YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An exhibition dedicated to Armenian sacred music opened October 19 at the Armenian National Library. Among the exhibited items telling about the centuries-old history of Armenian music and songs are psalms–sharakans (Armenian sacred songs)–works on Armenian sacred music–khaz (Armenian notes)–church festivals–rites–and liturgies. All of these exhibits are kept at the Armenian National Library.
In his opening speech–Director of the Armenian National Library David Sargssian outlined the history of Armenian sacred music and songs. He pointed out that according to 5th century Armenian historians Agatangekhos and Koryun–Mesrop Mashtots (the creator of the Armenian alphabet) and 5th century Catholicos Sahak Partev were the first to compose Armenian sacred songs and music. It was they who introduced the Armenian national spirit into psalms; after them the Armenian churches started holding religious services in Armenian. In the course of time Armenian sacred music was on the rise and was enriched due to being closely related to Armenian folk music. Up to the mid-15th century Armenian music was distinguished by its rich melodies and vivid national identity along with the Byzantine system. At the end of the 19th century–polyphony started developing in Armenian sacred music along with the monophony typical of it for centuries. This process was closely connected with the creative activities of such composers as Christopher Kara-Murzy–Makar Yekmalian–Nikoghayos Tigranian. By that time the European notation system had also been introduced in the Armenian system.
Dean of the Faculty of Theology–Yerevan State University–Archbishop Shahe Achemian–who was attending the opening ceremony–said that "Armenian sacred music is the Armenian people’s means of communicating with God."
During the exhibition students of the Faculty of Theology performed sacred music under the baton of Khoren Palian.