Thursday, 30 April 2015

Brenda Fitch Fairaday: Romanos the Melodist: Advocate of Healing, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness

This presentation will explore several aspects of St Romanos's techniques in using poetry and music to rouse the congregation to repentance and full metanoia, and question whether this is only on the personal level or whether it reflects the need for reconciliation among members of his society and in his church. The major works to be analyzed on this subject will be the kontakia On Judas, On Peter, and On the Harlot, which are clearly meant to arouse compunction.  By his combination of text and music (rhythm), Romanos seems to demonstrate his understanding of the affekt of the tones as taught by the Greek philosophers, including Boethius, who preceded him, and the much later writers on music who followed him, i.e., Thomas Mace, Claudio Monteverdi. There will be some comparison to Ephrem's combinations of rhythm and tones in developing like responses.  It will address the question of whether Romanos was consciously observing what was later codified in Law 137:  are his works meant to effect spiritual formation in the listeners (the laity) at the liturgy - because formation is otherwise lacking from the liturgy, and is his work reflective only of the penitential needs - his and his congregation's.  Are there common "healing" rhythms and tones found in his works? Does he use particular tones and rhythms to elicit specific spiritual responses?  A broad number of both spuria and genuina will be examined concerning these questions.

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