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KYANAYA - Toward a Syriac Music Theory - JOSEPH PALACKAL, CMI

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AP 346 - KYANAYA - Toward a Syriac Music Theory - JOSEPH PALACKAL, CMI
Call Number

AP 346

Part Number Part I - Syro Malabar Church
Title KYANAYA - Toward a Syriac Music Theory - JOSEPH PALACKAL, CMI
Duration 13m:18s
Place of Recording
Date of Release
Youtube URL
Video Segment (s)




As a result of the unusual historical trajectories, the Syro Malabar Church in Kerala, India, inherited the Chaldean liturgy in East Syriac (Christian Aramaic) in the early Christian era. The Syriac melodies and musical practices associated, especially with the celebration of the Hours, continued to be a part of the liturgy even after vernacularization in the early 1960s. Recent attempts to revive Syriac chants under the auspices of the Aramaic Project of the Christian Musicological Society of India are gaining momentum. A few young priests are interested in learning the language and celebrating solemn sung Qurbana in Syriac on special occasions. These celebrations include two kinds of musical practices, one for chants set in metrical verses and the other for orations of texts in prose. The chants in metrical verses follow a set of fixed model melodies with little or no room for improvisation. The orations of prose texts in prose, however, follow a different path. Kyanaya is a way of singing prose texts by combining a few short melodic phrases applied randomly to the text. In effect, the singer designs a melody instantly to achieve correct vocal interpretation of the relative length of the syllables, syntactic and semantic structures. Additionally, the singer employs a cadential formula to indicate the end of a sentence that is marked by a full stop in the written text.

Kyanaya is not a fixed melody but a process of making melodies. For this reason, an individual singer may sing the same text differently on different occasions, and different singers may apply different melodies to the same text. The process involves innumerable possibilities. This audio-visual presentation is part of an ongoing study to formulate a Syriac music theory of the Syro Malabar liturgy.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
13 November 2023

Keywords: #worldeastsyriacday #aramaicproject #stthomaschristians #syriacchants #syromalabarchurch #josephpalackal #koonammakkal #syriacheritage #stthomas #syromalabarqurbana #georgeplathottam #cyrilthayyil #probusperumalil #kyanaya #syriacmusic #syriacmusictheory #josephineRonan

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