Saint Mesrop Mashtots

The oldest Armenian music predates Christianity and takes the form of melodic chants known as “sharakans,” recorded in a homegrown musical notation called “khaz” that described melodies and modes by noting a voice’s pitch, duration and strength. According to Wikipedia, while some of these chants are ancient, “others are relatively modern, including several composed by Saint Mesrop Mashtots.” (What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is that “modern” Saint Mashtots was born in the year 360 A.D.) Let’s listen to this video of a composition attributed to Mashtots. Chances are, he wrote it on a lunch break while working on the somewhat more important accomplishment for which historians give him credit — inventing the Armenian Alphabet.

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