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Byzantine music (Modern Greek: Βυζαντινή μουσική) in a narrow sense is the music of the Medieval Roman Empire. Originally it consisted of songs and hymns composed to Greek texts used for courtly ceremonials, during festivals, or as paraliturgical and liturgical music. The ecclesiastical forms of Byzantine music are the best known forms today, because different Orthodox traditions still identify with the heritage of Byzantine music, when their cantors sing monodic chant out of the traditional chant books like sticherarion which in fact consisted of five books, and the heirmologion. Byzantine music is not only the music of the Byzantine empire, because it did not dissappear after the fall of Constantinople. It was continued under the Patriarchate which became the part of the Ottoman administration responsible for Orthodox Christians. During the 19th century, when the empire was splitted into different nations, the new existence of certain Balkan countries was usually established by the declaration of autokephalia against the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The new self-declared patriarchates made up an independent country which was basically defined as a nation by its religion, but the continuity between the Orthodox chant of the Ottoman empire and the one of Bulgaria or Greece, for example, was based on a historical view which traced its roots back to the Byzantine empire, while the Ottoman past was usually regarded as "post-Byzantine". This explains, why Byzantine music means several Orthodox chant traditions of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus until today and not only a limited period of a certain music culture of the Byzantine past.

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