The Tone 2 Prokeimenon Melody

This melody is used to sing prokeimena in Tone 2, as well as the Tone 2 Alleluia and certain special hymns at Matins which are sung to the prokeimenon melody.

Please note: This article assumes you are familiar with the material taught in the MCI Online course, Introduction to Church Singing. If you have difficulty reading the music notation, please review the MCI website articles on musicianship.

The Sunday prokeimenon and Alleluia

The tone 2 prokeimenon which is sung most frequently is the prokeimenon of the Resurrection in tone 2, which is sung before the epistle reading every eighth Sunday throughout the year, as part of the cycle of eight tones. It can be found on page 132 in our Divine Liturgies book. This prokeimenon should be memorized.

Listen

The same melody is used to sing the triple Alleluia before the Gospel on Sundays in Tone 2:

Listen

As you can see, these have essentially the same melody, consisting of three phrases, which should be sung  as smoothly as possible. Also, remember not to sing the Alleluia too quickly, since it must accompany the deacon's incensing of the Gospel book and the congregation.

The form of the melody

The Tone 2 prokeimenon melody consists of three phrases, which are sung in order, without repetition.

The first phrase begins on ti, a half step below the tonic pitch or do, but the opening three notes (ti do re) have the same pattern of half and whole steps are the beginning of the Tone 2 troparion melody; you can use this to make sure you are properly starting the Tone 2 prokeimenon.

The trick in the first phrase - indeed, the tricky part of the entire melody - is the sharp sign on G. If it were not there, we would simply be singing pitches of the normal scale: ti do re do re do. But here the chant line performs a maneuver that occurs in some other tones as well: we almost go back to do, but instead drop a half step higher and move back up again before returning to the tonic pitch, do. This emphasizes the do when we finally land on it.

This pitch (the raised do) is called di. Try singing: ti do re di re do until you can do it easily.

The second phrase begins on the ending pitch of the first phrase, and ends in the same way as the first phrase:

The third phrase concludes the prokeimenon.

This third phrase is very similar to the second prase, beginning and ending the same way.

Other examples

The only other example in the Divine Liturgies book is the prokeimenon for Thankgiving Day:

Singing the prokeimenon verse(s)

Normally, the verses of prokeimena are sung by a single voice using a simple recitative melody. The ordinary choice for this melody is the usual psalm tone, beginning on do. This means that the one singing the prokeimenon verses must start a major third up from the final note of the prokeimenon:

Listen to the recording of the Sunday prokeimenon to see how this sounds.