Listening to Byzantine Chant (Tone 3)

Whenever I think of the 3rd tone, I have feelings of happiness, glory, and triumph. Again, all 8 tones in a way or other represent the glory of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. However, the 3rd tone troparion always seems to relate to happy occasions.

“Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad, for the Lord has done a mighty act with his own arm, he has trampled down death by death, and became the first-born from the dead. He has delivered us from the depths of Hades, granting the world his great mercy”

As mentioned in my earlier posts on tones 1 and 2, each tone has so much variety of melodies, feelings and moods which it reflects. And the same goes for the 3rd tone, especially in pieces chanted during the Holy Week. The following example is from the Holy Friday service.

Let every thing that lives and that breathes give praise to the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights.
To you is due a hymn, O God.

Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host.
To you is due a hymn, O God

Israel, my first born son,
has committed two evil deeds.
He abandoned me, the fountain of living water,
And dug for himself a broken well.
He crucified me upon the wood.
And asked for Barabbas and released him.
Heaven was amazed at this,
and the sun hid his rays
but you, O Israel, were not ashamed
but delivered me to death.
Forgive them, O holy Father,
for they know not what they do.

Another important variation of the 3rd tone is that used for Exapostilarion like:

This is the text of the first piece on the recording:

O Apostles gather ye from the regions to this town of Gethsemane and lay away my body. And
Thou, my Son and God, receive my soul.

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the 3rd tone. Please let me know what you think …

— Jack Rabah

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