heritage of notated music: the Sharaknots (Hymnal), the Zhamagirk (Breviary) and the Tagharan (Book of Canticles), the Khachverats Canon (Canon of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) and fragments of the Patarag (Liturgy), which were used in practice during his service as a musical director.
Numerous manuscripts written with the Armenian notation by the students of the Zharangavorats School and the Dprevank have been preserved, fifteen of which are kept in the Collection of the Latest Documents at the Mashtots Matenadaran in Yerevan. Two Sharaknots books (manuscripts №96 and №97) are the groundwork for this study, being canonical collections reflecting the eight-mode (Utdzayn) system. They contain copious materials, the study of which is of great importance for the history of Armenian sacred music.
One of the priorities for this research is the comparative analysis of the musical materials contained in the above-mentioned two Sharaknots books and those compiled by Hambardzum Cherchyan and Nicoghayos Tashchyan. As a result of a thorough comparison, the essential similarities and differences between the above-mentioned materials were discovered, and the features of the modes and the scales of each of them regarding the Utdzayn system was identified. The comparative study of the distinctive modal melodic pattern is a core research subject here. All Sharaknots samples in the Armenian notation were transcribed into the European one.
The Armash manuscripts open a new and attractive page not only in relation to this particular singing tradition, but in the history of Armenian sacred chanting in general.