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May 6, 2016

A few months ago, a fascinating article was shared via npr.org on Facebook entitled, “When Choirs Sing, Many Hearts Beat as One.” It was an interesting research study done at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden on the heart rates of high school students as they sang together in a choir. The study findings confirmed that choir music has a calming effect on the heart.

 

In one of the responses, Frederica Matthewes-Green commented, “When people sing together, their heartbeats slow down and synchronize almost immediately. It's obvious, but I never thought about it: singing is a form of guided breathing; we inhale and exhale together, and o...

April 7, 2016

Within the body of repertoire we call the “psaltic art” or “Byzantine chant”, there is a sublimely beautiful genre called the kalophonic (literally “beautiful voice”) irmos. Since the genre emerged in its current form between the end of the 16th and the end of the 17th centuries, it has served as the psaltic art’s highest level of musical, artistic, and vocal expression. For 500 years, composers have set sacred texts to long, melismatic, ornamented lines and extremes of range, spinning out musical beauty of amazing complexity.

 

It is an important enough genre that at least one representative example from the genre is required on reperto...