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The University of Southampton

'Syriac Chants in the 21st Century' Seminar

2 December 2014
Building 2, Room 1083 Music University of Southampton Highfield Campus SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Hettie Malcomson on 023 8059 4400 or email .

Event details

Part of the Music Research Seminar Series

The body of chants and hymns the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch uses, typically called ‘Syriac chant’ after the literary dialect of Aramaic in which it is written, is a distinctive element of Levantine Christianity. While early texts were conveyed to manuscripts, the musical side of this East Christian tradition has been passed down orally from generation to generation. The church itself (the bearer of this music) has had more than its fair share of difficulty and persecution in the long story of turmoil which the region has endured throughout the first two Christian millennia. While in the twentieth century things got better for local Christians in small parts of the Middle East, the effects of regional and global happenings were detrimental in most. As the twenty-first century takes its course and brings about brutal forms of medieval fundamentalism to the land in which Syriac Christianity was born, the future looks particularly bleak. In this paper I trace an historic narrative of this particularly rich musical tradition, focusing on its current state, which, contrary to everything else that the Syriac-speaking Christians are enduring in the second decade of the third millennium, offers a positive counter-narrative of hope and survival.

All welcome - free admission.


Speaker information

Tala Jarjour, University of Notre Dame. Assistant Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology.

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