Καλοφωνικός Ειρμός / Kalophonic Eirmos
“Άστρον ήδη ανατέταλκεν” by Balasios Hiereūs (c.1660)
The musical genre of Kalophonic Eirmoi makes its first appearance in the beginning of the
seventeenth century during the Ottoman occupation. The first chant of every ode of the Kanon is
called in the singular “Eirmos.” During the seventeenth century the eirmoi employ kalophonic settings,
that is, compositions with extensive melismas and kratemata (musical sections with nonsense
syllables) and their use is not exclusively liturgical. The kalophonic eirmoi are regarded to be the first
musical samples of the Greek artistic awakening after the fall of Constantinople.
Balasios the Priest is the composer of “Άστρον ήδη ανατέταλκεν”. A prominent music teacher and
prolific composer, Balasios interpreted and analyzed the stenographic notation of John Damaskenus
(676-756). “Άστρον ήδη ανατέταλκεν” is one of the first compositions in this new genre and it is quite
lovely. It refers to the birth of Christ and therefore its character is blissful and panegyric.