Questions and Answers

We get a lot of questions about what's in the service texts we generate. Here is a sampler of some recent, interesting examples:

Q. Why did the Digital Chant Stand's service booklet this morning include this but not that?

A. By default, the free services offered on the Digital Chant Stand follow the order of service and rubrics of the Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as they are laid out and provided in the Hemerologion each year, and to present those parts of the Matins service that are most commonly used in the parishes.

Q. I would love to use the Digital Chant Stand but I would need it to do X, Y, and Z. Is that possible?

A. Yes! You can have it your way. AGES is able to customize the texts, services, and rubrics to use any library of texts and music to meet your specifications, and to deploy a DCS website dedicated to the liturgical needs of your choir/parish/diocese/jurisdiction. Send us an e-mail at info@agesinitiatives.org and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Q. What does AGES stand for?

A. Auto Generated Ecclesiastical Services.

Q. What do you use for the Psalter in the Digital Chant Stand?

A. The psalms and psalm verses provided in the public version of the DCS are taken from the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint text as presented in the Orthodox Study Bible.


Q. What's your convention for transcribing the soft chromatic scale into staff notation? 

A. The staff notation scores by Fr. Seraphim Dedes notate the soft chromatic scale using major intervals. The three possible options for the soft chromatic scale, which uses microtonal intervals that don't correspond well to whole steps and half steps, are to notate it as a major scale, notate it as a hard chromatic scale (C-D flat-E-F-G-A flat-B-C), or use non-standard accidentals for the microtonal intervals. None of these options is ideal; our target audience will not be familiar with the non-standard accidentals, there needs to be a clear difference between hard chromatic and soft chromatic, and soft chromatic is not major. While not perfect, the major scale solution has the advantage of simplicity and minimal use of accidentals.


Q. Why does the Great Litany at Great Vespers on Saturday afternoons have the petition, "For pious and Orthodox Christians"? I have never seen this before and it is not in the Divine Liturgy books.


A. T
he new GOA liturgy text includes this petition in the Peace Litany, so we now include it whenever the Peace Litany appears in the DCS service texts.

Q. Why did the English canon not match the Greek canon this morning?

A. Any text in our database we have to have permission to use. We do not have permissions for English-language versions of every canon. In those cases where we do not have permissions for the canon we need, we use a general canon for the class of commemoration.

Q. Why does your text for Great Compline during the first week of Great Lent start with Psalm 4 instead of Psalm 69?

A. 
At Great Compline on Mon-Thur of the first week of Lent, as you know, sections of the Great Canon are read/chanted. In some places, like monasteries, the selection from the Great Canon is done in the first part of Compline, and in that case the first Psalm read is Ps 69, which begins with the words "O God, give heed to help me"; and the Canon begins with the words, "He became for me a helper." That is the reason Ps 69 is moved from its normal position towards the end of the service to the beginning. Since, however, in many places the rubrics dictate to do the selection of the Great Canon after the doxology is read, later on in the service, moving Ps 69 to the beginning is not necessary.

And the rubrics provided by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which AGES follows, indicate precisely this: 


Μετά τό· «Εὐλογητός ὁ Θεός...», «Βασιλεῦ οὐράνιε...», Τρισάγιον κτλ. «Δεῦτε προσκυνήσωμεν...» τρίς, καί ἀρχόμεθα τῆς ἀναγνώσεως τῶν Ψαλμῶν ἀπό τοῦ δ΄ Ψαλμοῦ...  Μετά τήν Δοξολογίαν ψάλλεται διά τήν σήμερον τμῆμα τοῦ Μεγάλου Κανόνος."

i.e., After "Blessed is our God...  Heavenly King... Holy God..." etc. "Come let us worship..." (3), and we begin the reading of the 
Psalms beginning with Ps. 4... After the Doxology, the section of the Great Canon for the day is chanted.

So, that is why, in the DCS, Great Compline in the first week begins with Ps
 4 and not Ps 69.

E-mail us your questions at info@agesinitiatives.org. More to come soon.
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