- Secular music existed, but has not survived. However, it is known that pneumatic organs were used in state ceremonials in Constantinople (q.v.), e.g., at banquets, weddings, receptions, and processionals. It is also known that various other secular musical instruments existed, including the cymbal, flute, drum, harp, and trumpet. They were used for musical performances to accompany theatrical performances, and doubtless in folk music, although no details have survived. What has survived are church hymns, which formed a central feature of church services. The earliest type of hymn was the kontakion, chanted by the priest, with the choir providing the refrain. Among the most famous kontakia is the Akathistos Hymn by Romanos the Melode. A more elaborate type of hymn called the kanon (q.v.) replaced the kontakion in the eighth century. Allegedly created by Andrew of Crete, it attracted such famous hymnographers as John of Damascus, Joseph the Hymnographer, and Kosmas the Hymnographer. Byzantine music influenced the medieval West. Byzantine hymns and Latin church hymns, especially the Gregorian chant, show certain similarities that are probably explained by Byzantine cultural influence in Italy and southern Gaul (qq.v.). The first organ to appear in the West was sent in 757 from Constantine V to Pippin, king of the Franks (qq.v.). Pope Leo III's coronation of Charlemagne in Rome (qq.v.) on Christmas Day 800, was accompanied by the Byzantine acclamation (polychronion) "May you rule many years!"
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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