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About City

Georgios Savvas

PhD Student

E: georgios.savvas@city.ac.uk

Working title of thesis: Greek Diatonicism In Western & Byzantine Music Theory (9th-13th cc.): Mathematical Nature, Interpretations, Deviations, and Performance Practice

Supervisor: Dr Alexander Lingas

Overview and Research Interests

A cross-cultural reconsideration of the question of ‘corruption’ of the diatonic scale in Early Medieval Latin chant and Byzantine Psaltic Art. This research aims to offer a new, more holistic understanding of the relative cultural positions of Byzantine liturgical music and its Western Christian counterparts during the Middle Ages, stressing their similar character along their natural differences.

The research will propose:

  • A re-reading of medieval theory for a synthesis that takes into account the latest research on the matter of Western reception of Greek diatonicism and its multiple forms of deviation in both Eastern and Western traditions, stressing especially the importance of chants that did not fit to descriptive or prescriptive systems of classification and their gradual ‘correction’ or abandonment.
  • Using primary sources to indicate the practical reasons behind the superficial reading and misinterpretation of the Greek music theory, and the narrowing down of broad-scope diatonicism. Greek music theory taught as a foreign language and losing in translation.
  • Chant transcriptions with suggested performing solutions.

Research interests

  • Greek Music Theory
  • Music & Mathematics
  • Byzantine and post-Byzantine Psaltic Art
  • Eastern and Western Liturgical Chant Performance Practice
  • Medieval Western local traditions of chant and their connections to the medieval Byzantine tradition ('Old' Roman, Beneventan and Ambrosian repertories)
  • Byzantine Palaeography and Codicology
  • History of musical notation systems
  • Post-Byzantine Greece.

Affiliation to Research Group/Centre:

  • Centre for Hellenic Studies (KCL)
  • Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (London)
  • Dumbarton Oaks Resources for Byzantine Studies (Washington DC)

Educational background

  • City, University of London: Introductory Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education
  • University of Bristol, UK: MA in Medieval Music
  • University of Athens, Greece: BA in Music Studies


  • Savvas, Georgios, ‘Se megalynomen’, in Mathimatarion: Interpretational and Musicological Study (Athens 2017, to be published by the Holy Monastery of Paraklitos, Oropos)
  • Savvas, Georgios, ‘Lian eufranas tous orthodoxous’, in ibid.


  • Leading reading groups for City University’s BMus modules 'Investigating Western Music 1: Music from 1450-1850' (2015/2016); ‘Music in Culture: The Traditions of Western Classical Music in social, Historical and Geographic Contexts’ (2016/2017); and ‘Materials of Music’ (2015/16 & 2016/17)
  • Teaching at the School of Byzantine Music, Wood Green (neo-Byzantine Chant Performance & Theory) (2014/2015)
  • Chanter (Lampadarios) at the Greek Orthodox Church of The Twelve Apostles at Hertfordshire (2014-present)

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