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From the 10th century onward, Byzantine music teachers created and developed a music notation by using musical signs. Since the late 14th century it has also been used for the transcriptions of secular repertoire. The quantitative evidence is impressive: A total of 4,200 pages containing transcribed secular pieces bear witness to a total of approximately 1050 works recorded, within them Ottoman court music, Phanariot songs, Persian art music, as well as a few Greek folk songs. For the vast majority, these recordings are in the so-called Old Method, a kind of musical shorthand. With the introduction of the New Method, these works fell into disuse and obscurity for various reasons; so these musical signs of notation remained silent.
Kyriakos Kalaitzidis’s study “Post-Byzantine Music Manuscripts as a Source for Oriental Secular Music”, published by the Orient-Institut Istanbul, gave a new perspective to the study and performance of Oriental Secular Music, as preserved in the Post-Byzantine Music Manuscripts. The transcription into staff notation, the publication, and ultimately, the performance and recording of this largely unknown repertoire brings to life unknown aspects of this great shared Middle Eastern musical heritage both in terms of musical practice and in its deeper understanding.
Dr. Kyriakos Kalaitzidis is a scholar and active musician in the field of modal secular music of the post-Byzantine era and Mediterranean traditions. As a member of „En Chordais“ or as soloist he has performed more than 2,000 concerts in 45 countries at major festivals and venues. He has given lectures and master classes at various universities in Europe, the Middle East, and the USA. Kyriakos’ discography includes recordings of local traditions, the presentation of unknown art music works, as well as his own compositions. His PhD „Post-Byzantine Music Manuscripts as a Source for Oriental Secular Music“ was published by the Orient-Institut Istanbul.