When the Holy Spirit saw that mankind
was ill-inclined toward virtue and that we
were heedless of the righteous life because
of our inclination to pleasure, what did he do?
He blended the delight of melody with doctrine
in order that, through the pleasantness and
softness of the sound, we might unawares
receive what was useful in the words according
to the practice of wise physicians who, when
they give the more bitter drafts to the sick,
often smear the rim of the cup with honey.
For this purpose, these harmonious melodies
of the psalms have been designed for us, that
those who are of boyish age or wholly youthful
in their character, while in appearance they
sing, may in reality be educating their souls.
St. Basil the Great
Automela are somewhat equivalent to the formal Protestant hymnals index of tunes. They are metered melodies that are used as model melodies for many hundreds of Orthodox hymns. The hymns that follow the tune of an automelon are called Prosomia. The aspiring Cantor should commit a good number of these to memory in order to be proficient in chanting.
The following list contains recordings performed by the monks of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline MA. The monastery uses King James English.
We will be using a different translation; however, the melodies are the same, so concentrate on the melodies, not the words.
The monastery also provides a booklet in Western notation of the Prosomia. If you would like your own copy of these prosomia, a CD version should be available at the Cathedral bookstore.
I have arbitrarily placed a number in parentheses after the name of each prosomion. On a scale of 1 to 10, the numbers represent the relative frequency with which you may see these prosomia throughout the Church year.
Note: You may have to scroll to the right, left or down the following table in order to view all the Modes.