The term “mode” primarily describes a sound environment suggesting a specific auditory sensation which creates a “state of being”, an ethos. The objective aspect of the mode —which we perceive subjectively— comprises the whole range of the components which determine the sound disposition of the mode: the intervals, the relationship between different sounds, and the interpretation necessary for each degree in order to establish the sound environment.

These are melodic formulae of different length which distinguish groups of several songs in each mode. These songs are distributed in different canons. Thus, melody sets and melody families appear in the repertoire. Melody-types can be recognized in all variations of the songs which use them. However, they have never been studied in order to define melody-type models. Melody-types, which play an important role in the transmission of traditional music, especially during the process of apprenticeship by assimilation, are the base of the sharagan repertoire.

This term designates unison interpretation in the modal context. This is a common feature of most traditional music of the Near and Middle East. The drone, the fundamental note sung as a base for the melody, is wide-spread in these regions, especially in Byzantine and Armenian chant, and is set according to modal criteria, and not to Western polyphony.

Aram Kerovpyan

Armenian Modal Chant