coptic hymns notations of Newland smith

edited August 2014 in Hymns Discussion
i wounder if an yone can help me find these notations....i really need them ...thanks in advance


  • I may be mistaken,

    1. but you can buy the liturgy of st basil in musical notation (big red volume) from some churches.Its even got a very early english translation.

    2. I think the rest of it is retained by the Library of Congress along with the recordings of Grand Cantor Mikhail Gabriel Guirguis el-Batanouny
  • i already have some notations.....i dreamed to have all of them ...i think they were delivered to some people...
  • Here is a link to my Hymns in Musical Notation collection. There is a lot of Newland Smith in it, but I'm not a fan of the quality. I recommend looking at the ones by Fr. Abraam Guirguis.
  • wow!  thanks tenoosht...I really think we should all learn musical notation rather than "hazaat" for our Coptic hymns
  • I agree
  • 1. the liturgy that is notated was not done by Newlandsmith but by Margaret Toth and Martha Roy
    2. most of the library of congress collection has been digitized, it was curated by Carolyn Ramzy, here is the link. 
  • I must say that musical historians know that Coptic sacred music cannot be transcribed by Western musical notation. It will not work. The best you can get is either (1) a distant approximation or (2) and embellished version of Coptic music to fit into Western transcription. Read the articles by Marian Robertson on the Library of Congress' Ragheb Moftah digital collection. 

    I understand why people are moving towards musically transcribing Coptic music. One must keep in mind that we Copts have never needed musical transcription. For thousands of years, written music has been seen as an inferior pedagogical and practical application of music theory. Heroditos claimed Ancient Egyptians were the most religious people in the world because of melismata. I would venture to say that the exceptional use of musical memorization had something to do with Heroditos' claim.

    In my opinion, written musical transcription is a modern (and unnecessary) innovation. But then again, as I said in the past, like the Coptic language, Coptic music is not immune from social and political forces of modernity. 
  • to my brother rennkemi......the reason i need them is because they contain some hymns which are know dead....kerelyson elhazayne i found 3 old recordings of it by old cantors of alexandria and guiss what it does exists in newland notations.....another example is a hymn for martyers....another important use is that we return to them when we find some slight differences among cantors....
  • i can help in the issue of kerelyson elhazayne ....if anyone needs the recordings or the notation of cantor mikhail...or the hymn in a modern notation by fr abraam guirguis...i can give....thanks to you all
  • It would be somewhat of an interesting experiment to see if we give musical notes to a musician who has never heard of coptic music before and see if they can reproduce them
  • I've done that. I gave musical transcription of Eporo to a pianist. She had a lot of difficulty with it. And to my ear, it sounded so foreign because Western transcription cannot transcribe 1/64 note that we have in our hymns. There was so much embellishment between hazaat. I'd say it sounded like 75% Eporo with 25% something else thrown in the mix. 
  • Interesting!  I suppose the reason I worry is the hazaat we have is very personalized, whereas the musical notes are more universal in character.  On this sense, perhaps, I would be making a big deal in having them transcribed into musical notations, but imagine if the training ear added to the reading of notes occurs when learning hymns.  We can actually learn faster.  The more parts of your brain you use to memorize something, the more it sticks.  That's why hazaat works, and the musical notes are the "best form" of "hazaat" one can use at the moment.

    But hey, 75% better than a bunch of lines and o's ;)
  • You are operating on the assumption that musical notes are more universal in character. It is for classical and european music, not so much for foreign music. Let's compare it to linguistics and language. English is "more universal in character" than any other language. But using English letters for Coptic is not universal. In fact, English's phonetic inventory is inadequate for Coptic; just like Coptic's phonetic inventory is inadequate for Arabic. In order to compensate, Arabic added a pseudo-orthography "p" letter (which is a modified b) to transcribe the sound created by Coptic "p". But it didn't work. Arabic "p" is not really part of Arabic. Now show an American Coptic in English letters and he will likely read something completely different than what you meant. There is no universality in such applications.

    The same is true for musical notation. One can't simply transcribe Coptic music with Western notation. Western notation does not have a universal system for various microtones. Western notation was designed to be a mathematical application of 24 notes. It does ok with double notes, full notes, ½ notes and even some ¼ notes. It doesn't work for 1/64 notes (or sixty-fourth note) or 1/37 note or anything in between. As a result, a musical transcriber cannot work with the universal character of Western musical transcription. Instead, specialized musical systems were created. Now, however, we are no longer using something universal. 

    I agree with you that specialized musical notation is a better form (I don't think anything can be called the "best form") than individual personalized mnemonic transcription. But individual personalized mnemonic transcription like is as adequate (and probably more universal) than specialized musical notation.

    Now is musical transcription as helpful as you may believe? AFAIK, there is no science that says multiple neurological pathways help memorization faster. Does an actor memorize his lines better by reading and vocalization, or by vocalization only? Do you understand a story better if two people told it to you vs. one person? The same is true for music. Do people learn music naturally and aurally or is transcription required for proper musical theory? God only knows the answer these questions. I think that we survived thousands of years without musical transcription and we're not so bad.

    Also, take a look at this example of Byzantine musical transcription. It looks awfully similar to Lines and o's are not so bad apparently.
  • You make good points.  However, I need to disagree with you on the science.  The more memorization senses you use, the more parts of your brain is being used, and the more the memory becomes stronger.  So we hear the hymn chanted, we read the notations with the chants, we chant along and repeat it while reading the notations, and if you write the notations and chant again, you are also making better memory.  So, listening, seeing, writing, saying, these are four different senses or parts of the brain that leads to the same thing.  You become able to memorize something more efficiently than using just 2 or 3 of the above.

    That is why I argue for something more universal in nature.  However, I suppose also a personalized notation (hazaat) could be better if you're the one doing it on your own, rather than use someone else's hazaat system, probably because it will stick in the mind more.
  • In Regards to Kyrie Eleyson el Hazayne? Do we have recordings of Cantor Mikhail or just the notations? I have some other recordings but i don't have Mikhails
  • Are we talking about the Kyrie Eleyson in HCOC's recordings that Albair says comes from Alexandria?
  • Yes. The source that Albair used is one of a few. Personally there is another one that i find better. In Dr. Ernest Newlandsmiths notes this kyrie eleyson is actually transcribed. Im assuming though the recording was lost along with the distorted tapes
  • i have recordings of this hymns by more than one source from alexandria...:
    1-cantor Sobhy Kolta
    2-cantor Wahba 3rian
    3-fr Youhanna Nassif
    4-fr Serafim Hanna....
    Do you have a recording other than those?

  • I only have Cantor Wahba 3aryan. Can you send me the other please? 
  • I have another recording but i don't know who it is.
  • if you mean this one....this is for Fr.Yohanna nassif:

    how can i contact to send the others???!!!
  • Yes thats the one i have. Albeir Gamal told me that it was someone named Mr. Marcous from alexandria not Fr. Youhanna Nassif. I will inbox you with the email
  • not is Fr yohanna i know his sound and have other hymns by him....marcus may be his name befor becoming a priest
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