The Tone 4 Samohlasen Melody

This is the common melody for singing stichera in tone 4. It consists of two parts, one for the psalm verse and one for the sticheron itself

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

Two Sunday stichera in Tone 4

At Vespers on Saturday evening, while the church is incensed and the lamps are lit, we sing a number of hymns called stichera in honor of the Resurrection; these are inserted after the last few verses of Psalms 129 and 116, and are sung in the Tone of the Week.

Here is the first of the Sunday stichera in Tone 4:


This is the samohlasen sticheron melody in Tone 4. Unlike previous samohlasen melodies, it has two initial phrases (I and J) which are only sung once, followed by three repeating phrases (A, B, and C) and a final phase (F). In the above sticheron, the A, B, and C phrases are only needed once each. For a longer sticheron, we repeat the A, B, and C phrases in order, as many times as necessary:



The sticheron melody

The samohlasen sticheron melody in Tone 4 consists of has a total of six phrases: two are only used at the beginning, three are repeated in a regular order, and followed by a concluding phrase.

Singing the first two phrases (I and J)

The first two phrases of the Tone 4 samohlasen melody are very simply, consisting of a reciting tone and a cadence:

If the J phrase ends with unaccented syllables, the last note can be repeated like so:

The we continue with the A phrase, moving into the repeating part of the melody.

Singing the A phrase

The A phrase begins where the J phrase ended, and continues the pattern of very simple melodies:

The ending may be slurred, or the first half note divided into quarter notes:

Singing the B phrase

The B phrase continues where the A phrase left off:

Singing the C phrase

The C phrase is the first one in this melody that has all four "parts" of a prostopinije phrase. Note that here, we need to jump up a third from the ending of the B phrase to start this one.

Singing the final (F) phrase

The final phrase consists entirely of the reciting tone and the cadence:

The reciting pitch plus the notes of the cadence (la - si - fi - si - la - ti - la - mi) sound exactly like do - ti - la - ti - do - re - do - so, so they are actually easy to sing. Try it!

The verse melody

Here is the samohlasen verse melody in Tone 4; its ending is identical to thaf the the F phrase of the sticheron melody.

Here is two examples, from the Lamplighting Psalms of Vespers:


Putting the two parts together - the Sunday dogmatikon in Tone 4

The last sticheron at the Lamplighting Psalms on an ordinary Saturday evening is called a dogmatikon, because it highlights the dogma or teaching of the Incarnation. Here is the tone 4 dogmatikon, set to the Tone 4 samohlasen melody. The verse is given, followed by the sticheron. Notice how each phrase flows into the next.



Now go back and identify each phrase as I, J, A, B, C, or F!

Learning the melody

To learn the melody, practice singing the material on the examples page.