Iakovos Nafpliotis - Teachings and Hyphos (style)

Teachings and Hyphos (style)

The patriarchal paedagogy of Iakovos, which was based in past on o/aural memory transmission, there was one other particularity, that of "chronos" and the way it was counted, which he managed to transmit to at least one of the few students who had the opportunity to be his disciple ever since a young age (Stylianos Tsolakidis, the others being Constantinos and Leontios Boudouris). Other students who studied at a later age (e.g. Angelos Boudouris, Anastasios Michaelides "Sobatzis", Konstantinos Pringos, Georgios Karakasis) were also permeated with many of the elements of Iakovos’ Majestuous Patriarchal style ("hyphos"). The many ways of counting the "chronos" (which is not the "rhythmos") and of combining "analyseis" (developments or "variations") are what allow a good psaltis to chant a unique score in many ways, and which can lead to catastrophic performances by those who have not been taught by the Patriarchal method.

Although most of the psaltis of Constantinople had good intervals and attacks (which is not the case of most psaltis of today), their "politikon hyphos" or "style" is not to be confused with the "patriarchal style", where the repertoire chanted was different not only in composition (usually of abbreviated nature) as compared to some classical editions, but in terms of chronos counting (divided ("dieremenos"), unitary ("monosimos"), simple ("haplos"), complex ("synthetos" or "syneptigmenos chronos" which is not to be confused with syneptigmenos "rhythmos"), free ("elevtheros"), callophonic etc.), as well. Nevertheless, Iakovos would first teach using the classical editions and then only would he initiate his disciples to the particular compositions that were used in the Patriarchal church.

Most of the 14 Patriarchs as well as the numerous hierarchs that crossed Iakovos’ psaltic career were firm supporters of and would acclaim his traditional chanting. Those who were ignorant even went as far as to replace him once. During this episode and after his retirement, some areas of Greece, namely that of Chios, proposed that they add to his retirement funds so that he might continue to honour them with his serious, hegemonic and praying chant.

According to Angelos Boudouris, Iakovos Nafpliotis was a standard of psaltiki that most other psaltis acknowledged and respected, which is attested to by the fact that they would meet at the Patriarchal church approximately once a month so as to continue benefiting from this master's knowledge. Few were the psaltis who were as traditional. Both Angelos Boudouris as well as Stylianos Tsolakidis mention the traditional Georgios Binakis (first chanter of Agios Ioannis Chios in Constantinople, whose retirement years were supplemented by the merchants of Chios, where he spent the remainder of his life chanting in the Metropolis of Chios). On the other hand, many were those who had personal ideas about manuscripts and composition and chant as a whole (including choral chanting), of which the most famous ones were Konstantinos Psachos and Nileus Kamarados.

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