Ὅπως εἶχε πεῖ παλιὰ ὁ Νίκος Ματσούκας, ὅταν οἱ Δυτικοὶ στοχαστὲς κι ἐρευνητὲς ἀνακαλύψουν τὴν ἀξία τοῦ Βυζαντίου, τότε θὰ τὴν ἀνακαλύψουμε κι ἐμεῖς. Συμπληρώνω: καὶ τὶς ἀρχαῖες ἑλληνικὲς καὶ πρωτοχριστιανικὲς ρίζες τοῦ Βυζαντίου. Ὣς τότε, ξανασυμπληρώνω, μποροῦμε μόνο νὰ νανουριζόμαστε μὲ γλυκόλογα γιὰ τὸν «βυζαντινὸ πολυπολιτισμό» (πού, ἀλίμονο! «Δὲν συνέχισε ἡ ἐθνοφυλετικὴ Ἑλλάδα». Βέβαια!… ἡ Κακιά) καί, ὅσον ἀφορᾶ τὴν βυζαντινὴ μουσική, μὲ ἐξυπνάδες ὅτι οἱ Βυζαντινοὶ περίμεναν τοὺς κατοίκους τῆς στέπας καὶ τῆς ἐρήμου γιὰ νὰ διαμορφώσουν τὴ μουσική τους (ἢ τὰ κτήριά τους).
Andrew Walker White, The artifice of eternity: a study of liturgical and Theatrical practices in Byzantium, University of Maryland 2006
Generations of western musicologists have assumed that Byzantine chant was originally diatonic (i.e., western) in style, so that deviations from the simple Gregorian norm –as found especially in Late Byzantine and post-Byzantine chant– were the result of “oriental” or Turkish influence. But although there is some evidence for cultural exchange and cross-fertilization during the Late Byzantine period, the evidence that Byzantine composers relied on a highly sophisticated system of Ancient Greek music theory is indisputable. Recent studies reveal a more complex picture, one in which Ancient Greek music theory remained a part of the Byzantine music scene but was used selectively, to suit the tastes of the times […] Although the passage of time saw many changes in musical tastes and practice from Antiquity onward, the principles of melodic composition remained largely the same from the time of the Dionysia to the Fall of Constantinople. […] there is a need to revise certain commonly held assumptions about the “simplicity” of Ancient Greek music. Although it contained certain recognizable features and formulaic elements, the use of three different modal genera (including microtones) and numerous harmoniai, the development of the LPS and GPS as well as the use of a complex pitch-specific system of notation by professionals all speak to a very sophisticated musical culture. Even if it is granted that Early Byzantine hymnography may have relied on diatonic modes (and this is by no means a given), the Ancient Greek tradition provided the framework in which chromatic and enharmonic scales could be re-introduced, without any need for “oriental” or Turkish prompting.