Byzantine music (Greek: Βυζαντινή Μουσική) is the music of the Byzantine Empire composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music. Greek and foreign historians agree that the ecclesiastical tones and in general the whole system of Byzantine music is closely related to the ancient Greek system. It remains the oldest genre of extant music, of which the manner of performance and (with increasing accuracy from the 5th century onwards) the names of the composers, and sometimes the particulars of each musical work's circumstances, are known.
Extent of Byzantine music culture vs. liturgical chant proper
The term Byzantine music is commonly associated with the medievalsacredchant of Christian Churches following the Constantinopolitan Rite. The identification of "Byzantine music" with "Eastern Christian liturgical chant" is a misconception due to historical cultural reasons. Its main cause is the leading role of the Church as bearer of learning and official culture in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), a phenomenon that was not always that extreme but that was exacerbated towards the end of the empire's reign (14th century onwards) as great secular scholars migrated away from a declining Constantinople to rising western cities, bringing with them much of the learning that would spur the development of... Read More