Remembering How To Sing the Eight Tones

Troparic, Sticheric, Irmos and Prokeimenon Melodies

TROPARIA TONES

Popular Troparia to remember the Troparic Tones with

  1. "O Lord save Thy People..."
      St Nektarios (Byzantine, a favorite of the St Nektarios home school))
      "When the stone had been sealed by the Jews..." (Resurrection)
      "When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan O Lord..." (Theophany troparion)
      "Confirming the common resurrection..." (Lazarus Saturday/Palm Sun troparion)
      "In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity..." (Dormition troparion)
  2. "When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal..." (Resurrection)
      "The grave and death could not hold the Theotokos..." (Dormition Kontakion)
      "The memory of the righteous man celebrated with praise..." (Troparion
      of St John the Baptist)
  3. "Let the heavens rejoice, let earthly things be glad..." (Resurrection)
      "O holy Apostles, intercede with the merciful God..." (Troparion to any
      of the Apostles).
      "O holy great martyr and healer Panteleimon..." (same text and tone
      as the troparion to the Apostles)
      "Today the Virgin giveth birth to Him Who is transcendent in essence..."
      (Kontakion for the Nativity of Christ)
  4. St Seraphim
      St Nicholas
      Nativity
      and a whole host of others
  5. Evlogitaria of the resurrection
      Holy Royal Martyrs
  6. "O Protection of Christians..." (common 6th tone kontakion to the
      Mother of God)
      Kontakion for either Palm Sunday or the Ascension.
  7. "Thou has destroyed death with Thy Cross..." (Resurrection)
      "Thou wast transfigured on the mountain O Christ God..." (troparion
      for the Transfiguration of the Lord)
      "No longer doth a flaming sword guard the gates of Eden..." (Kontakion
      for the Sunday of the Cross)
      "O holy Martyrs..." and "Glory to Thee O Christ God..." (troparia
      sung at weddings and ordinations)
  8. Pentecost
      "In thee O Father (or Mother)..." (General troparion to saints who
      were monks or nuns)
      The troparion to St John Chrysostom
      The kontakion to St Herman of Alaska ("Monk of Valaam...")
      The kontakion of Pascha ("Though Thou didst descend into the grave...")
      "It is Truly Meet"

2. the evening prayer "Enlighten mine eyes O Christ God" 6. "Heavenly King..." "Having Beheld the Resurrection..." (sung after the Sunday matins gospel)

STICHERIC TONES

A Mnemonic device to remember the Sticheric Tones Taught at Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY

The following texts would be learned in to be sung in the sticheric melody of the Tone they represent:

  1. One is the Lord our God
  2. Two natures in Christ
  3. The Most Holy Trinity
  4. The Four Gospels
  5. Five wise virgins
  6. The six-winged Seraphim
  7. The Seven Ecumenical Councils
  8. We await the eighth day.

If you learn the right melody for each, then you won't have any trouble at

  • Lord I have cried (Vespers)
  • Let every breath praise the Lord (near the end of matins)
  • The aposticha. (Vespers, or sometimes matins)

Those three elements take up a good amount of the singing at Vespers and Matins.

IRMOS MELODIES

For the Irmos melodies, we just learned the first (or last, but they are even more like each other than the first) irmos of the Resurrection canon for each tone.

PROKEIMENON MELODIES

Likewise for the Prokimena, we learned the Sunday prokimenon for each tone (either the one from Matins or the one from the Liturgy will do).

The sixth tone irmos melody is hard to adapt to any text other than the irmoi of the Resurrection canon. I have managed to do so, but not without making mistakes.

Joseph McCellan





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