Church Music is an academic subject that introduces students to the essence and development of liturgical music in the Eastern Orthodox Church from early Christianity to the present day. It is based on an understanding about church music as a central form of Orthodox worship, as chanted theology. Musical studies are combined with versatile theological education in the academic subject.
Church Music is the only major subject in the School of Theology that is selected during the application process. A student completes a Master's degree in theology with Church Music as the major subject and receives the qualification for the duties of an Orthodox cantor. The University of Eastern Finland is the only university in Finland that offers education in this field.
Church Music is a young discipline at the University of Eastern Finland, but its research is dynamic and multidisciplinary. A strong emphasis has been placed on the study of the theological nature of church music in light of patristic sources. Local Orthodox church singing traditions and their historical development are also studied in Joensuu. The research examines the encounters, interaction and cultural transitions between East and West. A more specific field of research is the Finnish Orthodox church music tradition in the context of national and intellectual history.
The nature of the research is multidisciplinary and international. Students are introduced to the wide range of Orthodox church music in connection with the conferences by The International Society for Orthodox Church Music organised in Joensuu.
Church Music studies
During the Basic studies in Church Music, a student is introduced to the historical development of Byzantine and Slavic chant traditions and the theological tradition of church music. During the Intermediate studies, students explore in more depth the theological and liturgical aspects of music and become acquainted with the research methods applied in the research of church music. Here they also write a Bachelor’s thesis.
Studies in music (including music theory, solo singing, playing the piano) take place during both the Bachelor's and the Master's studies. They are formed on the basis of the general requirements of music schools and completed more or less in cooperation with the Conservatory of Joensuu.
A student in Church Music learns about the duties of a cantor as a conductor and a chanter in the choir. Practical liturgical exercises are carried out at the Orthodox seminar in daily divine services.
During the Advanced studies, the student practices the interpretation of the Byzantine and Slavic neumatic notations and explores the Orthodox composition styles as well as the research on local chant traditions. The student selects a specialisation: Byzantine or Slavic chant, conducting a choir, choir arrangement and composition, music education, or they may complete a C certificate in solo singing. For professional orientation, it is possible to choose between the cantor's or the researcher's profile. At the end of the studies, a student prepares a Master’s thesis or produces a corresponding scientific–artistic Master’s thesis.