Braille Byzantine Music Notation
There are four symbols in Byzantine notation for the sighted that increase the duration of a note: the klasma ("KLAHZ!-mah"), the aple ("ah-PLEE!"), the diple ("dhee-PLEE!"), and the triple ("tree-PLEE!"). The klasma and the aple add one beat to a note (thus making a note last two beats), the diple adds two beats (thus making a note last three beats) and the triple adds three beats (making a note last four beats). In Byzantine notation for the sighted, all these symbols are written beneath the note they affect (although the klasma is sometimes written above the note it affects). In Byzantine notation for the sighted, the klasma is shaped like the "swoosh" of Nike shoes. The aple is written as one dot, the diple is two dots, and the triple is three dots.
In Braille Byzantine Music notation, rather than writing these symbols as separate characters, they are indicated by simply adding dot 3 and/or dot 6 to a quantitative symbol. (This is quite similar to the way duration is expressed in braille staff notation.) For example, a one-beat ison is written as dots 246 ([). To make this into a two-beat ison (i.e., to write it with a klasma), dot 3 replaces dot 6. Thus, it is written as dots 234 (S). To make this into a three-beat ison (i.e., to write it with a diple), both dot 3 and dot 6 are used. Thus, it is written as dots 2456 (!). To make this into a four-beat ison (i.e., to write it with a triple), a three-beat ison is followed by another braille character consisting of only dot 3. Thus, it is written as dots 2456, dot 3 (!').
The same method used for increasing the duration of the ison is also used for other quantitative symbols, as can be seen in the following list:
The kentemata were not included in this list because they are never held for more than one beat.
The petaste does not follow the paradigm of other notes for increasing its duration, as can be seen from the following:
The petaste can never be held for more than two beats. When the duration of kentemata needs to be held for another beat, an ison is written after the kentemata: #[
_N4 S O O O O R R R R R O _N4
_N4 S [ [ O [ [ O [ [ O _G7 [ [ R [ [ R [ [ R [ \ O _N4
The aple ("ah-PLEE!"), adds one beat to a note. Even though it does the same thing as a klasma, they are not interchangeable due to orthographical (i.e., historical) reasons. In Braille Byzantine notation, the aple is written as a separate braille character consisting of only dot 3. Thus, an apostrophos with an aple is written as: \'
_N4 [ [ \' : : \' _N4 : : \' V \ O _B6 : \ \' : \ \' : \ \' V \ O _N4
The following three exercises are in triple meter, also known as 3/4 time in Western music. Maintaining a steady triple meter for an entire hymn is not usual for traditional Byzantine music, although in recent years some hymns have been set to music entirely in triple meter.
Byzantine music—especially its heirmologic (i.e., brief) melodies—typically has a "free meter." In other words, the meter of hymns is not steady (as melodies in 3/4 or 4/4 time are) but it fluctuates throughout the hymn depending on its patterns of accented syllables. Thus, a hymn might happen to have a few consecutive measures of 3/4 time, but this is usually just coincidental.
_N4 [ [ [ : [ [ : [ [ : [ [ _G7 [ [ [ \ [ [ \ [ [ \ [ [ _N4
_N4 S [ O [ O [ O [ _G7 S [ R [ R [ R [ _N4
_N4 [ S : S : S : S _G7 [ S \ S \ S \ S _N4
_N4 ! Z Z Z _G7 ! ( ( ( _N4
_N4 S : O \ O : Z _D8 O \ R \ R \ Z _P5 S : O \ O : Z _K5 O \ R \ R \ ( _N4
Exercises 22–27 are written in quadruple meter, also known in Western music as 4/4 time or common time.
_N4 [ [ [ [ : [ [ [ : [ [ [ : [ [ [ _G7 [ [ [ [ \ [ [ [ \ [ [ [ \ [ [ [ _N4
_N4 S O O R O O O S _D8 O R R R R S R S _N4
_N4 S [ [ O [ [ O [ [ O [ [ _G7 S [ [ R [ [ R [ [ R [ [ _N4 S R : [ S _N4
_N4 [ [ S : [ S : [ S : [ S _G7 [ [ S \ [ S \ [ S \ [ S _N4
_N4 !' Z' Z' (' (' (' Z' _N4
Exercise 27 has a martyria (i.e., an indicator) for the Low Diatonic Ke. This martyria in braille is written as follows: ^K9
_N4 [ \ \ \ Z' ^K9 : [ \ : Z' _N4 : : V \ Z' _G7 \ : : : (' _D8 : : : : (' "N7 \ \ \ \ (' _B6 : : \ \ (' _P5 : \ \ \ Z' _N4
As in Western music, a rest is a pause in the melody that lasts a specific duration. In Byzantine notation for the sighted, a rest is written as a vareia (pronounced "vah-REE!-ah") which is shaped like a line that slants down to the right, followed by the number of dots corresponding to the number of beats the rest will last. A one-beat rest is written as a vareia followed by one dot (i.e., an aple), a two-beat rest is a vareia followed by two dots (i.e., a diple), and a three-beat rest is a vareia followed by three dots (i.e., a triple).
The way these rests are written in Braille Byzantine Music notation is similar. A one-beat rest is written as a braille vareia (dots 35) followed by an aple (dot 3). A two-beat rest is written as a braille vareia followed by the braille number two (but without a number sign before it). In other words, dots 35 followed by dots 12. And a three-beat rest is written as a braille vareia followed by the braille number three (but without a number sign before it), and so on. To summarize, here are each of those combinations:
_N4 [ 9' : 9' : 9' \ 9' \ 9' \ 9' : 9' _N4
_N4 [ 9B : 9B : 9B \ 9B \ 9B \ 9B : 9B _N4
_N4 [ 9C : 9C : 9C \ 9C \ 9C \ 9C : 9C _N4
Well done! You have finished Chapter Two. You are now ready to move on to Chapter Three: Compound Symbols.