Syriac chant

Syrian chant is the chant used in Syriac Christianity.

As Syria was one of the earliest centers of Christianity, its style of chant is among the oldest in the world. However, as no early musical manuscripts exist, it is conjectural to what extent the modern repertoire reflects the early traditions.

In the early church, the music consisted of hymns and antiphonal psalmody. The earliest extant work is the Gnostic Psalter of the 2nd century, a collection of Psalm texts in hymn form reflecting a Gnostic theology. The first orthodox work are the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian (306–373), some of which are still used today. Both hymns and antiphonal psalmody were brought by St. Ambrose to Milan and are apparently the basis for Ambrosian chant.

Modern Syrian chant is much more rhythmic and syllabic than Gregorian chant.

Syriac Chants from South India.

The Christian liturgy that developed in Syriac as the Christian Aramaic came to be known in the early Christian era flourished in South India among Saint Thomas Christians. Early Christian chants by such saintly poets as St. Ephrem the Syrian (d. 372) became part of the Christian experience in this part of the world.

See also[edit]


  • Velimirović, Miloš (1990). "Christian Chant in Syria, Armenia, Egypt, and Ethiopia". In Richard Crocker and David Hiley (ed.). The New Oxford History of Music: v.2 The Early Middle Ages to 1300 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 3–9. ISBN 0-19-316329-2.
  • Jonathan Dueck sand Suzel Reily, ed. (May 2016). "The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India". The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities - Joseph J. Palackal. Oxford Handbook Online. pp. 440–460.