PARTESNY SINGING

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PARTESNY SINGING - (Partesny Polyphony) A style of polyphonic singing, based on the Western European system of harmony and counterpoint, which arose in the early 17th c. in the Ukraine and in the mid-17th c. spread to Muscovite Russia. The leading theoretician and composer of that period, Nikolai Diletsky, distinguished two types of polyphony in PARTESNY SINGING: "natural" ("prostoyestestvennoye"), in which all the voices sang continuously and pronounced the words simultaneously, and "concerted" ("boritel'noye" or "kontsertovoye"), in which different groups of voices or different choirs sang in alternation and the imitative treatment of motives caused the text to be pronounced at different times. Works in the style of PARTESNY SINGING were composed on all manner of liturgical and non-liturgical (and in some instances, secular) texts, for vocal complements ranging from three voices (e. g., kanty) to polychoral concertos for 8, 12, 16, 24 (and in one known case -- 48) voices. The style of PARTESNY SINGING endured until the end of the 18th c.

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