Alternate melodies for Christ is risen

The troparion of Pascha is sung so many times throughout the services of the Paschal season that it has collected a wide range of melodies; it can also be sung in multiple languages.

This article collects some music which can be used if desired in a parish setting as a supplement to the official settings of Christ is risen in our Divine Liturgies book. You can also print off this leaflet.

Tone 5 special melody - variants and other languages

This is a slightly simpler version of our usual "Christ is risen." It should be used later in services, and the first notes should be sung quickly enough by the cantor that it becomes clear which melody is being used.

Our church's founders came from across the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and spoke Rusyn, Hungarian (Magyar), Croatian, and Rumanian as well as their adopted language of English. Here is a setting of the Tone 5 Christ is risen in Hungarian. I hope to provide a recording shortly, as the pronunciation is not easy; before using it in church, go over it with a native speaker!

We can also sing in new (for us) languages. Here is a setting of the same melody in Spanish, provided by Father Elias Rafaj, pastor of Saint John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church in Houston, Texas.

Byzantine Chant - Plagal of the 1st Tone

This is an example of actual (simplified) Byzantine chant - that is, the Greek chant of the church of Constantinople and its daughter communities. (In Greek musical termology, "plagal of the first tone" is the same as our Tone 5, but the actual melodies are quite different).

Here is the same melody, using our English text.

Russian "common chant"

Over time, the Russian Orthodox Church largely abandoned the znammeny chant which is at the root of our common Slavic liturgical music tradition, and began to use choral chant settings, sometimes called "court chant", "common chant", or "obikhod chant." This music is often rather plain unless it is harmonized. Here is a simple two-part common chant setting of "Christ is risen" in English.

Here is the same setting, as sung in Slavonic by the choir of the Greek Catholic seminary in PreŇ°ov, Slovakia.

Other settings

I welcome your suggestions for other versions of the Paschal troparion which might be used. In general, all cantors and congregations should know the basic melodies in our Divine Liturgies books; the music here is optional, and made available to allow us to sing through the Paschal season "without becoming weary." You can send them to mci@archpitt.org, or add a note to this blog entry.