John Koukouzeles

KOUKOUZELES, John, St [Ioannes]. b. ca. 1280; d. ca. 1350. A singer and prolific composer from Mount Athos, Koukouzeles was the foremost exponent of the kalophonic vocal style. In his works we note a marked expansion both of music and text. He increases the length of traditional melodies in three ways: (i) by setting very many notes to the individual syllables of the hymnody (melismas); (ii) by interpolating new words and phrases in pre-existing texts thereby giving him scope to write more music (tropes); (iii) by inserting long passages of meaningless syllables set to music into pre-existing chants — syllables such as te-re-re, to-ro-ro, ti-ri-ri, and so on. These are usually known as...

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