Although not all chanters use apichimata, it is very helpful for those learning to chant. Thus, In ByzB, students begin learning the apichimata in their first lesson. The first time you teach an apichima you should teach it using parallage. Once students can remember the pitches then you teach them the Greek phrase. There are a number of reasons to begin teaching apichimata and to teach them early.
Apichimata are representive of the modal genres and give students something solid to link to them. (There is almost a one-one correspondence between the two)
There are a lot of modal genres and apichimata to learn!
The apichimata are great short phrases that reinforce parallage and pitch relationships.
Switching between modes is a skill used in every church service and is a skill that needs to be practiced a lot to reach mastery.
In this version the teacher says the Greek phrase and the student finds the match. For beginners and very young students, the teacher says the phrase as is on the card.
In this version the teacher can say the parallage phrase or the greek phrase. Either way, students put the colored magic notes over the syllables.
I usually start by teaching mode 1 first. It is only ni and pa which are the two pitches that students are most familiar with due to the Ni Pa Vou cards, Greek Letter Cards and first 10 phrases of the Intro Parallage Phases.
I chant the apichima with the curwen hand signs and then have students copy me. Then we do it together a number of times. I ask them to practice each day until our next lesson. I also explain that chanters wouldn't say ni pa pa in a service and that if they remember this at our next lesson I will teach them what chanters say instead. At the next lesson we review ni pa pa several times and then if they are ready I teach them "ah - nah - nes".
When I want students to chant the mode 1 apichima I hold up one finger. This is the first mode taught in the Parallage Phrases.
After teaching the mode 1 apichima I usually teach mode 3. Although mode 3 is in the enharmonic scale and students won't encounter this until mid level 1 parallage phrases, the apichima begins on Ni, is relatively short, and provides concrete practice for going up 3 (from the base of the tetrachord to the top--which is a fairly common jump). It is also helpful for students to know this when you teach the martyries for the diatonic scale (they can see where the two stylized n's come from below the ga).
I teach Mode 3 apichima the same way as mode 1. When I want students to chant the mode 3 apichima I hold up one finger.
Once students know mode 1 and 3 apichimata in parallage and in Greek, we play "Play or Pass".
Play or Pass
In this game, the teacher does the hand sign for the apichima. Students take turns saying the apichima for the mode that the teacher signals. They can say the apichima in parallage or Greek (which ever they are most comfortable with). Then everyone repeats the apichima in the opposite form. If the student said ni - pa - pa for mode 1 everyone would repeat the apichima on the same pitches but saying ah - nah - nes.
The interesting thing is that often during a students turn they will adapt the apichima pitches to the range that they are comfortable in. This is true when students do the apichimata for the parallage phrases as well. This flexibility is useful for the future when they are chanting and have to adapt to the priest or deacon's pitch.
Plagal of the 4th
Next, I teach the apichima for the plagal of mode 4. The hand sign is four fingers, but pointing sideways (all plagals are the number but held sideways). Once again, this apichima starts on ni, which is helpful for students early on. To practice, play "Play or Pass." This is the second mode that is taught in the Level 1 Parallage Phrases.
Mode 4 Legetos
Next I teach Mode 4 Legetos. It is a little harder for students but at least it is still in the lower tetrachord and the diatonic scale. This is the third mode that is taught in the Level 1 Parallage Phrases.
Once students know four apichimata it is worth playing Apichimata Bingo. There are a number of different ways to use the Apichimata Bingo Mats.
Teacher Led: Variation 1: (Using the Ni Pa Vou side) The teacher says the apichima in Ni Pa Vou form and the student puts one magic note on the Apichima. Variation 2: (Using the Ni Pa Vou side) The teacher says the apichima using the Greek phrase and the students repeat the apichima using the Greek phrase and then puts a magic note on the corresponding parallage phrase. Variation 3: (using the Greek phrase side) The teacher say the apichima using parallage. The students repeat it and then place the corresponding magic notes on the Greek phrase. Then everyone chants the apichima together using the Greek phrase
Student Partners: One students has the Greek phrases side up and the other student has the parallage side up. Students take turns picking an apichima from their board and saying it for their partner. Their partner repeats what the other student says and then places one magic note (for the ni pa vou side) or multiple magic notes (for the Greek phrases). They they say the apichima in the opposite format.
With Mode Key Cards:As students begin learning the mode keys in the Level 1 Parallage Phrase cards you can start using the Mode Key cards to request the apichimata.
Have the students turn to the side with the Greek phrases. When the teachers says "go," students chant each apichima in Greek and place the corresponding magic notes on the bingo card as quickly as they can. When they are done they yell, "Telos!" When everyone is done, review each mode---starting with Mode 1. Use the hand sign with each mode.